If you missed the community pep rally hosted by the Zachary Community School District on Nov. 20, then you really missed out. The performances by the students, teachers and principals were nothing short of spectacular.

I have been to many of these pep rallies, and while they are always engaging, this one was quite a show. Dewey Davis’ version of “Happy” was terrific as was Keisha Thomas and her backup dancers. The little ones from Zachary Early Learning Center and Rollins Place danced, sang and frolicked about to ’60s music.

I commend the bravery of some of the principals and teachers, and applaud everyone who took part in organizing this perfect pep rally. For photos, be sure to visit the advocate.com/news/zachary.

The holidays are here, Black Friday is upon us and the holiday shopping season is now.

This year, I’m on a quest to find unique and memorable gifts my family and friends will cherish forever. I find these usually come in the form of handmade presents such as a photo album of friends or a special trip, or baskets filled with little gifts. Get creative and think about the people on your list. What do they like to do? What are they into? What are their passions? When you figure that out, the rest comes easily.

It makes all the difference when you put a little thought into your gift-buying. They appreciate the present even more, and you get that really amazing feeling knowing you just made someone truly happy. After all, the season really is about giving, not receiving.

Deck the halls

Join the Pride-Chaneyville Library staff Sunday in decorating the library for the holidays. Make a special ornament to hang on the tree, enjoy cookies, hot chocolate and holiday music from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pride-Chaneyville Library, 13600 Pride-Port Hudson Road.

Mrs. Claus is coming

Since Santa is busy with his elves at the North Pole, Mrs. Claus is coming to East Baton Rouge Parish and visiting libraries throughout December, and she’s bringing a holiday clown with her.

Mrs. Claus will be at the Zachary Branch Library at 10 a.m. Dec. 1. The clown will entertain for 20 minutes, then Mrs. Claus will sit with children and listen to what they want for Christmas. Call (225) 658-1870 to register.

Christmas movie

Everyone is invited for a cup of hot chocolate and to watch a Christmas movie based on the life of artist Thomas Kinkade at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Zachary Branch Library, 1900 Church St.

Visitors will view many of Kinkade’s pieces in the form of completed puzzles throughout December. The movie is rated PG. For information, call (225) 658-1870.

Christmas Crusade

The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office is accepting applications for the annual Christmas Crusade for Children program, which was started in 1988 by Sheriff Elmer Litchfield as a way for local agencies to donate and deliver holiday gifts to children in need. The program has helped thousands of children each year, according to a news release.

Parents can apply Dec. 1-5 at the Baton Rouge City Constable’s Office, Community Services division, Cortana entrance between Sears and Macy’s from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Applicants must apply in person with only one of the participating agencies.

Applicants must also live in East Baton Rouge Parish, and children must be under age 12 to qualify. Parents must have their child’s social security number to apply. Limit one toy per child.

Anyone who would like to donate new, unwrapped toys may do so at Cumulus Media, 631 Main St.; City Constable’s headquarters in the City Court building; City Constable’s office inside Cortana; or at EBRSO substations across the parish. Toys will be delivered prior to Christmas by participating agencies.

EBRSO substations in the area:

Pride-Chaneyville, 12828 Jackson Road, Zachary, (225) 289-8985

Zachary-Plains, 23060 Brian Road, Zachary, (225) 389-5037

Central, 13016 Gurney Road, Baton Rouge, (225) 389-5177

Scotlandville, 1270 Rosenwald Road, Baton Rouge, (225) 389-5105.

Copper Mill Christmas musical

Copper Mill Elementary School will present a Christmas musical at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Northwestern Middle School gym, 5200 E. Central Ave. Copper Mill band, choir and orchestra students will be performing. Everyone is invited to attend this free concert.

Dulcimer day

The Lagniappe Dulcimer Society will present traditional, early American music using mountain dulcimers, bowed dulcimers, guitars, fiddles, harmonicas and the concertina accordion at the Zachary Branch Library, 1900 Church St., beginning at 2 p.m. Dec. 6.

This program is for all ages. For information, contact the Zachary Library at (225) 658-1870.

Diabetes support group

Anyone with diabetes, including family, friends and others in a supporting role can attend a Diabetes Suport Group from 2-3 p.m. Dec. 9 at Lane Regional Medical Center, 6300 Main St. For information, contact Sherri Brady, RN, at (225) 658-4583.

BR Symphony to perform

Amy Pan, orchestra director for the Zachary Community School District, invites the community to a free winter concert at Zachary Elementary School, 3775 Hemlock St.

The Baton Rouge Symphony String Quartet will be coaching and then performing with the Zachary students at the concert, which begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 11.

Help us make Around Zachary your go-to for calendar events. Send items by email no later than 3 p.m. Friday. Send news, photos, tips and more to sgill@theadvocate.com.