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Holiday lights a welcome joy during a tough time | WEST LAUREL

The holidays are upon us and the neighborhood is quiet without the hustle and bustle of shopping at malls, parties, choir practice, breakfast with Santa, parades and merriment with lots of friends.

We have had to adjust to this year like no other. There have been lots of reports of families who have suffered from COVID-19 and are slowly but gratefully recovering.

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I suppose the silver lining during these times is that we spend more time doing home activities like baking and decorating. I took an evening tour of the West Laurel neighborhoods by car with my 3-year-old granddaughter, Eliza. Her eyes were wide in amazement at the brilliant light displays splashed from street to street.

Christmas light decorations with Santa, reindeer, snow people, and elves were scattered across front yards and even rooftops. I believe there are more lights than I’ve seen in a long time; perhaps everyone is trying to share a little joy.

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My favorite display is on Orem Drive. More is better at this house. Eliza giggled and squealed at the movable figures of Santa on the choo-choo train, in the helicopter and on his sleigh with the reindeer as well as a big teddy bear, Christmas tree and more.

Is it over the top? Yes, but so much fun. Thank you to Karen and Chris Walker, who created this holiday wonderland, first for their grandchildren and then for all of us who get to drive by and share the excitement.

There have been food drives and so many inspiring activities all around Laurel to benefit those in need, and there are many more people in need this year of the pandemic.

In November, members of the West Laurel Civic Association Board brainstormed ways that they could help families in our community. They came up with Operation Brighten the Holidays. With the help of Bond Mill Elementary to identify families who needed help, and the generosity of these wonderful community volunteers, 14 families will receive gifts and needed resources to help them through the holidays.

The volunteer board members of the West Laurel Civic Association help our entire community all year long. They are always there, behind the scenes, watching out for all of us. Our dues of only $15 a year help pay for the distribution of the HOTLINE newsletter, paper shredding, services for seniors, arranging the Dumpster Days as well as representing West Laurel at public hearings and forums, providing input on legislation, working on zoning projects, working to get needed road repairs, safer road signage, and negotiating with developers.

. Dues are critical to maintain their presence whether you rent or own. We all take pride in our West Laurel. To pay your dues, you can mail your check to West Laurel Civic Association, Attention Treasurer, P.O. Box 387, Laurel, MD 20725 or go to wlcaweb.org to pay online.

Remember to look out for your senior neighbors and those who are alone. Some homemade cookies could go a long way. May blessings come to you all this holiday season with sincere wishes for a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2021.

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