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Five heartfelt stories on how good neighbors help us summit life’s mountain

Finding the right gift is the preoccupying issue of all us Christmas shoppers. We scratch our heads and fret because we’re searching for what to give people who already have most everything.

When your needs are satisfied, you’re a nightmare to shop for.

But if your needs are as basic as a good meal or a warm coat or a dry and secure place to sleep — those take a special kind of Santa. 

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It’s not only what you give but how you wrap it

“It’s all about the presentation,” my mother told me. So she taught me how to wrap a gift. How to center a box on the paper, how to make sure the edges were even and no tape was visible. She used miles of ribbon. She taught me how to tie a proper bow. Those pre-made self-stick bows were, in her opinion, the epitome of laziness.

It was meticulous work.

On Christmas morning, it took seconds to destroy it all.

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12 calendars to spruce up the march of time

In the pages of this illustrious paper, I get credited only as staff writer occasionally. For the most part, I’m Bay Weekly’s Calendar Editor. I’m the one who tells you what’s happening in Bay Country every day of every week.

It’s my job to rely on calendars, to get the dates right and to plan ahead. I look at a calendar every day. Every. Single. Day.

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A little juice goes a long way for these Duffy Electric Boats

Where does the only Earth-friendly, $1-a-fill-up fuel in Annapolis come from?

The nearest electrical outlet.

As long as the power cord is long enough, Sally Koch, owner of SJ Koch Duffy Electric Boats, can run not only her boats but also as many electrical appliances as captain and crew can operate.

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December 5, Andrew Greene’s Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra plays Buster Keaton

In his right hand, Andrew Greene lofts a conductor’s baton. In his left, a DVD remote. The 19-year-old University of Maryland civil engineering major lives in the 21st century, but he longs for the 20th.

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This Jewish Jeweler sets gifting guys on the right road

 

No matter what people have told you, it is not just the thought that counts. It really is the gift. It should not be so, but it is.

Christmas is beloved by children and by women who get the right gift.

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Calvert Hospice grows a forest; behind every tree is a story

Small trees, tall trees — dozens of them, resplendent in holiday light and ornamentation — transform the halls of Huntingtown High School into a forested Christmas wonderland.

These trees decked in holiday finery aren’t delivered to the high school in Santa’s sleigh. Instead, they are the work of hundreds of volunteers who labor for weeks, months — some all year — to create a Festival of Trees for the sake of Calvert Hospice.

 

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A soda can alligator takes top honors at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling contest

Josh Tichinel’s alligator may not be able to swim the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. But the soda-can reptile is a reminder that we can all help save the Bay through creative repurposing.

The Northern Garrett High School student won the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Rethink Recycling art contest.

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Sign up for Bird School and you’ll think like a bird

As cold weather sets in and you fill your bird feeders, you’ll find hours of entertainment — and bafflement — in their behavior. What are they up to with all the strutting, head-bobbing, feather-fluffing and wing flapping?

Get the answers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, now enrolling backyard birders in the online bird-behavior course Investigating Behavior: Courtship and Rivalry in Birds.

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Finding an Indian arrowhead is Daniel Kraus’ best history lesson

Long, long ago before there were packaged turkeys waiting to be cooked for Thanksgiving — or the Thanksgiving holiday at all — Native Americans hunted their food. Mayo Elementary School first-grader Daniel Kraus learned that lesson firsthand when he laid hands on an ancient Native American arrowhead.

A day of family bonding turned up a discovery that linked Daniel, and the Kraus family, with an ancient past.

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