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2022 Holiday and Faith Events



The Merry Market

December 5-13

Peachtree Corners Baptist Church (drop-off point)

4480 Peachtree Corners Cir., Peachtree Corners


Donations appreciated.


Presented by Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry, the Merry Market provides Christmas for families that cannot afford to give their children with Christmas gifts. The market will supply new Christmas gifts to families, warm clothes to children and teenagers and the opportunity for families to come together and help others.

Walk Through Bethlehem

December 9-11

Friday and Saturday, 7-9 p.m.; Sunday, 6-8 p.m.

Simpsonwood Park

4511 Jones Bridge Cir., Peachtree Corners


Admission is free; canned food donations are encouraged.

Simpsonwood United Methodist Church invites everyone to experience the village of Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth. Families can stroll through the candlelit outdoor nativity scene, stopping in shops and encountering shepherds, wise men, angels, Roman guards and live animals. Visitors are asked to bring canned food donations for Neighborhood Cooperative Ministry.

Winter Holiday Market

Saturday, December 17, 12-5 p.m.

Kettlerock Brewing

6025 Peachtree Pkwy., Ste. 1, Peachtree Corners


            There will be treats for all at Kettlerock Brewing’s holiday market — arts and crafts vendors, live music and food trucks for holiday shoppers. Some limited release holiday beer selections will also be available.

Peachtree Corners Photography Club Group Meet Up

Thursdays, December 8, January 12 and February 9

6:45-8:15 p.m.

Atlanta Tech Park

107 Technology Pkwy., Peachtree Corners 30092


            The December speaker is Sharon Fuente, and the topic is “Ideas for Great Holiday Family Photos.” Meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at Atlanta Tech Park and/or online. Photographers of all skill levels are welcomed at 6:15 p.m. for social time.

Faith Events

Behold the Lamb of God Ballet

Sunday, December 11, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Perimeter Church

9500 Medlock Bridge Rd., Johns Creek


Admission is free.

            Perimeter Ballet presents this true story of Christmas with two showings of this family-friendly event. The show features dance, drama, visual art and the music of Andrew Peterson.

Beth Shalom Hanukkah Party

Sunday, December 11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

5303 Winters Chapel Rd., Dunwoody

bethshalom.net, 770-399-5300

Admission is free. Registration requested.

            Bring the family to celebrate Hanukkah with relay races, dreidel games, spin art, doughnuts and gelt.

Advent by Candlelight

Monday, December 12, 7 p.m.

Mary Our Queen Catholic Church

6260 The Corners Pkwy., Peachtree Corners

maryourqueen.com, 770-416-0002

Registration is required.

            The MOQ’s Women’s Guild will host Advent by Candlelight. All women of the parish and guests are invited for coffee, wine and dessert in the Parish Family Life Center. Prayer, reflection and music fill the evening in a program designed to deepen the Advent journey.

An Evening of Lessons & Carols

Thursday, December 15, 7-9:30 p.m.

Perimeter Church

9500 Medlock Bridge Rd., Johns Creek

Tickets are $15 per person.


            Award-winning artists Laura Story, Matt Papa and Sandra McCracken host an inspirational concert that retells the great news of Christmas through Scripture and carols.

Advent Lessons and Carols

Friday, December 16, 7 p.m.

Mary Our Queen Catholic Church

6260 The Corners Pkwy., Peachtree Corners

maryourqueen.com, 770-416-0002

Admission is free.

            Scripture passages recount the fall of mankind, the promise of the Messiah and the anticipation of the Nativity of Christ. Each lesson is followed by a choral piece, soloist or congregation carol that reflects the Scripture’s message.

Latke, Vodka and Game Night

Saturday, December 17, 7-9 p.m.

5303 Winters Chapel Rd., Dunwoody

bethshalom.net, 770-399-5300,

Admission is free. RSVP required.

            Adults are welcome to enjoy games and get lit. Latkes, vodka and some games will be provided. Attendees are welcome to bring more games and menorahs.

Christmas: Then, Now and Forever!

Saturday and Sunday, December 17-18

Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, during Christmas Service

The Father’s House Church

6060 Spalding Dr., Peachtree Corners

thefathershouseatl.org, 770-840-0888

Admission is free.

            Experience the joy of the season with a celebration that includes a variety showcase of songs, dances, poetry and live music. Special prizes will be given out during the event.


Encore Christmas Luncheon

Sunday, December 18, 12:15 p.m.

4480 Peachtree Corners Cir., Peachtree Corners

pcbchurch.org, 770-448-1313

Tickets are $15 per person; RSVP requested by Dec. 10.

            Adults ages 55+ are invited to a luncheon in the Student Worship Center. Bring a friend and celebrate the season with a delicious meal and entertainment with the PCBC friends and family.

A Winter Solstice Experience

Wednesday, December 21, 7-8 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Donations are encouraged; in-person and live-stream.

            Enjoy a healing sound bath to welcome in the longest night of the year and the turning of the wheel of the seasons. Bring comfortable clothes, a pillow and blanket to drift into the healing sounds of crystal bowls, gongs and more with sound healer Jennifer Blaha.

“A Light unto the World”

Saturday, December 24, 4:45-6 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free; in-person and live-stream.

            The traditional Christmas Eve candle lighting service is led by Rev. Jennifer Sacks, Senior Minister. Christmas music and a Christmas Readers Theater will be presented in the service. The evening ends with a candle lighting throughout the sanctuary.

“Star Bright” Christmas Day Service

Sunday, December 25, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free; in-person only.

            The casual morning service is led by Rev. Jennifer Sacks. It features cookies, cocoa, Christmas carols and story based on the book, “Star Bright; A Christmas Story.”

New Year’s Eve Burning Bowl Ceremony

Sunday, January 1, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free for in-person and live-stream attendance.

            Rev. Jennifer Sacks leads the ceremony.

White Stone Ceremony

Sunday, January 8, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Unity Atlanta Church

3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners

UnityAtl.org, 770-441-0585

Admission is free for in-person and live-stream attendance.

            Ceremony is led by Rev. Jennifer Sacks.

Local Theatre

The Nutcracker

December 3-18

Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Gas South Arena

6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth

gassouthdistrict.com, 770-626-2464

Tickets are $22-$47.

            This season, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre celebrates 41 years of sharing the Nutcracker with Gwinnett County. ballet is complete with entrancing dancing, stunning sets and colorful costumes. Magic abounds as Herr Drosselmeyer presents young Clara with a toy Nutcracker that accompanies Clara on a journey to the Land of Sweets.

Christmas at GAC: Lessons & Carols

Thursday, December 8, 7-9 p.m.

Greater Atlanta Christian School King’s Gate Theatre

1575 Indian Trail Rd., Norcross

greateratlantachristian.org, 770-243-2000

            The High School presents their Christmas program to celebrate the season.

The Lion in Winter

December 8-19

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

Lionheart Theatre

10 College St., Norcross

lionhearttheatre.org, 404-919-4022

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students.

            Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine is kept in prison for raising an army against her husband, King Henry II, but is let out for the holidays. The Plantagenet family’s story is full of sibling rivalry, adultery and dungeons as they compete with one another to inherit a kingdom.

The Forum

5185 Peachtree Pkwy., Peachtree Corners


Cookies & Milk with Santa

Thursday, December 15

4-4:45 p.m. and 5-5:45 p.m.

Admission is $12 per child.

            Enjoy a special treat with everyone’s favorite jolly man.

Storytime with Santa

Fridays, December 9, 16 and 23

4-4:45 p.m. and 5-5:45 p.m.

Admission is $12 per child.

            Every Friday in December before Christmas, Santa will share a story.

Christmas Crafts with Santa

Thursdays, December 8 and December 22

4-4:45 p.m. and 5-5:45 p.m.

Admission is $12 per child.

            Santa is on hand to help kids as they create.

Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, December 10

8:30-9:15 a.m. and 9:30-10:15 a.m.

Admission is $15 per child.

            Start the day with Jolly St. Nick and enjoy breakfast with him.

Menorah Lighting at the Forum

Sunday, December 18, 4-6 p.m.

Forum Drive, in front of the fountain

Admission is free; no ticket is required.

            Presented in partnership with Chabad of Gwinnett, The Forum kicks off a Hannukah celebration with a Menorah lighting ceremony, family friendly activities and live entertainment.

Gwinnett Parks & Recreation


A Beary Merry Day

Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

OneStop Norcross

5030 Georgia Belle Ct., Norcross

Admission is $2 per child for Gwinnett residents, $6 for non-residents; parent or guardian admission is free. Registration is required.

            Ages 12 and under are welcome to adopt a teddy bear and listen to a holiday story. Parent participation is required. OneStop Norcross is collecting non-perishable foods, new toys, clothes, diapers and/or toiletries for those in need.

Family Snow Day

Friday, December 16, 6-8 p.m.

Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center

4758 S. Old Peachtree Rd., Norcross

Admission is $6 per person.

            A fun winter event for the whole family, Family Snow Day features games, crafts, contests, a hot chocolate/popcorn bar and a unique ‘snow’ ball fight. Be extra festive and wear your favorite holiday pajamas.

Winter Woodland Walk

Wednesday, December 28, 10-11:30 a.m.

Simpsonwood Park

4511 Jones Bridge Cir., Peachtree Corners


Admission is free.

            All ages are welcome to take a stroll with an educator, see trees through a new lens and learn how Georgia’s native trees adapt to winter. Call for more info.

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Local Indie Author Day is Coming Back to Gwinnett County Public Library Branches



Gwinnett County Public Library invites independent local authors to showcase their work with author talks, readings, book sales and signings.

Gwinnett County Public Library looks forward to celebrating Local Indie Author Day on Saturday, November 4, 2023.

The library invites independent local authors to showcase their works with author talks, readings, book sales and signings each year. This event aims to unite libraries, indie authors and readers throughout our community.

Multiple library branches are hosting author talks or author panels. Participating branches include:

  • Buford-Sugar Hill,
  • Centerville,
  • Dacula,
  • Duluth,
  • Five Forks,
  • Grayson,
  • Norcross and
  • Suwanee.

Local Indie Author Day will begin at the Duluth Library branch at 2:30 p.m. and features authors Stella Beaver, Chere’ Coen, Tamara Anderson and Cassandra Kempe-Ho.

The Norcross Library branch will host its showcase at 3:30 p.m. with authors Linda Sands and M.W. McKinley.

Check the library’s event calendar for author information and times. All events are free and open to the public. For questions or comments, contact Duffie Dixon, Director of Marketing and Communications for Gwinnett County Public Library at ddixon@gwinnettpl.org.

Click here to explore more public library events happening in November.

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Good Grief: Life After Loss, Part 3 



Losing Our Furry Friends

The conclusion of my “Good Grief” series seemed ideal in this issue featuring pets and their people. Paris Hilton lost her beloved chihuahua this year. In a farewell tribute on Instagram, the socialite wrote, “In 23 amazing years, she brought endless love, loyalty, and unforgettable moments to my life.” 

Some may not understand — eye rolls may ensue — but fellow pet people know all too well that losing a companion animal is just as heartbreaking as losing a human loved one. 

“The pain I feel right now is indescribable,” Hilton posted.

Yet our cultural playbook is devoid of any protocols for those mourning pets. There are no pet obituaries, no official rituals or religious ceremonies to support us through the loss of a fur baby. When such perfectly normal and deep emotions can be considered a mere overreaction by some people in our own tribe, one could argue that losing a pet is even more difficult. 

The ultimate interspecies bond

Though domestic companions can be scale or feather-covered too, I spoke to the bereaved owners of the furry variety.

Thousands of years of evolution have led to dogs morphing from the wild wolves they once were into man’s best friend, able to read our emotions and willing to sit, bark, roll over and play dead on command – all to please us. If you’re not a pet owner yourself, you’re sure to have friends with pets.

Max, tennis ball chaser extraordinaire 

Long before Matt and Faith Harding had children, they had their dogs, Jazzy and Max, who were part of their lives for over 11 years. Losing them was hard.

Matt Harding’s handsome boy, Max, who has crossed over the rainbow bridge.

“We lost Max and Jazzy within a year of each other. We had to put Jazzy down because she was older and suffering. It was the right thing to do. What made it more difficult with Max was that it was so unexpected,” Matt said.

The Hardings had been treating Max, who suffered from seizures common to Belgian Malinois. They were able to keep the seizures under control for years. 

What makes a grown man cry

It was a week like any other. Faith had gone out of town. The kids and Max were left in Matt’s care. Max chased tennis balls in the backyard. There were no warning signs that something was about to go terribly wrong. 

Man’s best friend – Matt Harding with his beloved pal, Maximus. Photo courtesy of Matt Harding.

Matt found Max in his kennel when he came home one evening. It looked as though he’d had a seizure — like those he’d recovered from many times before. Matt rinsed him off and brought him back inside.

When Matt came downstairs after putting his daughter down for a nap, Max drew his last couple of breaths and passed away. “He waited for me to come back,” Matt said.

Having to call Faith to share the sad news while she was traveling was heartbreaking. “After the initial shock and plenty of tears, you’re stuck with trying to figure out what to do next,” Matt said.

With their baby on one arm and their wailing toddler holding his hand, Matt walked the kids over to the neighbors’ house. The only thing he could utter was, “Please watch them.” Seeing his tear-streaked face, his neighbor took the children without hesitation. 

“I had to text her and let her know what was happening. I could not even get words out of my mouth. They were a huge help and very sympathetic to what was happening,” Matt shared.


Maximize the memories

What helped the Hardings most was looking at pictures and reminiscing about their “incredible dog,” Max.

“He loved people. Plenty of people reached out to tell me some of their favorite memories with him and I couldn’t help but smile and laugh at how he left an impression on so many,” Matt said. 

Conversely, Matt viewed the act of putting away the dog beds, bowls and toys as an admission that Max was now just a memory. “I couldn’t bring myself to do it,” Matt confided.

“The loss of Max is still hard to think about. Faith and I budget. We have a line item for Max. We were doing the budget a couple of nights ago and couldn’t bring ourselves to remove him as a line item,” Matt said. “Thank you for letting me share our story.”

Triple grief

Before Sandra Hutto and her siblings could spread their parents’ ashes, she was faced with the sudden death of her 11-year-old Doberman, Rio.


Three losses in rapid succession were a hard knock-back for Hutto. She is grateful for supportive friends and being able to process her grief with the help of her husband Mark, a psychiatrist.

According to Hutto, sharing stories about her parents was as helpful in dealing with her loss as it was funny. “There were things I didn’t know. It was fascinating,” she said. “Family stories are important. Apparently, my mother was kind of a floozy,” she laughed.

Her aunt had shared about her mother misleading a boy to spend a day at the lake. When he asked her out, she claimed to have gotten a headache from all the sun. But later, she called another boy about going to a movie.  

Hutto advised, “You have shared stories and individual stories. You can let that isolate you or bring you closer. You could say, “That wasn’t my experience, I’m shutting it out,” but it lets you know more about your parents. They have stories from before you were born.”

Sandra Hutto’s late parents

Dad and the Doberman Pinscher

Before her father’s passing, Hutto and her husband took her dad on a road trip to Wyoming, along with Rio, in their 1993 Bluebird Wanderlodge to visit her sister. Unsure how her father would take to such a big dog, she was pleased when they bonded.

“He fell in love with her. Rio would get up in the middle of the night to lay down next to him. I joked with dad, “You know daddy, we do keep the dog.””

After he died, people said, “That trip was great for him. He never stopped talking about how much fun he had.” That was heartwarming,” Hutto said.

She danced on the sand

An American Kennel Club purebred dog, Rio’s registered name is, She Dances on the Sand, after the Duran Duran song.

Bred in Germany to be the intimidating protectors of tax collectors, Dobermans are strong, intelligent dogs, able to attack on command. Rio didn’t exactly fit the bill. Terrified of a neighborhood Yorkie, she’d watch him as she cowered behind Hutto.

Her tail was docked but she had natural, floppy ears. She wasn’t steely-looking, but she did have a big bark. “Mostly she would try to convince people that she was neglected. She was a drama queen; such a good, funny dog,” Hutto said. 

Rio and Sandra Hutto’s father bonding on a roadtrip

Déjà vu

Rio passed almost exactly the same way their previous Doberman, Jet had. (Jet was named after the Paul McCartney and Wings song.) Though Rio had a longer life, Hutto expressed the common sentiment among pet-owners: it’s never long enough. 

Rio had received a clean bill of health and a rabies shot that day. By the evening, she was restless and wouldn’t settle in her bed. Mark had gone out.  

“She got up and started walking around. She walked into our dining room, went around the table, her back feet collapsed from under her. She struggled to get up. She howled a couple of times and she was gone,” Hutto said.

Hutto believes cardiac arrhythmia killed both Jet and Rio. Heart issues are common in Dobermans, partly because of breeding and because they’re deep-chested dogs.

“Not again!” Hutto remembers shrieking as she witnessed Rio’s passing. Jet had passed away in the same manner, but she was with Mark. The swift but horrible departure allows for the only consolation, “at least she didn’t suffer.”  

Sandra Hutto

A Dobie’s departure

After the ordeal of burying 70-pound Jet in the rain, the Huttos decided to have Rio cremated. They were pleased with Deceased Pet Care, Inc. in Chamblee.

“They were kind, empathetic and respectful. They knew we were in pain. They took good care of her, made a point to tell us that they cremate each dog individually, and gave us her paw print in clay,” Hutto recounted. 

Walk alone

“Peachtree Forest is the neighborhood to live in if you want to come back as a dog. People here love their dogs. They’ll greet your dog — and then they’ll say hi to you,” Hutto chuckled. When neighbors learned about Rio’s passing, some sent sympathy cards. 

Hutto was almost thankful for a sprained knee shielding her for a while from the inevitable moment she takes her first walk alone and people will ask, “Where’s Rio?”

“I’ll probably bawl in the street,” she predicted.

Able to better prepare for losing her parents, Hutto remarked that her grief journey is different for Rio because it was so sudden. “It was a shock and harder in some ways. It’s important to talk about it so people see you can get through it,” she said. 

When they’re ready, the Huttos plan to get another Doberman. “I’m going to name her Roxanne. You’re not going to be able to help yourself when you call her. You’re going to have to do the song,” she said. 

Paw prints on our hearts

Pets are not “just animals,” as some may be tempted to say when we lose them. For those who form strong bonds with our four-legged friends, they become part of our favorite routines, our protégés, our sweetest companions, delighting us daily with joy and unconditional affection; they become family.

If the emotional connections we can form with pets are virtually indistinguishable from those we form with people, it stands to reason that pet bereavement can be on par with the grief we experience for our cherished, human loved ones. Let’s remember to be kind to those grieving the loss of their pets.

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Teen Cancer Survivor Aims to Raise Funds for Research



When Lex Stolle was 10 years old, he started behaving in ways that weren’t like the energetic pre-teen.

“There were a lot of things that just weren’t right, like I wasn’t eating well. I was losing a lot of weight; I had fluid in my lungs. There were just so many problems that ultimately did lead to my diagnosis,” he said referring to high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALS.

The medical team initially told Stolle’s family that there would be three and a half years of intense chemotherapy. At that time, they didn’t have a complete diagnosis.

“Additionally, I would have 10 months of going in every week, taking lots of shots and pills,” he said. “And then if I ever had a fever, I would have to stay in the hospital for days, weeks or even months.”

However, updated research allowed Stolle to have a year cut off his chemotherapy.

“In total, I took over 2,000 chemotherapy pills. I had about 36 spinal taps, which is where they stick a needle in my spine to send chemo to my brain. …I spent over 50 nights in the hospital. I missed 163 days of school and my fifth-grade year,” he lamented — but doesn’t feel sorry for himself.

Ask him how he’s doing now.

“I’m awesome! I finished treatment in January of 2022. I’m a year and a half out of treatment and I’m feeling a lot better. I still go in every few months, and then I’ll have to go in every year for, I think, the rest of my life,” he said. “And I’ve started to get back into the shape that I was in — but it’s still hard to be a teenager.”

Paying the blessings forward

Stolle’s cancer journey began in 2019. Now at 14 years old, he wants to do what he can to keep the deadly disease from other kids.

“I have always had a passion for helping others, and especially with my cancer, I know what it’s like to be put through everything I went through. I don’t want any kid to have to suffer, let alone someone younger,” he said. “So I decided to do this project last year just for Peachtree Corners.”

He’s talking about his brainchild, Cancer Cards

“Seeing so many kids go through what I did really got to me, and I felt the urge to make a difference. That’s how the idea for Cancer Cards came about. …They’re about the size of a credit card and they hold special discounts (between 15% off meals to free appetizers) for 9 to 12 local businesses.”

This year, he’s gone beyond Peachtree Corners to include cards exclusive to Milton/Alpharetta, Marietta, Buckhead and Athens. The cards are $25 each and the money raised goes to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta — the same place where Stolle received his treatment.

“We are so proud and honored to have Lex Stolle’s support of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,” said Lydia Stinson of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation. “After three long years of undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Lex was inspired to give back to help kids like him, and he has been determined to give back to Children’s in so many ways.”

The lengths that Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta went to keep his spirits up — therapy dogs, clowns, etc. — made many of his worse days some of his best, Stolle said.

“I raised around $500 last year, but this year, I’m hoping to raise a little over $90,000,” he added.

Stolle hopes the funds can help wipe out childhood cancers. “I want one day for my grandkids to not even have to think about getting cancer, or if they do get cancer, that it can be a very easy treatment,” he said. 

Cancer cards are on sale now and are active through May 25, 2024. They can be purchased online at cancercard.net.

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