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After nearly 50 Christmases in the department store’s windows, he’s now part of my family’s tradition

A life-size Santa Claus — donned in authentic red velvet suit, black belt and patent leather boots with a full angel-hair-spun beard — stands by my living room window all year round.     He’s too fragile a chapter of history to stuff away in a corner of my two-car garage.     I met Santa at a yard sale in a Calvert County barn. His $250 price tag was a bit steep for my budget. But I was fascinated with him and kept going back to touch his silky beard.

Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center plays Santa to injured critters but needs your help

Dozens of raptors were among the thousands of animals rescued this year by the Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center in Lusby.     One stands out for her size and the relationship she formed with her rescuers.     Big Bird, as she was called, was rescued from a farm in southern Maryland. A nesting mother with three babies and a mate in a nearby tree, she had a broken left wing. What caused her injuries was never learned.

DNR’s calendar makes your indoors out

With your 2014 calendar just about used up, what are you going to hang on the wall in 2015 to replace it?     Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ 2015 calendar is a best bet for us whose lifestyles keep us inside looking at walls rather than out in Maryland’s beauty.     The 12 photos are creamed from over 800 shot in 2014 by Marylanders who spend plenty of time outdoors, keeping their eyes open and cameras ready to capture beauties small to large.

How do we know if our oyster dollars are paying off?

Open any local newspaper these days, and you’ll probably read about the dollars we are pouring into restoring oysters. In writing a few myself, I pondered how we would cut through the hyperbole and verify, in a scientifically reliable way, whether the efforts were bearing fruit — or in this case, oysters.

Chesapeake Conservancy’s Trips-and-Tips covers the watershed

When you want to strike out farther than the here-today-gone-tomorrow in Anne Arundel and Calvert events of 8 Days a Week, where do you go?     Subscribe to Chesapeake Conservancy’s Trips-and-Tips, and weekly updates from all over Chesapeake Country appear in your inbox each Thursday. The price is right for this brand-new, free guide to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Join Maggie Sansone for Cold Frosty Morn at historic Christ Church
 

Since 2002, Shady Side musician Maggie Sansone’s Celtic Christmas concerts have filled historic Christ Church in West River with the tingling sounds of hammered dulcimer, harp and fiddle. Inspired by a visit to Ireland to study early Christianity, then-rector Sandra Cordingley invited Sansone’s collaboration.

Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

The first leg of the Volvo Ocean race is really five different races rolled into one. The seven boats left warm and sunny Alicante, Spain, heading west across the choppy Mediterranean before sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar and out into the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Next they turned south along the coast of West Africa in moderately steady winds until they neared the equator. Then it was time to sail west across the spooky equatorial area of wind-sucking storms known as the Doldrums, over to a small island off Brazil, which they rounded like a buoy.

Fill his bag with toys for those in need at SoFo December 6 or throughout Annapolis December 13

Once again this year, Santa will be making special deliveries to families in need. In more than a decade, the Annapolis Santa Run has helped over 7,000 children wake up to a brighter Christmas morning. Santa makes his run courtesy of Annapolis Firefighters Local 1926. But the elves providing the toys are the citizens and businesses throughout the Annapolis region.

Three nights to make gift-buying fun

Shopping is more fun at stores that want your business. To lure you in, New York City stores fill their windows with scenes as highly produced as a Broadway show. Annapolis throws three after-hours parties. The festivities are good enough to win the city Travel & Leisure magazine’s vote as one of America’s Best Towns for the Holidays.     The parties start Thursday, Dec. 4, with Midnight Madness I; continue Thursday, Dec. 11, with Midnight Madness II and all new entertainment; and culminate Thursday, Dec. 18, with Eleventh Hour.

Local civic groups help make the world a better place

Drive into most any town in America, and you’ll see pretty nearly the same billboard. Lions, Moose, Elks, Rotary and Zonta welcome you, displaying their logos, contact numbers and often meeting times. You’ll learn that Kiwanis, another of the fellowships, meets Wednesdays at noon at Loews Annapolis Hotel. Rotary Thursday noon at Annapolis Yacht Club.