Tim Foley,of Hampstead, leaps onto Santa Claus during festivities celebrating the start of the holiday season in at the Manchester Volunteer Fire Department in 2007. The annual Manchester Black Friday Christmas Festival will take place on Friday, Nov. 24.
Tim Foley,of Hampstead, leaps onto Santa Claus during festivities celebrating the start of the holiday season in at the Manchester Volunteer Fire Department in 2007. The annual Manchester Black Friday Christmas Festival will take place on Friday, Nov. 24. (Jason Fritz / Patuxent Publishing)

Since the children went back to school in September, these last few months have flown by.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and then Christmas right behind that. This year has had quite a few ups and downs, both personally, and globally. The world has incurred a lot of heartache from natural disasters and from those endured at the hands of others. It's been unfathomable the tragedy we've witnessed recently.


I just asked my husband the other day if I could take and lock our daughter in her bedroom — an unreasonable request I know, but I, as any parent does, just want to keep my kid safe from the senselessness occurring.

Thinking about things that have happened personally, I may tend to look at all the negative and feel like I can't wait for the year to end and a new one to begin — a refreshing "start over" if you will. However, the adult, common sense part of me kicks in and I count my blessings.

There is a lot to be grateful for and appreciate — a roof over our head, family and friends, employment, food on the table, clothes on our back, and so much more. I've seen a lot of friends on social media start their days of thanks — listing one thing, person, etc., that they are thankful for each day of November.

We need to remember, myself included, to be thankful each day of each week, of each month, every year. It's a daily thing, being thankful we could rise out of bed in the morning and enjoy another blessed day. I am not trying to preach, just illuminate the fact that we tend to, as a society, get into more of a thankful "mode" during this time of year than any other time.

I know a lot of people that we can watch and learn from, that share their blessings each day — whether it's to say hello and smile at a stranger, hold a door open, pay for someone's meal or drink when in the drive thru; or organize fundraisers for families that need assistance in some way. If we all took a small amount of time to do even a fraction of that, maybe, just maybe, we would all have a better outlook on life, and enjoy it more — thus helping others in turn reflect and count their own blessings.

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a great Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Christmas Festival

The Manchester Black Friday Christmas Festival will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24. The festival will feature a train garden at the Manchester Volunteer Fire Department, the Christmas Tree lighting, Santa's arrival, crafters and vendors.

The event, which is hosted by the Manchester Area Merchant Association and the Town of Manchester, will be held at the MVFD activities building, located at 3297 York St., Manchester.

Tree Lighting

The Town of Hampstead will host their Christmas Tree Lighting at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 at Main Street Memorial Park. There will be music provided by Cub Scouts Pack 791 and Spring Garden Elementary School's 5th Grade Instrumental Ensemble before the lighting; and afterward, carols will be sung by Manchester Valley High School's choir. Santa Claus and Mayor Chris Nevin will arrive at 7 p.m. for the lighting. For information, call 410-239-7408.

Craft Show

Grace Bible Church will host a Community Craft Show from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. Approximately 40 vendors offering everything from jewelry and woodwork, to home décor, and much more will be in attendance. There will also be food on site to purchase, drawings and more. Vendor applications are available at www.gbcnc.com.

The church is located at 3250 Charmil Drive, Manchester. For information, call 410-374-9306 or email office@gbcnc.com.

Sportsman Bingo

The Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department will host a Sportsman's Bingo on Saturday, Dec. 2. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m., dinner at 5:30 p.m. and games begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $40 per person and includes games and a meal.

There will be 10 games for $200; 10 games for a gun, or $250; and two jackpot games for a gun or $250. In addition, there will be games of chance and a 50/50 raffle. The dinner consists of pit style beef and turkey, sides, desserts, and a beverage.

For tickets, contact Joe Lankford at 410-977-4735. The fire department is located at 4224 Main St., Lineboro.


Two opportunities for Breakfast with Santa

Children can enjoy a delicious breakfast and tell Santa their wish list on Saturday, Dec. 2. From 8 a.m. until noon, the Manchester Fire Company will host their Breakfast with Santa.

The cost is $8 for adults, $5 for ages 4 to 10, and free for those children 3 and younger. Photos with Santa are $7 each, and $5 for each additional photo. They ask that there are no cellphone photos taken. In addition, there will be a Santa Workshop where kids can make a free holiday gift. The activities building is located at 3297 York St., Manchester. For information, call 410-239-2286 or email info@manchestervfd.org.

In addition, the Upperco Volunteer Fire Company will be hosting their Breakfast with Santa as well. Breakfast begins at 8 a.m., Santa arrives at 9 a.m. and fire engine rides start at 9:30 a.m. There will also be craft tables and admission is a donation to the fire department.

The fire department is located at 5415 Arcadia Ave., Upperco. For information, call 410-887-1576 or email info@uppercovfd.org.


  • 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar: Nov. 25, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Lineboro Fire Hall, 4224 E. Main St., Lineboro. Information: Audrey, 443-375-6951 or Marci, 410-259-4975.
  • Hampstead Farmers Market Annual Christmas Market: Dec. 1, 4-8 p.m.; Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., St. John’s United Methodist Church, 1205 N. Main St., Hampstead. Information: hampsteadfarmersmarket@gmail.com or 443-821-1339.

Shiela Johnson covers Hampstead, Manchester, Lineboro, and neighboring communities in northern Carroll County. She can be reached at sastonejohnson@gmail.com or 410-412-6787.