St. Joseph's Catholic Church's Alternative Christmas market is open to the community for the first time this year, so mark your calendar and plan to come on Saturday, Dec. 4, or Sunday, Dec. 5.
You won't find Christmas tree ornaments, wreaths or hand-knitted baby sweaters. No wooden toys or stuffed dolls, either.
You will find an opportunity to refocus on the true meaning of Christmas.
And the money raised doesn't help to build the new addition or pay the church's heating bill.
The Alternative Christmas Market, now in its third year at St. Joseph's, is a place where you can easily obtain a gift for that person on your list who has everything, and, at the same time, give a gift to a person who has hardly anything.
In the market, you will meet representatives of charitable organizations, local and international, who will explain the goals of their organizations and how they operate.
If you wish, they will give you a card to give to a loved one, which notifies them of your donation to the organization in their name.
This year, you will have the opportunity to support the Shepherd's Table, a new ecumenical soup kitchen in Westminster where the first activity will be Thanksgiving dinner for the needy.
There also will be representatives of the Child Forester Program of Guatemala, a project that enables children and their parents to purchase tree seedlings and pays them to care for the tree. The children use the money they earn replanting the rain forest to purchase books and other school supplies, which they would otherwise do without.
If those don't appeal to you, you can support the Bella Louise Day Program, which provides education and needed items to teen-age mothers and their children, or you could provide an opportunity for impoverished families in India to purchase goats or chickens, which will give them the basis to start a flock or herd to feed the family as it grows.
These are only a few of the options available, and St. Joseph's makes it easy to do.
When you enter, you will receive a "shopping list" card, which you'll fill out by checking off which organizations you wish to receive the money you intend to donate. You may also sign up to donate your time.
When you have enjoyed the market and completed your "shopping," you'll proceed to the "checkout."
Volunteers at St. Joseph's will tally all of the shopping lists and send checks to the participating organizations by the end of December.
The New Windsor Service Center also will have a table to sell unusual handicrafts from developing nations. It, too, sends the money to impoverished people who will receive a kind of "Christmas present," and there will be a "giving tree" where you can obtain an "ornament" that details an item desired by a needy local family.
By bringing the item back to the church in a week, you will have given another present to someone who really needs one.
The market will be open on from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 and from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the gym at St. Joseph's Church on Liberty Road in Eldersburg.
Race after race, the cheering never stopped. And for those who didn't win, there's always next year.
The scene was a meeting of Cub Scout Pack 392 in Sykesville, where, last Thursday, the youngsters raced handmade cars down a blue and gold track made last year by the Rattlesnake Webelo den.
Derby speed winner prizes went to Daniel Hamilton, 10, Patrick Chinery, 8, and Andy Rice, 7.
Prizes for other great derby cars were won by Eric Worley, 8, and Ryan Bicking, 9, for most original cars; Jason MacKenzie, 8, for his most unusual car with Garfield and other creatures; Scott Thomas, 10, for his most colorful creation; and Dan Hamilton, 10, and Bryan Fleming, 9, for their most awesome roadsters.
The Sykesville-Freedom District Volunteer Fire Co. will be the site of a blood drive for the American Red Cross Nov. 29.
Hours of the drive will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.