Here's two chances to shop locally for holiday gifts [Elkridge]

As the holidays draw near, consider the idea of supporting small business and local artisans. Two opportunities are right in the heart of Elkridge.

Jan McVey is having a Jewelry Open House, Sunday, Nov. 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., at 6134 Old Washington Road. Most of Jan's items run between $10 and $35 (cash or check only). She incorporates crystals, semiprecious stones, hand-woven seed beads, pearls and vintage parts into her necklaces, bracelets and earrings (including matching sets), lanyards, and a few other creative "odds and ends".

Also, a couple of weeks later (but just up the street), Bonnie Poligardo will host the always delightful Elkridge Christmas Cottage, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29; Saturday, Nov. 30; and Sunday, Dec. 1. This holiday wonderland is the result of a collective group of talented artisans, and the rooms are filled with beautiful handcrafted items, perfect for gift giving or for creating your own spectacular holiday home. Bonnie's Christmas Cottage is at 6259 Old Washington Road.

Don't miss the chance to support the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department's 23rd annual Holiday Food Drive, a benefit for residents in Elkridge, Hanover and the surrounding communities. Monetary donations are encouraged to help the EVFD shop for both food and gifts.

Unfortunately, hungry children, struggling families, seniors on low fixed incomes and the unemployed are an ever-growing population and the department appreciates any help you can give. Checks should be made out to the EVFD, and can be mailed to: 6275 Old Washington Road, Elkridge MD 21075.

As the holidays draw near, donations of perishable and nonperishable foods can be brought to the station or given to Santa and Mrs. Claus on their annual neighborhood fire truck visits. If you have any questions or need assistance with pick-up, contact Joe Slavotinek at 410-984-1796.

That's all for this week, but keep me posted on what's going on in your backyard.

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