With Christmas only a couple days away, I hope everyone has finished their holiday shopping, wrapping and baking and can settle down to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
But for those last-minute shoppers, here’s a reminder that local retailers in Bridgton offer a wide range of wonderful, fun and unique gifts suitable for everyone on your shopping list. I want to encourage everyone to shop locally for everything from specialty (and regular) foods, home décor, books, antiques, clothing, jewelry, fine art, hardware, pet supplies, and much, much more. And don’t forget that gift certificates to local shops and restaurants make great presents, too!
I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and best wishes for a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.
Traditionally, blood supplies decrease during the holiday season as people become involved with preparing for festivities and celebrating with family and friends. However, the need for blood is still crucial. There will be an American Red Cross blood drive at the Masonic Hall on Harrison Road (Rte. 117) on Saturday, Dec. 23, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Everyone is encouraged to donate blood – consider it a Christmas gift to someone in need. Call 1-800-733-2767 to schedule an appointment. Participants who give blood at any donation site between Dec. 21 and Jan. 7 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt while supplies last. More information about donating blood can be found at Redcrossblood.org
Tree of Love
The Bridgton Hospital Guild has set up its annual Tree of Love in the hospital foyer for the holiday season. For a small donation that will support the guild’s projects, anyone may have a loved one’s name placed on an ornament hanging on the tree. This is a touching way to commemorate special people at this time of year. For more information please call 272-0495.
Christmas tree sales
If you still don’t have your Christmas tree, there may be some left at the Bridgton Central Fire Station at 7 Gibbs Ave. The Fire Association will be selling trees for $40 each on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday starting at 9 a.m. if any trees are still available. For more information call Bette-Jean at 583-7989.
The following is a list of dates and times of church Christmas services available at the time I submitted this column. I have given the phone numbers of churches for which I was unable to obtain information about holiday services.
Bridgton United Methodist Church, 214 Main St. – Dec. 24: Christmas Eve service of carols and scripture, 5 p.m. FMI 647-4476
St. Joseph Catholic Church, 225 South High St. – Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Mass, 4 p.m.; Dec. 25: Christmas Day Mass, 8:30 a.m. FMI 647-2334.
First Congregational Church, 33 South High St. – Dec. 24: 10 a.m. Quiet Prayer Service, 10 a.m.; Child-friendly Service of Light and Joy, 4 p.m; Contemplative Service of Lessons and Carols, 7 p.m. FMI 647-3936.
Bridgton Alliance Church, 368 Harrison Road (Rte. 117) – Christmas Eve candlelight service, 6 p.m. FMI 647-2027.
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 42 Sweden Road (Rte. 93) – FMI 647-8549.
South Bridgton Congregational Church, 16 Fosterville Road – Dec. 24: Sunday service, 9 a.m.; Christmas Eve service at 11:30 p.m. FMI 583-2975.
Gallery 302 Watercolor Raffle
The Bridgton Art Guild at Gallery 302, 112 Main St., will be holding a raffle for a beautiful watercolor by Polly Hayton titled “First Snow.” Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Bridgton Art Guild Scholarship Fund. Raffle tickets are being sold at Gallery 302 through December and the drawing will take place at the end of the month. The winner will be notified by phone. For more information call the gallery at 647-2787. The gallery and scholarship fund are 501(c)3 nonprofits so all contributions are fully tax-deductible for 2017.
Help a child or senior
The Opportunity Alliance has openings for Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions in Cumberland and Oxford Counties. Adults 55 and over can make a difference in the lives of others while earning a little extra money mentoring children in schools and providing companionship, local transport and respite to caretakers for elders who want to remain living in their homes. Volunteers who can commit to a minimum of 15 hours a week may be eligible for a stipend, mileage reimbursement, and other benefits. To learn more about both programs call 773-0202 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polly Hayton’s watercolor, “First Snow,” will be raffled to benefit the Bridgton Art Guild Scholarship Fund. Raffle tickets are being sold at Gallery 302 through December.