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Five Things You Need to Know Today: Nov. 23

Half-days, holiday travel and soup bowls for the hunger today in Lexington.

1. Early release for the holiday weekend: It's a half-day for the students and staff of the Lexington Public Schools, which break for Thanksgiving and won't resume classes until after the holiday weekend. The high school lets out first, at 11:15 a.m., followed by the middle schools at 11:45 a.m. and the elementary schools at 12:15 p.m.

2. Soup Bowls for Hunger: Don't feel like cooking this Thanksgiving eve, head over to Nourish and order a bowl of soup, but make sure it's in one of the one-of-a-kind bowls created by the teen pottery class at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society. For $20, you can get a bowl and some soup -- it's $15 without soup -- and the proceeds go to the Lexington Food Pantry. The fourth annual Soup Bowls for Hunger event runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.

3. Travel Times: Holiday traffic can be hectic, so the MassDOT is advising motorists to hit the road early as Thanksgiving holiday traffic is expected to be at its peak on Wednesday, Nov. 23 and Sunday, Nov.27, MassDOT said on its blog. Also, there will be a few free tolls tonight -- the Allston/Brighton toll plazas from 5 to 7 p.m. -- for which Zappos.com is picking up the tab.

4. Hey, Santa: Not a ton going on in Lexington today as people and places prep for the holiday. But, if you're looking to kill a few hours after the kids get out of school, Santa Claus is holding court and posing for photos at the nearby Burlingotn Mall.

5. Grab an umbrella: Up to an inch of rain is possible today and the temp will barely climb over 40, according to the National Weather Service, which predicts clouds will clear overnight as temperatures fall down to 27.

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