There’s still time left to help brighten the lives of others this holiday season. Ladue News is collecting children’s toys and books, as well as non-perishable food items, from now until Tuesday, Dec. 20. All will be donated to CATHOLIC CHARITIES, and will be distributed to needy families in the area. Items may be dropped off at LN during normal business hours, 8811 Ladue Road, Ste. D, 63124 (near 170 and Ladue Road).

Before he left town, ALBERT PUJOLS made sure that one of his foundation’s signature events, the seventh annual O’ Night Divine Christmas Celebration, was a smashing success. More than 650 people joined him and wife DEIDRE at The Chase Park Plaza to celebrate another great year for the Pujols Family Foundation and its work to assist children and adults with Down syndrome. VIPs in attendance included STAN MUSIAL, MIKE MATHENY and LOU and JACKIE BROCK.

Renowned food activist MICHAEL POLLAN will soon be making his way to St. Louis as part of the Maryville University St. Louis Speakers Series. Pollan’s Jan. 24 engagement at Powell Hall begins at 8 p.m. Pro-rated subscriptions are available; and in addition to Pollan’s appearance, the series also will include lectures by Reading Lolita in Tehran author AZAR NAFISI, retired four-star general STANLEY MCCHRISTAL and journalist TOM BROKAW. For tickets, call 533-7888 or visit

This weekend, the Edison Theater will be transformed into a magical land of princes, fairies and snowflakes as the MISSOURI BALLET THEATER performs the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker. The Dec. 18 performance begins at 6 p.m. and benefits WINGS OF HOPE’s St. Louisbased Medical Relief and Air Transport program. For tickets, call 935-6543 or

WHITFIELD SCHOOL has a new head of school: He’s JOHN DELAUTRE, a longtime educator who most recently served as head of St. Francis School in Goshen, Ky. Delautre’s appointment at Whitfield begins next July.

A revised and expanded edition of the biography of Washington University founder WILLIAM GREENLEAF ELIOT is now on the shelves. Eliot, who came to St. Louis from Boston in 1834, also is credited with the beginnings of Mary Institute, the Mission Free School and—indirectly—the Saint Louis Art Museum. The book, William Greenleaf Eliot: Conservative Radical, is by author Earl K. Holt III, and is available locally, including at Washington University Campus Store and Missouri History Museum.

The Office star and St. Louis native ELLIE KEMPER is engaged! Kemper, a John Burroughs alum (class of ’98), confirmed on Conan O’Brien’s show last week that she and longtime boyfriend MICHAEL KOMAN were recently engaged. Koman is a writer whose credits include Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Colbert Report. No word on the wedding date.