The old saying is, “It’s better to give than receive.” In this busy, bustling holiday season, here are several opportunities for you to experience the joy of giving.
The Westminster Walmart offers two Christmas trees, set up by Westminster Lions Club, to offer an easy way for others to give.
According to Susie Coursey, Westminster Lions Club secretary, the first tree is for our veterans.
“We are collecting personal items such as deodorant, lotions, soaps, shaving supplies, Kleenex, toilet paper, small heaters and other items for veterans,” Coursey said. “There are Christmas ornaments on the tree with items written on them,” she said when asked how folks know what to buy to donate.
The second tree is all about our furry, four-legged friends. A list beside the tree shares what sort of things are needed by the Humane Society of Carroll County.
“Choose an ornament [from the tree] and purchase the item on it and then place it in the Lions Den box [under the tree],” Coursey said. “Both trees will be up through the month of December. Since we are a service club, we strive to help our community in every way possible. That is what the holidays are all about.”
The Westminster Walmart is located at 280 Woodward Road.
Every year the Carroll Nonprofit Center uses the Christmas tree that they set up in their lobby to collect items for those in need in our area. This year they are collecting for the nonprofit Together We Own It one of the many nonprofits residing in the building at 255 Clifton Blvd. in Westminster.
Items that Together We Own it seeks include men’s wool socks, winter hats, gloves, extra-large men’s pajama pants, boys winter hats and gloves, men’s body wash, men’s and women’s deodorants, hair products, girls’ and women’s gloves, hats, headbands, and long winter socks, plus hygiene products for children ages 10 to 18.
For more information, check them out online at www.togetherweownit.org.
For 36 years now, our own Carroll County Public Library (CCPL) has set up Corky’s Mitten Tree at every county library branch.
Stephanie Szymanski, executive assistant at CCPL, said that this year they will be collecting mittens, hats and scarves until Jan. 4.
“We give them to local charitable organizations,” she said.
Corky is the CCPL mascot, an adorable little penguin who looks especially cute bundled up in his mittens, scarf and hat for winter. He wants all residents of the county to stay warm like him, so each library branch has a Christmas tree to collect store-bought or handmade gloves, mittens, scarves, and hats for adults and children.
If you want to donate to a giving tree in the area, but just can’t seem to get out to the store, The Shepherd’s Staff offers a fun alternative tree for individuals to make donations for the holidays — and they can be made in honor or in memory of a loved one. This cool little Virtual Giving Tree is set up on their website, at https://www.shepstaff.org/shepstaff-giving-tree/, but is also accessible through Facebook, Instagram and all their social media accounts.
To donate, click on an amount under the tree. When you hover over an ornament, a candy cane, bell or bow, or even a present under the tree you can see donations made in honor of loved ones.
Winter library events: Holiday songs and ‘Polar Express’
On Dec. 20, you can catch the Polar Express at the Westminster branch library from 10 to 11 a.m. Kids may come dressed in their pajamas to hear this magical story, as told by storyteller Beth Rebert.
Over 12 million copies of “The Polar Express" have been sold since the Caldecott Award-winning picture book by Chris Van Allsburg came out in 1986. The story takes place on Christmas Eve, opening with a boy in bed. Although he’s been told Santa doesn’t exist, the young boy strains to hear the sound of sleigh bells. Instead he hears “hissing steam and squeaking metal.” When he goes outside to explore, a conductor invites him to step onboard the Polar Express. An inspirational adventure to the North Pole unfolds, and in this journey of self-discovery, we learn that the wonder of life never fades for those who truly believe.
According to Christina Kuntz, Westminster library branch manager, Rebert is always much anticipated. She will enchant kids of all ages with her delightful presentation of this heartwarming holiday tale.
“All ages enjoy this program, Kuntz said. “Beth Rebert is a professional. We get rave reviews for this program every year. People love it!”
Kuntz said 121 people turned out for this program last year.
The Westminster branch library is located at 50 E. Main St.
No registration is required. For more information, call the library at 410-386-4490.
Just three days later — on Dec. 23 — you can join your friends at the Finksburg branch library for holiday music, dance, and stories read out loud. This program for all ages will begin at 11 a.m. What a great way for kids to learn classic holiday songs while spending time with family, and just two days before Christmas!
Barbara Weber, library associate, said she started the program 11 years ago.
“I love singing holiday songs,” she said. “I always have. I used to go to community sings, so this seemed like a really fun thing to do here, and a way to bond the community together.”
Weber said all ages can participate, but she usually sees a lot of preschoolers with their parents and grandparents, too.
“Because it is the first day of Hanukkah we will sing a Hanukkah song and read a Hanukkah story. We’ll read a jingle bell story and sing ‘Jingle Bells,’ and we’re doing the Reindeer Hokey Pokey. It’s really cute. You put your white hooves in and your little antlers in. They put their hands on their head to look like antlers. I make the grownups stand up to do the hokey pokey too. It’s a fast-moving program.”
According to Weber, the program usually lasts about 30 to 45 minutes. In the past they’ve had anywhere from 50 to 100 people turn out for the fun. The songs will include “Jingle Bells,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah,” and others.
“I play the guitar, and they sing along. I can’t play that well, but I feel like a rock star with 3-year olds,” Weber said with a laugh.
It’s getting close to the holidays, so bring the kids, meet your friends and find your holiday spirit at the Finksburg branch library, located at 2265 Old Westminster Pike.
No registration is required. Call 410-386-4488 for more information.
Lois Szymanski covers Finksburg, Gamber, Pleasant Valley, Reese, Sandymount, Silver Run, Smallwood, Union Mills and Westminster. Reach her at 443-293-7811 or LoisSzymanski@hotmail.com.