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Local theaters serve a mix of seasonal cheer

The spirit of Christmas is a more complex concoction than a dash of ho-ho-ho and a splash of jinglebells. For this is the season of deliverance: hope is born, sorrow and loss salved, our better selves risen over our baser. Getting it right — mixing big dreams with dark regret, leavened by love and served in hope — is an annual job done for us by our local theater companies.
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Play Santa in ways that matter

Taking care of each other is one of the cornerstones of the Christmas spirit, for everyone deserves a gift from the heart — especially those for whom any gifts are hard to come by.
    You can give in small ways, like dropping a donation into a Salvation Army red kettle. Or in large ways, like fully funding a family’s Christmas meal and wish list.
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Calvert Garden Club offers next-generation grants

Got a great idea for a community-focused gardening project? If it involves educating the next generation, you are invited to apply for a mini-grant with the Calvert Garden Club.
    This annual program awards amounts from $100 to $1,000 to nonprofit organizations in Calvert County.
    The 60-year-old Calvert Garden Club has awarded grants totaling more than $4,300 in the past two years.
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The sounds of Maggie’s Music bring on the season

Need help transitioning into the holiday mood? My go-to solution is playing seasonal music. This year, I’m jumping out of the same old rut with Cold Frosty Morn at West River, by local Celtic musician Maggie ­Sansone.
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And keep it open all winter long

It’s a great time of year to take up or enhance the hobby of bird feeding, especially since we can watch outdoor birds from the cozy warmth of the great indoors with hot drinks, field guides and binoculars. It’s good for the birds, too. When ice and snow cover everything in sight, providing food, water and grit (bits of sand, stone, or shell that birds need for digestion), may mean survival for our backyard birds.
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Here’s how to keep your tree fresh, green and safe

A freshly cut Christmas tree that is properly cared for is a fire-safe Christmas tree.
    Every year, many house fires are caused by Christmas trees. Avoid such a tragedy by following a few simple rules.
    The freshest cut Christmas tree is the one you cut yourself. Thus the advantage of tree farms where you can make selecting and cutting your Christmas tree a family affair.
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Two ways you can help this week

As the season of thanks and giving approaches, sharing is the best way to stoke your gratitude.
    This week is your time to share through Harvest of Plenty and Operation Christmas Child.

    Help Operation Christmas Child send shoe boxes full of gifts to 11 million children in need around the world in Samaritan’s Purse giant annual Christmas project.
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For Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Chef Rudy, Thanksgiving is a piece of cake

From the first-time turkey roaster to the kitchen master, who among us can anticipate cooking the Thanksgiving dinner without a bit of a flutter?
    Chef Rudy Volpe can.
    The 54-year-old chef looks forward to serving 1,000 to 1,200 hungry eaters at Rod ‘N’ Reel’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet.
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Auction and gala shines spotlight on science center

The Carrie Weedon Science Center in Galesville is a place with an uncertain future but, its backers say, a great present.
    The former elementary school has been home to Anne Arundel County’s outdoor education program since 1988, a science field trip destination for elementary students countywide.
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A rested bird and a sharp knife are essential

1. Carve out a proper amount of time to cook the turkey. When coordinating your schedule Thanksgiving morning, keep in mind that between taking the turkey out of the oven and carving it, you should allot about 20 minutes. This waiting period is not frivolous. It makes the handling of the hot turkey easier on your hands, and it gives the meat’s juices crucial time to redistribute.

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