EACH DAY when I read sale ads in the newspaper, or open the mailbox and take out a handful of store advertisements, I am reminded that Christmas is coming. But it has been tough -- at least before Thanksgiving -- to get into the spirit of Christmas.
I guess it is because I grew up when the stores didn't put up decorations until after Thanksgiving. It was then that we began to think about the next holiday. With Thanksgiving over, I am ready to get on with it.
Before starting the shopping, decorating and cooking, I look forward to two annual community events that help set the mood of the season: the Holly Mart sponsored by the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights and the Candlelight Christmas Open House at the Benson-Hammond House sponsored by the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society.
The Holly Mart is a festive, fun day the whole family can enjoy. There will be a sit-down luncheon, entertainment, children's corner and shopping bazaar. The theme is "Something Old -- Something New." The mart will take place from 9: 30 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. Saturday at Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church, 200 School Lane.
The "Something Old" is the well-known bazaar featuring a country store, homemade candies, baked goods, crafts, attic treasures, Christmas greens and wreaths, books, floral arrangements and more.
"Something New" is the addition of the children's corner.
The menu for the luncheon includes sweet and sour chicken, vegetable medley, salad, roll, dessert and beverage. Three seatings will be held -- at 11: 15 a.m., noon and 12: 45 p.m. The cost is $6, and reservations are required. Carryouts are also available. To purchase tickets for the luncheon, call Jean Rock, 410-859-1593.
Cecelia Dietz, Holly Mart chairwoman, said the Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church preschool chorus and the Linthicum Elementary School ensembles will provide musical entertainment at 10 a.m.
An Olde Fashioned Holiday will be featured at the 14th annual Christmas open house from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Dec. 5 at Benson-Hammond House, Aviation Boulevard and Andover Road.
Hear Christmas music, smell the scent of cinnamon, pine and holly, and feel the warmth of lighted candles in this 19th-century farmhouse decked out for old-fashioned holiday atmosphere.
There will also be an exhibit on ladies' fashions from 1820 to 1880, and the society's doll collection will be on display. The Browse and Buy Shoppe will be open.
Admission is $2; children age 6 and younger are admitted free. Refreshments will be served. Parking is available on the grounds.
AARP holiday luncheon
The American Association of Retired Persons' Linthicum Chapter 2244 will celebrate the holidays with a Christmas luncheon and installation of officers from 11: 30 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. Thursday at La Fontaine Bleu. Pastors from local churches will be guests.
Officers being installed are Bob Bradshaw, president; Lou Szech, first vice president; Albert Eveson, second vice president; Lillian Warnken, secretary; Ann Cramer, assistant secretary; Eileen Underwood, treasurer; and Hilda Taylor, assistant treasurer.
Members of the board of directors are Edgar Wheeler, Eileen Behringer, George Bryan, Mary Foster, Adeline Bradshaw, Helen Blotzer and Efton Meredith.
Members should bring filled Christmas stockings and dressed teddy bears for donation to the Salvation Army. Chances on a 50-50 raffle will be available. John Norfolk will play the keyboard and entertain with Christmas carols.
Information, Mary Foster, 410-850-4630.
Sue Latini, program chairman for the Friendly Thyme Herb Club, said a Christmas herb craft demonstration is planned for the meeting at 10: 30 a.m. Friday at Ferndale Senior Center, 7205 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd.
Member Hilda Lanier will be using dried herbs to make a Christmas decoration and will be assisted by members Marion Adams and Joan Childs. Handouts with instructions will be available so members can duplicate the craft at home.
Information: Sue Latini, 410-766-1463.
Garden club crafts
Members Carol Wagner, Josie Blondell, Jeanette Lehman and Marge Dishman will lead the Ferndale Garden Club in a workshop on making fresh wreaths at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Ferndale Senior Center.
A straw wreath, greens, floral pins, wire, ribbon, pruning shears and scissors will be needed for the project. A Christmas ornament exchange will be held among members who wish to participate.
Publicity chairwoman Debi Burkman said the club is decorating barrels in the business area of Ferndale again this year. She said winter pansies that will bloom throughout the season were planted this month.
Burkman said members have several ideas for adding holiday decorations to the barrels. The final decision on what to add will be made at the meeting.
Information: Debi Burkman, 410-760-4809.
If you have information for the North County report, call Amy Oakes at 410-315-8936 during the day or leave a message on the tip line after hours.