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Clear your calendar for these holiday traditions

What: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Tom Crockett’s trains at Tan’s Cycles

     “He created a destination with his trains,” Marygrace Baergen says as she gestures across the kitchen table to her brother Tom Crockett.       A pile of thank-you notes and old pictures are scattered on the table. Cardboard boxes wait to be unpacked in Crockett’s new house in Rose Haven, where he moved from the apartment at his former business, Tan’s Cycles in North Beach.
Here’s how Chesapeake neighbors describe their very best gifts
      The best gifts bring happiness to both giver and receiver. Memorable gifts forever hold a place in the heart, and recalling the moment the gift was given recreates the pleasure.       This year, reflective Chesapeake neighbors told us about gifts that have meant the most to them through the years. We’ve shared their stories in the hope that reading them reminds you of the best gifts you’ve given or received.

Many of the best come from your heart and hands

       Giving is my favorite part of the holidays. I love the process — the decision, the secret, the wrapping, the unwrapping and the smiles ... or tears. Last year I even sent my boyfriend on a scavenger hunt to search for his Christmas present. Gifting is a sport to me, but thoughtful giving is tough on a bartender’s salary of tips.

Give yourself a gift by savoring the Seasons Bounty as you shop

     If you’re one of those people who love to shop, you can stop reading now and go wrap some presents.           But if it takes eight crazed reindeer to drag you to the store during the holidays, this story is for you.

The winning wood stove designers are...

       Winners of last week’s Wood Stove Design Challenge are celebrating. The E-Stove, a living room-based combined heat and power unit, took top honors in both of two categories, automated and thermoelectric. Created by Wittus-Fire by Design out of New York and German-based HE Energy, the stove was recognized in the automation category for emissions levels, efficiency andsafety. Its ability to create electrical output up to 250 watts and more than 300 watts when using densified wood logs won it first place in the thermoelectric category.

Winter Salt Watch monitors where the sodium goes

     The first snow has come. That means snow days, hot cocoa and hunkering down. It also means road salt — and lots of it.       Before the storms, the State Highway Administration preps the roads with salt brine.      “As for how much salt we’ll use this year, we have no idea,” Charlie Gischlar said. “That’s up to Mother Nature.”

Art Things’ new owner promises to continue the tradition local artists have come to rely on

      Talk about customer satisfaction. Shopper Skye Vasquez liked Art Things so much she bought the store.       That’s good news for the artists, dabblers and dreamers who can keep up the half-century habit of browsing and buying at Annapolis’ hardware store for art.

Annapolis student’s song proves Nothing Is Impossible

      What’s a bored second-grader to do early in the morning before heading off to school? Write a story that becomes a podcast and then a track on an album, of course.        At least that’s how the story goes behind the song What the World Was Called Before Us, the creation of Windsor Farm Elementary student Liam Heist.

People and groups making a better world

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” –Robin Williams