Santa's helpers have been busy this week stringing lights, setting up trees and risking life and limb crawling across rooftops to display a reindeer or two. (Perhaps this would be a good time to get rid of those jack-o-lantern leaf bags?) An added bonus of all this decorating is that you don't have to dust inside the house for weeks. Just dim the lights, plug in the Christmas tree and light a few candles. Call it holiday ambiance.
But don't invite anyone over during the day.
If you've already finished decorating, you may want to reward yourself with a trip to some area craft shows. And if you haven't started, you might find some decorating ideas.
* The United Methodist Women of Marley Methodist Church are planning a Christmas Bazaar from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday in the fellowship hall, 30 Marley Neck Road.
"Hand-crafted wreaths, pillows and holiday ornaments made by the members of the UMW will be sold. We also have a bake table with lots of home baked cakes, pies and cookies," said Mickey Baldwin, president of the UMW.
The Methodist Men will serve a pancake breakfast during the bazaar.
Shoppers can enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee. An appropriate donation is requested.
* The Methodist women must be very creative ladies. The UMW at Messiah Methodist, 7401 Furnace Branch Road, is having its annual Christmas craft sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
A wide variety of holiday ornaments, hand-embroidered pillows, pictures frames and covered photo albums will be available for sale. The items were made by members of the UMW during their weekly craft classes.
"The craft group works all year on their projects for the annual bazaar," said church member Carol Sterling. "They have some very beautiful gift ideas."
An extensive selection of baked goods will also be sold, including cakes, pies, holiday cookies and pumpkin bread.
A light lunch of hot dogs, barbecue, soups and drinks will be available from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
For more information, call Norma Barger at 768-2153.
* Members of the Christian Women's Club No. 2 of Glen Burnie are invited to attend a holiday luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at Morrison's Family Dining.
"Christmas In The Air" begins at 11:45 a.m. and promises an afternoon of fellowship, dining and caroling with Mary Ellen Criste.
Kathy DuChene of Crabtree and Evelyn will discuss Christmas fragrance, while Jo Knipe will share a holiday message of joy.
Tickets are $7.50 and can be ordered by calling 766-4353 or 766-9220.
* Students, teachers and staff at Old Mill Senior High are preparing to send hundreds of holiday greetings to service men and women stationed in the Persian Gulf.
"We wanted to contact the soldiers to recognize their efforts in the Persian Gulf. We've asked everyone to bring in a card with a personal message written inside," explained Elaine Soloman, chairperson of the Human Relations Committee and organizer of the program.
The cards will be mailed this week to New York, where the greetings will begin the long journey overseas.
"We wanted to let them know we have compassion for their circumstances," Solomon said, "that we care."
* Danielle Stetz took first place in the district competition of the Voice of Democracy program sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign War.
A sophomore at Glen Burnie Senior, Danielle represented VFW Post 434 with her taped, oral essay on "Democracy -- The Vanguard of Freedom".
"Her speech was outstanding. We were confident that she would do well in the district competition," said John McNeese, past commander of VFW 434.
"Now she will advance to the state competition on Jan. 6 in Greensboro. If she wins that, she continues to the national level."
The Voice of Democracy program offers high school students the opportunity to win thousands of dollars in savings bonds. Working through the guidance departments of area high schools, students are encouraged to write and record a brief speech on a specific patriotic theme. Winners from the individual posts advance through the district, state and eventually the national competition.
Paul Roth and Beth Weidenhoft, sophomores at Glen Burnie Senior, won second and third place in Post 434's contest.
* Third-grade students at Richard Henry Lee Elementary have a good reason to stay after school this Friday -- Friday Night Prime Time.
Heralded as an evening of "reading, fun, more reading, frolic, much more reading, special treats, much, much more reading and special guests," the activities have been planned by Marcia Hill, reading resource teacher at Richard Henry Lee.
"It all starts at 4 p.m., when the students arrive with their sleeping bags, pillows and books. We have scheduled a half-hour of reading followed by a half-hour of special activities followed by a half-hour of reading, followed by a half-hour of activities, and so on until 9 p.m.," said Ms.
Over 60 students already have registered to participate. Parents are invited to join the fun.