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Susan Lavin 410-579-1024 susan.lavin@comcast.net

It's Christmas Cottage's 20th and last year

Bonnie Poligardo's Elkridge Christmas Cottage has been a tradition in our town for 20 years! However, all good things must come to an end, and Bonnie would like to invite all of her dedicated customers, far and near, to come, shop and celebrate 20 wonderful years. This will be the last opportunity for you to visit the Elkridge Christmas Cottage, so come out and enjoy a shopping spree.

The Elkridge Christmas Cottage will be open for business for the next two weekends, starting tomorrow. Shopping days include Nov. 24-26, and Dec. 1-3, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. You will see her sign at 6259 Old Washington Road, close to the firehouse, in Elkridge. For additional information please call Bonnie at 410-796-7842.

Bonnie called me and explained that everything is high-quality handcrafted items, made by talented crafters from all over. Karen Cole, a local crafter, has been contributing items for the cottage for over a decade. I talked to Karen and she shared, "I will miss being a part of the best craft show in Maryland. Please come and help us celebrate 20 years -- you won't be disappointed!"

Jeannie Bertoni, who lived in Elkridge for many years, along with her sons, David, Matt and Chris, looks forward to the Elkridge Christmas Cottage each year. She always finds handcrafted treasures, but also loves the socializing part of it. Jeannie never fails to run into old friends, Jane Shilling being one of them. Sometimes, it's the only time they get to talk and catch up, and it makes shopping even more fun.

The idea of giving up this annual tradition of the Elkridge Christmas Cottage, which has lasted for 20 wonderful years, brings on a wave of emotions for Bonnie. I could hear the unhappiness and disappointment in her voice as she described how her health finalized the difficult decision to have this year the last.

Bonnie would like to express her thanks and love foremost to her incredible husband, Gene, about whom she stated, "I could not have made the Elkridge Christmas Cottage a reality all these years without him." Gene (aka Santa extraordinaire) has supported her every step of the way, along with her entire family, in all her endeavors.

She would also like to say thank you to all the devoted customers who have been coming to the Elkridge Christmas Cottage year after year -- she has made many new friends, and cherishes each one.

"I would like to convey my gratitude to our gracious neighbors who have put up with the parking and traffic issues that the Elkridge Christmas Cottage has created throughout the years," Bonnie also shared with obvious gratitude.

Many of the same friends and neighbors will be happy to find out that Nancy Grabowski will have her annual Christmas Greens and Craft Sale again this year.

Mark your calendars now for the first weekend in December. It will be held Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at her house, 5820 Augustine Ave., in Elkridge.

Nancy explained in an e-mail that she would be selling fresh wreaths, swags for doors, lampposts and mailboxes, windowsill sprays, roping, centerpieces, topiaries, miniature boxwood Christmas trees, fireside baskets of greens, bows and craft items, too.

So you can see Elkridge is full of gifts and holiday decorations galore! 'Tis the season to be shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving! It's one of my very favorite holidays, one during which you can move at a slower pace and enjoy. Everyone is willing to help out with the meal preparation and last-minute dinner details. Once the turkey is in the oven, you can sit back and relax, visit with the special people in your life and count your blessings.

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