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Way better than the Elf on the Shelf

To support his parish, Father James Boric, associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Severna Park, will do just about anything.

Downtown offers Grinch-free options through the year

It’s the shopping season, which means downtown Annapolis businesses are busier than ever. Which also means more traffic and more parking challenges.     Once again, our capital city offers free three-hour parking at meters through January 1 plus a couple of other ways to make holiday shopping and touring more cheerful for both drivers and pedestrians.      “Annapolis is known as one of America’s best holiday towns, and we want to make it even better,” said Mayor Michael Pantelides.

Visit the Annapolis Green House for gifts, ideas, recycling

Not every gift you’ll read about in Bay Weekly this week wants wrapping. But the gifts you do wrap can look pretty without generating a ton of waste in the form of boxes, bows, ribbon and tissue paper. The eco-organization Annapolis Green has set up shop as the Annapolis Green House at 92 Maryland Avenue and is-wrapping gifts using unique, innovative packaging in recycled, fun materials that would otherwise go to waste. Think burlap, fabric, blueprints and more — plus all the wrapping materials you’ve recycled from years past.

Visit Congregation Kneseth Israel

The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins December 24 this year, celebrating oppression overcome and a miracle of illumination in the Second Temple in Jerusalem.     The eight-day celebration, which focuses on the lighting of the seven- or nine-branched menorah, includes gifts as well as lights. Congregation Kneseth Israel, which has served the Jewish community of Anne Arundel County for more than 100 years, opens its gift shop just in time for Hanukkah shopping.

Still dazzling after 35 years

Let me describe the spirit of Christmas: It’s the wonder in a child’s eyes when Scrooge talks to them as they wait in line November 19 with their parents for a ticket to Colonial Players’ 35-year Annapolis holiday tradition, A Christmas Carol. It’s another child’s giddy excitement when Ebeneezer pulls them from the audience to dance as he joyfully transforms from cold-hearted humbug to warm, genial benefactor.

Luminaries and a parade boats light up Solomons Christmas Walk

When Solomons Islanders see Boy Scouts by the dozens running up and down the street, they know the Christmas season has begun.

A lot of ego sparks the famous boat parade on Ego Alley

“It started as a silly dare,” explains long-timer Pete Chambliss of the phenomenon that’s become the Eastport Yacht Club Light Parade. What would Christmas in Annapolis be without it?     Thirty-four years ago, the parade was a handful of boaters singing Christmas carols whilst cruising down Ego Alley with a string of fairy lights attached to their boats.

This quarter-mile walk dazzles all ages

My daughter was little when I first took her to Annmarie Gardens for their Holiday Light Show. There are few sweeter memories than her bundled up in a puffy winter coat, fluffy hat and scarf and rainbow-striped gloves. Her eyes lit up as she got her first peek at the magical forest. In the art center, we were wowed by the colorful and artsy holiday trimmings both on exhibit and for sale.

The Messiah can’t be sung just once

Competing voices sing Handel’s Messiah to the heavens in Annapolis, at sites only a few blocks from each other.     This weekend will be the 70th anniversary of the Naval Academy’s presentation of the Messiah, which includes 120 Midshipmen in the chorus, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and soloists from the roster of the Metropolitan Opera.

Celebrate the season with festive illuminations

Christmas may be our most well-lit holiday, and rightly so. Our ancestors celebrated light and fires this time of year as the days grew shorter and darker.