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Toys for Tots holiday drive overflowing with support in West Friendship

During the first week of collection, Suzy Hill counted more than 90 toys and games. By the time representatives from the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation came for a second pick up at Curves in Glenelg, the amount of playthings had doubled.

If you would like to pitch in with an unwrapped gift for a child, then bring your donation to the Curves in Glenelg by Friday, Dec. 2. Don't forget that Eyre Tour and Travel, Olney Theatre Center, the Pink Cabbage at Triadelphia and Route 144, St. Michael's Church in Poplar Springs and the front office of Glenelg High School, via the Key Club are organizations also acting as local host venues for Toys for Tots.

This beloved and long traditional holiday giving effort begun by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 1947, is alive and well. The first toy donated back in 1947 was a Raggedy Ann doll handcrafted by the wife of Toys for Tots founder Col. Bill Hendricks. Bring your new toys and games to the Toys for Tots depot boxes by Dec. 9.

This is the time of year and in particular the weekend in December when there are so many local holiday offerings that there is almost not enough room to mention them all. But here we go.

St. Michael's Church in Poplar Springs will host a pancake breakfast Saturday, Saturday Dec. 3, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The annual breakfast is sponsored by the Men's Club of St. Michael's and word has it that a visit from St. Nicholas is in the works.

Pancakes, sausage, juice, home fries and eggs are on the menu. Free sleigh rides with Santa are promised if the weather permits. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children younger than 10.

Santa Claus is headed to the Firehouse Museum in historic Ellicott City Saturday Dec. 3, noon to 4 p.m. That jolly fellow from the North Pole sure gets around doesn't he? The Ellicott City Business Association is sponsoring this event with the hopes that families will come out and enjoy the charm of shopping in the historic district while visiting with Santa too.

Questions? Call Ed Lilley at 410-303-2959 or e-mail Ed at ecrfpres@aol.com.

Holiday Mart. That's the name of Howard County's juried arts and crafts show which is celebrating 39 years of quality crafts and artisan products this year. The show, which features more than 138 vendors, is set for the third year in a new location.

The Holiday Mart 2011 will be held at the Glenwood Community Center, 2400 Route 97, Cooksville. The craft show will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec.3. Several local artists are participating in the Holiday Mart, including West Friendship photographers Roger and Judith Roark .

Sally and Shannon Stevens will host a holiday open house Saturday Dec. 3, 4-8 p.m., at 3556 Lakeway Drive, in Ellicott City. Jewelry as wearable art is the main attraction at the holiday show which features the best designs of Sunroom Studios, Sally and Shannon's jewelry design business. A specialty of this creative mother and daughter team is their creation of glass beads.

This year, the open house will feature handcrafted jewelry, glass beads, the decorative art of Sally and Shannon, as well as the creative works by local artisans. Sunroom Studios has been featured in several trade magazines with a focus on the teaching skills of jewelry making.

Come out and see Sally and Shannon's exquisite work this weekend and enjoy holiday cheer with the artists. Questions? Call 410-531-9624 or email sunroomstudios@aol.com.

Local songbirds Sharon Stewart, Sara Cronk, Carol Anne Bucher and Jeanne McCulley are raising the roof with song as they prepare for the Columbia Pro Cantare's stirring annual rendition of Handel's Messiah. The holiday favorite will be performed at the Jim Rouse Theatre Sunday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

For ticket information call 410-799-9231 or log on to http://www.procantare.org.

Never been to the West Friendship Farm Museum? Now's the chance and in particular when the Hebb House portion of the museum is decked out in holiday splendor. The Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum's Hebb House will be the setting for a holiday open house Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11, noon-4 p.m. This is an excellent opportunity to view the local farm museum, a dream that has come true for the members of the Howard County Antique Farm Machine Club.

Virginia and John Frank and all the committees have worked tirelessly for several years now to see the fruition of this local museum which is dedicated to life in simpler times. There is no admission, though donations are gratefully accepted.

The open house will feature a train garden, antique displays, live music and refreshments. Virginia Frank notes that the motif will be one of holiday seasons from years past.

Hebb House is at 12985 Frederick Road (Route 144), just across the street from the Howard County fairgrounds. Questions? Call 410-531-2569 or go to the club Web site at http://www.farmheritage.org.

A few local calendar reminders which are worth repeating.

Here is your opportunity to visit our own version of Williamsburg in early December. Local garden clubs, including the Cattail River Garden Club, have joined forces and garden clippers to decorate the Waverly Mansion, in Marriottsville, in a splendor of magnolia leaves, boughs of greens, pine cones, and holly.

Historic Waverly is the setting once again for a two-day open house, one of the few times when area residents can freely roam the house and surroundings of this wonderful historic treasure which is situated practically in our backyard.

Waverly, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in the mid 1700s. Nathan Dorsey was the first occupant, later the home was owned by Col. John Eager Howard, who was governor of Maryland in the late 1700s.

A beautiful example of 18th century architecture, Waverly surely is an historic and architectural gem which should be treasured by all in our community. Festive, elegant, charming ,seasonal and certainly not to be missed.

The Waverly Holiday Tours are set for Sunday, Dec. 4, 1-4 p.m., and Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to noon and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Madrigal singers during the afternoon and evening tours, refreshments during all the tours, and most splendid of all, amazing, fantastic greens arrangements provided by the members of the Howard County Council of Garden Clubs.

Holiday greens, wreaths, arrangements and crafts will be on sale. Proceeds from the sales tent are used by each of the garden clubs for the purpose of community projects, scholarships, community beautification, junior garden clubs for youngsters in the community and garden therapy for seniors.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children ages 12 and younger. The mansion is at 2300 Waverly Mansion Drive, Marriottsville. Questions on the tours? Call 443-812-2410 or call Lisa Capps at 410-489-4040.

Shop local is the name of the game this season. The Pink Cabbage shop is always involved in community outreach as well as celebration in the best way. Mark your calendar for Sunday, Dec. 4 when the shop at 11707 Frederick Road will kick off the holiday season with a "fun and fabulous" holiday open house.

Sales galore, delicious desserts, appetizers, holiday spirits and beautiful vintage and hand crafted items for sale. A stop at The Pink Cabbage is always a dazzling treat. The women who run this shop know how to have fun and all in a shop loaded with warmth and ambience. The shop is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Don't forget to bring a new toy for Toys for Tots. If you do, the "cabbagers" will display their collective gratitude with a 15 percent discount on regularly priced merchandise.

St. Nicholas is headed to Glenwood. Breakfast with St. Nicholas is set for Saturday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, on Route 97. This holiday event also includes craft and gift sales vendors.

Holiday bazaars are up and running. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, Dec. 6 when the Mother's Club of Mount St. Joseph High School will present the seventh annual holiday bazaar and Christmas service project. Chairwoman Shyami Codippily Murphy, of West Friendship, whose son, Taylor, is a student at Mount St. Joe's, will not only organize the event, but will be on hand to sign copies of her art books "Farms Never to be Forgotten" and "Churches Never to be Forgotten," both which depict the rural past of Howard County.

Shyami's cards will be on sale as well, along with a host of holiday gifts provided by the Mount St. Joseph's women owned businesses group. The Bazaar is set for Dec. 6, 6-9 p.m The school is at 4403 Frederick Ave., in Baltimore.

Questions? Go to the website at http://www.msjnet.edu.

Though the ground feels frozen it's not too early to think about spring gardening. Especially if you are among those few who can call themselves master gardeners. Want to join this illustrious group? This just might be the perfect time to sign on with Georgia Eacker's popular Master Gardener training sessions which will begin Jan. 25.

The classes for this training, which is offered by the Howard County branch of the Maryland Cooperative Extension office, meet from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Extension office, in Ellicott City. Classes will run from late January until late March of 2012.

If you would like to become a Master Gardener, call the office at 410-313-2707 for a registration packet. The registration deadline is Dec. 16.

Local children's book author Loretta Socks will sign copies of her new book, "Welcome to Clown Town" Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. at His Way Christian Book Store, in Eldersburg.

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