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Experience the Christmas season in many different ways in and around Norwich

There are countless ways to celebrate the Christmas season.

Many are busy making lists and checking them twice before shopping for gifts, while talented artists and craftspeople make their own.

It’s also a time of year when many church members collect food, coats, gloves, hats and scarves for all ages and toys for children. This can also be done by dropping them off at St. Vincent de Paul Place at 120 Cliff St. in Norwich.

Additionally, the soup kitchen will be offering a to-go roast beef dinner on Christmas Day, Dec. 25 for homeless people and those in need. Pick-up time is between 12:15 and 1:30 p.m. Individuals requesting delivery will be contacted one or two days before. To request Christmas meals or toys for children, call St. Vincent de Paul Place ahead of time at (860) 889-9374.

Families also count the days until Christmas with special chocolate- or message-filled calendars.

Many Christians celebrate Advent, which begins this year on Nov. 28 and ends on Dec. 19.

“An Advent wreath with Advent candles is a tradition that helps Christians focus attention on the coming of the Christ at Bethlehem and the close of history. Lee Memorial UMC (United Methodist Church) will retell and remember the biblical stories of the life of Jesus,” said the Rev. Dr. Jung Sun Oh in an email. “We will continue to remember and celebrate “A THEME” through Advent to Christmas. The theme of Light is often used in the northern hemisphere because Advent is experienced at the darkest time of the year. Jesus is the Light of the World and thus brings God’s HOPE. Lee MUMC will light the candles of hope, peace, love, and joy during 2021 Advent season,” said Rev. Oh, who is celebrating his first Christmas Season with his wife in Norwich as the church’s new pastor.

Lee MUMC, 294 Washington St. in Norwich offers two Sunday services: an 8:30 a.m. Creole Worship Service and a 10:30 a.m. Traditional English Service. The latter one is streamed live on Facebook). On the first Sunday of each month, they have one combined English Service with Communion at 10:30 a.m. The Christmas service and Christmas pageant will be celebrated on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 10:30 a.m. Their Christmas Eve Service (Dec. 24) will be held at 7 p.m.

The First Congregational Church and Central Baptist Church at 81 East Town St. in Norwich are celebrating a reverse advent calendar beginning Dec. 1, during which time they will collect canned goods. On Dec. 11, a Christmas Cookie Walk and Craft Sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Deacon Judy Dailey said all of the crafts are handmade. “Some of them are original designs. I do a lot of the design work for” the craftspeople. Funds collected will be used for mission work and to pay for church improvements, she said. Dec. 12 is PJ Sunday; money raised will benefit Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. Their Children’s Pageant is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 19. In-person Sunday services are held at 10 a.m. A Christmas Eve Service (Dec. 24) will be held at 6 p.m. All services are live streamed on Facebook.

First Baptist Church at 239 West Main St. in Norwich had its first Advent Service on Sunday, Nov. 28. (Services are held in person and live-streamed on Facebook.) Interim Pastor Jean-Fritz Guerrier said on Sunday (Dec. 5), there will be a Classical Christmas Concert and sing-along with Singer Lisa Bellamy Fluker and her husband, Trumpeter William Fluker — followed by coffee hour with a “Happy Birthday Jesus cake.” A Christmas Pageant will be held on Dec. 12. On Sunday, Dec. 19, they will hold their Christmas service. There will also be a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7 p.m.

The following Catholic Churches are among those that will be holding in-person Sunday services with no live streaming: St. Mary Our Lady of The Rosary at 34 North Main St. in Jewett City. Sunday services: 8 and 11 a.m. All-Day Confession on Dec. 13 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stations of Advent on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve services: 4 p.m. and midnight. Christmas Day service: 8 a.m.

St. Catherine of Siena, 243 Route 164 in Preston, Sunday service: 10 a.m. Christmas Eve: 4:30 p.m. Christmas Day: 10 a.m.

Saints Thomas and Anne, 61 Preston City Road, Voluntown. Sunday service: 9 a.m. Christmas Eve (Dec. 24): 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Christmas Day: 9 a.m.

To learn of even more ways to celebrate Christmas and help others, go to NorwichDiocese.org/EventCalendar.

Of course, other ways to enjoy the magic of the holiday season include caroling or watching others perform.

“Light Up City Hall” will take place on Norwich’s “First Friday,” on Dec. 3 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the plaza at 100 Broadway. Watch Santa arrive in a red, antique pickup truck driven by Karen Goede. Join the fun with Jammin’ 107.7 FM disc jockey Pebbles. Sally Masse will be singing Christmas carols and ventriloquist Donald Beebe will be entertaining. Lighting of city hall will occur at 6 p.m.

Experience “A Leffingwell Christmas in the Colonies!” at 348 Washington St. in Norwich on Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Puchase $5 tickets by going to eventbrite.com/e/a-leffingwell-colonial-christmas-tickets-203292733037, which states, “The main floor of the museum will be decorated to represent the early Christmas celebrations in New England, the Southern Colonies, and the evolution of our American Christmas. Visit period reenactors in each room, who will tell holiday history and give you historical seasonal libations. Taste colonial chocolate by Robert Lecce and check out the wares of Big Bear Trading Company. Listen to Seasonal music by talented pianist, Dayne Rugh, as you browse vintage and handmade ornaments.”

View the “Festival of Lights” on Dec. 10 from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Olde Mistick Village, 27 Coogan Blvd. in Mystic, where you can “stroll through walkways brilliantly lit by thousands of luminaries. With live entertainment and complimentary treats in the Meeting House, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy,” according to oldemistickvillage.com.

Also, discover a slew of family activities going on at Mystic Seaport Musuem, 75 Greenmanville Ave. in Mystic, which you can view by going to mysticseaport.org/calendar/. Visit on Dec. 19 and be admitted free of charge between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. with a nonperishable food item or monetary donation (contributions will be donated to the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center). Join in on a Carol Sing, which will commence at 3 p.m. at McGraw Quadrangle.

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