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River Creek Blog: ‘Tis the Season
With the holiday season, trees have come alive with lights, houses display wreaths, caricatures of Santa, snowmen, elves, strings of lights, music and other decorative features. Parties and special events collaborate to celebrate the season along with the spirit of giving.

This season began with a gala at the Lansdowne Resort and Spa on Nov. 25 on behalf of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. The biennial Cotillion-Beautillion program honored 16 teenage debutantes and beaus who had undergone a nine month training program in high school to emphasize etiquette and social graces.

The Potomac Club sponsored a food drive and had their traditional Christmas tree tagged with wishes inviting people to contribute toys for needy children. They had a contest for folks to construct gingerbread houses. Riverside High School and Belmont Middle School collected candy for the troops overseas, and Santa appeared in Lansdowne and River Creek.

Memorable Times Past

Ms. Colure Caulfield, seated at Brew Loco in Lansdowne Town Center, said that her most memorable Christmas was two years ago when her baby unexpectedly was born on Christmas Day.

Cathy Frye, one of the proprietors at Brew Loco, said “My favorite memory is the year we took a family photo at Christmas. Everyone was smiling at the same time and the dog faced the camera.”

One Jewish fellow recalled his boyhood during Hanukkah, when some of his buddies told him they were envious of him since he had eight days of presents while they had only one.

Kristi Nimmo of River Creek, at age five lived near the railroad tracks in Kansas. On Christmas Eve her bedroom shook from a passing train and she thought, “The passing of the railroad cars looked like reindeer. I knew better than to spy on Santa and so promptly went to sleep.”

And the classic one when Wally Rustad, an Army enlisted man in the 1950s, boarded a no seats available train in New York bound for his home in Williston, North Dakota on Christmas eve. “All was well, I was on my way; a seat in the lavatory and a watchful conductor, $50 in my pocket and some certainty to get home with family.”
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River Creek Blog: Memories of Holiday Cheer
Probably most of us can recall when something stood out in the past as a Christmas or holiday experience. For example:

The Real Santa: Those that have donned the red suit should be commended for their dedication during the holiday season. Some while back I met a gentleman who shared his time as Santa Claus at one of the local Malls. He had the natural girth and a tidy white beard that rested naturally on his chest. He even occasionally expressed himself with a ‘ho ho ho’. It turned out that he also was the owner of a craft shop that made toys— one could wonder if his workers there were elves. The children flocked to him accordingly and he was very accommodating. When asked his most unusual request, he said, “One young lad asked if he could have the store fronts to build a shopping mall. And the next year he asked for material to make a rocket ship.”

Fantasy Flight: In 2001, I was privileged to be able to join the United Airlines Fantasy Flight at Dulles Airport when 106 children boarded the bus that took them to one of the terminals that had been decorated for Christmas and where Santa and Mrs. Claus were holding court.These children had been in the care of International Children’s Hospice and as such were terminally ill. It was a special treat for them as they had little otherwise to look forward to. One young man when asked what his wishes were for Christmas. “I wish that I can come back here next year.”

Many will remember eleven year old Mattie Stepanek who was there with his mother and had been coming for the past seven years. By the following year he had passed away from a rare blood disorder. Meantime, he had published a book of poetry that made the Times best seller list.

Christmas Day Brunch

The Lansdowne Resort and Spa will have a Christmas Day Brunch on Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Santa will be absent, after a night of worldwide travel he will likely need to rest. The brunch will take place at the Riverside Hearth and Terrace Ballroom at a cost for adults of $85; $30 for ages 4-12; under 3 are free. Call 703-726-1449 for reservations.
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River Creek Blog: Santa’s in town
This past Saturday night, the Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (AVFR) provided transportation for Santa’s annual trek through Lansdowne and River Creek. He gave his reindeer a rest so they would be ready for Christmas Eve. Instead he rode on top of an AVFR fire truck that went screaming along the streets waving and promising good things for the Christmas season.

There’s no rest this time of year for the man in red. On Dec.10, Santa will attend a brunch at the River Creek Club from 9:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. He will be available for photo ops and to mix with the children.

The cost for adults: $42.95; kids 4 to 12 $14.95; those 3 and under $6.95 and that includes a photo with Santa. Adults with One membership: $32.95, the kids $10.95 and $2.95. For reservations, Club members can call 703-779-2022 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Bright Life Buddies

In the spirit of Santa and that of giving, the Bright Life Buddies at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Lansdowne have been collecting items to give to the less fortunate. The collection period has been Nov. 6 to Dec. 6, but according to a school spokesperson they won’t be wrapping the items until Dec. 15, so collections can continue until then. The designated donations include new unwrapped toys and new or gently used coats. Gift cards are welcome from locations such as Giant, Wegmans, Target, fast food restaurants and Walmart. Donation boxes are located outside the main office and in the library.

The mission of Bright Life Buddies: We are dedicated to establishing a volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships and leadership development for all students. As a result of our involvement, students become inspirational leaders and make lifelong friendships.

If you recall, the Bright Life Buddies began when a 10 year old girl at Belmont Ridge Middle School befriended a special needs student, one with autism. It went on from there so that the students are paired with each other and they share time playing and having fun together making it an uplifting experience.
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River Creek Blog: Jingle Bell Rock
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