2007 Holiday Guide
Our Annual Compendium of Cool Stuff to Do and See This Season
We planned on going to a pumpkin patch/haunted corn maze/hay ride the weekend before Halloween and it rained. Leave it to us to screw up well-meaning and quite seasonal plans by going all out too late in the game. Don't you miss out on any of Baltimore's holiday festivities because of inclement weather, or because you ran outta time. Along with lists of what's hitting Baltimore's stages and concert halls, we've included open houses, children's stuff, ways to help others, interesting shopping opportunities, and whatever else we could stuff this here Holiday Calendar bird with. So get to planning some fun family events, or get together with friends or fly solo during the chilly months leading to the New Year, and we promise you'll sleep better. Entertainment is our winter stress reliever. Cheers, and we'll see you next year.
Christmas Market, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 15, Carroll County Farmer's Market, Agriculture Center, 700 Agriculture Center Drive, Westminster, free. Baked goods, handmade crafts, jellies, gourmet condiments, jewelry, and all the holiday-themed stuff you see at country craft fairs and think you can make but you really can't.
Winterfest, preview 6-8 p.m. Nov.16, opening 6-8 p.m. Nov.17, through Dec. 22, Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave., (410) 578-1919, www.baltimoreclayworks.org, free. Fun, decorative, functional, unique, and practical works of clay are on display in Baltimore Clayworks' yearly holiday exhibition. And stop by the exhibition's opening and celebration for inspiration--maybe this is the year for a Clayworks membership.
Holiday Small Works Exhibit, 2-6 p.m. Nov. 17-Jan. 12, Light Street Gallery, 1448 Light St., (410) 234-0047, www.lightstreetgallery.com, free. The tagline is "You Gotta Have Art!", and the smaller the better (and cheaper) as far as we're concerned.
Holiday Artist Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 23, Cultural Arts Center of Frederick County, 15 W. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 662-4190, www.frederickartscouncil.org, free. An indoor art and craft market featuring work from local and regional artists in all genres of the creative arts. Coinciding with Frosty Friday in downtown Frederick, the market will include holiday activities and, fingers crossed, a visit from Frosty himself.
The Un-Black Friday Celebration, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 23, Belvedere Square, corner of York Road and Belvedere Avenue, (443) 831-4466, www.belvederesquare.com, free. The pushing, shoving, fighting, and tension of standing outside of Best Buy at 4 a.m. for a HD flat screen is so 2006. Get some shut eye Thanksgiving night and stroll over to Belvedere Square at your leisure the day after for merriment and relaxing consumerism. We might be a society in love with capital, but it should accompany gourmet food, boutiques, and a life of distinction, no?
Bazaart Artful Holiday Shopping, First Dibs 5-8 p.m. Nov. 23, $20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 24, free, American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, www.avam.org. Original artwork from more than 50 regional artists, and given the museum's reputation, we're expecting the most original work the city has to offer. Cheers to crazy art.
Holiday Art Liquidation, 2-8 p.m. Sat. 23, 5-9 p.m. Nov. 24, Flux Studios, 1821 N. Charles St., www.thisisflux.com, free. Insure that you provide the most unique gifts this season by shopping at this local artist liquidation sale, where everything is under $100 and everything goes. Artists are invited to drop off their work noon-3 p.m. Nov. 17-18 at the gallery. (No fees or registration required, but 20 percent of sale price goes to the house.)
Holiday Mart, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 24-25, Carroll Mansion, 800 E. Lombard St., (443) 514-5900, $4. An indoor holiday show--inside the historic mansion, with Christmas cookies--featuring wonderfully unique clothing, toys, holiday decorations, home décor, jewelry, and accessories from the Woman's Industrial Exchange. If you've ever been to its store on Charles Street, you know just how talented these women are, plus all proceeds from the Mart will go to the Carroll Museums, Woman's Industrial Exchange, and Historic Jonestown.
Design Shop, Winter Party Fundraiser 7-11 p.m. Nov. 30, shop open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 1-8, Contemporary Museum, 100 W. Centre St., (410) 783-5720, www.contemporary.org, $50 for Winter Party. Inspired art melts into the holiday season with the museum's Winter Party cocktail fundraiser and shopping preview followed by a week of open art-buying. Birdhouses from a Dutch design group, tea kettles, tabletop art, rare pieces, and work from the MoMA are all up for grabs in the Design Shop.
Holiday Heap, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1, St. John's Church, 2640 St. Paul St., www.charmcitycraftmafia.com, free. Presented by the Charm City Craft Mafia only months after Pile of Craft and backed by Bust, Bitch, and the Ottobar, the crafty gangstas return with indoor holiday shopping from local vendors. Keep your money in the city's flow and give as unique as you are.
Gifts For You! Gifts For Me!, noon-6 p.m. Dec. 1, Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, 40 S. Carroll St., Frederick, (301) 698-0656, www.delaplaine.org, free. Jewelry, cards, paintings, decorative items, and gifts from Frederick artists beat the cheap junk at Target and makes you look thoughtful for picking up something hand-crafted. The show is held during the same night as Gallery Walk, so you get a jump start on parking downtown in addition to knocking out the stressful holiday shopping with local goods.
Members Holiday Shopping Day, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 2, Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (410) 889-3399, www.artbma.org, free. Membership (which we don't have--hint, wink) has its privileges.
The 140th Eastern National Show, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 2, Montgomery County Agricultural Center, 16 Chestnut St., Gaithersburg, (410) 357-8451, $6. Promising more than 200 years of playthings, which includes dolls, lace, carriages, trains, and goods made from china, wood, iron, tin, and really delicate stuff, this gift show is the place to find an antique toy that shows Grandma you appreciate her collection of pre-Civil War dolls.
!Merry Mart!, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 2, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, free, cash bar. Mosey over to the Patterson for presents as charismatic as the people in your life with offerings from more than 40 artists including Baltimore Glassworks, Mark Supik, Devin Mack, Sue Lowe, Laurie Flannery, and Monica Broere. Food, drinks, and entertainment will also be available, turning this shopping extravaganza into a shopping party.
Holiday Craft Show and Sale, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 5, Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Parkway, (410) 777-2480, www.aacc.edu, free. Baltimore doesn't have a monopoly on handmade crafts, so check out this holiday mart if you're down south in an Anne Arundel kinda way the first Wednesday in December.
Midnight Madness, after dark to midnight Dec. 6 and 13, Annapolis, (410) 956-0182, www.annapolisbusinessassoc.com, free. Historic Annapolis decorates its downtown streets, hosts live music, and welcomes your holiday scratch through midnight. Be sure and hit a coffee shop mid-shop for a perk and biscotti.
34th Annual Holiday Pottery Sale, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Towson University Center for the Arts Ceramics Studio, Cross Campus Drive, (410) 704-2787, www.centerforthearts.towson.edu, free. Featuring handcrafted ceramics from Towson University's students and faculty ranging from functional pottery to decorative work meant to hang on the wall. (We seriously need a spoon holder for the stovetop if anyone's asking.)
Rock `N' Shop, 8 p.m. Dec. 9, Black Cat, 1811 14th St. N.W., (202) 667-7960, www.blackcatdc.com, free. Why buy a rustic-looking toilet paper dispenser shaped like a rooster when your sister wants more vinyl for her collection? Does anyone really eat mint jelly made in the wild hills of West Virginia? No? Then come to this here rock garage sale and buy something your family really wants: cool shit.
Creative Alliance Members' Holiday Hoo-Hah 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, $10, $7 with dish to share. Join the CA's members as they roast a turkey--you bring the side dishes for a smorgasbord of goodies--and hold an auction from the artwork that's been collecting dust in the back. Artistic director Jed Dodds may even play the saw as you browse.
Chrysanthemum Display: Wild With Imagination, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Nov. 25, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1453, free. These chrysanthemums have been shaped into arctic and grassland animals in an uncreepy Edward Scissorhands zoological-themed floral adventure. Your kids will delight in the polar bear, wolf, walrus, 11-foot giraffe, lion, and ostrich.
Santa's Place at Harborplace and the Gallery, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 24, Harborplace and the Gallery, Inner Harbor, (800) 427-2671, www.harborplace.com, free, but the pix and key chain are gonna cost ya. Dress the kids up in velvet and lace or sporty wool and plaid for a photo op with Santa. We enjoy the crying or scared ones the best, but only if it's not our kid.
Hi Ho Tours, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 22-30, Geppi's Entertainment Museum, 301 W. Camden St., (410) 625-7064, www.geppismuseum.com, $10, seniors $9, students ages 5-18 $7, children under 4 free. Children fashion their own dunce, we mean dwarf cap and it's off to work they go roaming the museum mining for gems. All children-turned-dwarves receive a prize in this winter break holiday, and we promise it's not a poisoned apple.
Milkshake in Concert at the Festival of Trees, 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 23, Kennedy Krieger Institute's Festival of Trees, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium, (443) 923-7300, www.festivaloftrees.kennedy-krieger.org, $8, seniors and children under 12 $5, children under 4 free. Noggin and PBS Kids regular Milkshake, the band that delivers rock `n' roll for tykes of all ages, rocks out at Kennedy Krieger's holiday fest. Sound familiar outside child-friendly television? Singer Lisa Matthews and Mikel Gehl were once part of local rock outfit Love Riot. Matthews will share in the festive activities before the 6 p.m. show, allowing you and the tot to meet and greet this sweet, sweet lady.
Holiday Elf Rock `n' Romp, 3 p.m. Dec. 1,Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, $6, children ages 12 and under $3. Rock `n' Romp moves its family-friendly rock concerts from backyard BBQs indoors for the season with bands Secret Crush and Even So, allowing your holiday-costumed tykes to pogo, sway, shoegaze, and dance. Meanwhile you, of the quirky and devoted parent variety, get to sip beer, mingle, and enjoy music in an adult-supportive atmosphere.
Dreidel Hunt, 7:30-10 p.m. Dec. 1, Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., (410) 356-5200, $22, members $15. Be very quiet: They're hunting dreidels.
Seussical, 1 p.m. Dec. 1-16, Community College of Baltimore County Essex, 7201 Rossville Blvd., (410) 780-6369, www.ccbcmd.edu, $10. Rest your weary parental mind of the "Spirit of Giving" blah blah blah, nauseating programming for the rhyming fun of Dr. Seuss with its same general message devoid of talking teddy bears and elves.
Holiday Films, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Oregon Ridge Nature Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, (410) 887-1815, www.oregonridge.org, free. Cheer for the Mickey Rooney-voiced Kris Kringle as he defeats the Hitler-like Burgermeister Meisterburger of Sombertown, where toys are illegal in 1970's Santa Claus is Comin' to Town before singing the carols of Whoville in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Breakfast with Santa and Frosty the Snowman, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays Dec.8-23, Maryland Zoo, Druid Hill Park, (410) 366-5466, www.marylandzoo.org, $30, members $20, children under 2 $5. Join your holiday buddies Santa and Frosty for a breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, pancakes, orange juice, and coffee. Or join Santa while Frosty watches--he'd melt! Take this time for a photo op with your North Pole pals, and check out the polar bears, the zoo's unofficial but cuddly ambassadors.
Christmas for Kids, 11 a.m. Dec. 15, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 523-7070, www.baltimorechoralarts.org, $15. A visit from Ronnie the Reindeer and Santa accompany the Baltimore Choral Arts performance geared to the little ones.
The Golden Radio Buffs, 1 p.m. Dec. 15, Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1415 Key Highway, (410) 727-4808, $7, members $5. Introduce your children to the radio/audio version of 1947's Miracle on 34th Street in the BMI's Communications Gallery and prepare to leave convinced that Santa can travel the globe in one night, sneak into your house, and leave the goods behind.
Winter Break, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Dec. 26-Jan. 1, The Walters, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, www.thewalters.org, free. Shove the kids out the door and into the Walters' wonderland filled with hands-on activities, games, books, costumes, and carts o' art.
Holiday Art Making Workshop, 2 p.m. Dec. 28, Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (410) 889-3399, www.artbma.org, free. Make your own art worthy of gallery display in celebration of the wintry season.
Winter's Rejoicing, 8 p.m. Nov. 16-17 and 30 and Dec. 1, 2 p.m. Dec. 2, Towson University Stephens Hall Theater, 8000 York Road, (410) 704-2787, www.centerforthearts.towson.edu, $5-$10. The Modern Dance Repertoire joins Towson University's Dance Company and its Children's Dance Division through modern choreography and traditional holiday performances (Dance of the Tin Soldiers and Rainbow Etude among others). Celebrate winter before black ice freezes a black hole in your enthusiasm.
The Nutcracker Ballet, 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 8, 3 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9, Baltimore School for the Arts, 712 Cathedral St., (410) 230-7940, www.bsfa.org, $12, students $6. After a three-year renovation hiatus, the BSA debuts a new production choreographed just for the school by executive director of the Atlantic Ballet, Barry Hughes and featuring new sets and costumes. The Baltimore School of the Arts dancers also join the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to perform excerpts and highlights from The Nutcracker, keeping the in-seat squirming minimal in a shortened version of the Christmas ballet. For ages 3-6 with their families. (11 a.m. Dec. 8, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St.,  783-8000, $12-$20.)
Celtic Christmas Suites, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, (410) 636-6597, www.paalconcerts.org, $22. A ballet that isn't The Nutcracker; Maggie Sansone, lauded as one of the nation's finest hammered dulcimer performers presents a series of Celtic Yuletide traditions with choreography from the Ballet Theatre of Maryland.
The Nutcracker, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 7-9, Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 600-2828, www.weinbergcenter.org, $11-$25. New York City Ballet and Suzanne Farrell Ballet artists join Fredericktonians for the Weinberg's 28th year of the Nut. The story remains in its classic form, from dancing candies to fighting rats as the magical nutcracker transforms from toy to hero.
Ballet Theatre of Maryland Presents: The Nutcracker, 7 p.m. Saturdays, 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sundays Dec.8-16, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $43, seniors $36, students $23, children under 10 $18. The same ol' magical story, but with one special addition: The Maryland Hall is offering a free Sugar Plum Party, which guarantees to sweeten the deal. The SPP is free with any Sunday performance but you gotta hit `em up for further details.
The Case of the Missing Nutcracker, 7 p.m. Dec. 15, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $43, seniors $36, students $23, children under 10 $18. A new way to crack the Nut: help Clara find her missing Christmas present. Sherlock Holmes kit not included.
The Nutcracker, 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 3 p.m. Dec. 16, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, (410) 636-6597, www.chesapeakearts.org, $15, members $12, children 12 and under $8. Again, the classic Christmas tale told through ballet. Bring the kids, but hit the dentist soon, "studies" show dancing candies cause 80 percent of holiday-related cavities.
Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey 7 and 10 p.m. Dec. 22, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, $16, members $13. Sarcasm, dance, and humor are united by Monkey, Trixie, and Austrian hostess Miss Astrid in this holiday show of acrobatics and the art of burlesque in which tidings are good, nuts are cracked, and the holidays get a little racy.
The Great Russian Nutcracker, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19-21, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22, Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, www.lyricoperahouse.com, $35-$65. What? You said you've seen The Nutcracker? That's like saying every guy with a geetar in Jersey is The Boss. We'll be frank: The Russians know how to bring it to the stage in tutus and flats better than anybody else. Get your opera glasses and see the Moscow Ballet in Baltimore during its 15th year decked out Clara, Herr Dosselmeyer, and the Rat King.
Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 30-Dec. 22, Mobtown Theatre, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, (410) 467-3057, www.mobtownplayers.com, $12, seniors and students $10. Mrs. Cratchit just can't take it anymore--fed up with whining kids and a workaholic husband--and she finally loses her mind in this plight of a desperate housewife by Christopher Durang.
Amahl and the Night Visitors, 8 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 3 p.m. Dec. 2, Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Parkway, (410) 777-2457, www.aacc.edu/performingarts, $20, seniors $10, groups, students, AACC students $5. Gian Carlo Menotti's blissfully short holiday opera about a young boy with a big heart and his BFFZ, the Wise Men.
Red Neck Tenors, 8 p.m. Dec. 6-7, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 8, The Hippodrome, France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St,, (410) 837-7400, www.france-merrickpac.com, $35-$45. NASCAR meets opera in a fusion musical we're not surprised exists, given society's propensity for seeking entertainment based on trailer-park lore.
A Sleigh Ride Spectacular, 2 p.m. Dec. 6, 8 p.m.Dec. 7-8, 3 p.m. Dec. 9, Community College of Baltimore County Essex, 7201 Rossville Blvd., (410) 780-6369, www.ccbcmd.edu, $8, seniors, students, and CCBC faculty, staff, and alumni $5. An all-original, non-Dickensian, probably guilt-free, totally musical, holiday spectacular.
Hack and Slash Christmas Special: The Musical, 8 p.m. Dec. 7-8, 3 p.m. Dec. 9, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, (410) 636-6597, www.chesapeakearts.org, $25, VIP Gold $50, VIP $40, preferred seating $30. Holiday-themed pajama party featuring a satirical rendition of Dickens' pot-boiler Christmas classic. A portion of the profits will be donated to Make-a-Wish foundation--paired with the comfort of wearing jim-jams to the theater--it's hard to yell, "Bah humbug!"
A Christmas Carol, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 7-16, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, (410) 636-6597, www.chesapeakearts.org, $15, members $12, children 12 and under $8. An old curmudgeon finds the Spirit of Christmas through a short kid who will keel over as the result of the Industrial Revolution and poverty before the New Year. Good times.
The Splendor of Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15, family presentation 10:30 a.m. Dec. 15, Trinity Assembly of God, 2122 W. Joppa Road, (410) 821-6188, ext. 130, www.trinitychristmas.com, $9-$17. With a humorous first half and meaningful second, this elaborate production celebrates the holiday with the help of a choir made up of 100 voices, a 30-piece orchestra, and a cast of over 80 spirit-filled children, teens, and adults.
Home for the Holidays: A Cabaret, 5 and 8:15 p.m., Dec. 10, Towson University Center for the Arts, Cross Campus Drive, (410) 704-2787, www.centerforthearts.towson.edu, $12, seniors $10, Towson University faculty and staff $7, students $5. Jazz vocalist Jeremy Ragsdale collaborates with Philip Collister and Leneida Crawford to croon your holiday favorites: "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," and more.
Stoop Storytelling: Holidays from Hell, Part Deaux, 7 p.m. Dec. 10, Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., (410) 332-0033, www.creativealliance.org, $15, $12 advance. Presented by the Creative Alliance, Stoop Storytelling takes on the holidays just like last year . . . which included vomiting and nudity. There's an undefeated joy in knowing somebody's holiday is worse than yours. Call it schadenfreude or call us all sadists, but we'll call it humor-based therapy.
A Christmas Carol, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Lyric Opera House, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, www.lyricoperahouse.com, $20-$40 plus $2 restoration fee. The Lyric Opera House's re-telling about the ol' geezer wandering through London in the 19th century with the ghosts of his past is the most accurate version offered in Baltimore. Using elaborate and true-to-the-times sets (from designer James Othuse) and costumes, the stage is transformed into Victorian London in this theatrical version of Dickens' tale. Extra bonus? The performance includes several Christmas tales spun into the piece.
Crusty Bakers Holiday Krunch! or The Great Cookie Conundrum, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-16, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, $12, members $10, children $8. Four bakers are roped into what may be the scariest order ever: baking goods for every citizen on the planet. Stohlen, gingerbread, challah, and cookies are on a Christmas Eve deadline jeopardized by the ticking clock and inevitable food fight. Starring physical comedian Steve Lampredi, cookie lovers city-wide hold their breath in hopes of a sweet delivery by Christmas Eve.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 13-23, Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St., (410) 276-7837, www.fpct.com, $20, seniors $17, students$15. The Herdmans remind a town that the true meaning of Christmas transcends hating your neighbors. We can relate to the flippancy, but how bad are you that an entire town can't stand you? Whatever, Imogene is the coolest name ever, even if she's a middle-school cigar smoker.
BSO Holiday Spectacular, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 21-22, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 2 p.m. Dec. 23, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8170, www.bsomusic.org, $27-$84, children $15-$60, large groups $20 a seat. What may the most Christmas-inclusive Baltimore stage performance of all time, the Spectacular includes caroling, dudes in suits, dancing Santas doing the can-can, ladies dressed suspiciously like rockettes, and some Scrooge-like activities. Seriously, if we could get some dreidels, kinara candles, and a Festivus pole on that stage, we'd be set to knock out all of the holidays in one night.
A Christmas Carol, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Dec. 16, Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 600-2828, www.weinbergcenter.org, $20, seniors and students $18, children $10. Presented by Maryland Ensemble Theater's Fun Company, an ol' miser learns that the true meaning of Christmas is about staying up all night and hangin' out with dead people. But this isn't a M. Night Shyamalan film, so it's okay to take the kids, too.
Harborplace and the Gallery Thanksgiving Parade, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 17, Pratt and Howard streets, www.bop.org, free. It's not that we need more crazed activity in the hub of the only-place-tourists-go, but in the spirit of marching bands, windy fall weather, and the dawn of the holidays, we'll let it go.
Pre-Thanksgiving Vegetarian Potluck, 5 p.m. Nov. 18, North Baltimore Mennonite Church, 4615 Roland Ave., (410) 366-8343, www.vrg.org, $4, children free. The Vegan Resource Group celebrates their 26th annual vegetarian pre-Turkey fest. Vegan dishes with a 3x5 ingredient card to represent your group's contribution and representation are encouraged. Turkey is dry, who really needs the bird, anyway? Vegetarian non-perishable items are encouraged as donations to the church, who will distribute to those in need.
3rd Annual Laurel 5K Casey's Crab Co. Turkey Trot, 7 a.m. Nov. 22, starts at First United Methodist Church, Laurel, (301) 725-3093, www.laureladvocacy.org, $25. There's something ironic about running a marathon on the same day an entire nation is gormandizing on food, right? Okay, you run, benefit the non-profit Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services, Inc., and we'll cover your portions at the table.
Miracle on 34th Street, starts around 6 p.m. nightly Nov. 24 through New Year's Eve, 34th Street between Keswick Road and Chestnut Avenue, Hampden, free. Cars line up for blocks and traffic cops guide the patient onto the most festive street in Charm City, but the decorations and lights are worth the trouble. Think about taking in a drink or dinner before or after and walking the block at your own speed. (Rest in Peace Mark Harp, we miss you.)
Fells Point Miracle on Main Street, Dec. 1 and 8, Fells Point, (410) 675-8900, www.fellspointdevelopment.com, free. Step into Olde Tyme Christmas on Broadway Square when Santa arrives by tugboat 9 a.m. Dec. 1 and don't miss the tree lighting 5 p.m. Dec. 8. With egg nog and figgy pudding competitions, Fells Point offers more than inspired shopping and corner taverns in December.
Kwanzaa Celebration, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Dec. 1, Morgan State University, New Student Center, Hillen Road between Argonne Drive and Cold Spring Lane, (443) 885-4329, www.morgan.edu/kwanzaa, free, but each child must be registered. Children from kindergarten through high school are invited to learn the importance of this African-American holiday through cultural stations, a theater performance, music, a special feast, and more. Registration begins at 11 a.m.
20th Annual Parade of Lighted Boats, 6 p.m. Dec. 1, Inner Harbor and Fells Point, (410) 342-4858, www.fpyc.net, free. The Fells Point Yacht Club presents the 20th annual parade of over 30 sail and power boats lit up like crazy and making a coupla passes through the Inner Harbor and Fells Point. Perfect background for an evening stroll in the chilly weather.
Mayor's Christmas Parade, 2 p.m. Dec. 2, starts at Poly/Western Complex at the corner of Falls Road and Coldspring Lane, heads south on Falls to 36th, continues east to Chestnut, and finally ends at 37th Street, www.mayorschristmasparade.com, free. You don't even have to wake up early to enjoy the parade's 35th annual trek through Hampden, just grab some hot cho-cho and meet your friends on the corner of whatever and whatever to watch the Mummers String Band, floats and high school bands, a steam calliope, 150 Harleys, and Mayor Dixon pass on by.
Hands-on-Holidays Chanukah Party, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Dec. 4, Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., (410) 356-5200, family $8, JCC member family $5. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Dec. 5, Weinberg Park Heights JCC, 5700 Park Heights Ave., family $8, JCC member family $5. Parents with children ages 18 months to three years can include the older and younger siblings, too, for a morning of crafty activities, latkes, and Chanukah singing.
Family Festival, 5 p.m. Dec. 6, Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., (410) 356-5200, free. Celebrate the Festival of Lights with a menorah lighting, live entertainment, gelt, arts and crafts, donuts, and family portraits with Judah Maccabee.
A Monumental Occasion, party starts 5:30 p.m., lighting right before 7 p.m. Dec. 6, 600 Mount Vernon Place, (410) 244-1030, www.godowntownbaltimore.com, free. Can you name another city that forgoes a ginormous fir in lieu of turning a monument of stone into its own beautiful display of lights? Forget the stale popcorn and ornaments made by school children, the Washington Monument is our tree. Yeah, the lights have been up since early November, but the official lighting includes fireworks and vendors selling bevies to warm you up.
Little Italy Tree Lighting, 6 p.m. Dec. 7, corner of High and Stiles streets, Little Italy, free. Carolers and Santa will be on hand to help trim the tree in this charming neighborhood. Enjoy hot apple cider, real roasted chestnuts, and cookies while you decide which restaurant in which to dine.
White Christmas, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 22, Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 600-2828, www.weinbergcenter.org, $6, seniors, students, and children $4, Bing Crosby and Rose Marie Clooney frolic through a wintry wonderland during WWII in this Technicolor and VistaVision film with uncredited choreography by Bob "jazz hands" Fosse.
Kwanzaa Celebration, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 29, noon-5 p.m. Dec. 30, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 Pratt St., (443) 263-1800, www.africanamericanculture.org, $5, children 16 and under $1. Celebrate the fourth and fifth days of the African-American holiday celebration Kwanzaa by taking part in the museum's art activities and education sessions. And for fun, take in the performances and films .
Kwanzaa Family Day, 1-5 p.m. Dec. 30, Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, (410) 889-3399, www.artbma.org, free. End the year by learning/celebrating/renewing the Nguzo Saba or Seven Principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, collective economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
One Wintry Night: Christmas with David Phelps, 7 p.m. Nov. 17, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, (410) 636-6597, www.chesapeakearts.org, artist circle $25, $15 advance. World recording artist David Phelps presents his first Christmas-project-in-the-form-of-a-concert performing music from his holiday album of the same name.
Music at Daedalus Books, select weekend afternoons Nov. 18-Dec. 15, Daedalus Books and Music, Belvedere Square, 5911 York Road, (410) 464-2701, www.daedalusbooks.com, free. Canned Santa music sucks, especially when you're shopping. Take advantage of more than the discount books at Daedalus this season when they bring in live music: Jazz Nov. 18, Andean music of the Mystic Warriors Nov. 23, the New Wave (choral) Singers Dec. 8, and the Channel Cats Blues Band Dec. 15.
Koz X Mas Show, 8 p.m. Nov. 26, the Hippodrome, France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St., (410) 837-7400, www.france-merrickpac.com, $45-$68. Smooth jazz and pop sensation Koz performs holiday jazz in his infective style courtesy WTMD-FM.
Peter White's Christmas, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Nov. 27, Ram's Head Tavern, 33 West St., Annapolis, (410) 268-4545, www.ramsheadtavern.com, $50. Peter White stuffs your stocking with the assistance of Rick Braun and Mindi Abair. Expect your nylons to overflow with smooooth jazz, funk, and rock, to the tunes of Christmas season. Ho.
Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 8420 Bel Air Road, (410) 529-3522, $25, students $10, children 12 and under free. A mélange of Christmas classics including highlights from Handel's Messiah, The Nutcracker, and traditional carols performed by St. Joseph's choir and acclaimed soprano Elizabeth Racheva. Better than a two-for-one special.
Holiday Concert Series at Lexington Market, noon-2 p.m. Mondays-Fridays in December, Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., (410) 685-6169, www.lexingtonmarket.com, free, but who leaves the Lex without dropping a few? Besides offering tasty meats, rolls and breads, veggies, sweets, and fruit for all your entertaining needs, Lexington Market hopes to make your shopping or lunching more pleasurable with local Baltimore City Public schools' music programs singing in the background.
The Vienna Boy's Choir, 3 p.m. Dec. 2, the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda, (301) 581-5100, www.strathmore.org, $15-$84. The Vienna Boys' Choir--a Menudo for classical music--gives the BSO a night off and fills the concert hall with heavenly vocals.
Christmas from Ireland with Three Irish Tenors, 7 p.m. Dec. 2, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $36, members $31. Ireland's well-known female artists the Three Irish Divas and miscellaneous super stars from the Emerald Isle join forces with the Tenors to bring you holiday luck via Irish music.
AACC Campus Activities Board's Holiday Thing, noon Dec. 3, Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Parkway, (410) 777-2043, www.aacc.edu/studentlife, free. Nashville's Meg Allison performs in the dining hall; free snow globes for AACC students.
Christmas with Choral Arts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 523-7070, www.baltimorechoralarts.org, $25-48. The acclaimed chorus, directed by Tom Hall, performs a melting pot of Christmas music.
Larry Carlton Family Christmas, 6 and 9 p.m. Dec. 5, Ram's Head Tavern, 33 West St., Annapolis, (410) 268-4545, www.ramsheadtavern.com, $35. Former Crusader Larry Carlton is joined by Michele Pillar to deliver lightning fast rock `n' roll, guitar solos, and the spirit of classic rock by way of holiday tunes. Sure beats the elevator-style carols in the mall, eh?
Turtle Island String Quartet with Leo Kottke: A Solstice Celebration, 8 p.m. Dec. 5, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, (301) 581-5100, www.strathmore.org, $18-$45. Hanukkah, Christmas, Diwali, Charlie Brown, and Miles Davis are all represented in this winter celebration.
Wassail at the Walters, 5-8:30 p.m. Dec. 6, the Walters, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, www.thewalters.org, free. Wassail sounds an awful lot like wallop or wail, but it's neither hitting nor yelling, but warm spiced cider. If that revelation wasn't exciting, studies show it's tastier with cookies and music for the low price of nothing.
The Annapolis Chorale presents A Celebration of Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6-7, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, www.marylandhall.org, $43. The Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Orchestra are joined by three female vocalists doing their individual thing: singer/songwriter Mollie Weaver, jazz singer Heather Venesile, and soprano Amy Cofield.
Handel's Messiah, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8170, also 8 p.m. Dec. 8, Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, www.bsomusic.org, $21-$84. Award-winning conductor and 25-year Baltimore Symphony Orchestra veteran Edward Polochick conducts the BSO in his personal favorite holiday masterpiece Messiah, not just at the Meyerhoff but for a second night at Strathmore for the first time. Polochick will break modern tradition in favor of the work's original presentation by conducting the orchestra and choir, just like Handel did, from the harpsichord.
A Great Joy, 8 p.m. Dec. 8, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 212 Cathedral St., (410) 783-8170, www.bsomusic.org, $15-$55. Darin Atwater's Soulful Symphony--made up of 75 musicians and vocalists--has been part of a proud tradition of African-American orchestras since 2000 and welcomes the season with an evening of Christmas music with a splash of gospel courtesy the Soulful Symphony Chorus.
Kevin Robinson Ensemble Holiday Jazz and Potluck, 8 p.m. Dec. 8, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, $15, members and those with covered dish $12. The potlucks of the Greatest Generations are about a mélange of the fridge's leftovers, heated to an unpleasant lukewarm. Turn the tables tonight, with your sketchbook and favorite dish as the uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow stories are replaced by the Kevin Robinson Ensemble, David Cunningham's on-stage painting spoken word artists, and 13-year-old alto savant David "Hawk" Diongue.
Sounds of the Season, 4 p.m. Dec. 9, Calvert Hall College High School, 8102 La Salle Road, (410) 617-1524, www.gbyo.com, $25. Baltimore's most talented classical youth perform Bizet's Farandole in addition to commercially jolly holiday classics.
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16, 7 p.m. Dec. 15, the Maryland State Boychoir Center for the Arts, 3400 Norman Ave., (410) 668-2003, www.marylandstateboychoir.org, $12-$22. Maryland's official Goodwill Ambassadors present a candlelit performance including works by Donald Fraser, John Rutter, Daniel Pinkham, Stephen Paulus, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. The choir boys are pretty cute, so you should be able to lure your teenage daughters--and gay sons--to this annual tradition.
Christmas with Aaron Neville and His Quintet, 8 p.m. Dec. 13, Ram's Head Tavern, 33 West St., Annapolis, (410) 268-4545, www.ramsheadtavern.com, $73.50. Part of New Orleans' acclaimed Neville Brothers, Aaron performs with his Quintet . . . which includes his saxophonist brother, Charles. Aaron had joined forces in the past with Linda Ronstadt, the WWF, and The Young and the Restless, but tonight Aaron performs Christmas music to encourage the holiday spirit. And cocoa butter.
Eileen Ivers: An Nolliag An Irish Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Lyric Opera House, 140 West Mount Royal Ave., (410) 685-5086, www.baltchamberorch.org, $30-$60. Eileen Avers warms our cold and embittered hearts through traditional Irish jigs, 12th-century carols, and celebratory music for Christmas Eve, St. Stephen's Day, and Boxing Day. Grab your straw hats, Wren Boys, and celebrate the holiday through the Emerald Isle.
Sing-it-Yourself Messiah, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, (410) 523-7070, www.baltimorechoralarts.org, $25-$35, $7 musical score at the door. Handel's classic turns audience-friendly in this auditorium-wide sing-along.
Jazz at Christmas, 8 p.m. Dec. 14, Ram's Head Tavern, 33 West St., Annapolis, (410) 268-4545, www.ramsheadtavern.com, $32. Eric Alexander performs tenor sax and is joined by Vince McCool on trumpet, Mike LeDonne on piano, James King on bass, and Brooks Tegler on drums. The quintet brings the cool sounds of jazz to a rapidly becoming unhip--and thankfully seasonal--genre.
Merry Tuba Christmas, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Harborplace Amphitheatre, Inner Harbor, (800)427-2671, www.harborplace.com, free. Holy horn section! Hundreds of tuba and euphonium blowers play traditional holiday tunes while you take pictures and talk yourself out of hitting Urban for a New Year's Eve ensemble because you still have to find something for your pops.
Merry F*cking Christmas, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Sonar, 407 East Saratoga St., (410) 327, 8333, www.sonarbaltimore.com, $10. Ten bands (that's $1 per band) rock all of Sonar's rooms in one massive, thrashing, pulsating holiday bash.
AACC Jazz Ensemble, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Parkway, (410) 777-2457, www.aacc.edu/performingarts, $10, AACC employees, seniors, and groups $7, AACC students $5. Winter jazz music led by director Marty Knepp.
Dangerously Delicious Pies Rock-N-Roll Holiday Extravaganza, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, the Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, www.theottobar.com, $25. The Glenmont Popes, the Exponentials, King Giant, Lump, 40 Acres, Johnny Love and Speed, and Agents of the Sun rock out in the spirit of the season. Affiliated with DDP, this party is serving sweet and savory pies, plus quiche. Cool, cuz we're burning out on cookies and beer.
Handel's Messiah, 3 p.m. Dec. 16, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 1200 Churchville Road, (410) 893-5669, www.harfordchoralsociety.org, $20, seniors $15, students $10, children under 12 free. The Harford Choral Society performs Handel's Messiah, accompanied by soloists and orchestra, natch.
A Choral Arts Christmas on the Court , 2 p.m. Dec. 16, the Walters, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, www.thewalters.org, free. Emmy Award-winning Baltimore Choral Arts Society Chamber Chorus joins Tom Hall for a return performance of Renaissance music in the museum's sculpture court. Could you get any more sophisticated?
Classic Christmas Carols, 5 p.m. Dec. 16, Old St. Paul's Church, Charles and Saratoga streets, (410) 685-3040, www.osp1692.org, free. The Choir of Men and Boys brings, umm, classic Christmas carols to this beautiful Mount Vernon church.
Messiah Sing-Along, 8 p.m. Dec. 18, Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 600-2828, www.weinbergcenter.org, $12, students $10. The Weinberg Center offers a theater-wide sing-along, inviting all to join in and sing Handel's Christmas oratorio. Sort of like living in Whoville, but more reverent, and within the confines of vaulted ceilings--which only add to the volume in acoustics, especially compared to joining hands around a tree.
The Washington Chorus: A Concert for Christmas, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Music Center at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, (301) 581-5100, www.strathmore.org, $15-$55. Modern Christmas tunes are woven with traditional carols and hymns in this classic ode to Christmas.
The Chromatics, 8 p.m. Dec. 22, The Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway, Greenbelt, (301) 441-8770, www.greenbeltartscenter.org, $12-$15. The colorful group returns for its annual holiday concert.
Handel's Messiah, 8 p.m. Dec. 5, Music Center at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, (301) 581-5100, www.strathmore.org, $29-$49. The National Philharmonic dares you to miss this rendition--classic, traditional, and worthy of the frills it takes to wear a tux to the theater.
Spank Rock X-Mas Party, Dec. 23, Talking Head, 203 Davis St., (410) 962-5588. Since 2k6's X-Mas bash with Spank Rock, the duo has opened for Björk, performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, dropped a 29-track mixtape, and shown up in Madden NFL 07. Despite these steps toward fame, Spank Rock remembers its roots, by throwing its fourth annual holiday bash at home.
Mill Centre Annual Holiday Arts Weekend, noon-5 p.m. Nov. 17-18, the Mill Centre, 3000 Chestnut Ave., (410) 243-0475, www.millcentre.com, free. If this weekend is anything like a party we crashed at the Mill Centre last year, look for a good time among the studio show and sale by resident artists and guests, but maybe not the Natty luge.
Magic at the Mill Weekend, noon-6 p.m. Nov. 17-18, Historic Savage Mill, (410) 792-2820, www.savagemill.com, free The mill weaves its history with holiday traditions, presenting family entertainment, antiques, workshops, live music, holiday portraits (dress up now for 2k8's Xmas mailer), and gallery events.
Garden of Lights, 5:30-9 p.m. (last car admitted at 8:30 p.m.) Nov. 17-Jan. 6, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1453, cars and vans $15, passenger buses $50-$120, cash only. 700,000 lights in the form of numerous holiday displays over the course of a self-guided half-mile. While some displays are stationary, many move, meaning the tour is more interactive, interesting, and attractive than cruising the neighborhood to gawk, gander, and ridicule the neighbors' 30-foot-tall inflatable reindeer display.
Holiday Festival of Trains 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.Sundays Nov. 23-Dec. 30, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St., www.borail.org, $14, seniors $12, children ages 2-12 $8, members and parking free. Share the old-fashioned magic of model trains with your children while reminiscing with the gray-hairs in your family at the Railroad Museum. Santa stops by Saturdays and Sundays, the busiest days, so plan your trip accordingly.
Yuletide Tour of Winterthur, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Nov. 28, Winterthur, (410) 228-7953, $60. Dorchester County Historical Society sponsors a trip back in time through a tour of Henry Francis du Pont's American Estate in Brandywine Valley--holiday ambiance of yore through 18 rooms documenting the holidays from the 18th century to present.
Mingle at the Mill, 5:30-8 p.m. Nov. 29, Clipper Mill, 2010 Clipper Park Road, (443) 573-4460, www.clippermill.net, free. Seek glass blowing, sculpture and painting sessions, and metalworking at this second annual event. Artists will open their own hallowed ground to showcase their work and provide demonstrations. Live music, drinks, and the best commercial bonfire of the season will follow the studio tour.
Holidays at the William Paca House, 5-7 p.m. members invitation, 7-9 p.m. general public Nov. 30, William Paca House, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis, $10, children ages 6-17 $7, children under 5 free. Go back in time, sans flux capacitor, to an uppercrust Victorian Christmas and learn why pineapples are hung on the evergreen tree and minute details of holiday traditions.
Open House and Holiday Show at Howard County Center for the Arts, 6-8 p.m. Nov. 30, Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, (410) 313-2787, www.hocoarts.org, free. Remember how cool it was hanging out in your parents' basement with your friends, watching television? It's the same in HoCo, except this event includes receptions for the exhibits Art HoCo 2007 and Fashion Statement. A step up--those basements only had wood paneling on which to rest your gaze.
BMI's Aglow!, dusk-8 p.m. Dec. 1-24, Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1415 Key Highway, (410) 727-4808, free. The BMI offers an alternative to cruisin' the streets by lighting its campus. You're welcome to stretch your legs walking or slowly gawking at the artistic display from the warmth of your car. It's just as free as the neighbors' plastic Santa on the roof, but vastly more interesting.
Historical Society of Frederick County Holiday Party, 4-6 p.m. Dec. 2, Museum of Frederick County History, 24 E. Church St., (301) 663-1188, free. HSFC members are joined by their family, friends, and history buffs for this holiday gathering in the headquarters' historic 1820 house, which serves as a museum and bookshop. The party will include a special 20 percent discount in the bookstore, which contains books special to the museum, some of which were written by the library's tireless volunteers.
Homewood by Candlelight, 5-7 p.m. Dec. 3, Homewood Museum, 3400 N. Charles St., (410) 516-5589, www.museums.jhu.edu/homewood, $6, members free. An open house glowing from candles and filled with early American music performed by David Hildebrand. After a turn through the decorated historic house, entertain the idea of early gift shopping in the museum shop.
Museums by Candlelight, 2-7 p.m. Dec. 8, Museum of Frederick County History and Roger B. Taney House, 24 E. Church St., (301) 663-1188, free. Tour two houses to learn what winters were like in the 18th and 19th centuries before modern conveniences. Tours include music, entertainment, and opportunity to learn more about that surly dude Taney, who sits near the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon Holly Tours, Candle Light Tour 6:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 8, Daylight Tour 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 9, Mount Vernon, www.hollytour.com, Candle Light $100, Day $30, $25 advance. The evening tour features four lovely Mount Vernon addresses to covet, along with music and light fare, while the Day tour includes 10 buildings and an optional, additional seating for brunch at Sacha's 527 ($60, $55 advance).
A Brandywine Valley Holiday, 10:15 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Dec. 11, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1453, $99, registration required. Known for its Andrew Wyeth paintings, the Brandywine River Museum transforms its interiors into a holiday-laden space with festive trees and decorations in addition to a Christmas display in the gardens, and a certified Christmas Tree Lane with decorated foliage. The tour includes dinner at the Terrace Restaurant and concert.
Holiday Decorating Party, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, (410) 887-1815, www.oregonridge.org, free. Bring a plate of foodstuffs, your holiday spirit, and join others in decorating the nature center, singing carols, and exuding holiday happiness and gratefulness for Mother Earth.
Year of the Tree, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. through Nov. 25, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1453, free. An indoor train winds through a miniature tree farm and forested parkland, courtesy the Washington Virginia Maryland Garden Railway Society, to view landscapes and plants which include evergreens and poinsettias. No word yet if the landscapes include miniature people going to miniature work, chopping their miniature Christmas trees, or lighting a miniature menorah.
Holiday Wreath Making, 1-3 p.m. Nov. 24, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 830 Pratt St., (443) 263-1828, www.africanamericanculture.org, $20, members $15, price includes supplies but you must register. Ms. Brown-Harrington is gonna teach you how to make a wreath and you'll have a whole month to duplicate her technique for some handmade, fresh-smelling gifts for the giving.
Downtown Lunch Party, noon-2 p.m. Nov. 27, (410) 244-1030, www.godowntownbaltimore.com, free. For the sixth year in a row, participating downtown businesses open their lobbies for a holiday meet and eat, providing bites from restaurants around town and a chance to share a moment with the fine folks working there.
Wisteria in Lights, 1:30-3 p.m. Nov. 29, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1453, $30, registration required. We're serious about making our own Garden of Lights in the city. But we weren't serious about making the neighborhood tacky; learn to make flowers blossom into light displays with grace.
The Polar Express, various show times Dec. 1-Jan. 6, National Aquarium in Baltimore, 501 E. Pratt St., (410) 576-3800, www.aqua.org, prices vary. Competing with the new Landmark Theatre in the Inner Harbor is no mean feat, but the Aquarium is giving them a run for their money with special holiday screenings of Tom Hanks' The Polar Express in its new 4D Immersion Theater.
What to do with the sweater Aunt Hilda gave you last year?, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Dec. 1, Earth Alley, 3602 Elm Ave., (410) 366-2110, free. Beth Baldwin, props artisan and Washington-based artist, instructs Baltimoreans how to craft--you'll need to bring your own felt, needle, and thread--for the holidays. May we recommend you bring a sweater from 2k5? Auntie might remember 2k6's monstrosity. (Tip: To felt a wool sweater simply wash it in hot and dry it the same. If you can cut it without it unraveling, it's felted. If you've already "ruined" a sweater this way, you know what we're talking about.)
Holiday Wreath Making, 2 p.m., Dec 1-2, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, (410) 887-1815, www.oregonridge.org, $7 due in advance, bring clippers and gloves. Create a fresh evergreen wreath for good tidings. Holiday films will play in the auditorium for the kids, ensuring quiet moments to craft.
An Italian Christmas: The History of Nativity Scenes in Italian Sculpture, 12:15-1:15 p.m. Dec. 6, the Walters, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000, www.thewalters.org, free. Beef up your holiday cocktail party repertoire on your lunch hour with seasonally relevant, probably little known, and incredibly useful (at least around the buffet table or with martini in hand) information during this discussion of images of Mary and the baby Jesus.
Downtown Dollar Days, Dec. 8-9. Like a sidewalk sale for admission, a discount basement for entertainments, or a dent and scratch bin for attractions, Baltimore's on the cheap for DDD. In other words, participating places downtown are offering $1 admission for the weekend. Visit www.godowntownbaltimore.com for a list of which ones.
European Kissing Ball for the Holidays, 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 8, Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, (301) 962-1453, $35, registration required. Make Australian mistletoe using twigs, pine cones, magnolia, cinnamon, and lotus. It's festive, for real, and forces people to kiss you out of the Spirit of the Season. Hey, Jim Halperts of Baltimore, are you listening? You need this.
Chip's Wreathmaking Party!, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, call for directions or meet at 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, www.creativealliance.org, $15, members $10. Kickoff the season at Chip Simpson's Harford County home, where you'll pick and cut your own greens and fashion your personal holiday wreath. His friends Trish Huber and Pat Grimes are on call to help you, and Chip's gonna provide ice cold beer, food, and bluegrass music, all from his front porch. Now that's what we call hospitality.
Travis Winkey Holiday Fashion Show, 1-2 p.m. Dec. 8, Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington St., (410) 685-6169, www.lexingtonmarket.com, free. An annual tradition, the Winkey fashion show comes back strong this year with co-hosts Fox 45's Patrice Harris and WSMJ radio's Randy Dennis and Art Sherrod Jr. on sax. But if you come for the Winkey, you're not alone.
Natural Ornaments, 2 p.m. Dec. 15-16, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, (410) 887-1815, www.oregonridge.org, $2 per person. Use nature to trim your tree the natural way. Wait, how natural is glitter glue? Personally, we're bringing back the popcorn and cranberry garland and will let you know how that works out.
Scrooged!, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. mid-December-Dec.30, Geppi's Entertainment Museum, 301 W. Camden St., (410) 625-7064, www.geppismuseum.com, $10, seniors $9, students ages 5-18 $7, children under 4 free. Carl Banks' legacy as the "Good Duck Artist" is showcased through his original artwork depicting Uncle Scrooge McDuck's family. It's hard to hate an old miser like Scrooge when he has a pool full of money, an orange bill, and the cutest white tail.
The Long Nights Moon, 7 p.m. Dec. 21, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, 13555 Beaver Dam Road, (410) 887-1815, www.oregonridge.org, free. Animals are preparing to burrow and hibernate as the sunlit days are quickly getting shorter, are you? Celebrate the winter season with a brisk evening hike.
Simple Shoe Boxes, through Nov. 19, His Way Christian Bookstores in Ellicott City and Glen Burnie and Grace Fellowship Church in Timonium, (410) 692-0112, www.samaritanspurse.org. Help Operation Christmas Child this week by dropping off a personalized gift-filled shoe box to one of three drop off-points. The boxes will be hand-delivered to children living in poverty in 90 countries. Necessity items, candy, letters, school supplies, and toys are surefire ways to feel better about the holidays but hurry.
Patapsco Food Bank, through Nov. 21, the Patapsco Bank, www.patapscobank.com. Non-perishable food items, new clothes, and cash donations are asked for collection at its five branches and Dundalk office to benefit the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County.
Maryland Food Bank Food Drives, Stuff-A-Bus 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 17-18 outside select Giant locations, Ravens Family Food and Funds Drive outside the M&T Stadium beginning at 11 a.m. Nov. 18, www.mdfoodbank.org, free for the giving. No one should be hungry during the holidays, but many Marylanders are. The Maryland Food Bank is making it easy to help the weekend before Thanksgiving. Drop non-perishable food or donations at these Giant Food locations: on 33rd Street in Baltimore, North Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie, Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City, North Center Street in Westminster, and Honeygo Boulevard in White Marsh or tailgate with them during the Ravens game against the Cleveland Browns Nov. 18.
Festival of Trees, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 23-25, Kennedy Krieger Institute's Festival of Trees, Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium, (443) 923-7300, www.festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org, $8, seniors and children under 12 $5, children under 4 free. Dance troupes, kid-friendly band Milkshake, mini-golf, holiday shopping, comedy, puppeteers, jump rope, train garden display, and more for the benefit of family entertainment and Kennedy Krieger. It's truly the most fun and shopping you'll ever encounter in the Cow Palace.
Festival of Wreaths, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Sundays Nov. 28-Dec. 2, Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster, (410) 848-7272, www.carr.org/arts, free. Bid on one of the 230 decorated wreaths with themes that seem to get crazier each year (past wreaths included one with Beanie Babies and one with peacock feathers) during this five-day silent auction and support the arts as all proceeds benefit the Carroll County Arts Council. Bidding ends 4 p.m. Dec. 2.
Weinberg Winterfest, 2 p.m. Dec. 1, Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 600-2828, www.weinbergcenter.org, free with cash or canned food donation to the Frederick Community Action Agency. Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for merriment, song, and helping others. Ray Brubacher, who headed the 1970 and 1976 restoration project for the Wurlitzer and American Film Institute Theatre organist will join the holiday excitement on the Wurlitzer, a magical and indelibly beautiful organ.
Holiday Workshop, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Hospice of Baltimore Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care, 555 W. Towsontown Blvd., Towson, (443) 849-8521, free but registration required. Extra support for those who feel they need it for coping with and preparing for the upcoming holiday season, in addition to information and suggestions on how to plan for the dark winter ahead.
Back Court Foundation's Annual Toy Drive, 8 p.m.-midnight Dec. 8, Eubie Blake Cultural Center, 847 N. Howard St., (410) 426-1263, www.backcourt.org, free. Supporting children living in foster care, the Back Court Foundation needs your help to give these venerable kids a fighting chance for a nice holiday. Stop by the Eubie Blake Center with money, new toys, gift certificates, or "autographed items" and get a sweet treat in thanks.
Come Together, 7 p.m. Dec. 15, Ram's Head Live, 20 Market Place, (410) 244-1131, www.ramsheadlive.com, $10. Presented by WHFS-FM, the Fab Four are covered by the locals, including but not limited to Kelly Bell Band, Ballyhoo, the Cheaters, Fools and Horses, and professional Beatles tribute group Dave Hill and the Come Together Band. All proceeds from the event go to Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. No word if the mopped tops will be wearing Santa hats.
Night 365 at the Maryland Science Center, 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Dec. 31, Maryland Science Center, 601 Light St., (410) 545-5964, www.mdsci.org, $35, members $30, children under 3 free. If you're over the champagne--or saving it until the wee ones are tucked in--ring in the New Year at a place the whole family can enjoy. The Science Center is keeping its doors open late with exhibits, IMAX movies, the Planetarium, and a meal of burgers and dogs. Do it for the children.
Hooray for Hollywood: A Weinberg Center New Year's Eve Gala, 8 p.m. Dec. 31, Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 600-2828, www.weinbergcenter.org, $150, limo and hotel package $500 a couple. The Weinberg hosts a black-tie, velvet-rope, red-carpet bash to end the year right. Acclaimed 10-piece band Round Midnight performs through the evening on the dance floor. When you can't boogie no more, slide into the comfort of a darkened theater with your boo and watch a classic feature, try your luck in the Monte Carlo casino room, or bask in luxury in the cigar lounge. Just rest those gams for standing before the midnight champagne toast.
New Year's Eve at the Recher 8 p.m. Dec. 31, Recher Theatre, 512 York Road, (410) 337-7210, www.rechertheatre.com, $25. Join the Fab Four, re-visited and all alive, to ring in the New Year. Love, love me do, the entry ticket includes a hot and cold buffet.
New Year's Eve at the Ottobar, 9 p.m., the Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., (410) 662-0069, www.theottobar.com, $5 (in the words of M. Bowen, "Cheapest New Years in town unless something is free"). Underground's coming back from the dead when Matt Walter (City Paper's graphic designer elf) and Craig Boarman spin Brit pop for one night only to say farewell to 2007.
Port America's New Year's Eve, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Inner Harbor, (410) 752-8632, www.bop.org, free. Family activities, live music from the band the Players in the amphitheater, and a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor. Parking really isn't that bad and if you've never kissed someone at midnight down by the water, this might be your year.
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