Dec 1 - Dec 11

November 30, December 1 & 2

Nutcracker at Baltimore School for the Arts

After a three-year hiatus, Baltimore School for the Arts revives its traditional holiday Nutcracker ballet. Students twirl through the tale of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince in a complex ballet choreographed for the school by Atlanta Ballet executive director Barry Hughson. This weekend and Dec. 7-9 at 7pm F; 3pm & 7pm Sa; 3pm Su @ Baltimore School for the Arts, 712 Cathedral St., Baltimore. $12 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-230-7940;

A Pasadena Christmas Carol

The Pasadena Theatre Company takes you to Victorian London in this non-musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Follow miserable miser Ebenezer Scrooge as three Christmas spirits teach him the true reason for the season. Seats unreserved, so arrive early. 8pm Nov. 30 & Dec. 1; 3pm Dec. 2 @ Humanities Lecture Hall, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold. $12: 410-975-0200;

Amahl at AACC

Gian Carlo Menotti’s popular 1950s opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, comes to life at the Anne Arundel Community College. Opera AACC, Concert Choir and the All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis harmonize in the tale of a differently abled boy who meets the three wise men as they follow the star of Bethlehem. 8pm Nov. 30 & Dec. 1; 3pm Dec. 2 @ Pascal, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold. $20 w/discounts: 410-777-2457;

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Saturday December 1

Help Annapolis Go Green

Help the Jaycees deck out downtown Annapolis in the annual hanging of garlands throughout the capital. Volunteers get lunch while they spread holiday cheer. Call to confirm start time and meeting location. About 8am @ Main St., Maryland Ave., Church and State circles. rsvp: 410-224-1775;

All Saints Holiday Greens Show

Learn the best ways to festoon your holiday home with greens and floral décor from professional designers Vicky Trego and Peggy Zachousky’s tips and demonstrations on decking the halls. Peruse fresh-made floral decorations, bid at a silent auction, browse local painter Deborah Watson’ hand painted ornaments and pieces of fine art, snack on homemade cookies and punch. 12:30pm @ All Saints Church, Rts. 2 & 4, Sunderland. $15 w/discounts; rsvp: 301-812-2576.

Rummage at a Christmas Bazaar

Kids remind St. Nick of their Christmas lists and pose for a photo while adults browse crafts, Christmas ornaments, rummage sale and baked goods. 8am-2pm @ Olivet United Methodist Church, 13570 Olivet Rd., off Rt. 760, Lusby. free photos: 410-326-8400.

Hope Full Holidays

In this workshop, all ages learn to manage extra holiday stress or cope with grief during the family season. 9am-12:30pm @ Hospice of the Chesapeake, 445 Defense Hwy., Annapolis. free; rsvp: 410-987-2129.

Christmas Crafters in Calvert County

Handcrafted gifts and unique artwork from local talent fill this annual holiday bazaar. 9am-2pm @ Calvert Country School, 1350 Dares Beach Rd., Prince Frederick: 410-535-7300.

Southern High Holiday Bazaar

Boost Southern High School’s booster club as you shop for unique presents, including handmade crafts and original artwork, for the people on your nice list. 9am-2pm @ Southern High School, Rt. 2, Harwood. Tables/$25: 410-867-7100.

Missions Christmas

At the fifth annual Missions Christmas holiday bazaar, shop crafts, jewelry, white elephants and baked delights to benefit the Centenary Church’s various youth groups, food banks and missions. 9am-2pm @ Centenary United Methodist Church, Shady Side. free: 410-867-4923.

Quaker Holiday Market

The Friends’ holiday bazaar features new and nearly-new jewelry, house wares, holiday decorations, specialty clothes, toys, indoor bulbs, Amish handmade items, peace novelties nature photograph cards, baked goods and peace coffee, all for charity’s sake. As you shop, fuel up on homemade soup, bread and cider. 9am-2pm @ Annapolis Friends Meeting House, 351 Dubois Rd., Annapolis: 410-573-0364.

Gather the Greens at Providence

Handmade garlands of greens will adorn your home after your visit to Providence Center’s Gathering of the Greens, where you’ll also find fresh-cut Christmas trees, poinsettias, wreaths and more, including woodwork, pottery and art by Center artists, fresh-baked treats for sale by the Providence Art Institute to benefit the center, which works with developmentally disabled adults. Lunch sold by outside chefs. 9am–2pm @ Providence Center, 370 Shore Acres Rd., Arnold: 410-757-7800.

Holiday Shopping in Londontowne

There’s no need to cross the pond to get some old world charm for those on your holiday gift list. Over 30 vendors come to market today, stocking seasonally decorated shops with home décor, art, fashion and handmade holiday crafts. Little elves make a special trip to Santa’s Secret Shop and grab a gift with St. Nick’s seal of approval. Hearty home cooked breakfast and lunch served. 9am-3pm @ Londontowne Hall, 170 Mayo Rd., Edgewater: 410-956-6214.

Colonial Christmas Concert

Visit the restored home of Thomas Stone, one of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. The historic house opens for candlelight tours and period holiday tunes by the Charles County Youth Orchestra. Follow Thomas Stone or a family member through their home, hearing tales of Christmases past. Gather at the parlor for cider and snacks. Open 9am-7pm; open house 4-7pm @ Thomas Stone National Historic Site, off Rose Hill Rd., between Rts. 6 & 225, Port Tobacco. free: 301-392-1776;

Have a Happy Holly Day

Walk into a winter wonderland at the GFWC Woman’s Club of Linthicum Heights’ Holly Mart. Wander through a festival of trees, featuring elaborate designs and decorations done by volunteers. Little elves head to the Children’s Corner where author Jennifer Keats Curtis reads her stories (9:30-11am). Later, craft a gingerbread-style house with sweet treats and wait for Santa to stop by and check on good boys and girls (noon). Adults browse a holiday hall featuring fresh baked goods, decorative greenery, collectables, jewelry and books. Animal enthusiasts peruse a table dedicated to handcrafted pet items and homemade dog biscuits. Luncheon served by the Woman’s club (noon-1pm). 9:30am-3pm @ Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church, 200 School Ln., Linthicum. $8/lunch; free for holly mart: 410-859-1082.

Bruin Holiday Craft Bazaar

Browse the 25th annual Bruin Holiday Craft Bazaar for holiday gifts, jewelry, pottery, woodworks, trimmings and more from over 150 crafters. Sponsored by the Broadneck High School Athletic Boosters. 9:30am-3pm @ Broadneck High School, 1265 Green Holly Dr., Annapolis. $1/donation: 410-349-1932.

300 Years of Cheer

Daily tours of the festively decorated William Paca home begin today. Guides in Colonial garb lead you through three centuries of Christmas tradition, ending with refreshments. Daily, thru Dec. 30 at 10am-5pm M-Sa; noon-5pm Su @ William Paca House, 186 Prince George St., Annapolis. $8/non-member: 410-267-7619.

NJFK - Candy Construction

Elves in grades one thru seven become confectionary construction workers at the library’s Gingerbread House Workshop. Build an edible dream home from graham crackers with candy embellishments. Bring a bag of candy to share with others looking to add delicious details to their domiciles. 10-11:30am & 2-3:30pm @ Southern Branch, 20 Appeal Way, Lusby. rsvp: 410-326-5289.

Work on a Wreath

Weave fresh-cut evergreen boughs, holiday herbs and winterberries into a festive wreath to adorn your front door. 10am-noon @ Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, 8109 Telegraph Rd., Severn. $20; rsvp: 410-551-2237;

NJFK - Spread Holiday Cheer, Buccaneer

Young Buccaneers ages 7 to 9 discover how different animals survive the harsh winter months without the benefits of Christmas cookies and warm cider. Later, construct and hang throughout the marsh ornaments that will feed the animals. 10am-noon @ Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons. rsvp: 410-326-2042 x41.

St. Mary’s Craft Festival

Children make their own fun at the craft corner while adults try for door prizes and browse handmade crafts, religious articles and fresh baked goods at St. Mary’s annual Christmas Craft Festival. 10am-5pm @ St. Mary’s of the Assumption School, 4610 Largo Rd., Upper Marlboro: 301-627-4170.

His Lordship’s Holiday Tea

Tour the elaborately decorated 18th century mansion before settling in for high tea. Sip wassail and delicately dine on dainty pastries. The Belles of the Ball dance troupe sweeps into the hall to entertain with traditional choreography. Later, stop by the peacock shop and pick up unique gifts. 11am-1pm @ His Lordship’s Kindness, 7606 Woodrow Rd., Clinton. Tours $25; rsvp early: 301-856-0358.

Annapolis Harbour Carolers

Strolling bands of carolers offer a respite from the holiday hustle: Singers Madrigale noon-2pm; Figgy Puddings 2-4pm @ Annapolis Harbour Center: 410-266-5857.

Whole Foods Holiday

Tour Whole Foods Market to sample the new holiday foods their chefs have selected for the season. noon-4pm @ Whole Foods Market, Harbour Center, Annapolis. free: 410-573-1800.

Sint Niklaas Day

Meet Santa Claus as he looked before he bought his red suit and reindeer and developed a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly. Kids visit with Sint Niklaas, who brought presents to Flemish boys and girls every December. Make a craft with the senior version of Santa, and share cookies and hot cocoa. Kids also visit a special shopping area, where they can purchase holiday gifts that fit into a little elf’s budget. 2:30pm @ Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park. $6/child; $2/adults; rsvp: 301-864-0420.

Boats on Parade on Magothy River

Magothy River sparkles as dozens of boats shimmer in the 8th annual Magothy River Lighted Boats Parade. Add your own boat to the lineup; there’s no entry fee or registration deadline. The 2-hour cruise follows a 4-mile mid-river loop, with good vantage points at community beaches and the Magothy Seafood Restaurant. Paraders return to the restaurant for a 9pm free buffet dinner. Starts 7-9pm @ Ferry Point Marina, 700 Mill Creek Rd., Arnold: 410-647-5793.

Christmas on the Beach

Kick off the Christmas season with a beach party and a Yule log bonfire. The day begins with Santa leading the way in a parade through North Beach, ending at the waterfront. Santa settles on the pier to greet good little elves and give them an early holiday present. Then grab an ornament and help adorn the community tree with other holiday revelers. Later, sip hot cocoa as you gather round the burning Yule log to carol roast marshmallows. 1-3pm @ North Beach waterfront, by the pier, North Beach. free: 301-855-6681;

Baltimore Boat Parade

Over 35 sail- and powerboats decked in holiday lights and finery cruise from Fells Point to the Inner Harbor and back in Baltimore’s 20th annual Lighted Boat Parade. Christmas cruisers bedeck their decks to compete for prizes in a number of lighting display categories. The parade route runs through Fells Point, the Inner Harbor, Locust Point and Canton. Presented by the Fells Point Yacht Club. 6-7:30pm: 410-342-4858;

Join a Family Quilt

This holiday season sew your family’s history into a quilt. The Northern Anne Arundel Quilters help you to create a story quilt while Dr. Joan Gaither of Maryland Institute College of Art explains the process and history of creating a story quilt square. Bring photos to be scanned and included in the quilt. 1-3pm @ Banneker-Douglass Museum, 84 Franklin St., Annapolis. $15/square; rsvp: 410-216-6186;

West River Parade of Lights

Lights reflect off the water at the West River Sailing Club’s first annual Parade of Lights as a festive fleet of lighted boats travels from the club, up West River toward Pirates’ Cove, looping by Shady Side and returning home. The Galesville Improvement Society stands along the banks of West River to judge the displays and hand out prizes. 6pm @ West River Sailing Club, 4800 Riverside Dr., Galesville: 410-867-9211;

Easton Olde Tyme Holiday Parade

Victorian ladies and gents in their finery (costumes can be borrowed) stroll town streets. Floats, fire engines, horse and buggies, bands and Santa follow. Parade sponsored by Easton Main Street forms at 5:45 pm; begins 6:30pm on Brewers Ln., traveling Harrison, Washington and Dover streets. Easton in Talbot County: 410-820-8822;

Annapolis Lights its Tree

Our capital city lights up tonight at this holiday bash. Annapolis is transformed into a winter wonderland, courtesy of the garland decorations hung by the Jaycees. Mayor Ellen Moyer and the city officially light the downtown Christmas tree. Each year, the tree’s decorations are top secret –– so you’ll be the first to see the elaborate adornments. 6pm @ Downtown Annapolis, roundabout at the bottom of Main St., Annapolis: 410-224-1770.

Art of the Christmas Story

See the Christmas story on canvas during this 50-minute tour of the permanent collection, examining paintings with holiday themes and symbolism. Also Dec. 4, 6, 11, 13 & 24. 1pm ThF @ West Building Rotunda, National Gallery of Art, 4th & Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C. free: 202-737-4215;

Chamber Holiday Party

Join Santa at the Southern Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce in collecting toys for needy kids in South County. Then join in the merriment including dinner, dancing, cash bar and 50/50 raffle. 7-11pm @ Chesapeake Yacht Club, 4943 Hine Dr., Shady Side. $40; rsvp by Nov. 15: 410-867-3129.

Celtic Christmas Suites

Celebrate a Celtic Yuletide with traditional music and dance. Maggie Sansone plays hammered dulcimer. Dianna Cuatto, artistic director of the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, choreographs the dance. 7:30pm SaSu @ Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Ln., Brooklyn Park. $22: 410-636-6597;

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December 1 & 2

Twin Beaches Holiday Open House

The businesses of North and Chesapeake Beaches greet shoppers with refreshments and special sales. North Beach antique dealers: 410-257-3044; Beach Business Group: 301-855-6681.

Weekends at Homestead

Enhance your holidays and find home-decorating ideas and wares in the seasonal splendor of Homestead Gardens. Santa visits both days to greet children and take down Christmas wishes (10am-4pm Sa; noon-4pm Su). Saturday, adults learn the secrets to creating the perfect Christmas bow ($10; 10am) as kids discover how to create a holiday door decoration ($10; 11am). Both days, Department 56 gives tips for making magical miniatures (11am). Live music greets you: Baldwin Brass heats up the bandstand Saturday (noon), followed by a serenade from Singers Madrigale (2:30pm) and Vocal Express singing classic Christmas Carols Sunday (2pm). All @ Homestead Gardens, Rts. 214 & 424, Davidsonville: 800-300-5631;

Christmas Auction Open House

Dealers from around the region auction off Christmas at the Chesapeake Auction House’s annual open house. Bid on unique gifts from antiques to seasonal crafts, sample special holiday foods and hope for door prizes. 10am-5pm SaSu @ Chesapeake Auction House, corner of Calvert Beach Rd. & St. Leonard Rd., St. Leonard: 410-586-1161;

Nutcracker by Maryland Ballet Theatre Company

The first full-length production of the Nutcracker of this season twirls onto stage to enchant all ages with the travels of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince through a fantastical world of graceful sugar plum fairies and evil rat kings. Maryland Ballet Theatre Company’s Sweet Sixteen production of Tchaikovsky’s classic continues director Arleene Monahan’s tradition of using local dancers and children in the performances. Also Dec. 8 & Dec. 9. noon & 5pm Sa; 2pm Su @ Northeast High School, 1121 Duvall Hwy., Pasadena. $10 w/discounts: 410-428-8099;

Child’s Christmas Open House

See Christmas with child’s eyes again in the 22nd annual open house, Toys From Yesteryear. Live violin music follows you through tours and spinning demonstrations. Enjoy cookies and punch as you learn from docents on both days. 3-7pm @ Benson-Hammond House, Aviation Blvd. & Andover Rd., Linthicum; Free: 410-544-8473.

U.S. Air Force Band’s American Holiday Concert

Try for stand-by tickets 15 minutes before the performance (free ticket pickup was November 4-13) that celebrates the season with the Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants, under the direction of Col. Dennis M. Layendecker. Their American Holiday provides a look at 400 years of American holiday traditions, including a tribute to Air Force members stationed overseas with a moving finale of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” — following customary carols such as “Joy to the World” and holiday favorites like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Then join in the annual sing-along. 3pm & 7:30pm Sa; 3pm Su @ DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and D Sts. N.W., Washington, D.C.: 202-767-5658.

Maryland Chorus Concert

The University of Maryland Chorus sings a medley of holiday favorites and Handel oratorios at their 40th annual holiday concert. This year’s serenade is dedicated to founder Dr. Paul Traver. 8pm Sa; 3pm Su @ Dekelboum Concert Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, intersection of Rt. 193 and Stadium Dr., University of Maryland, College Park. $25 w/discounts; rsvp: 301-405-2787;

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Sunday December 2

Annapolis Harbour Carolers

Strolling bands of carolers offer a respite from the holiday hustle: Joint Venture noon-2pm; Beauty Shop Trio from 2-4pm @ Annapolis Harbour Center: 410-266-5857.

NJFK - Tree Trimming Party at Salem Avery

This year’s theme for Children’s Christmas by the Bay is Victorian Christmas. Kids and parents celebrate the Yultide by trimming the tree with ornaments made by local school children; listening to holiday music and stories, making holiday crafts; nibbling snacks; and confiding wishes to Santa. 1:30-3:30pm @ Captain Salem Avery House Museum, Shady Side. free: 410-867-4486.

St. Mary’s Sings Messiah

Conductor Larry Vote leads the heavenly St. Mary’s College Choir and Orchestra through Handel’s Christmas classic, Messiah. 3-5pm @ Athletic Center, St. Mary’s College, St. Mary’s City. free: 240-895-4498;

Holiday at the Railway Station

Mini-conductors explore the Railway Museum at the annual holiday open house. Take a free tour and examine the decorations that range from garlands to ornaments from the early 1900s. Bring a plate of finger foods to share with other visitors at the potluck reception. 1-4pm @ Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum, adjacent to Rod ‘N’ Reel, Chesapeake Beach. free: 410-257-3892.

Ukrainian Ballet Nutcracker

Special to this production of The Nutcracker is a foreign visitor: The National Ballet of the Ukraine, the Donetsk Ballet, joins the Ballet Caliente Classical School of Dance in dancing to the music of the COSMIC Symphony — the Chamber Orchestra of Southern Maryland In Concert — on a dream-world stage of lavish sets. 1pm & 6pm @ Huntingtown High School, Rt. 2-4, Huntingtown. $25 w/advance & age discounts: 301-373-5277;

Calvert County Christmas Parade

Christmas comes with crashing symbols, sparkling sequins and shiny fire engines in Calvert’s 34th annual Christmas Parade, featuring more than 70 entries marching bands, festive floats, customized cars, antique autos, fire trucks, gallivanting horses, Santa Claus and more. Sponsored by the Optimist Club of Calvert County and the Calvert County Fair Board. 2pm from Fox Run Shopping Center, Prince Frederick. Rain date Dec. 9: 410-586-3664.

Christmas Cantiamo

Arundel Vocal Arts Society performs a special program for the holidays, Cantiamo: Cantata and Carols. First the group harmonizes through Donald McCullough’s powerful Holocaust Cantata, using the words and music of concentration camp prisoners for its melodic and lyrical foundation. Later, the group sings Benjamin Brittin’s Ceremony of Carols, a vocal piece adapted from Middle English tales and verses. 2pm @ Calvary United Methodist Church, 301 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis. $15 w/discounts: 410-263-3131.

NJFK - Natural Gifts Workshop

Young ones learn to craft handmade soaps, beeswax candles, bamboo chimes, beaded gifts, leaf-print towels and other nifty natural presents. 2-4pm @ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, 2880 Grays Rd., Prince Frederick. $12 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-535-5327.

Take a Sleigh Ride Around the World

Discover what Santa’s sleigh ride entails when young and old join Aldolpho on this investigation of cultural traditions of the holiday season. Visit Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Brazil, Africa and other countries where high-energy dancers and singers demonstrate how many traditions came together in American Christmas. 3pm @ Todd Performing Arts Center 12, Chesapeake College, Rts. 50 and 213, Wye Mills on the border of Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. $20 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-827-5867;

Christmas from Dublin

Celtic Christmas crooners collide when the Three Irish Tenors –– Ciaran Nagle and Brian Dunphy formerly of Riverdance The Show and Tony Norton of the Dublin City Opera –– meet the Three Irish Divas –– Carnegie Hall veteran Jaqueline Whelan, Ellen McElroy of the Concordia Theatre Company and Naoise Stuart-Kelly from Riverdance. The sextet sings seasonal favorites with operatic vibrato and dramatic flare. 7pm @ Maryland Hall, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. $36 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-263-5544;

Mozart by Candlelight

Annapolis Opera sings Mozart by Candlelight, arias and vocal ensembles by the famous composer and his friends. Reception with performers tops off this festive evening. Reserve early, as this holiday favorite sells out by Thanksgiving. 3pm @ First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, corner of Duke of Gloucester & Conduit St., Annapolis. $45: 410-267-8135.

Vienna Boys Choir Christmas

The Vienna Boys Choir raise their voices in praise of the season at a special concert at Strathmore Hall, courtesy of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. 3pm @ Strathmore Hall, Tuckerman Ln., off Rt. 344, North Bethesda. $15-$84: 410-783-8000;

Annapolis Youth Chorus Sings the Holidays

The angelic voices of the Annapolis Youth Chorus give spirit to the season with all four of their divisions –– Prep, Junior, Senior and Mixed — performing holiday songs from “Jingle Bell Rock” to “Ose Shalom.” 4pm @ St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Church Circle, Annapolis. $15 w/discounts: 410-280-5640.

Celtic Christmas

Add a Celtic flavor to your celebration in this 7th annual concert featuring Maggie Sansone on hammered dulcimer, joined by Sue Richards on Celtic harp, Andrea Hoag playing the fiddle, Ralph Gordon on cello and Chris Noyes singing while playing guitar. The quintet plays carols and spirituals and seasonal songs, from reverent to popular Christmas favorites. Refreshments follow. Buy tickets early; last year sold out. 4pm & 7pm @ Christ Episcopal Church, 220 Owensville Rd., West River. $12 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-867-0346;

Eastport Celebrates

The Maritime Republic of Eastport reaffirms its independence with the lighting of a holiday tree in its capital. The illumination of Eastport kicks off a month of Sunday celebrations for the republic. Celebratory co-sponsors alderpeople Ross Arnett and Sheila Finlayson lead the lighting ceremony. 5pm @ Corner of Severn St. & Compromise St., Republic of Eastport: 410-626-0071.

Hospice Auxiliary Tree Lighting

Remember lost loved ones at the lighting of the Tree of Lights non-denominational ceremony, followed by meditation and music. Order a special china star ornament hand-painted with the name of a loved one by Nov. 20 ($25). Sponsored by The Hospice of the Chesapeake Auxiliary to benefit Hospice of the Chesapeake’s Spiritual and Bereavement Care Center. 5pm @ Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church, 200 School Ln., Linthicum Heights: 410-987-2129.

Santa Paws

Pets of all sizes get their special moment with St. Nick captured on film. Dress your leashed pet in festive attire. 6-8pm @ Marley Station Mall, off Rt. 2, Glen Burnie: 410-760-8900.

NJFK - Become a Holiday Helper

Little Elves learn how to help their parents in the kitchen at this sous chef workshop. Make shoes for a standing rib roast, learn the art of twice stuffed potatoes and how to decorate holiday puff pastries. 6:30-8:30pm @ Design Solutions, 1598 Whitehall Rd., Annapolis. $55; rsvp: 410-562-7993.

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Monday December 3

NJFK - Seasonal Story Time

Little elves snuggle up for a winter’s evening at the Calvert Library, listening to seasonal stories, songs and crafting Christmas gifts. 6:30-7:15pm @ Southern Branch, 20 Appeal Way, Lusby: 410-326-5289.

Gingerbread Construction

Whole Foods bakers give a demonstration on creating the perfect gingerbread house. Later, decorate your own delicious domicile using candy canes, gumdrops and seasonal candies. 6-7:30pm @ Whole Foods Market, Annapolis Harbour Center. free: 410-573-1800.

Tuesday December 4

Happy Hanukkah!

Light the first candle on the Menorah tonight to begin the eight days of festivities.

National Menorah Lighting

Celebrate the first night of the Jewish festival of lights with live music as Rabbi Levi Shemtov lights the first candle on the National Menorah. Kids spin dreidels and make crafts. 4pm @ The Ellipse, 1600 Constitution Ave., Washington D.C. free w/rsvp: 202-332-5600.

Art of the Christmas Story

See the Christmas story on canvas during this 50-minute tour of the permanent collection, examining paintings with holiday themes and symbolism. Also Dec. 6, 11, 13 & 24. 1pm ThF @ West Building Rotunda, National Gallery of Art, 4th & Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C. free: 202-737-4215;

Hang Greens at the Courthouse

Help festively bedeck the outside of Calvert County Courthouse with the Calvert Garden Club at their 42nd annual Hanging of the Greens. Meet at Christ Church, Solomon’s Island Rd. 1-3pm @ Courthouse Square, Prince Frederick: 410-535-1600.

Scents of the Season

Fill your holiday table with festive fragrances by making an aromatic candle centerpiece at this evening workshop. Adorn a candle with pine cones and Willow Oak’s fresh cut juniper, cypress, fir and cedar. 6:30-8:30pm @ Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, 8109 Telegraph Rd., Severn. $25; rsvp: 410-551-2237;

NJFK - Seasonal Story Time

Boogie Woogie BowWow drops by to lead little elves in songs and crafting Christmas gifts. Come early to hear a seasonal story. 7-8pm; 7:30pm BowWow arrives @ Northeast Community Center, Chesapeake Beach: 410-257-2411.

Toast an Early New Year

Dress up for an evening of fine foods and plan for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Get ideas for creating a classic celebration on the 31st of December by sampling caviar, truffles and champagne. 7pm @ Whole Foods Market, Annapolis Harbour Center. $25; rsvp: 410-573-1800.

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Wednesday December 5

NJFK - Borrow Santa’s Workshop

Little Elves 6 to 11 sing along to seasonal music while magically assembling craft materials into holiday gifts for families and friends. 4-6pm @ Crofton Library, 1681 Riedel Rd., Crofton: 410-222-7915.

Candlelight Tour of Hammond-Harwood House

Tour the 18th-century Hammond-Harwood House, trimmed with greenery by area garden clubs and lit by candlelight. Fine food and drink, freshly made wreaths and more on sale. 6-8pm @ Hammond-Harwood House, 19 Maryland Ave., Annapolis. $15 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-263-4683 x13.

Holiday Crafts Show at AACC

Find holiday crafts and gifts made by students or fit for a student’s budget at this wide-ranging arts and crafts show. Rent a table and sell your work to make some extra holiday green. 10am-2pm @ Student Union dining hall, Anne Arundel Community College, College Pkwy., Arnold. $40/table rental; free: 410-777-2480;

Larry Carlton Family Christmas

Guitarist Larry Carlton strums up the spirit of the season with soothing melodies and complex riffs. Carlton has added his six-string work to recordings from Quincy Jones to Joni Mitchell. Special guest Michele Pillar joins Carlton on stage to sing selections from her new Christmas album (which feature Carlton’s guitar), I Hear Angels Calling. 6pm & 9pm @ Rams Head On Stage, 33 West St., Annapolis. $35; rsvp: 410-268-4545;

NJFK - Gussy Up Gingerbread Houses

Ages 6 and under join the Whole Foods bakers for a morning gingerbread architecture lesson. Using candy canes and gumdrops, customize your confection construction. 10-11:30am @ Whole Foods Market, Harbour Center, Annapolis. free: 410-573-1800.

Historic St. Mary’s Musica

Visit the lavishly decorated Old State House, with greenery provided by the Mistress Brent Garden Club, and enjoy the harmonies of St. Marie’s Musica’s annual Christmas choral performance. Arrive early for refreshments and tour the reconstructed State House. 6pm doors open; 7pm concert @ State House, 47418 Rt. 584, Historic St. Mary’s City. free: 800-762-1634;

NJFK - Seasonal Story Time

Little elves snuggle up for a long winter’s night, listening to seasonal stories, songs and crafting Christmas gifts. 7-7:45pm @ Calvert Library, Market Square, Prince Frederick: 410-535-0291.

Handel’s Messiah at National Cathedral

Hear the majestic power of the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah resound within the Washington National Cathedral as the cathedral’s men join the youth choirs and the baroque orchestra. Michael McCarthy conducts the masterpiece; soloists are tenor Rufus Müller, baritone Nathan Berg, mezzo-soprano Yvette Smith, soprano Susan Lewis. Also Dec. 9. 7:30pm F @ Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts & Wisconsin Aves., NW, Washington. $22-82: 202-537-6263;

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December 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9

The Santaland Diaries

Bruce Nelson recounts the humorous tale of working as an elf at Macy’s during the holiday season in The Santaland Diaries, an anti-holiday cult classic. By Rep Stage, the only professional theatre company in Howard County. 7:30pm WTh; 8pm FSa; 2:30pm SaSu @ Slayton House, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. $15-25: 410-772-4900;

Thursday December 6

NJFK - Catch the Polar Express

Catch a reading of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic The Polar Express, following a boy’s train journey to Santa’s home. Passengers sip hot cocoa and nibble cookies. 4pm @ Brooklyn Park Library, 1 East 11th Ave., off Rt. 2, Brooklyn Park: 410-222-6260.

Art of the Christmas Story

See the Christmas story on canvas during this 50-minute tour of the permanent collection, examining paintings with holiday themes and symbolism. Also Dec. 11, 13 & 24. 1pm ThF @ West Building Rotunda, National Gallery of Art, 4th & Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C. free: 202-737-4215;

Wassail at the Walters

Feel the spirit of the season as the Walters Art Museum opens its doors for a day of Christmas cheer. First, bring your lunch to the auditorium for lecture on the history of Nativity scenes in Italian sculpture. (12:15-1:15pm). Later, warm up with cookies and wassail while docents lead you through special holiday tours of the galleries. Try your hand at holiday art at a craft table and listen to live music (5-7pm). At 7pm, step outside to watch the holiday lights illuminate the Washington Monument, followed by fireworks. @ Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., Baltimore. free: 410-547-9000 x394.

Borders Holiday Open House

Shoppers in a bind visit Borders bookstore and get suggestions for the perfect gift for all on your list. Kids craft at holiday activity areas while adults sample Seattle’s Best Coffee at an open tasting. 4-8pm @ Borders, the Westfield, Annapolis: 410-573-4850.

NJFK - Outdoor Decorations

Little minnows ages 3 to 5 craft edible ornaments to hang around the marshes, providing animals with a tasty treat in lean winter months. 10-11am @ Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons. rsvp: 410-326-2042 x41.

Create a Table Tree

Fashion a festive tabletop Christmas tree from hollies, boxwoods and assorted fresh herbs. Accent your centerpiece with winterberries and keep it on your family table throughout the season. 6:30-8:30pm @ Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, 8109 Telegraph Rd., Severn. $25; rsvp: 410-551-2237;

Midnight Madness I

Shop ’til you drop at this marathon of Christmas cheer and commerce. Stores stay open until the witching hour at the annual Midnight Madness where you’ll find sales, discounts and holiday festivities along West St., Main St., Maryland Ave., and State Circle. Most stores offer free refreshments as you journey on a long winter’s night of shopping. Take a break from buying to stroll through lavishly decorated Historic Annapolis, where roaming groups of carolers fill the night air with songs of the season. Sponsored by the Annapolis Business Association. Free evening parking in Bladen Street Garage, off Rowe Blvd., but it fills quickly. Also Dec. 13. 6pm-midnight @ downtown Annapolis. free, including parking and shuttle from Navy-Marine Corps Stadium; off Taylor Ave., Annapolis: 410-263-0415;

NJFK - Seasonal Story Time

Little elves snuggle up for a long winter’s night at Calvert Library, listening to seasonal stories, singing holiday songs and creating crafty Christmas gifts. 7-7:45pm @ Fairview Branch, Rt. 4 & Chaneyville Rd., Owings: 410-257-2102.

Glen Burnie Lights Its Tree

Anne Arundel’s County Executive John Leopold sparks the season in Glen Burnie as the community lights its holiday tree and carolers sing. Warm up with hot drinks as high school bands play. Sponsored by the Glen Burnie Improvement Association. 6pm @ downtown Central Plaza near the ice rink, Glen Burnie: 410-222-1821.

Christmas Canvas

Artist Anne Marie Esson helps you brush up on your painting skills as you paint tiny holiday topiaries in this workshop. Supplies included. 6pm @ Homestead Gardens, Rts. 214 & 424, Davidsonville. $45; rsvp: 800-300-5631;

Him Sing at Cedar Grove

Sing out the spirit of the season at Cedar Grove’s Him Sing, where a chorus joins you in praise music and traditional hymns. 7pm @ Cedar Grove UMC, 5965 Deale-Churchton Rd., Deale. rsvp: 410-867-7417.

NJFK - Celtic Christmas

Ages 3 and up step into the holiday season with a performance by the Teelin Irish Dancers, followed by a demonstration of basic dances and steps. 7pm @ Severna Park Library, 45 McKinsey Rd., Severna Park. free: 410-222-6290.

Baltimore Brightens

Venture into Charm City for a monumental occasion, as Baltimore lights its Washington Monument. The obelisk is the center of a holiday street fair, featuring musical acts, refreshments and street performers mingling with spectators. Mayor Shelia Dixon flips the switch, setting the monument aglow with hundreds of tiny lights and the flashes of a spectacular fireworks show. 5:30pm street fair; 6pm choral performance; 6:50pm lighting @ Mount Vernon Place, 600 block of North Charles St., Baltimore. free: 410-244-1030.

NPR’s Jazz Piano Christmas

Jazz up your Christmas repertoire with this annual National Public Radio concert. This year, top jazz artists perform their favorite holiday songs with a Latin theme. 7:30pm & 9:30pm @ Terrace Theatre, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St., Washington D.C. $35; rsvp: 800-444-1324;

Solomons Christmas Gala

Solomons holds its 5th annual silent auction and gala of holiday food, cocktails and live music to help the Solomons Business Association fund the Christmas Walk. 6:30-8:30pm @ Oyster Bay, LLC clubhouse, off Dowell Rd., Solomons. $35 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-326-4855.

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December 6 & 7

Holiday Greens Sale at Tawes

Get all the trimmings for your holiday home at the third annual Holiday Greens Sale. Browse fresh evergreen centerpieces, small arrangements, wreaths and bags of mixed greens. A new assortment of poinsettias arrives for the sale in varying shades and sizes. Pick up plates of Christmas cookies. On Friday, learn how to shape your newly purchased greenery into a festive wreath. Bring clippers and gloves to this workshop; practice greens (10am-noon; $25; rsvp). All proceeds keep Tawes Garden in bloom. 10am-5pm ThF @ Tawes Office Building lobby, off Taylor Ave. & Rowe Blvd., Annapolis: 410-260-8189.

Christmas at the Chorale

Snap up tickets now for the Annapolis Chorale’s sellout show, A Celebration of Christmas. This year Choral director Ernest Green enlists three divas to fill Maryland Hall with the holiday spirit. Operatic soprano Amy Cofield, jazzwoman Heather Venesile and folk singer Mollie Weaver blend their signature styles with the Chorale unique arrangement of Christmas songs. Musicians surround the audience as they accompany the Chorale, adding to the soaring nature of the musical performance. ESPN sailing commentator Gary Jobson puts down his anchor for the night for the traditional reading of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. 7:30pm Th; 8pm F @ Main Stage Maryland Hall, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. $40 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-280-5640;

December 6, 7, 8 & 9

Hammond-Harwood Greens Show & Sale

Buy fresh-made 18th century-style greenery and tour the festively decorated rooms of Hammond-Harwood House. Homemade refreshments spice up your visit. Free admission for sale of greens only; tour period rooms decked out in holiday splendor. 10am-4pm @ Hammond-Harwood, 19 Maryland Ave., Annapolis. $8 w/discounts: 410-263-4683 x13.

Colonial Players’ Christmas Carol

Richard Wade’s musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol has drawn packed audiences for 27 years to witness the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s conversion from miser to bon vivant, with an original score and music Most tickets are sold in line Nov. 17 or at the Internet box office. Stand-by tickets offered one hour early before each performance. Also Dec. 13-16. 8pm Th; 7pm & 9pm F; 2pm, 4pm & 8pm Sa; 2pm & 4pm Su @ Colonial Players, 108 East St., Annapolis. $7 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-268-7373;

Nutcracker Revolution

The Washington Ballet does a revolutionary take on a Christmas favorite with Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker. Using Tchaikovsky’s classic score, the Washington Ballet puts young Clara at a political party on the Potomac. George Washington leads Clara through a Sugar Plum Fairy version of early Washington D.C., complete with dancing cherry blossoms. King George III makes an unwelcome appearance as the evil Rat King. After the Dec. 9 performance, feast on holiday treats at a Nutcracker Tea Party. Also Dec. 12-16 & Dec. 19-23. 7pm ThF; 2pm & 7pm Sa; 1pm Su @ Warner Theatre, 13th and E Sts., Washington D.C. $30-$80: 202-397-7328;

Friday December 7

AYC Holiday Concert

The Annapolis Youth Chorus’s prep, junior, senior and mixed divisions join voices under the direction of Laurie Hays in their annual holiday concert, singing holiday favorites in languages from Latin to Zulu. 4pm @ St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, in Church Circle, Annapolis. $15: 410-263-1906.

Gussy Up Gingerbread

Decorate a delicious domicile with candies and icing with the help of the Whole Foods Baking team. 6-7:30pm @ Whole Foods Market, Harbour Center, Annapolis. free: 410-573-1800.

Lampoon Christmas

Teens gather at the Calvert Library to spend Christmas with the Griswolds. Follow the all-American family as they experience a catastrophic Christmas in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Hope for door prizes and snack on free popcorn. 6:30-9pm @ Calvert Library, Market Square, Prince Frederick: 410-535-0291.

See Stars of the Season

Cast your eyes heavenward at Arthur Storer Planetarium to discover the celestial reason for the season. The planetarium glows with a starry Christmas program, ‘Tis the Season, where visitors lean back and discover the connection between the night sky and the Christmas story. Seating is limited; arrive early. Also Dec. 21. 6:45pm & 8pm @ Arthur Storer Planetarium, by Calvert High, 600 Dares Beach Rd., Prince Frederick. Free; donations welcome: 410-535-7339.

Tour Annapolis by Christmas Candlelight

Take a festive frolic through historic Annapolis, following guides in Colonial garb whose glowing lanterns shed light on life during the 1700s. Stroll through the elaborately decorated streets and learn the holiday history of the capital. Stop by the Maryland State House, the Governor’s Mansion and the homes of famous Maryland patriots to explore the ghosts of Christmases past. Also Dec. 14, 15, 16 & 20. 7-8:15pm @ Information Booth, City Dock. $14 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-268-7601 x104;

Handel’s Messiah at National Cathedral

Hear the majestic power of the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah resound within the Washington National Cathedral as the cathedral’s men join the youth choirs and the baroque orchestra. Michael McCarthy conducts the masterpiece; soloists are tenor Rufus Müller, baritone Nathan Berg, mezzo-soprano Yvette Smith, soprano Susan Lewis. Also Dec. 9. 7:30pm F @ Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts & Wisconsin Aves., NW Washington. $22-82: 202-537-6263;

United States Naval Academy Band

Decorate your holiday with blue and gold as the Navy Band plays Holiday by the Bay, a concert of traditional seasonal favorites spiced with jazz blends. Sing along before Santa makes his annual visit. Bring your photo ID to get onto the Naval Academy grounds. Park in town and enter the Academy through Gate 1 on King George St., Gate 3 on Maryland Ave. Or park at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and take the shuttle to the Academy beginning one hour before the show. No tickets needed. 7:30pm @ Naval Academy’s Mahan Hall; free: 410-293-0263;

Messiah Comes to Baltimore

Handel’s Messiah is given grand voice when the Concert Artists of Baltimore’s Symphonic Chorale, led by Edward Polochick, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra perform the piece in the stately Meyerhoff Symphonic Hall. Polochick has led this performance for over 25 years. Second performance at Strathmore Hall, Dec. 8. 7:30pm @ Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. $78-$25: 410-783-8000;

Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols

Two choruses and a choir combine for this 6th annual festival, filling Memorial Chapel with interwoven scripture and song. Following the format of the original 1918 Kings College service, the performance blends the voices of University of Maryland’s Men’s and Women’s choruses with the timbre of The Maryland Boy Choir. The program also features scripture readers and encourages audience participation. 8pm @ Memorial Chapel, Chapel Dr., off Regents Dr., University of Maryland, College Park. $15 w/discounts; rsvp: 301-405-2787;

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December 7 & 8

Tour Sotterley by Candlelight

The glow of lantern light fills the halls as you follow costumed guides through Sotterley Plantation, decked out in Christmas trimmings from the Revolutionary War era. In the parlor, warm up with cider, cookies and live seasonal music by local school choirs. 5:30pm doors open; 6pm tours begin; thru 10pm @ Historic Sotterley Plantation, off Rt. 245, Hollywood, St. Mary’s County. $13; rsvp: 301-373-2280.

Designer Gift Collective

The fourth annual Designer Gift Collective opens its doors, featuring a wide assortment of high-end merchandise and unique handcrafts. Sponsored by a collective of female business owners dedicated to promoting woman-owned commerce in Maryland. 10am-7pm F; 10am-6pm Sa @ Davidsonville Ruritan Community Center, 3358 Davidsonville Rd., Davidsonville: 410-798-7448.

Candlelight at the State House

The Statehouse glows for two days at the annual candlelight program. Friday, music and lights combine for a festive evening featuring the music of Northern High School (7pm), a concert from the Annapolis Area Christian School (7:30pm), holiday tunes from the Arundleairs (8pm) and closing with the All Children’s Chorus singing carols (8:30pm). Saturday’s program is opened by Town Crier Fred Taylor, focusing on candlelit music from Woods Church Praise Band (7pm), Christ Church of Rockville Ministries (7:30pm), Annapolis Chorale under the guidance of Ernest Green (8pm) and closing the two days of merry music with the Sons of the Severn (8:30pm). Photo ID required for evening festivities. 7-9pm @ Maryland State House, Annapolis. Free: 410-974-3400.

Solomons Christmas Walk

Stroll a festively decked and candlelit Solomons in the 23rd annual Christmas Walk, which kicks off Dec. 7 with the 6pm tree lighting at Riverwalk gazebo. That night from 6-9pm find Christmas crafts for kids at Solomons Medical Center; kids’ boat-building at Southern Maryland Sailing Association; Christmas crafts and Santa visit at the Calvert Marine Museum (7:30pm); live nativity and puppet show at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church; pet adoptions and live music at Carmen’s Gallery.
On Dec. 8, start the day with the Jingle Bell 5K at the Calvert Marine Museum (8am). Then enjoy breakfast with Santa at the Naughty Gull restaurant (also Dec. 15; $8; rsvp: 410-326-4855). Pets pose for photos with Santa at Solomons Veterinary Medical Center (1-4pm). Santa’s Coffee House features coffee and hot cider plus live music (6-9pm). Solomons lighted boat parade starts at the Solomons Island Yacht Club at 6:15pm and continues around Sandy Point up the Patuxent to the bridge. Wrap up the evening with live nativity scene at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church. Both days, browse holiday open houses at most Solomons businesses and enjoy both home and business decorating contests while touring main streets lined with luminaria. @ Solomons Island:

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December 7, 8 & 9

Antique Christmas Open House

Southern Maryland Antiques indoor market celebrates Christmas past with antiques, collectibles and much more so you can recreate the good old days in your home. On Friday, enjoy a special holiday party with the dealers, who can add insights and history. Holiday refreshments served throughout the weekend. Shopping 10am-8pm F; 10am-5pm SaSu @ Southern Maryland Antiques, 3176 Rt. 2-4, Huntingtown: 410-257-1677.

NJFK - Holiday Hayride

Kids jaunt through the park on a hayride to enjoy the festival of lights, then return to the nature center for hot cider and cookies. 7pm @ Watkins Nature Center, 301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro. $5; rsvp: Old Maryland Farms @ 301-218-6770.

Musical Artists’ Christmas Carol

Ebenezer’s epic journey through Christmases past, present and future is chronicled in Musical Artists’ Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol. Dickens’ original holiday tale is adapted for the production, which features joyous singing, authentic costumes and intricate sets. The play takes you back to the grimy times of the Industrial Revolution when child labor and greed prevailed over the holiday spirit. Watch Scrooge’s conversion in this toe-tapping musical. Also Dec. 14-Dec. 16. 7:30pm FSa; 2:30pm Su @ Studio Theatre, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Ln., Brooklyn Park. $15 w/discount. 410-636-6597;

Riverdale’s Living Christmas Tree

Herald Christmas through music, drama and thousands of synchronized lights at Riverdale Baptist’s 21st annual production of The Living Christmas Tree, where a 30-foot-tall tree of people features the church’s choir, orchestra and drama department. Come early to visit the outdoor village living nativity w/refreshments and live animals. 7:30pm FSaSu; 2:30pm SaSu @ Riverdale Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro. $10 w/discounts; rsvp: 301-249-9111;

Hack & Slash Christmas Special

The musical that started as a joke has become a Christmas institution at Chesapeake Arts Center as comedians Hack and Slash return for their 7th production of Hack and Slash Christmas Special, The Musical. Favorites at the Renaissance Festival, Hack and Slash put their own twist on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Scored by former Disney composer Maia Rodriguez, the show features other Renaissance veterans in guest roles; the washing wenches leave their well for a special appearance. The show has become so popular that a third date was added this year, which coincides with Hack and Slash’s 15th anniversary. No need to bring them a present; friends from the duo’s other comedic programs will stop by to congratulate them and likely interrupt the play. Performances benefit Make a Wish Foundation. 8pm FSa; 3pm Su @ Main Stage, Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Ln., Brooklyn Park. $50-$25; rsvp: 410-636-6597;

Holiday Madrigal Evenings

Colonial Christmas comes to life at this historic feast. Sip wassail before a roaring fire and examine the elaborate decorations of the reconstructed Statehouse. Retire to the dining hall for a scrumptious traditional family-style Christmas meal and listen to St. Marie’s Musica sing traditional holiday tunes. This event sells out quickly starting in October, but stand-by tickets are possible if you call ahead. Also Dec. 14-Dec. 16. 6:30pm F; 5:30pm SaSu @ Statehouse, 47418 Rt. 584, Historic St. Mary’s City. $85; rsvp: 240-895-4991;

Nutcracker at Baltimore School for the Arts

Baltimore School for the Arts revives its traditional holiday Nutcracker ballet, choreographed for the school by Atlanta Ballet executive director Barry Hughson. 7pm F; 3pm & 7pm Sa; 3pm Su @ Baltimore School for the Arts, 712 Cathedral St., Baltimore. $12 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-230-7940;

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Saturday December 8

Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk

Families go for a fun run at the 9th annual Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk for Arthritis and Rudolph Romp (a race for little elves ages 1-10 that varies in distance). Burn holiday calories and raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation. After runners/walkers return, Santa passes out prizes. Sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Running Club. 6:30-7:50am; 8am race; 8:15am kids’ romp @ Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons. $25 w/discounts; rsvp: 301-994-3597;

Weave a Williamsburg Door Medallion

Bring home a Colonial Christmas by fashioning a door medallion inspired by the decorations of colonial Williamsburg, using Willow Oak’s magnolia, boxwood, hollies, winterberries, pomegranates, miniature oranges and other festive fruit.10am-noon @ Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, 8109 Telegraph Rd., Severn. $30; rsvp: 410-551-2237;

Holiday Market Anne Arundel Farmers’ Market

Buy the freshest food — winter greens, collards, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and more — for your holiday table, decorations for your home and gifts for under your tree at the Anne Arundel Farmers’ Market’s Holiday Festival, where you’ll find music by the Friday Four Bell Choir (10am-noon); Santa visits; cocoa for kids; fresh garlands made onsite; candy-makers; holiday bakers; artists and crafters of all kinds from Anne Arundel County. 8am-noon @ Riva Rd., & Harry S. Truman Pkwy., Annapolis: 410-987-6034.

Shop Show Barn for the Holidays

Avoid the holiday hubbub at malls by shopping for unique gifts at Jefferson Patterson Park’s Show Barn Holiday Sale. Gift items focus on Maryland heritage and local interests. After shopping, tour of the refurbished Point Farm house, decked out in its holiday finery. 9am-4pm @ Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, 10115 Mackall Rd., St. Leonard: 410-586-8501.

NJFK - Work on a Gingerbread House

Elves in grades one thru seven become confectionary construction workers at Calvert Library’s annual Gingerbread House Workshop, erecting a candy house from graham crackers and candy. Bring a bag of candy to share with others looking to add delicious details to their domiciles. 10-11:30am & 2-3:30pm @ All Calvert Library locations. rsvp: 410-535-0291.

Work on a Wreath

Expert floral arrangers at the William Paca Garden teach you the foundations of Colonial wreath weaving. Basic boughs and embellishments are provided; to give your wreath extra Colonial flare bring ribbons, fruit and seed-pods. 10am-noon @ Archaeology Lab Building, 1 Martin St., Annapolis. $40 w/discounts: 410-267-8146;

Garden Club Bazaar

Buy your holiday greenery or a unique Christmas craft at the Chesapeake Beach Garden Club’s holiday bazaar. 9am-1pm @ Town Hall, Chesapeake Beach: 410-257-2230.

Adorn Your Door

Give your home handmade holiday cheer at London Town’s greenery workshops. Weave a festive wreath with fresh greens from the gardens (10am-noon). Break for a buffet lunch ($10) before trying your hand at other crafting topiary trees, door swags, baskets or Williamsburg cones (1-3pm). Bring a set of clippers; all other material provided. @ Historic London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Rd., Edgewater. $35/workshop; rsvp: 410-222-1919.

NJFK - Kids’ First Nutcracker

Tiny theater aficionados, ages 3 to 6, take their families to the ballet for a special production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Dancers from Baltimore School for the Arts jete onto the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s stage, performing excerpts from the holiday favorite. 11am @ Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. $20 w/discounts: rsvp: 410-783-8000;

Greens Sale and Hayride

Harvest fresh-cut evergreens, wreaths and garlands for your holiday decorations, plus retail items for sale, including Tulip Poplar tealight holders and Yule logs and Chestnut Trust-inspired jewelry designed by Maerten’s Jewelers. Then sip hot cider on a hayride to the beach. 11am-2pm @ American Chestnut Land Trust, Warrior’s Rest, (take Rt. 4 S. to left on Rt. 765 to Parkers Creek Rd.; right on Scientists’ Cliffs Rd.) Warrior’s Rest, Port Republic. free: 410-414-3400;

Christmas with the Celts

Maggie Sansone plays her hammered dulcimer accompanied by Jim Eagan, Laura Byrne-Egan, Matthew Bell and traditional Irish singer Dominick Murray for an evening of Christmas tunes from the isle of Erin. 7:30pm @ Saint Mark Presbyterian Church, 10701 Old Georgetown Rd., Rockville. rsvp: 301-530-2613;

NJFK - Sotterley’s Family Christmas

Santa stops by to greet children, bringing his sleigh to ride around Sotterley’s grounds. Play colonial games and get a sweet treat from Mrs. Claus. Live holiday tunes played all day. 10am-4pm @ Historic Sotterley Plantation, off Rt. 245 N, Hollywood, St. Mary’s County. $5; rsvp: 301-373-2280.

Wreath Making Workshop

Use live evergreens to fashion a wreath or swag for the holidays, guided by Jefferson Patterson staff and master gardeners. Weave in magnolia, boxwood, holly and pine. 1-3pm @ Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum, Breckinridge Education Center, Rt. 2-4 to Brooms Island Rd; then follow signs. $20 includes materials; rsvp: 410-586-8501.

BSO Messiah Visits Strathmore

Edward Polochick leads the Concert Artists of Baltimore’s Symphonic Chorale in an encore performance of Handel’s Messiah. 8pm @ Strathmore Hall, Tuckerman Ln., off Rt. 344, North Bethesda. $78-$25: 410-783-8000;

Annapolis Harbour Carolers

Strolling bands of carolers offer a respite from the holiday hustle: Chesapeake Harmony Chorus noon-2pm; Bayfield Music from 2-4pm @ Annapolis Harbour Center: 410-266-5857.

Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade

Annapolitan waters glow with the spirit of the season as 50 illuminated boats set off in two fleets. The first armada takes a colorful circle around Eastport, City Dock and the Naval Academy seawall. The other fleet travels down the length of Spa Creek, inside the bridge and returns. The parade draws thousands of spectators, so pick out a spot along the Annapolis waterfront early to witness this colorful cruise. 6-8pm from Eastport Yacht Club to Naval seawall: 443-822-4676;

NJFK - Craft a Christmas Card

Festive families gather around the craft table, creating cards and decorations for their holiday homes. 2-4pm @ Annapolis Library, 1410 West St., Annapolis: 410-222-1750.

Cozy Up on a Winter’s Eve

Welcome winter on a candlelight tour of historic buildings at the Accokeek Foundation at Piscataway Park, where 18th century lanterns illuminate your way; enjoy colonial tea, cookies, popcorn and join in carol singing by the fire. 5-8pm @ 3400 Bryan Point Rd., Accokeek. $2 or a canned good: 301-283-2113.

Christmas Open House at St. Clement’s

Tour the St. Clement’s Doll and Train Exhibit free of charge. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus as they take down Christmas wishes and pass out candy. Sip punch and munch on Christmas cookies. noon-4pm @ St. Clement’s Island Museum, 38370 Point Breeze Rd., Colton’s Pt., St. Mary’s County. free: 301-769-2222.

A Soulful Seasonal Symphony

America’s premiere African-American orchestra, The Soulful Symphony, opens its 2007-2008 season with A Great Joy. Conductor Darin Atwalter arranges traditional Christmas music with a gospel twist, featuring soloists and a full gospel chorus. The orchestra continues its mission of blending African American musicality with traditional symphonic compositions. 8pm @ Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. $15-$55; rsvp: 410-783-8024;

The Prince George’s Choral Society Christmas

Voices raise in harmony as the Prince George’s Choral Society presents a holiday concert that includes the world premiere of Christmas Tree Angel and more favorite holiday music, from the Messiah to a carol sing-along. 8pm @ Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Rd., Cheverly. $12: 301-277-1710.

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December 8 & 9

Weekends at Homestead

Santa visits both days to greet children and take down Christmas wishes (10am-4pm Sa; noon-4pm Su). Department 56 gives tips for making magical miniatures all weekend (11am). Saturday, adults learn the secrets to creating the perfect Christmas bow ($10; 2pm). Live music greets visitors all weekend with Incidental Brass taking the bandstand Saturday (1pm). Sunday, the Singers Madrigale belt out caroling favorites as you inspect fresh holiday greens and holiday wares (2pm). All @ Homestead Gardens, Rts. 214 & 424, Davidsonville: 800-300-5631;

Home 4 the Holidays

Welcome home a new family member at the Humane Society of Calvert County’s third annual Home 4 the Holidays weekend, where you’ll find pets up for adoption in a festive setting; plus refreshments and merriment. 10am-7pm Sa; 10am-5pm Su @ Humane Society of Calvert County, Fishing Creek Kennel, 2210 Dalrymple Rd., Sunderland: 410-257-4908.

West River Holiday Art & Craft Show

Sail through your holiday shopping at the 2nd annual West River Sailing Club Art and Craft Show, selling locally crafted pottery, jewelry, photography, fine art and more to raise funds for the Junior Fleet. Sample wines at a tasting, bid at a silent auction and enjoy homemade lunch. 10am-3pm SaSu @ West River Sailing Club, Clubhouse, 4800 Riverside Dr., Galesville. free: 410-867-9211.

National Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker

Maryland’s oldest professional ballet company, Prince George’s National Ballet, pulls back the curtain on The Nutcracker. Clara and her Nutcracker prince jete from the Rat Prince as they traverse a Christmas fairyland in this full-length adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s classic holiday ballet. The production twirls to a new venue with different performances Dec. 14-Dec. 21. 2:30pm & 7:30pm Sa; 2:30pm Su @ The Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, 15200 Rt. 450, adjacent to Bowie High School, Bowie. $25 w/discounts; rsvp: 301-218-9822;

Nutcracker by Maryland Ballet Theatre Company

Local dancers twirl onto the stage at the closing weekend of Maryland Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker. noon & 5pm Sa; 2pm Su @ Northeast High School, 1121 Duvall Hwy., Pasadena. $10 w/discounts: 410-428-8099;

Cookie Exchange

Greet the holiday season with the scent of baking cookies as you make seasonal treats at Anne Arundel Community College’s food and culinary Cookie Exchange (GRE-328). Try out classic Christmas cookie recipes and bring a few of your own to share. Also Dec. 14-Dec. 16. 9am-3pm @ Anne Arundel Community College, Hospitality Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute, 7438 Rt. 2, Glen Burnie. $65 includes supplies, ingredients, lab fee and recipes; rsvp early: 4l0-777-2398;

Mt. Vernon Holly Day Tours

Step through Baltimore history during a weekend of walking tours in Mount Vernon. Stoll through holiday-bedecked homes on a Saturday evening tour, then get up Sunday to explore during the daylight hours. Saturday night, follow the glow of lantern light through refurbished apartments and collectors’ homes open to the public once a year (6:30-9pm). Sunday, tour the private homes and historic mansions of Mount Vernon Place on an inexpensive daytrip through Baltimore’s history (11am-5pm). Only 90 tickets available for the Candlelight tour; order early. @ Chase Court, 1112 St Paul St., Baltimore. $100/Sa; $30 w/discounts Su to benefit Friends of Mt Vernon Place: 443-524-2327.

Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Nutcracker

Anne Arundel County’s professional ballet company unveils its Nutcracker, featuring local, regional, national and international dancing talent and original choreography by artistic director Dianna Cuatto. You’ll see surprises and intricate costumes as a cast of nearly 100 pirouette through a performance, set to recorded music. After Sunday’s performance, take refreshments at a free Sugar Plum Fairy party. Also Dec. 16. 7pm Sa; 1:30pm & 4:30pm Su @ Maryland Hall, 801 Chase St., Annapolis. $43 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-263-8289;

Naval Academy Sings Messiah

Get tickets early for this long-standing Naval Academy tradition. The Christmas sections of Handel’s Messiah get a grand theatrical treatment as the opus fills the Main Chapel with the voices of 200 singers, an organist and an orchestra for their 61st year. Dr. Aaron Smith directs the Naval Academy Glee Club as it blends with Hood College, soloists from the Metropolitan Opera Company and members of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. 8pm Sa; 3pm Su @ Main Chapel at United States Naval Academy, Annapolis. Or park at Navy Stadium Blue Lot for free shuttle after 6:30pm Sa & 12:30pm Su. $30-$20; rsvp: 410-293-8497;

A Holiday Concert Duo

Make the season merry with two all-different concerts in two locations this weekend by the Chesapeake Chorale.

• Dec. 8: The Chorale sings Gwyneth Walker’s Rejoice plus seasonal favorites. 8pm @ St. Matthew’s UMC, 14900 Annapolis Rd., Bowie. $15 w/discounts:

• Dec. 9: Chesapeake Chorale’s family holiday concert features traditional carols plus a festive sing-along. 3pm @ Ark & Dove Presbyterian Church, 8424 Piney Orchard Pkwy., Odenton. $12 w/discounts:

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Sunday December 9

Piney Point Lighthouse

Shop for unique Christmas gifts at the Piney Point Lighthouse open house. Local presents rule the day as an assortment of books, handmade scarves, ornaments and jewelry fill the museum. Have a glass of punch and cookies to refuel before taking the complimentary tours of the museum, lighthouse and Potomac River Maritime Exhibit Building. noon-4pm @ Piney Point Lighthouse, 44720 Lighthouse Rd., Piney Point. free: 301-994-1471.

Annapolis Harbour Carolers

Strolling bands of carolers offer a respite from the holiday hustle: Joint Venture Quartet noon-2pm; Beauty Shop Trio from 2-4pm @ Annapolis Harbour Center: 410-266-5857.

High Holiday Tea & Greens Sale

‘Tis the season to stroll through the festively decked William Brown House on a 1pm tour; then enjoy high holiday tea and music performed by the Londontowne Symphony at 2pm. Greens sale features festive holiday centerpieces, boxwood topiary trees and kissing balls. @ Historic London Town Pavilion, 839 Londontown Rd., Edgewater. $30 w/discounts; rsvp: 410-222-1919.

Kinderconzert with CYSO

The Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra strikes up the band for a set of holiday tunes geared toward younger audiences. 3pm @ St. Anne’s Day School, 3112 Arundel on the Bay Rd., Annapolis. $12 w/discounts: 443-758-3157.

Celebrate Hanukkah with Lox & Vodka

Jazz up your eight nights of celebration with Lox & Vodka’s annual Hanukkah concert. This family friendly interactive performance has audiences clapping, dancing and singing along. 1-4pm @ Chevy Chase Pavilion, 5335 Wisconsin Ave., Washington D.C. free: 202-686-5335;

Holiday Harmonies with AACC Concert Band

Retired Navy Commander Raymond Ascione leads the Anne Arundel Community College Concert Band in a celebratory seasonal concert featuring an eclectic mix of holiday tunes, patriotic tributes and traditional Christmas orchestrations. Later, hear the traditional reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. 3pm @ AACC Pascal Center for Performing Arts, 101 College Pkwy., Arnold. $10 w/discounts: 410-777-2457;

Festival of Carols with Maryland’s Boychoir

Listen to an English Christmas tradition when Stephen Holmes leads the Maryland State Boychoir in a candlelit performance of Eric Milner-White’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The choir also sings pieces from Sergei Rachmaninoff and John Rutter in this performance modeled off the King John’s College annual ceremony. Hear the world premier of Stephen Paulus’ Rose of Gold. Also Dec. 15 & 16. 4pm @ The Maryland State Boychoir Center for the Arts, 3400 Norman Ave., Baltimore. $22-$12; rsvp: 410-668-2003;

Belair by Candlelight

The glow of candles welcomes you to the dinner table as you observe a traditional holiday feast from the 18th century. 4-7pm @ Belair Mansion, 12207 Tulip Grove Dr., Bowie. donations requested: 301-809-3089.

Eastport Celebrations

Croon Christmas cheer on a caroling trip around Eastport. Meet at the Annapolis Maritime Museum and set off to spread seasonal songs throughout the city. Return to the museum to warm up by a Yule log bonfire. 4:30pm from Annapolis Maritime Museum, 2nd St., Annapolis: 410-626-0071.

Handel’s Messiah at National Cathedral

Hear the majestic power of the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah resound within the Washington National Cathedral as the Cathedral’s men join the youth choirs and the Baroque orchestra. Michael McCarthy conducts the masterpiece; soloists are tenor Rufus Müller, baritone Nathan Berg, mezzo-soprano Yvette Smith, soprano Susan Lewis. 4pm @ Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts & Wisconsin Aves., NW Washington. $22-82: 202-537-6263;

Holiday Concerts at The National Gallery

Experience a Norse Noel when the Norwegian Embassy presents a collection of their Christmas tunes brought to life by soprano Isa Katharina Gerike, accompanied by conductor Bjarte Engeset and the National Gallery Orchestra. 6:30pm SaSu @ West Garden Court, National Gallery of Art, 4th & Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C. free: 202-737-4215;

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Monday December 10

NJFK - Craft a Card

Elves of all ages gather to create homemade holiday cards for families and friends. 6:30-8pm @ Edgewater Library, 25 Stepneys Ln., Edgewater: 410-222-1538.

Capote on Christmas

Discuss Truman Capote’s classic short, A Christmas Memory. The story is a semi-autobiographical tale of a seven-year-old boy’s Christmas in Depression era rural Alabama. Debate Capote’s portrayal of childhood innocence, the underlying themes of poverty and compare Capote’s real family to the cast of eccentrics that populate the story. 7-8:30pm @ Bayside History Museum, 3rd & Dayton Aves., North Beach: 410-257-2411.

Tuesday December 11

NJFK - Catch the Polar Express

Catch a reading of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic, The Polar Express, following a boy’s train journey to Santa’s home. Passengers sip hot cocoa and nibble cookies. 7pm @ Riviera Beach Library, 1130 Duvall Hwy., Pasadena: 410-222-6285.

Art of the Christmas Story

See the Christmas story on canvas during this 50-minute tour of the permanent collection, examining paintings with holiday themes and symbolism. Also Dec. 13 & 24. 1pm ThF @ West Building Rotunda, National Gallery of Art, 4th & Constitution Ave., Washington, D.C. free: 202-737-4215;

NJFK - Hooray for Holidays

Preschoolers celebrate the season with timely tunes, snow-filled stories and a Christmas cheer craft. Also Dec. 12. 7pm @ Crofton Library, 1681 Riedel Rd., Crofton: 410-222-7915.

Holiday Holly Holder

Choose a Christmas basket to festoon with unusual holly clusters and learn the symbolism behind the green as you accent your basket with berries. 6:30-8:30pm @ Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm, 8109 Telegraph Rd., Severn. $25; rsvp: 410-551-2237;

NJFK - Santa’s Little Helpers

Elves ages 6 & up lend a hand at Santa’s workshop, brightening their homes with holiday cheer by crafting holiday decorations. 7pm @ Mountain Road Library, 4730 Rt. 177, Pasadena: 410-222-6699.

Healthy Holiday Hors D’oeuvres

Spice up your holiday party with trays of unique and healthy appetizers. Chef Frances Chumely shows you how to create marinated herb balls, prosciutto-wrapped endives and a holiday salad on flatbread. 6:30-8:30pm @ Design Solutions, 1598 Whitehall Rd., Annapolis. $55; rsvp: 410-562-7993.

NJFK - Chocolate Bingo

Wear your pajamas to the makeshift bingo hall and arrive early to create a holiday craft. Using M&Ms as markers play a few rounds of bingo and sip hot cocoa at this before bedtime event. 7-8pm @ South County Library, 5940 Rt. 256, Deale: 410-867-4164.

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