So here we are already, just days away from Hampden's kickoff to the Christmas season — the seasonal lighting of the Miracle on 34th Street, the light display in the 700 block. The lighting takes place each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The lights come on after dusk on 34th between Keswick Road and Chestnut Avenue and run nightly, culminating with a ball drop and an appearance by Baby New Year on Dec. 31.

But before we get into all the details and goings on for what I like to call Hampden for the Holidays 2013 (which I'll be covering in my next column), we still have quite a few excellent goings on over the next few days to talk about.


Hampden Charity Night is Wednesday, Nov. 20. You can eat, shop and help support not only local businesses, but a number of charities including Moveable Feast, Maryland Food Bank, House of Ruth and the Hampden-based Maryland SPCA. When you visit participating Hampden businesses and make a purchase between 5-9 p.m., the merchant will donate a percentage of that sale to whatever charity you select.

Participants include the restaurant Alchemy, Arthouse Cafe, Atomic Books, Avenue Antiques/The Ideal, Barks & Blooms Doggie Daycare, breathe books, Charlotte Elliott & The Bookstore Next Door, The Charmery, Crystals Candles and Cauldrons, doubledutch boutique, Flekenstein's Gallery, In The Details, Kiss N' Make-Up, KoDee Cakes, Lovelyarns, Luigi's Deli, Ma Petite Shoe/Choux Cafe, The Modest Florist, Mono Azul Children's Boutique, Mud & Metal, NV Salon, Soft & Cozy Baby, Sugar, Trohv and Whatnots.

Grab some dinner, get some early holiday shopping done and help raise money for a good cause.

On Thursday, Nov. 21, there is a Glamour Swap at Golden West Cafe, 1105 W. 36th St., starting at 10 p.m. Bring party-wear to trade, and then swap clothes to put together a new look for the holidays. Hunting Ground will be there with some handpicked vintage items, too. All this, plus DJs, hot toddies and a Glamour photo booth. It's a great swapper-tunity to trade in old clothes and pick up some new stuff for no cost and have a party while doing it.

On Friday, Nov. 22, at p.m., it's a night of books and food when Chef John Gorham, author Liz Crain and Lucky Peach editor Rachel Khong bring food to Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, to celebrate the release of the new McSweeney's cookbook, Toro Bravo." Along with delicious treats will be a moderated conversation with Gorham, whose Spanish-inspired, small-plate restaurant, Portland, in Oregon, has been garnering national acclaim.

Finally, representatives from the Department of Public Works tell me that they are hoping to remove, by Thanksgiving, the emergency water pipes that have run along 36th Street, Falls Road and Union Avenue for the past three months. They said they aren't making any promises, but they are definitely trying.

Remember, stay tuned for my next column to get the lowdown on Hampden for the Holidays 2013.