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Holiday Guide Feature

Ho.

The City Paper Annual Holiday Calendar

Illustrations by Alex Fine

Holiday Guide 2006

Present and Accounted For City Paper's Annual Guide to Buying People Stuff

And Your Little Reindeer, Too City Paper's 2006 Holiday Guide

Bad Santa Tales of a Reluctant Mall Santa | By Travis Dunn

Parsing the Family Newsletter A Close Reading of a Holiday Tradition | By Emily Flake

Undecking the Halls Looking at the Environmental Impact of the Holiday Season | By David Morley

Santa Baby Having a Baby on Christmas Eve Isn't All Tidings of Comfort and Joy | By Jason Torres

Child's Play Trying to Graduate from the Kids Table Without Having Kids of Your Own | By Bret McCabe

Ho. The City Paper Annual Holiday Calendar

Posted 11/15/2006

We couldn’t fit every event from now until 2007 in this most stuffed of Holiday Calendars, but we tried, and somehow we managed to squeeze in Kenny Rogers and the Best Buy Thanksgiving parade. You know, last year it was called the Baltimore Parade or some such, and maybe we wouldn’t even bring it up if they renamed it The Wire Parade, but instead of getting cranky, we are looking at it this way: Best is giving back to the lovely people of Baltimore for all we have given them, green-wise. See? Peace, brother. And here’s hoping you get, and give, a little crazy during winter and do it all and catch a snowball, hit a bazaar, learn about another culture, wander lazily through an open house, and, most of all, spend time with the people that mean most to you, and a few you’ve never met. Cheers. There’s a whole lot of 2006 left.

Holiday Guide 2006 was hand-crafted in our workshop by Wendy Ward, Ruth Reader, and illustrator Alex Fine.

Shopping | Kid Stuff | Nutcracker and Other Dancetastic Performances | A Christmas Carol and Other Stage Events | Traditions | Music | Open Houses and Tours | Mistle-aneous | Helping Others | New Year's Eve


Shopping

Winterfest 2006 and Holiday Jazz Event, 6-8 p.m. Nov. 17, Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave., (410) 578-1919, www.baltimoreclayworks.org, $25. Drinks? Hors d’oeuvres? Jazz? Pottery? Why wouldn’t we check out the opening reception for Baltimore Clayworks holiday sale? The sale runs through Dec. 23 (with extended weekend hours), but tonight is your chance to kick off your holiday shopping right.

Potters Guild of Baltimore Holiday Show, opening reception weekend 3-5 p.m. Nov. 18-19, Potters Guild of Baltimore, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, (410) 235-4884, www.pottersguild.org, free. Cut this list out for helpful shopping tips: a planter for a green thumb, a turkey/tofu serving platter for a cook, a couple of ornaments for a young couple, a coffee/tea mug for your aunt, a sculpture for your poet brother, a vase or picture frame for your boss, a set of soup bowls and cracker plates for your live-in lover, and a wall-hanging artsy-fartsy thingy-bop for your best friend’s back deck. Show through Dec. 24.

Holly Fest, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 18, Friends School of Baltimore, 5114 N. Charles St., (410) 203-9138, www.friendsbalt.org, $5, kids and students 18 and under free. Over 80 artisans display their work for your holiday gift-giving pleasure. Also, check out the yummy baked goods and fresh greens, plus wee ones can make crafty presents for you at the Elf Booth.

Bazaart: Artful Shopping, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 25, American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, www.avam.org. Sure go for the holiday art sales, but don’t forget about the hands-on workshops in the Jim Rouse Visionary Center and the pure creative inspiration AVAM always delivers.

MICA Raw Art Sale, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 1, Meyerhoff House, 140 W. Lafayette Ave., (410) 225-2300, www.mica.edu, free. Small and inexpensive doesn’t mean cheap, baby, and this sale features artwork by MICA students, including paintings, drawings, shortie sculptures, prints, and a little something they call “raw,” meaning unframed and matted stuff. (Only get “raw” for those you know who dig a project.) Sponsored by MICA’s student activities office.

Johns Hopkins University Press Holiday Sales, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 2, Homewood House, 3400 N. Charles St., (410) 516-5589, free. We like holiday shopping that doesn’t include the usual stops. Instead of hitting up Barnes and Noble, check out this book sale, complete with refreshments. There should be some authors standing by, ready to sign your purchases. Besides books, there’ll be jewelry by Diane Stillman, watercolors by Scott Ponemone, and Collette Smith’s ceramics.

Out of Hand Craft Show, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 3, Knights of Columbus Hall, 201 Homeland Ave., free. No entry fee, just lots and lots of vendors. Check out your favorite local designers and all their glorious offerings. Baltimore media has made a little fuss over Pistol Designs’ new hand bags, so be sure to check out the stall at this well-stocked market.

Buy*Product, 3-6 p.m. Dec. 6-7, Cafe Doris, Fox Building, Maryland Institute College of Art, 1303 Mount Royal Ave., (410) 225-2300, www.mica.edu, free. Go graphic, locally that is, with this sale of goods created by the MICA graphic design MFA students. We’re talking T-shirts, cards and stationary, household items, and jewelry.

33rd Annual Holiday Pottery Sale, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 8-9, Towson University, 8000 York Road, Center for the Arts, Room 3012, (410) 704-2787, www.new.towson.edu/art/, free. Looking for something to give your friends and family other than slippers, fancy soap, you know, the usual holiday tchotchkes? Check out Towson University’s earthenware and stoneware, hand-molded and useful, at their annual pottery sale. And don’t over think it—handmade pottery goes with any décor.

Midnight Madness, Dec. 8 and 15, Downtown Annapolis, (410) 280-0445, www.visitannapolis.org, free. A block party plus late-night shopping worth the drive to the state capital. Stores will be hosting refreshments and snacks, and musical acts will keep you energized during this shopping extravaganza.

Holiday Bazaar, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Dec. 9, College of Notre Dame Maryland, 4701 N. Charles St., (410) 532-5542, www.ndm.edu, free. After your breakfast with Santa, head over to Notre Dame’s holiday bazaar for out-of-the-ordinary gifts. Crafts, jewelry, and handbags are just a few of the unique goodies you’ll find at this shopping stop.

Jewelry Center End-of-Semester Exhibition and Silent Auction, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Jewelry Center at Clipper Mill, 3600 Clipper Mill road, (410) 225-2300, www.mica.edu, free. MICA’s jewelry students are emptying out the jewelry box they filled during the fall semester and selling ‘em to you, Santa. Plus, a silent auction, which we think is a freaking great idea—think of the story you’ll tell while the pretty bauble is being unwrapped.


Kid Stuff

Santa at the Mall, every mall, everywhere. With maybe some elves and a semi-professional photographer to take your child’s picture. You know the routine, we all know the routine, but this sh*t just never gets old.

Saturday’s Child Series at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, noon-3 p.m. Saturdays Nov. 18 through December, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture, (443) 263-1831, www.africanamericanculture.org. With programs like “Kinaras and Angels” on Nov. 18 and “Holiday Theatre: Unwrapped and Dollar Days” Dec. 9, this series is an entertaining way to learn.

Santa vs. the Snowman, Nov. 17-Jan.1, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 685-2370, www.marylandsciencecenter.org, prices vary. Are your kids sitting in front of the tube watching holiday specials that are older than they are? Why not get them out of the house to see the IMAX production Santa vs. the Snowman. The snowman is jealous of Santa’s digs and adoring fans and aims to ruin Santa and take over his market. These two could be the next contenders on Celebrity Death Match.

Ice Skating, 5:45, 6:45, and 7:45 p.m. Dec 1-31, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, (610) 388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org, $15, ages 16-20 $6, ages 6-15 $2, under 6 free. Enjoy holiday ice-skating vignettes by former Olympians Tiffany Scott and Philip Dulebohn, as well as some folks from Disney on Ice. It may seem far to drive, but the Longwood gardens and grounds are truly spectacular this time of year.

Breakfast with Santa, 8:30-10 a.m. Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17, Maryland Zoo, Druid Hill Park, (443) 552-5276, www.marylandzoo.org, $25, members $15, kids under 2 free. Santa loves the most important meal of the day, and this one includes eggs, bacon and sausage, pancakes, home fries, bevvies, and an introduction to the zoo’s penguin ambassadors, photo, and giftie. All guests get free admission to the zoo, so take a stroll after and burn off that maple syrup.

Breakfast with Santa, 8:30-11 a.m. Dec. 9, Doyle Hall, College of Notre Dame Maryland, 4701 N. Charles St. (410) 532-5542, www.ndm.edu $4-$12. Told you, he really loves breakfast. The folks here are also offering you a chance for a free photo with Santa, as long as you bring new toys and presents as a donation for some of the less fortunate kids on Charm City’s blocks.

Twas the Night Before Christmas, 10:15 a.m. and noon Dec. 11, Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 252-8717, www.artsonstage.org, students and the adult they bring $6.50, teachers free. Cuteness: This stage production presented by Arts on Stage, Ltd., tells the story of a stressed Clement Moore as he takes care of a sick daughter and hustles his annual Christmas poem. “Not even a mouse” will fail to see the charm.

The Shoemaker and the Christmas Elves, 10:15 a.m. and noon Dec. 13, Chesapeake Arts Center, Main Stage Theatre, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, (410) 252-8717, www.artsonstage.org, students and the adult they bring $6.50, teachers free. The dramatic folks of Arts on stage, Ltd. present a silly musical based on the usually grim Brothers’ Grimm fairy tale.

Not a Creature Was Stirring, 4 p.m. Dec. 7, 14, and 21, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Forrest Park branch, 3023 Garrison Blvd., (410) 396-0942, for ages 6-12. Give the kiddies another voice hitting the holiday favorites, and you know local librarians even enjoy reading out loud. Stick around for some crafts and you might have another masterpiece for the refrigerator gallery.

A Christmas Carol, 10:15 a.m. and noon Dec.18, Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 252-8717, www.artsonstage.org, students and the adult they bring $6.50, teachers free. This version of the classic is less scary but just as meaningful as any other, all to a score by the Broadway composer Jule Styne.

A Winter Tale, 4 p.m. Dec. 19, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Patterson Park branch, 158 N. Linwood Ave., (410) 396-0983, for ages 6-12. Let your kids craft their way through the holidays and perhaps come out of this story-telling extravaganza with a gift or two for you.

Bells, Songs, and Music to Celebrate the Holidays, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 19, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Waverly branch, 400 E. 33rd St., (410) 396-6053, for ages 3-5. Want to let your toddler express themselves through music, without the resulting headache? Drop them off with the fine folks at Waverly branch library while you peruse the aisles for a good piece of fiction or seasonal cookbook.

Mambo Mania in Miami, 2-4 p.m. Dec. 25, Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd St., (410) 732-6400, www.jhsm.org, $5-$10. Break out your sandals and shorts and check out this tropical oasis reminiscent of the reward at winters end. Activities will entice family members of all ages and, if the activities don’t woo you, there are some great exhibits to see.

Winter Break Open House, noon-4 p.m. Dec. 26-28, Jewish Museum of Maryland, Lloyd St., (410) 732-6400, www.jhsm.org, $5-$10. The kids have cabin fever, right? Get them out of the house for balloons, magic shows, crafts, and other stuff that’ll keep their attention better than the Disney movie they’ve already watched four times.

Winter Break Activities, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 26-31, Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, www.thewalters.org, free. Get your children’s lazy, no-school-till-2007 butts over to the Walters Museum, where they’ll give ‘em the tools to make some kick-ass art. Besides, who wants to play Monopoly for the 20th time when you could be doing something, anything, else?

Promises for the New Year, 1 p.m. Dec 27, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Central branch, 400 Cathedral St., (410) 396-5430, for ages 6-12. Kids gather round to decide on feasible New Year’s resolutions. Can you really keep your hand out of the cookie jar for a whole year? Crafts and stories will demonstrate how other kids have kept (or not kept) their resolutions.


Nutcracker and Other Dancetastic Performances

Dancers in Action, Nov. 16-18, Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 337-6333, www.goucher.edu, $8-$15. And now for something completely different: Forget about the Nutcracker for a night and see Goucher College Dance Majors present new works by faculty Glenna Blessing, Juliet Forrest, and Elizabeth Ahearn. The sets will be done by visiting artists Tiffany Mills, Nilas Martins, and Mino Nicolas.

The Nutcracker, Nov. 25-Dec. 3, Old Mill High School Auditorium, 6000 Patriot Lane, Millersville, (410) 721-6157, www.marylandballettheatre.org, $7-$17, kids 3 and under free. See children from the area put on a professional performance with Maryland Ballet Theatre. Even if you’re sick of this holiday favorite, the matinee shows are super cheap and we know you can’t pass up a good deal.

The Nutcracker, Dec. 7-23, Warner Theater, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, (202) 889-8150, www.washingtonballet.org, $29. Washington Ballet brings back their annual Nutcracker, a variation of the original with hints of American history, as directed by Septime Weber.

The Nutcracker, Dec. 9-10, Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 667-7974, www.goucher.edu, $12-$18. Baltimore Ballet presents their annual performance of this classic piece, with Cem Catbas, artistic director, and Michele Wiles, principal dancer. With tickets under $20 for a professional dance production, why not shell out and take the kids, too, and if you don’t have kids, bring the neighbors kids for a special holiday treat.

The Nutcracker, Dec. 8-23, Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, www.olneytheatre.org, $15-$29. This organization is committed to training and securing performance spaces for its kids, so get thee to the theater and give them the audience they deserve. Yeah it’s another Nutcracker, but these kids need the opportunity to show off their talents in a performance they’ll remember for years to come.

Jazz, Hip-Hop Nutcracker, 3 p.m. Dec. 9, Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Road, Cheverly, (301) 277-1710, $8-$12. Finally, a new Nutcracker. Of course, this jazzy holiday cheer is in PG County. Get down to Duke Ellington’s grooves in this radical version with a huge cast.

The Nutcracker, 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16, 2 p.m. Dec. 10, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 17, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Main Stage, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $40, seniors $32, students $22, children $17. The region’s finest dancers populate the Ballet Theatre of Maryland and present the classic tale of Clara, the Nutcracker, and the Rat King. Sugar Plum Party 3:30 p.m. Dec. 17 free with your ticket stub from either of that day’s performances.

The Angels Were Dancing: A Celebration of Christmas, 6 p.m. Dec. 17, Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway, Greenbelt, (410) 570-0535, www.greenbeltartscenter.org, $15, seniors and kids ages 5-14 $12. Join Isadora Duncan’s group as they reenact her past works and expand upon her style. The Angels will incorporate infamous carols (“Carol of the Bells,” “Ave Maria,” “O Holy Night”) and readings by actor Bryan Richard Deehring. Followed by a coffee and chocolate reception with the artists for inspiration and a jack to get you home from Greenbelt

The Great Russian Nutcracker, Dec 21-23, Lyric Opera House, 140 W Mount Royal Ave, 410 685-5086, www.lyricoperahouse.com, $15-$63. Honestly, who does ballet better than the Russians? In all seriousness, the long lines and expression in the torso of the Moscow Ballet technique is phenomenal. If you’re going to see the Nutcracker, this is probably the one to see.

The Nutcracker, Dec. 28-31, Hippodrome Theatre, France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St., (410) 837-7400, www.france-merrickpac.com, $29-$79. The Pittsburgh Ballet starts a new tradition this year, bringing the Nutcracker to the beautiful Hippodrome alternating years through 2010, but by then we’ll most likely be wearing silver space suits, so dress up in your best wool and lace while you can.


A Christmas Carol and Other Stage Events

A Christmas Carol, Nov. 17-28, Ford Theater, 511 10th St. N.W., Washington, (202) 347-4833, $90-$160. For some reason, A Christmas Carol never gets old. Maybe it’s because we only see it once a year. Anyhow, make the trek to DC’s famous Ford Theater for a top-notch performance by Scrooge, his gang of ghouls, and Tiny Tim.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, weekend performances Nov. 17-Dec. 9, the Laurel Mill Playhouse, 508 Main St., Laurel, (301) 617-9906, www.laurelmillplayhouse.org, $12.50, students and seniors $10. Loooooooooved this book as a kid—remember that when you are purchasing books for grade-school nieces and nephews. The story of the crazy, mixed-up (and kind of bratty) Herdman kids landing the tony roles in the town’s Christmas pageant is a fabulous underdog tale to see on stage and, face it, kid actors are usually a riot.

Late Night Holiday Show: A Tuna Christmas, 10 p.m. Dec 1-23, Audrey Herman Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., (410) 752-1225, www.spotlighters.org, $15, students, seniors, and members $12. This show within a show takes place in a little spot called Tuna, Texas, described as the place “where Patsy Cline never dies.” (Our heart is another place that holds true.) The folk of this eccentric town are putting on a Christmas show, and you can bet it’s every bit as peculiar as they are.

Amahl and the Night Visitors, 8 p.m. Dec. 1-2, 3 p.m. Dec. 3, Pascal Center for Performing Arts, Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Parkway, Arnold, (410) 777-2457, www.aacc.edu. This one-act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, which tells the tale of a boy who tells tall tales and the night he became a part of the whole birth of Jesus and the wise men and etc., features soprano Mary Anne Barcellona, the All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis, and the AACC Concert Choir. It’s maybe the best opera for children ever.

Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity, Dec. 1-9, Carl J Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive, (443) 885-4440, www.murphyfineartscenter.org, $20, students $15, MSU students $7. This production retells and celebrates the nativity in song, dance, and scripture. The show is on its fourth year and has a lot of life left in it. If you’re looking for an alternative to the usual Christmas bedlam, this is one soulful opportunity.

Babes in Toyland, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec 2-3, Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 337-8519, www.baltimoreactorstheatre.org/babes.html, $15-$24. Remember the Babes in Toyland from your youth? Now picture it on stage with actors who have been playing the role for as long as 34 years. With all that practice, it’s bound to be good.

Stoop Storytellers presents: Holidays from Hell, 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, $10-$12. Writers Jim Magruder and Sarah Achenbach, burlesque princess Trixie Little, pastoral counselor Robert Pelrine, and more will get on stage and bend your ear with the horrific holiday tales they lived through so you don’t have to feel bad about yours. Let them show you up, we dare you.

A Christmas Carol, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Lyric Opera House, 140 Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, www.lyricoperahouse.com, $18-$38. The Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s production of this holiday classic excellently depicts the time period and how being self-centered not only yields a bag a coal, but all other sorts of ghastly trouble.

Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul: An Nollaig —An Irish Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Lyric Opera House, 140 W Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, www.lyricoperahouse.com, $30-$60. Enjoy the traditions of the Irish in song, dance, and story telling from Christmas Eve to St. Stephen’s Day. Check out the traditional garb and be sure to donate money to those not receiving Holiday cheer this year.

Holiday Cabaret, 8 p.m. Dec. 29, Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., (410) 752-1225, www.spotlighters.org, $15, students, seniors, and members $12. This annual variety show includes comics, poets, and singers and is bound to be an out of the ordinary holiday celebration.


Traditions

Best Buy Thanksgiving Day Parade, 11 a.m. Nov. 18 , Pratt Street, (887) 225-8466, www.bop.org, free. This spunky Thanksgiving Day parade kicks off the holiday season with Santa’s first appearance. He’ll be hanging out at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater granting holiday wishes and taking pictures. Don’t worry if you miss your chance the week before Thanksgiving—Santa will be there through Dec. 24. The parade will start at the intersection of Pratt and Eutaw, and culminate at Market Place.

Vegetarian Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck, 2:30-5:30 p.m. Nov. 19, Ellicott City, (410) 465-0427, bsorak@juno.com, free, but a delicious dish in your arms isn’t optional. For all of you who would rather play with turkeys than eat them, check out this annual holiday feast. Contact Bonnie to let her know you’re coming and she’ll give you the details on the rest. Don’t forget to bring food to share—vegan please—and a recipe card.

All Aboard for Holiday Magic, Nov. 20-Jan. 2, in the window of Daedalus Books and Music, Belvedere Square, 5911 York Road, (410) 464-2701, free gawking. Nostalgic and sweet, toy trains don’t have to be a thing of memories. Bring the family around to the train garden, lovingly crafted by the trainies from the Shindledecker family, modeled after York Road in the 1950s, including the Senator. Speaking of, hit the exhibit up, open during Daedalus’ hours, before a film in the historic theater.

Baltimore County Annual Tree Lighting, 6 p.m. Nov. 28, Towson Commons, Pennsylvania Avenue and York Road, (410) 825-1145, www.towsonchamber.com, free. Visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Towson University marching band will keep you warm while you munch on cookies before the tree lights up. And if you’re going, you’d better bring a gift for Toys for Tots so they can have some holiday cheer, too.

A Monumental Occasion 5-6:30 p.m. Dec. 1, Washington Monument, Mount Vernon Place, (410) 244-1030, www.godowntownbaltimore.com, free. The mayor lights up the famous Mount Vernon monument with fireworks, munchies, and reputable musical acts galore. Both the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Handel Choir will present. Check it out, cause who doesn’t love fireworks?

Service of Lessons and Carols, 5 p.m. Dec. 2-3, Haebler Memorial Chapel, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 337-8519, www.goucher.edu, free. This peaceful concert is presented by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Goucher Chorus.

Miracle on Main Street, Dec. 2, Fells Point, (410) 675-8900, www.fellspointdevelopment.com, free. 9 a.m.: see Santa’s arrival via tug boat and then grab a bite to eat with the old chap at True restaurant. Noon-3 p.m.: After breakfast, if you’re feeling up to it, take a photo with your visiting friend Santa, slug down hot apple cider, and eye up funky holiday wreaths. 5 p.m.: Stick around for the tree-lighting by Olympian Kimmie Meisner because she’s pretty talented/cute. 6 p.m.: After you’re finished chatting up Kimmie, take her to see the parade of lighted boats, and then shop ‘til you drop because your favorite stores will be open until midnight.

Mayor’s Christmas Parade, 2 p.m. Dec. 3, Hampden and Medfield Neighborhoods, www.mayorschristmasparade.com, free. Join Mayor Martin O’Malley and his musical entourage as they trek the 2.5 miles across Cold Spring, down Falls Road, onto 36th Street toward Chestnut and 37th Street. Grab some hot cho-cho and be ready for all sorts of holiday shenanigans and bikers, lots of bikers. Hot toddies at our place afters. Kidding.

Chanukah Celebration, 7 and 8 p.m. Dec. 3, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, (610) 388-1000, www.logwoodgardens.org, $15, ages 16-20 $6, ages 6-15 $2, under 6 free. The Chopped Liver River Band of Congregation Shaarai Shomayim presents a celebration of Hanukkah with all your favorite tunes.

Celebrating Kwanza, Dec. 6-28, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Multiple branches, www.epfl.net, free. Old hand Mr. Charles Dugger enacts a traditional Kwanza ceremony for the young-uns on what it means to celebrate the Kwanza holiday. If you’ve ever been curious to know, now is the time to find out. If you already know, it’s worth coming by to bring your thoughts to the table.

Little Italy Tree Lighting, 6 p.m. Dec. 8, Little Italy, corner of High and Stiles streets, (410) 727-6876, free. Scenic, romantic, authentic Little Italy invites you to take part in this annual holiday occasion that has more to do with roasted chestnuts and Santa than shopping. Dine on ravioli at any one of the fine restaurants nearby.

Downtown Dollar or Less Days, Dec. 13-14, Inner Harbor, www.godowntownbaltimore.com, admission free or a buck. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy Baltimore on their own dollar, but on these two days they can do it for uno. Check their web site after Dec. 1 for the list of attractions taking part.

Holiday Tales, 10:15 a.m. and noon Dec. 14, Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 252-8717, www.artsonstage.org, students and the adult they bring $6.50, teachers free. Stories and music reflecting different cultures and holidays, including “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Kwanzaa Kite,” and “The Soul of a Menorah.” Good times.

Holiday Magic, 3:15 p.m. Dec. 20, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Pennsylvania Avenue branch, 1531 W. North Ave., (410) 396-0399, free. Who wants to celebrate just one religion when there are so many holidays? At this gathering they’ll discuss and rejoice in Kwanza, Chanukah, Christmas, and more.


Music

Live Music at Lexington Market, noon-2 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays in December, Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., (410) 685-6169, www.lexingtonmarket.com, free. Not just a fabulous place to pick up every eatable you’ll need for the winter—including but not limited to fresh vegetables, sausage, and dinner rolls—but bring along the visiting relatives and the live music every afternoon will help keep the obligatory conversation to a minimum.

Christmas Choral Concerts, Dec 1-23, Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, (610) 388-1000, www.logwoodgardens.org, $15, ages 16-20 $6, ages 6-15 $2, under 6 free. Enjoy choral events with favorite holiday songs, and while you’re visiting, check out their indoor and outdoor gardens boasting 420,000 decorative lights and vibrant fountain presentations.

Merry Tuba Christmas, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Dec. 2, Harbor-place Amphitheatre, Inner Harbor, (800) 427-2671, free. Two hundred tubas and euphoniums, baby.

Happy Holidays, 7 p.m. Dec. 7-10, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. N.W., Washington, (800) 444-1324, www.kennedycenter.org, $20-$80. Join this happy and talented troupe for their rendition of holiday tunes. They’ll sure beat the heck out of the carolers on your doorstep begging for cookies.

A Celebration of Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 8 p.m. Dec. 8, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Main Stage, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $42. Presented by the Annapolis Chorale, this musical, umm, celebration of Christmas is for the whole family. In fact the Dec. 7 performance includes the Annapolis Youth Chorus. And Annapolis is really pretty in December.

Soulful Symphony, 8 p.m. Dec. 8, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8000, www.baltimoresymphony.org , $15-$55. Darin Atwater conducts a program of The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky/Duke Ellington, Soulful Celebration by the venerable Quincy Jones, and a gospel version of Handel’s Messiah. Speaking of . . .

Handel’s Messiah, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8000, www.baltimoresymphony.org , $25-$75. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is joined by the Concert Artists of Baltimore Symphonic Chorale and Edward Polochick, on conductor’s baton and harpsichord. Plus, and we want to give them all credit, Ah Hong, soprano; Marietta Simpson, mezzo-soprano; Roger Honeywell, tenor; and Arthur Woodley, bass.

The Colors of Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 9, Hippodrome Theatre, France Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St., (410) 837-7400, www.france-merrickpac.com, $38-$53. Celebrate this jazzy holiday with Peabo Bryan, James Ingram, Stephanie Mills, and Denise Williams. Sit back as they lull you through the most stressful of holidays with cool beats and melodic saxophones.

Journey to the Heartland: A Seasonal and Traditional World Music Celebration, 4 p.m. Dec. 10, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1700 South Road, Mount Washington, (410) 367-7287, suggested donation $15, seniors and students $5, kids 8 and under free. A Celtic concert featuring the hammered dulcimer player and fiddler from the popular band Helicon, Ken Kolodner.

Kenny Rogers Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 14, Hippodrome Theatre, France Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St., (410) 837-7400, www.france-merrickpac.com, $45-$75. The Gambler will delight you with old-time country and Christmas songs for the holidays. He might even have a festive story or two hidden in his plastic surgery. Kidding, Kenny, you our boo.

Largely Ludwig Chamber Ensemble Christmas Program, 7 p.m. Dec. 15, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 10 E. Mount Vernon Place, (443) 850-7359, $5-$15. The Largely Ludwig Chamber Ensemble performs a program of works by Albinoni and Beethoven, along with Russian songs and Provencal carols, with guest artist James Olin on trombone. A holiday sing-along follows. And children are absolutely invited.

Handel’s Messiah, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, 3 p.m. Dec. 17, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Main Stage, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $34, students $14. Just a lovely piece of classical music sure to become a part of your own annual traditions. Sunday’s matinee is a family-friendly concert with only Part I of Messiah followed by carols and a sing-along.

Holiday Spectacular with the BSO, Dec. 15-23, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8000, www.baltimoresymphony.org , $25-$75. Join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conductor Jack Everky, Sandi Patti hosting and singing, and the Holiday Spectacular Chorus and Dancers for a series of holiday songs that will get your festive juices flowing. Forget the stress of gift-wrapping gone wrong and holiday gifts not bought, don some velvet, and go see some dancing Santas.

Point of Grace: Winter Wonderland Tour, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Lyric Opera House, 140 W Mount Royal Ave., (410) 547-7328, www.lyricoperahouse.org, $20-$35. Look out for this quartet of women looking to spread the word of God through song. They’re living in the Lipstick Jungle of Christian music—having jobs and raising families, and hosting Girls of Grace conferences. Take your older sister and mom and rock out with your cross out.

Holiday Extravaganza, 8 p.m. Dec. 16, 3 p.m. Dec. 17, C5, Cecil Community College, 1 Seahawk Drive, Northeast, (410) 287-1037, $20, seniors $18, kids $10. A mix of musicians from all over the region will gather to give a proper holiday concert including all of your favorite songs. Enjoy the Cecil festivities.

Christmas from Dublin with the Three Irish Tenors, 8 p.m. Dec. 21, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Main Stage, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $36, seniors, students, and members $32. Three talented chums—Ciaran Nagle, Tony Norton, and Brian Dunphy—made a game plan over a pint or two of Guinness and instead of forgetting the next day, they formed the Celtic sensation, Three Irish Tenors. Don’t be surprised if an Annapolis housewife or two throws a pair of panties on stage at the boys.


Open Houses and Tours

Mill Centre Artists Holiday Art Weekend, noon-5 p.m. Nov. 18-19, Mill Centre, 3000 Chestnut Ave., www.millcentre.com, free. Connect with Baltimore’s up-and-coming and established artists for this holiday open house/gallery with a behind-the-scenes look at where the magic happens. Featuring not only an assortment of funky, quirky holiday gifts for sale, but also unreleased art works that the artists are probably staying up all night finishing right now.

Annual Symphony Associates presents 13th Annual Symphony Homes for the Holidays in Historic Hampton, Nov 30-Dec. 2, 1105 Providence Road, (410) 783-8000, $20, $15 advance. Six homes in Hampton will be festively decorated for the holidays in Rutland Beard, Marlo, McCrystle and Jones, and Hunt Valley floral designs. Also check out the Jungle Princess, Dorothy Lamour’s old digs, as a part of the tour.

Clipper Mill Holiday Open House, 5:30-8 p.m. Nov. 30, Clipper Mill, 2010 Clipper Park Road, (443) 573-4460, free. This event almost got shoved under the Shopping designation, but the open studios ‘til 7 p.m. and an outdoor party around the fire pit (!) 6:30-8 p.m. changed our mind. Sure, the Clipper Mill artists will be shilling their best artist endeavors, priced to move, but the environment in which to browse just can’t touch a simple term like “shopping.” Bring your wallet.

Evening Candlelight Tour, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 2, tours start at Chase Court, 1112 St. Paul St., (4420 534-2370, www.hollytour.com, $100. Tour magnificent houses in Mount Vernon that won’t be on the Sunday tour (see below). Benefits Mount Vernon restoration efforts.

Mount Vernon Holly Tour, 11 a.m.-3p.m. Dec. 3, tours start at Chase Court, 1112 St. Paul St., (443) 524-2370, www.hollytour.com $20-$60. Tour the restorations at Mount Vernon Place to see some of Charm City’s original architecture. Leave no mansion left untoured (ha) and be sure to gaze at the art collections inside these relic homes. Also, throw down the extra dough for a buffet brunch at the Brass Elephant soon, because it will surely sell out.

Colonial Christmas at Mount Clare, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9, Mount Clare Museum house, Carroll Park, 1500 Washington Blvd., (410) 837-3262, www.mountclare.org, $6, seniors $5, students $4, kids ages 5 and under free. Plan to spend the afternoon in the 18th century. The colonial Georgian manor, once home of the Carroll family, will be yuletided, the Monumental City Ancient Fife and Drum Cops are performing in the late morning, and the Singers Madrigale are performing throughout the day. And take advantage of their annual holiday greens and gift sale. A wreath is always an aromatic investment.


Mistle-aneous

Holiday Traditions at Evergreen House, noon-4 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 4545 N. Charles St., (410) 516-0341, www.jhu.edu, $1. Tour the Evergreen House with accompaniment of music, decorations, cookies, and hot cider. The tours will be given every half hour this weekend making it easier to fit into your busy holiday schedule.

Candlelight Tour at Elk Run, 5-7 and 7-9 p.m. p.m. Dec. 16, Elk Run, 15113 Liberty Road, Mt. Airy, (410) 775-2513, www.elkrun.com/events.asp, $20. If you’re feeling a little stingy around the holidays because you just shelled out dough for a slew of holiday gifts, then this Candlelight tour is well within your means. Sip wine straight out of the barrel and delight yourself with the process of wine making.

Holiday Festival of Trains at the B&O, Nov. 24-Dec. 30, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St., (410) 752-2490, www.borail.org. Everyone loves the miniature world of model trains and this festival features many different layouts and particular models that mean little to the lay person, but tiny fake trees are cool. Plus, Santa will be around on the weekends for the obligatory visits with the kiddos.

Downtown Holiday Lunch Party, noon-2 p.m. Nov. 30, Downtown Baltimore, (410) 244-1030, www.godowntownbaltimore.com, free. For some reason, downtown businesses want you to stop by their lobbies for two hours the end of November for a snack or two from local restaurants, and they’ve been extending the invitation for four years’ running. Be a part of the fifth.

Fells Point Art Loop, 5-9 p.m. Dec. 1, Main Street, Fells Point, (410) 675-8900, www.fellspointdevelopment.com, free. We all know Fells Point has a monthly art walk, but this one is going to be holiday-tastic. About 20 galleries will be hosting shows and you can be sure there will be some fine wine and water crackers on display too. Get inspired to make your own gift wrap.

Dickens Tasting Room, wine tastings 1-5 p.m. Dec. 2, Elk Run, 15113 Liberty Road, Mt. Airy, (410) 775-2513, www.elkrun.com/events.asp, $6. Dickens’ work will be read in the 1756 home of Fred Wilson. Yummy, stewy, mulled wine will be served and carols sung. If you love good literary work and wine, this is an event not to be missed. House tours take place noon-4 p.m.

Winter’s Eve at the National Colonial Farm, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 2, the Accokeek Foundation, 3400 Bryan Point Road, Accokeek, (301) 283-2113. Features an illuminated pathway leading to the decorated 18th-century farmhouse and outkitchen filled with costumed hosts serving cozy cranberry tea and cookies, plus music and a lovely museum gift shop for shopping.

Parade of Lighted Boats, 6 p.m. Dec. 2, Inner Harbor, (410) 342-4858, free. We love this: 40 sail and powerboats lit up like Las Vegas parade along the waterfront through Fells Point and the Inner Harbor. It’s probably the closest we’ll get to the Fells Point Yacht Club.

Holiday Workshop, 6:30-8 p.m. Dec. 5, Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care, 6601 N. Charles St., (443) 849-8251, free, but registration is required. Don’t fret if you need a little extra support dealing with this time of year, there’s a reason we list this workshop every year, wink. With information and suggestions, not to mention a room full of people that feel sorta like you do, it’ll help you cope and maybe offer some hope. But no dope. Drugs don’t lift a bummer.

The Travis Winkey Fashion Show, 1-2 p.m. Dec. 9, Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington Market, (410) 685-6169, www.lexingtonmarket.com. A catwalk teeming with clothing and jewelry by local designers co-hosted by media mavens, Patrice Harris of Fox 45 and WSMJ radio’s Randy Dennis.

Winter Solstice Celebration: Solstice Circle, Opening Reading, and Feminist Bazaar, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Friends Stony Run Meeting House, 5116 N. Charles St., (410) 668-4399, www.baltimorenow.org, free. The Solstice Circle, lead by the storyteller Gwen Marable, marks “the turning point when the darkness of the longest night gives way to the emerging sunlight” with personal reflections and granola. Kidding about the granola—this sounds nice. An open reading follows, along with refreshment and a feminist gift bazaar.

Nic-n-Naughty Holiday Spectac-U-Thon, 9 p.m. Dec. 22, the Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, www.theottobar.com. Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey are throwing another cabaret-style party and y’all are invited. Hosted by New York’s Miss Astrid and co-starring—alongside the buff chick and her monkey—Dr. Lucky and Santa with Mr. Momotaro spinning da vinyl.


Helping Others

Festival of Trees, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 24-25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 26, Cow Palace, Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium, (443) 923-7300, www.festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org, $10, ages 5-12 and seniors $5, kids 4 and under free. A festive arena of fabulous tables filled with crafts, jewelry, unique clothing items, handmade foodstuffs, entertainment, toys, and more, along with lovely decorated trees, wreaths, and a train garden to delight the eye. Shop for gifts while remembering how hard Kennedy Krieger works to bring hope to all of the children they treat. Speaking of the little ones, Milkshake serves up their favorite music in concerts 9:15 and 11 a.m. Nov. 24.

Elf Night, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 12, Salvation Army Warehouse, 3401 Roland Ave., (410) 366-6030, ext. 115, or email Naomi at naomi@volunteercentral.net, free, but registration is required. Be an angel and help other volunteers sort and wrap all the toys and clothing collected by the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program, and more than 3,000 children in our community will have something special to unwrap this holiday. Let’s meet up at Café Hon after for a winter brew and reflection.

Baltimore’s Top Singles Party and Auction, 7-11 p.m. Dec. 14, Engineers Club, Garrett-Jacobs Mansion, 11 W. Mount Vernon Place, (410) 752-4200, www.baltimoremagazine.net, $90, $75 advance. Okay, no holiday theme here, but if bidding on a lunch date with a Baltimore top single means benefiting the work the Casey Cares Foundation does for critically ill children, we’re behind it. Plus, no one should be dateless this time of year, it’s depressing. (see Holiday workshop Dec. 5.)

Magic at the Mill, Nov. 18-19, Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage, (410) 792-2820, www.savagemill.com, free. Magicians, presentations by game-board designers on new products, and circus magic for the kids; free wine and beer tastings for you-know-who. And don’t miss the Parade of Trees, each one decorated by a Savage Mill shop in the name of a local charity. Vote for your fave by donated $5. All proceeds go, along with a little extra scratch from Savage Mill, straight to the charities. Remember A Charlie Brown Christmas? We’re just saying vote on some of the Charlie ones, too.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk, registration 7:30 a.m., race begins 9 a.m. Nov. 18, Centennial Park, 1000 Route 108, Ellicott City, (800) 365-3811 www.arthritis.org, register online and start collecting donations, especially from co-workers that are always hitting you up for Girl Scout cookies. Love to run? That’s okay, you can walk the 5K to support the Arthritis Foundation to help others, and burn off those Girl Scout cookies. Come as you are, bring a friend or your family, and get pumped to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation, leading efforts to prevent, control, and cure the terrible disease.

Iams Home 4 the Holidays through Dec. 31, Baltimore-area shelters, www.home4theholidays.com; www.home4theholidays.com. Why not adopt a pet for the holidays? They need a home and you need a friend, and your kids would be grateful. Lots of animals are lost and made homeless in hurricanes, natural disasters, and sometimes just left by the wayside. Aww. Give these guys a home and Iams will give you puppy or kitten kits to help you take care of your new-found friend, gratis.

Festival of Giving, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 17, Mondawmin Mall, Gwynn Falls Parkway and Liberty Heights Avenue, and Reisterstown Road, (410) 523-1534, ext. 7030, $5. Real simple and Mondawmin Mall are offering local non-profits, schools, and hospitals and opportunity to sell $5 tickets good for awesome discounts on all sorts of merchandise on this one day. And the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra is throwing down a concert at 1 p.m..


New Year's Eve

First Night Annapolis, 2 p.m.-midnight Dec. 31, various venues Downtown Annapolis, (410) 268-8553, www.firstnightannapolis.org, $15-$22, seniors and ages 13-17 $12-$14, ages 6-12 $8-$10, ages 5 and under free. The way F.N.A. works, see, is you buy a button (cheaper the earlier you buy—check the web site for purchasing info) and wearing it New Year’s Eve gets you free access to performances in 20 venues in downtown Annapolis, starting with a children’s program at 2 p.m.. It’s a nice way bounce around safely on the night of crazies. Just drive safely once you leave the capital.

New Years Eve at Sonar, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. Dec. 31, Sonar, 407 E. Sarasoga St., (410) 327-8333, www.sonarbaltimore.com, $50. Dance in the new year. mon, with the regggae and funky sounds of Jah Works and the All Mighty Senators. Plus, DJs and the Power Movement Project, top shelf open bar all night, and breakfast in 2007.

New Years Eve Celebration, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Dec. 31, Inner Harbor, (410) 752-8632, World Trade Center tickets $25, kids $20. Charm City’s finest is at it again, lighting up the new year with another fireworks extravaganza. Take your pick of locations: enjoy the show harbor-side at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater with musical guests 3 Hour Drive and Gary and the Groove, or throw down the extra $25 and cozy up to the view from the World Trade Center observation level.

USS Constellation’s New Year’s Eve Deck Party, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Dec. 31, USS Constellation, 301 Pratt St., Pier 1, Inner Harbor, (410) 539-1797, www.constellation.org, $75, children $25, members $60 and member children $20. The Inner Harbor fireworks are world class; this year, treat yourself and your partner to a view of them from the water. All aboard for an evening of good food, champagne at midnight and other bevies throughout the night, party favors, and cannon firings! Proceeds benefit the Constellation museum.

Talking Head New Year’s Eve Closing Party, Dec. 31, Talking Head`, 203 Davis St., (410) 962-5588, www.talkingheadclub.com Celebration, Vincent Black Shadow, Moonshine, Wzt Hearts, and others play their own version of a funeral dirge for the red-headed stepsister club that we learned to love in all its adorable filth. Say farewell to the Talking Head on the last night of 2006. Cheers. Kiss.

Related stories

Holiday Guide Feature archives

More Stories

Stuffed (11/18/2009)
The 2009 City Paper Holiday Guide

The Gifts That Count (11/18/2009)
The presents that have stayed in our writers' thoughts

The Wish List (11/18/2009)
Gifts we wish we could afford

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