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Elkridge: Santa and holiday fun popping up everywhere

I hope all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends. Thanksgiving came later in November this year, so we are left with one less week to prepare for Christmas. Not to worry, friends. Take a deep breath, get your calendar and a pen, and together we will look at the opportunities there are in and around Elkridge to add some joy, fun and memory-making moments to your holiday season.

Looking for the perfect tree or greens? Payne’s Christmas Tree Shop is open and ready to sell you just the right tree, decorations, fresh greens, gifts and so much more. It has indoor and outdoor fireplaces to warm up by and friendly, helpful staff to help you find whatever you need to meet your decorating needs. Payne’s at 5481 Levering Ave., is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Let’s remember to support local businesses as we do our shopping.

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The Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department is once again sponsoring Santa Stops starting on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 10 a.m. Santa will visit Elkridge children and parents at various stops in the Greater Elkridge area Dec. 7 through Dec. 13. He will finish his time in Elkridge, with a fun-filled day on Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Holly Jolly Food Trucks event at the fire station, with over 10 food trucks and the opportunity for children to visit with Santa and have their picture taken. There will be shuttle parking from the parking lot at Elkridge Elementary to the fire house and back to your car.

For a complete schedule of dates and times of Santa’s journey, go to bit.ly/2kubowg.

Santa will be collecting nonperishable food for the Elkridge Food Pantry at all the Santa Stops locations. Our community is strengthened when we pitch in and help each other.

For some folks, the holiday season is hard to handle. You may be grieving the passing of a loved one, overwhelmed by dealing with an illness or feeling the weight of sadness or depression. Join iwith others who truly understand your conflicted or sad feelings at a Blue Christmas Service held on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m at Dorsey Emmanuel United Methodist Church. You do not have to pretend to be happy here.

Join this non-judging group of people who really “get” the complexity of how joy and sadness can dwell within the same person simultaneously. The service will be led by Rev. Rick Oursler, a caring, kind and knowledgeable lead pastor of the 3-in-1 Ministry of Dorsey Emmanuel, Melville Chapel and Wesley United Methodist churches.

Santa’s next big appearance will be at Ledo Pizza,7190 Troy Hill Drive, on Dec. 9, 10 and 11, starting at 5 pm and ending at 8 p.m. Seating starts at 4:30 p.m. and ends at 7:45 p.m. Your entire party must be present to be seated. Santa will be there for pictures and to see your little ones.

The Elkridge Adult Athletic Association is hosting a Santa’s Visit for children 8 years old and younger on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2-5 p.m. at the Pfeiffer’s School House at Rockbun Park off Montgomery Road. Santa’s elves will be there to do a craft activity and dance to holiday music with your little ones. Admission is a canned good that will be donated to the Elkridge Food Pantry.

For a different holiday experience, come to a performance of the “Nutcracker on Ice” at the Columbia Ice Rink at 5876 Thunder Hill Road in Columbia. Tickets are $15 for ages 3 and up. Showtimes are Saturday, Dec. 14 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 to 8:15 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church, 7474 Washington Blvd., is hosting three family oriented Christmas activities simultaneously on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be a group of people baking cookies to give to our local fire and police personnel to honor their hard work and bravery; a second group will be offering gift wrapping; and the third group will be watching a Christmas movie in the Parish Hall. Move between the groups and have fun with your friends and family. The cookies are being made as part of the nonprofit Kim’s Caring Cookies. Check them out on Goggle for more information.

Belmont Manor is hosting its Holiday Open House on Sunday, Dec. 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. After you have toured the home and soaked in the beautiful seasonal period decorations, enjoy some light refreshments and say hello to Belle, the Eastern Screech Owl. Then you can search for the perfect gift in the manor’s gift shop or go on a leisurely self-guided tour of the grounds. You will soon see why Belmont is considered a hidden gem of Howard County. If you’ve never seen Belmont all decked out for the holidays; do yourself a favor and let this be the year.

St. Augustine’s Choir will present its Christmas Concert on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., in the sanctuary. The music of the holiday season will be presented by your friends and neighbors under the fabulous direction of Paul Lavin. Come let the beautiful music of the season wash over you and focus your thoughts on the peace, joy and love that Christmas can bring.

When you are sending out your Christmas cards this year, consider sending a personalized message to a service member who is recovering from war-related illnesses and injuries at: Recovering American Solider c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20307-5001. Let them know they are so appreciated and you are thinking of them as they recover.

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