With the holidays fast approaching, the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department is providing a number of ways to celebrate.

Christmas is the season of giving and the Greensboro Youth Council’s Santa’s Workshop is collecting new and used toys for children 6 months to 13 years old.  Toys donated to the Youth Council will be given to local families identified by partner agencies.  If you don’t happen to have any suitable toys to donate or don’t want to add another purchase to your already long list, cash donations are also accepted and will be used to purchase new toys. For more information on how to donate and locate the most convenient drop-off location go to www.greensboro-nc.gov/Santasworkshop.

Speaking of Santa, children (and adults) can email Santa Claus at santa-claus@greensboro-nc.gov  or drop their letters off at the Greensboro Cultural Center or at Brown, Griffin, Glenwood, Lewis, Leonard or Windsor recreation centers.  Although Santa does know if you have been naughty or nice, he doesn’t know where to send his reply unless you include your return mailing address.

If letter writing is not your style, Santa will be appearing in person on Thursday, Dec. 16 from 2 to 7 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Smith Active Adult Center at 2401 Fairview St.  Pictures with Santa are free with a donation of four non-perishable food items or the donation of $5 to benefit The Blessed Table Food Pantry. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 336-373-7564.

Volunteering is one way of giving and volunteers are needed on to help with Greensboro Beautiful’s annual Holiday Greenery Festival.  Volunteers are needed on Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5 to prep, unload and setup products for customers to pick up.

What’s Christmas without gingerbread.  You are invited to compete for the title of Gingerbread Champion in the second annual Greensboro Gingerbread Wars.  There are categories for families, kids 2-6, 7-11 and 12-17 and adults. Prizes are being sponsored by A Sweet Success! Bakery.  To enter send your gingerbread designs to gsoparksandrec@greensboro-nc.gov by Wednesday, Dec. 15.  If a photo of you cutting the dough is included, you gain two extra “from scratch” points in your overall score.