A Christmas Carol—It's A Contemporary Theater's 25th annual presentation of Charles Dickens' classic, and once again Ebenezer Scrooge, the stingiest man in London, discovers the

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Festivities

A guide to holiday happenings in the area

A Christmas Carol—It's A Contemporary Theater's 25th annual presentation of Charles Dickens' classic, and once again Ebenezer Scrooge, the stingiest man in London, discovers the true spirit of Christmas. A Contemporary Theater, 700 Union, 292-7660. $16-$35/$13.50-$29 seniors and children. Fri 11/24-Sun 12/24, call 292-7676 or visit www.acttheatre.org for times.

Nordys Giving Trees—Select a gift card from a Giving Tree at any Washington Nordstrom store and purchase the requested item for local charities to distribute. Each store selects a local charity in their community to support. For more info call your local store: Downtown Seattle (628-2111), Northgate (364-8800), Bellevue (425-455-5800), Southcenter (246-0400), Tacoma (253-475-3630), and Alderwood (425-771-5755). Fri 11/24-Sun 12/24.

Santa Castle Outside Nordys—Read your wish list to and take a photo with Mr. Claus inside the snow-covered castle outside the downtown Seattle Nordstrom: "Santa, I'd like to reinvent myself." African-American Santa and American-Sign-Language Santa will be there as well. Sixth and Pine, call 628-1000 for more info or to schedule an appointment. Fri 11/24-Sun 12/24.

Santa at U Village—Santa arrives 11/24 and parades around the Village with Toy Soldier, a dancing Christmas Tree, and a friendly Snowman to the tunes of the Roosevelt High School Jazz Ensemble; open caroling will follow. Thereafter, Santa will hang in his temporary house, where you're welcome to visit and take photos. University Village, 523-0622. Parade: 11/24, festivities start at noon, parade at 1, carols from 4-6. Visits with Santa: Fri 11/24, 10-8; weekdays 11/27-12/8, 10-8; 12/11-12/23, 9:30-9; 11/25, 12/2, 12/9, 10-8; 12/16, 9:30-9; 12/23, 9:30-9; 11/26, 12/3, 12/10, 11-6; 12/17, 10-7; 12/24, 10-5. Pictures start at $12.95. For more info call 783-5227 or visit www.santaphotos.com.

KING 5 Winterfest—The festival kicks off at the Night of Lights (Seattle Center, International Fountain. Fri 11/24, 6-9), when thousands of sparkling lights covering Seattle Center's 74-acre grounds are lit and enhanced by the unveiling of five dramatically illuminated sculptures. Go for a whirl on the Holiday Ice Rink (Seattle Center, Flag Pavilion. $6/$4 bring your own skates; $4 six and under/$2 six and under bring your own skates. 11/24-1/1/01, Sun-Thu 11-8, Fri-Sat 11-10. Sun 12/24, 11-8. Closed 12/31. Mon 1/1/01, 11-8) or take a ride on the painted ponies of the Holiday Carousel (Seattle Center, Flag Pavilion, Terrace. $1. 11/24-1/1/01, 11-6). Attractions inside Seattle Center House include the Holiday Train Display, Winterfest World Market, Sharing Gift Box, KING 5 Home Team Holiday Flights, Season's Readings Story Room, Season Student Music Performances, the Kwanzaa/African-American Holiday Celebration, and the Chinese New Year and Asian Pacific Holiday Celebration. Call 684-7200 or visit www.seattlecenter.com for event details.

Music, Not Muzak, at Pacific Place—Seattle's classiest mall offers live music to get you in the holiday spirit. Fri 11/24, noon-2: Urban Rhythms Choir (gospel pop); Fri 11/24, 6-8: Two Scoops Combo (boogie-woogie blues); Sat 11/25, noon-2: Northwest Girlchoir (holiday music); Sat 11/25, 5-7: Cheryl Serio (holiday classics); Sun 11/26, 2:30-4:30: Kickshaw (a cappella). Pacific Place, Seventh and Pine, call 405-2655 or visit www.pacificplaceseattle.com for more info.

Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park—Enjoy over 200 larger-than-life light displays along a two-mile holiday drive-through that features reindeer, Candy Cane Lane, and other holiday-themed attractions. Presented by Pierce County Parks & Recreation. Spanaway Park, Lakewood, 253-798-3330. $8. 11/24-12/31, 5-9.

Nutcracker Puppet Ballet—Carter Family Marionettes present this holiday extravaganza, in which brave Clara and her Nutcracker journey to a land of dancing flowers, Russian bears, Chinese ribbon dancers, the Sugarplum fairy, and a silly snowman. Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th NE, 523-2579 or www.nwpuppet.org. $8.50/$7 seniors/$6.50 children. 11/24-12/17, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 1 and 3, Sun at 1 and 3.

It's a Wonderful Life: The Play—The Everett Theater Players present Frank Rodgers' adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life, based on the 1946 Frank Capra movie starring James Stewart and Donna Reed and the original story by Philip Van Doren Stern. Faced with the failure of his savings and loan, George Bailey contemplates suicide—until a guardian angel arrives and shows Bailey that his hometown would have been a sadder place had he never lived. Everett Theater, 2911 Colby, Everett, 425-258-6766. $12/$9 seniors, students, and military personnel/$5 children under 10. 11/24-12/17, Thu-Sat at 8, Sun at 2.

Sanders Family Christmas—Taproot Theater Company bring back their holiday musical comedy, featuring the Sanders family singing their hearts out on Christmas Eve, 1941, at the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in North Carolina before their son goes to war. The show offers traditional bluegrass, gospel, country, and carols. Taproot Theater, 204 N 85th, 781-9707. Wed, Thu nights and Sat matinees: $17-$19. Fri and Sat nights: $23-$25, seniors $2 off. 11/24-12/30, Wed-Thu at 7:30, Fri at 8, Sat at 2 and 8. Tue show 12/19 at 7:30.

Classic Nursery Holiday Open House—Jump into the holiday spirit with Santa, pony rides, cookies and cocoa, and a petting farm featuring goats, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and sheep. Proceeds go to Hopelink, Little Bit Therapeutic Riders, and the YWCA. Classic Nursery and Landscape Co., 12526 Avondale Rd NE, Redmond, 425-885-5678. Donations. 11/25-12/10, Sat-Sun noon-4.

FareStart Holiday Dinner—Join FareStart for a special holiday guest chef night, featuring outstanding Washington state wines and a gourmet three-course meal prepared by Greg Atkinson, executive chef of Canlis. Proceeds help FareStart in their mission to transform the lives of homeless and disadvantaged men and women through job training and placement in the food services industry. Space is limited! FareStart Restaurant, 1902 Second, 443-1233 ext. 10. $65. Tue 11/28 at 5:30.

Dina Martina Christmas Extravaganza—She's baaack . . . in this holiday tribute to the Sands, the legendary hotel and casino of Dina's hometown, Las Vegas. The variety show includes never-before-seen film and video segments, a special excerpt from "The Countrycracker," and gifts for lucky audience members. Also on hand: Dina's lovely daughter, Phoebe (pronounced Fo-eh-bee) and a very special mystery guest! On the Boards, 100 W Roy, 217-9888. $15-$18. 11/30-12/17, Thu-Sun at 8.

Matt Smith's Beyond Kindness: The Holiday Edition—The acclaimed performer who brought Seattle audiences My Year With the Nuns portrays the author of a Machiavellian child-rearing manual who unveils not only his numerous child-rearing tips but also himself, as he discusses his drive for fame at all costs and his own crazed family relationships. On the Boards, 100 W Roy, 217-9888. $12-$14. 11/30-12/17, Thu-Sun at 8.

The Argosy Christmas Ship Festival—Hop on board The Spirit of Seattle, the official Christmas Ship, decked with thousands of white lights and other holiday decorations. Aboard ship, the Northwest's finest choirs sing holiday greetings; on shore, revelers gather round roaring bonfires. The Argosy Christmas ship Festival cruises to over 45 waterfront locations throughout Seattle, Lake Washington, and the Puget Sound area, and benefits The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy, which supports several Puget Sound charity organizations and social service providers. Call 623-1445 or visit www.argosycruises.com for times and locations. Christmas ship: $26.50/$16.50 children; Argosy follow boats: $17/$12. Fri 12/1-Sat 12/23.

Poinsettia Festival—Surround yourself with 38 varieties of Molbak's-grown poinsettias and celebrate the season with a slice of Danish pastry and coffee compliments of the store. Every hour, there'll be a drawing for a free poinsettia. Molbak's, Seattle Garden Center, 1600 Pike Place, 448-0431. 12/1-3, Fri-Sat 9-5:30, Sun 10-5. Also at Molbak's, 13625 NE 175th, Woodinville, 425-483-5000. 12/1-24, Mon-Sat 9-9, Sun 9-6. Also at Molbak's, University Village, 754-6500. 12/8-10, Fri 9-9, Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 9-7.

Country Crafts Home and Gift Shows—We're talking thousands of hand-crafted folk-art gifts, home furnishings, garments, accessories, gourmet foods, and hot apple cider brought to you by 95 Northwest crafters and designers. Vasa Park Resort Ballroom, 3549 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE, Bellevue, 425-888-1798. 12/1-12/2, Fri 10-8, Sat 10-6.

Holiday Tea—Enjoy a "2000 Holiday Sampler" with entertaining stories and songs by Northwest actors and musicians at Bellevue Regional Library, 1111 110th NE, Meeting Room 1, 425-450-1765. Free. Fri 12/1 at 1:30.

Madrona Artists' Collective Holiday Open House—Community artists present a wide variety of original arts and home-crafted gifts, including jewelry, pillows, graphic arts, natural baskets, floral arts, water colors, quilts, candles, and more. Madrona Plaza, 1421 34th, 322-4445. 12/1-3, Fri 4-8, Sat-Sun 10-4.

Olde-Fashioned Christmas—Ferndale Heritage Society present their eighth annual Olde-Fashioned Christmas, featuring decorated log cabins, horse-drawn carriage rides, English Christmas crackers, visits with Santa, a treasure chest, caroling, dancing, live entertainment, kids' activities, cookies and beverages, and more! Pioneer Park, Ferndale, 360-384-5416. $3/$2 children under 12. 12/1-3, Fri 5-9, Sat 10-4, Sun 1-4.

Personal Holiday Wrapping Paper—Learn how to make your own wrapping paper, matching gift cards, and stamps using printmaking techniques. Ages 5 and up. Bellevue Regional Library, 1111 110th NE, Bellevue, 425-450-1775. Free. Sat 12/2 at 11am.

Poinsettia 101—Learn how to care for, maintain, and decorate with poinsettias at Molbak's, Seattle Garden Center, 1600 Pike Place, 448-0431. Sat 12/2-Sun 12/3, 1-1:30. Also at Molbak's, University Village, 754-6500. Sat 12/2-Sun 12/3, 1-1:30.

Holiday Laser Shows—Sit back and enjoy Holiday Magic and Laser Nutcracker. Santa, please keep the reindeer on the ground. Pacific Science Center, 200 Second N, 443-2001. $12.50/$10 13 and under (includes Center admission). Sat 12/2-Sun 12/31 (closed Mon 12/25). Holiday Magic Sat and Sun at 2, Laser Nutcracker Sat and Sun at 4.

Winter Winds—Members of local choirs join Washington Wind Symphony for this concert. Highlights include Alfred Reed's Russian Christmas Music and John Rutter's Gloria. Kirkland Performance Center, 350 Kirkland, Kirkland, 425-893-9900. $11/seniors and students $3. Sun 12/3 at 3.

Issaquah Holiday Parade and Lighting Celebration—March on through Issaquah with the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival float and other decorated business and community entries. After the parade, meet Santa, reindeer, and the fairies on stilts; enjoy some hot cider and cocoa; or carol to your heart's content. Parade starts at 12th NW and NW Gilman Blvd and concludes at the Historic Train Depot (50 Rainier Blvd N), Issaquah, 425-392-0661. Free. Sun 12/3 at 4.

The Magic Horn, or Sleeping Beauty in the Woods—A puppet variety show, with puppets performing pieces from Dickens' A Christmas Carol and Han Christian Andersen's The Fir Tree. Also, enjoy demonstrations of hand puppets, rod puppets, shadow puppets, black light theater, and toy theater pieces. Skykomish Library, 100 Fifth, Skykomish, call 360-677-2660 to confirm date and time. Mon 12/4 at 1. Also at Redmond Regional Library, 15990 NE 85th, Redmond, 425-885-1861. Also at Sammamish Library, 825 228th NE, Sammamish, 425-836-8793. Sat 12/9 at 3.

Shoeboxes of Joy—Here's a holiday volunteer opportunity for you: Collect specialty foods, personal crafts, and/or holiday items; place them in a shoebox; decorate that box to the best of your abilities; and drop off the "Shoebox of Joy" at one of King County's Catholic Community Services locations. The box will light up the life of a senior citizen or adult living with a disability. Call 324-5247 or email VC@ccsww.org for CCS locations. Shoeboxes due by Tue 12/5.

Merry Chris Mouse—It's a couple of days before Christmas and a mouse family, without a piece of cheese to their name, arrive at their new home. Twins Christine and Christopher scamper out of their hole in the wall to scavenge in a child's room. They find a caged tiny white mouse and a big dog! Includes Sue Ennis' song "Carving the Christmas Cheese." Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, 104 17th S, 684-4757. $5; 3pm show costs $8/$6 seniors and children. Thu 12/7 at 10:30am and 5pm, Sun 12/10 at 3pm, Tue 12/12 at 10am.

Santa at Molbak's—Santa cares about gardeners and their children, too. Bring your own camera or purchase photos through the store's professional photographer. Molbak's, 13625 NE 175th, Woodinville, 425-483-5000. Fri 12/8, registration at 4, sittings 5:30-8:30.

It's a Wonderful Life: The Reading—Elliott Bay Theater present two benefit readings of the classic Frank Capra film script It's a Wonderful Life, featuring local actors. Directed by EBT artistic director Scott Charles Francis. Proceeds will enable EBT to stage their inaugural production of June Moon by Ring Lardner and George S. Kaufman. Speakeasy Cafe, 2304 Second, 784-5073. $35. Fri 12/8 at 8, Sat 12/9 at 8.

The Snow Maiden—Ballet Bellevue presents Tchaikovsky's classic ballet with guest artists Yury Andreev and Natalia Toriachvili from St. Petersburg, Russia. Featuring Tchaikovsky's haunting score, The Snow Maiden tells the Russian fable of a snow maiden whose heart of ice is melted by the warmth of human love. Meydenbauer Center Theater, 11100 NE Sixth, Bellevue, 425-455-1345. $17/$10 seniors and students. Fri 12/8-Sat 12/9 at 8, Sun 12/10 at 3.

Christmas Rush Fun Run and Walk—Kent Parks' 18th annual Run and Walk includes refreshments, awards, post-race entertainment, and a random prize drawing. City of Kent Maintenance Shops, 24400 Russell Rd, call 253-856-5050 for more info. $20/$25 with a T-shirt. Sat 12/9, registration at 8:30am, Walk at 9:50am, Run at 10am.

The Christmas Revels—Celebrate the Winter Solstice with traditional and ritual dances, processionals, carols, and dramas. Featuring the Revels Chorus, Benazir, the Hobble Knobble Children, Wassail Bells, Seattle Brass Ensemble, and Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance. Stage director: B.J. Douglas. Music director: Susan Senft. Rialto Theater, 310 S Ninth, Tacoma, 253-591-4415. $13-$19.50/seniors and students $11-$16.50/children 12 and under $8-$13. 12/15-19, Fri at 8, Sat at 3 and 7:30 (evening show ASL interpreted), Sun at 1 and 5:30, and Tue at 7:30.

Ice Festival—Build an igloo, make a snowman, create an ice sculpture, discover the science and properties of ice at Pacific Science Center, 200 Second N, 443-2001. $8/$5.50 13 and under. Tue 12/26-Sun 12/31.

 
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