Holiday potpourri . . . .

Are today's girls aware of the business world? If you doubt it, you must not have been invited to Amanda Glazer's slumber birthday party the other night out in Bethesda . . . .

Amanda is an 8-year-old third grader at Wyngate Elementary School. She decided to invite eight classmates to a classic all-girls "do" . . . . But the theme wasn't anything you'll find in Archie and Veronica comics. Working Woman magazine is more like it . . . . The girls all came in business attire that belongs to their mothers. They carried their pajamas in briefcases. They checked in at a "front desk." Party favors consisted of portfolios, pads and pencils. And at the bottom of the invitation, guests were notified that checkout time was 11 a.m., "but you won't have to pay" . . . .

A tip of the drumstick to restaurateur Jeffrey Gildenhorn, who operates The Fishery on upper Connecticut Avenue NW . . . . Jeff is a Washingtonian to his socks. He went to elementary school, junior high, senior high and college in the District of Columbia. He has what he calls "a hometown feeling about this place." . . . . To express it, Jeff will serve a free Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon to 90 people. The majority are underprivileged Washington area kids from large families . . . . Other restaurants donate turkeys to the needy, but to Jeff's knowledge (and to mine), this is the first time an entire restaurant has been open strictly to serve people who could use a free holiday meal (and, just as important, who could use a show of concern from a local guy who made good) . . . . Why these kids and not others? "Because they come from larger families, and it would be that much tougher for their families to give a good dinner to all of them," Jeff said . . . . How about climbing on the same bandwagon next year, fellow restaurateurs? . . . .

Local Girl Who Made Good: Beth Palmer, a Silver Spring lawyer and judge who occasionally zips into phone booths, changes clothes and emerges as (ta da!) Superbridgeplayer! . . . . Bridge achievement doesn't get any more super than what Beth managed a few weeks ago in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. She was one of six American women to capture the Venice Trophy, which symbolizes the world women's team championship . . . .

Gloria Harris of Waldorf advises that a great neighborhood tradition will have yet another replay four weeks from tonight . . . . Seems that Richard Graham, a retired Arlington County firefighter who lives nearby, plays door-to-door Santa for Prince George's and Charles County families he knows . . . . "He does it for kicks," says Gloria, whose home Graham/Claus has visited for many years. "He comes on Christmas Eve, with the ho-ho-ho, the silver hair, the pillow under his Santa suit, the whole bit. And he won't take any money. He's just a nice guy." . . . . An energetic one, too. Richard's list had grown so long last year that he was ho-ho-ho-ing from early afternoon Dec. 24 'til the wee hours of Dec. 25 . . . . Don't think all that work isn't appreciated, Mr. G . . . .

How do you cut an onion and avoid crying at the same time? Lots of readers replied to my plea for help on this score, for which great thanks . . . . Christina Chandler of Rockville says her mother, Irene, back home in Sonoma, Calif., always told her to keep onions in the freezer until you're ready to cut them. No juice that way . . . . Michael R. Codel of Arlington and Sophie R. Dales of Arlington say to put a piece of white bread in your mouth (but don't chew it) as you dice the onion . . . . Peter DeWeese of Fairfax and Linda Wilbon of Southeast say you should run the onion under the tap as you slice. Another way of dejuicing, they say . . . . And for practicality, you can't beat the suggestion of Win Barber of Oxon Hill. "Wear goggles," urges Win . . . .

Thank you, Bruce Selin of Falls Church, for an idea that seems without flaw to this keyboard-pounder . . . . Bruce heartily agrees with police departments in the area, all of which urge you not to call 911 if you don't have a genuine emergency. But finding the nonemergency number for your local police department can be a major-league pain in the neck . . . . So Bruce wonders why there isn't a master, easy-to-remember, nonemergency number that will automatically put you in touch with the proper police agency -- a number like 123-HELP, for instance . . . .

The funeral is over, the obituary has run, and now comes the tough time for children who have just lost a family member. Is there any place they can turn for help? . . . . There is. Out in Dunn Loring is a nonprofit outfit called My Friend's House Inc. It offers group counseling once a week for one hour to kids in this awful situation. The only fee is a one-time $10 charge for registration . . . . Children from all over the metropolitan area are welcome. For further information, call 698-6991 or 698-7676 . . . .

And before you rush off to your waiting turkey, this thought, from George Marker of Wheaton: "I used to dream of making the salary I'm now starving on." . . . .