Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but already most of us are making preparations for the more hectic Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations.
On Friday, a plethora of sales will be offered by almost every store. This begins what is traditionally the heaviest shopping weekend of the year. From now until Christmas, malls become crowded, bank accounts become smaller and the patience of shoppers becomes shorter.
Last year, a neighbor told me that she had found the secret of stress-free holiday shopping -- cable TV's Home Shopping Network. I didn't believe her. I went out again to fight the maddening crowds, dodge demon drivers, and face the torment of not finding anything on my shopping list in the right size or color.
Last year, as in some years before, I was feeling a bit "Scroogey" by the time Christmas arrived. And, like many others, I was happy to see the holiday season end.
This year, I don't know . . . maybe I'll try watching the Home Shopping Network to see what they have.
A Columbia holiday tradition continues this year with the various village associations presenting holiday parties for children.
Here's a schedule of events in the West Columbia villages:
* Dorsey's Search will present "Story Time with Santa" on Dec. 3, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Crafts and refreshments will be available. The cost is $3.50.
* "Celebrate Hanukkah," featuring traditional Jewish folk dancing, will be held on Dec. 12, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $3.50.
Reservations are required for both events, and tickets must be purchased in person at Linden Hall, in Dorsey's Search Village Center.
* Harper's Choice will present a Hanukkah celebration on Dec. 1, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The children will enjoy crafts, games, a sing-along and traditional snacks.
* Santa Claus will stop by on Dec. 6, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to tell stories, sing songs, pass out gifts and show some of his favorite cartoons.
Both events are free, but a donation of canned goods would be appreciated. Reservations may be made by calling 730-0770.
* Hickory Ridge will offer a combined Hanukkah/Christmas party for children of the village community between the ages of 3 and 11, on Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There will be crafts and other activities.
Admission is free, but reservations are required. Please call 730- 7327.
* Wilde Lake is offering "Breakfast with Santa" on Dec. 4 in Slayton House. There will be two seatings, the first at 8:30 a.m. and the second at 10:30 a.m. Santa's helpers will serve breakfast while the children await their own private audience with Santa.
The cost is $3.50 per person and space is limited to 100 per seating. Tickets must be purchased in advance at Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village Green. No telephone reservations will be accepted.
In addition, "The Children's Secret Shop" will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children will be able to browse, buy a gift for 50 cents to $5, and have it gift-wrapped free.
* A "Hanukkah Happening," for children ages 3 to 8, will be presented in the Slayton House Theatre, on Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. Tovi Glassner and Michelle Lipson, of the "Lion Tales" touring puppet company, will offer a Hanukkah puppet show.
The cost is $3 per person. Space is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance at Slayton House.
More holiday activities, this time from the Howard County Library, which will present "Let's Celebrate," a program of seasonal stories and activities for children ages 3 to 5.
Four presentations of this enjoyable program are being offered at the Central Library. The dates are:
Dec. 2, 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Dec. 7, 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Dec. 9, 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Reservations for the program are required and may be made in person or by calling 313-7880.