THE HOLIDAYS are all about giving, but giving doesn't necessarily mean presents. Gifts of time, energy and talent can be even more meaningful.
One Eldersburg family is making a tradition of giving something unique to the community.
The Farcoskys' garage is the setting for a holiday train display that features American Flyer S-scale trains. Allan Farcosky recently purchased the set from a collector who was eager to see his collection remain intact. The trains were very popular in the 1950s.
"These trains were last run nearly 30 years ago. Most of the trains and the accessories still have the original boxes," Farcosky said.
Nearly 150 feet of track winds along a 10-by-16 skirted platform. At least two engines are constantly running; another train is making a stop at a rural depot. A fourth train is part of an "accident," insisted upon by brothers James, 6, and Andrew, 5, whose toy dinosaurs are central to the scene.
"The boys really wanted to have the dinosaurs be part of the display," their dad said, laughing. "They insisted we include the dinosaurs somehow."
The trains make their way around a small village scene that features a town square complete with a church, several businesses, houses, park benches and a flagpole.
Outside of town, the train passes a farm with cattle, a barn, farmhouse, greenhouse and a produce stand.
Debbie Farcosky added her touch to the display this year. A life-sized Santa relaxing in a recliner was her idea. With his boots off and a Coke in hand, this Santa has apparently made the Farcoskys' his last stop of a busy evening.
In keeping with the era, the Farcoskys have decorated their garage to resemble a typical living room of the 1950s.
A Christmas tree has been draped with colorful paper chains, glass ornaments and large colored lights.
You are welcome to enjoy the Farcoskys' train display from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through Jan. 4.
The display is at 6077 Ryon Court in the Parrish Park development off Bartholow Road in Eldersburg.
Members of Faith Lutheran Church on Liberty Road have a long-standing tradition of giving a special gift to our community, too. Each year, the church performs a live Nativity; this year's performances will be at 5: 30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The performance lasts about 45 minutes and features parishioner Martin Parlette telling the Christmas story while seated in a living room setting. Children are invited to come close and sit as the story is told.
In addition to beautiful costumes, this presentation is known for its use of live animals to enhance the feeling of Bethlehem. Llamas, sheep, a duck and a donkey are slated to participate.
The performance will be simultaneously presented in sign language by Jonathan Ernest, a student at Carroll Christian Academy in Westminster.
Each performance will be followed by a free soup and bread supper in the church hall.
& Information: 795-8082.
If you're scrambling for last-minute gifts, think of the Nature Center at Piney Run Park.
In addition to lots of unusual stocking stuffers for children, the Nature Center has great books for nature lovers and bird watchers of all ages.
The Nature Center is planning two cross-country ski getaways that would make super gifts. The trips are scheduled for Jan. 19-21 and Feb. 16-18.
The trips to Crystal Lake Ski Center in Hughesville, Pa., include two nights' lodging, six meals, trail fees, a group lesson and optional equipment rentals.
The cost is $135 for members renting skis; $120 for members without rentals; $140 for nonmembers renting skis; and $125 for nonmembers without rentals.
Information: Nature Center, 795-6043.
Pub Date: 12/17/96