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Things to know in metro Albany for the week of Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2013

School is out while the focus is on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Black Friday and the start of the Christmas season

Here are some things you need to know in metro Albany this week.

MONDAY

SCHOOL’S OUT: Both Dougherty County and Lee County public schools are out of session this week for the holidays.

DOUGHERTY COUNTY COMMISSION: The commission conducts a work session at 10 a.m. in room 120 of the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave. Among the agenda items are appointments to various boards, including the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County; information from the Albany Area Community Service Board on mental health services, capital improvements to the mental health facility on 11th avenue and the impact of the closing of Southwestern State Hospital.

TUESDAY

APD COMMUNITY MEAL: The Albany Police Department sponsors a Thanksgiving meal for the Albany community at 5 p.m. at the Albany Civic Center. The 3rd annual feast is for anyone who wants to attend as a community outreach program of APD’s family protection unit and organizers expect about 1,000 people to attend.

ALBANY CITY COMMISSION: The commission gets an early start — 6:30 p.m. — on its business meeting in room 100 of the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave. Among the agenda items are action on an ordinance establishing a wastewater utility and authorizing SPLOST funds for the phase 3 terminal project, along with board appointments and zoning changes.

WEDNESDAY

HANUKKAH BEGINS: The Jewish observance starts at sunset. Also known as the Festival of Lights, the eight-day Hanukkuh celebration begins at sunset. The observance commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century B.C. Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire.

THURSDAY

THANKSGIVING DAY: Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, this is the latest date that Thanksgiving can occur. The holiday was established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Americans consider the first thanksgiving to be the harvest meal shared by 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans in 1621 at Plymouth Plantation, though thanksgivings were held in what became Virginia as early as 1607. This is only the second time since Thanksgiving Day was established that Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah have overlapped, leading to the neologism Thanksgivukkah.

FRIDAY

BLACK FRIDAY: The “official” start of the Christmas shopping season gets off to a late start this year with one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Many stores are opening late on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump on the sales. While the term, which became popular in the mid-1970s, has come to be thought of as the day when stores finally get into the “black,” or achieve profit for the year, the term originated on Philadelphia years earlier to describe the heavy foot traffic in the city that disrupted driving.

THRONATEESKA SANTA: Santa visits with children noon–2 p.m. at Thronateeska Heritage Center and the center’s Santas Around the World exhibit opens and continues through Jan. 4. Thronateeska’s Wetherbee Planetarium has three shows of “Season of Light” on planetarium operation days.

SATURDAY

WORLD BALLET’S ‘NUTCRACKER’: “Nutcracker,” a diversity celebration, is at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Darton State College’s Theatre. General admission is $15.

SUNDAY

ADVENT SUNDAY: This is the first Sunday of Advent, a period of four Sundays in which Christian prepare for and anticipate Christmas and the observance of the Nativity of Jesus. Many churches and home have four-candle wreaths with an additional candle lighted each Sunday, culminating with the light of a larger candle in the middle, representing Christ, on Christmas Day.