'Ho-Ho-Holidays' Holiday Event Guide


November 2012

Tree Lighting, Glendale

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and every community is merry and bright. Celebrate yuletide cheer as you shop, spend quality time with Santa, bask in the glow of colored lights, contribute to a charity, enjoy a festive performance, and oh so much more.


Bay View

Winter Blast, Feb. 17, 2013

Warm up with neighbors and friends at this mid-winter luau featuring live music, food from local restaurants, children’s activities, a tiki photo booth and local vendors at the South Shore Park Pavilion from noon to 4 p.m. Free. www.bayviewneighborhood.org


2012 Loretta Thomson Christmas Fantasy House, Nov. 3-11

The 20th Annual American Cancer Society Loretta Thomson Christmas Fantasy House will be in Brookfield. Guests will tour a winter wonderland created by the area’s top decorators, then do a little holiday shopping, enjoy a treat from the Sweet Shop and purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win baskets, holiday wreaths or tree decorations. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 3-4 and Nov. 10-11; and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 5-9. Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door.

(262)523-5567 or http://gala.acsevents.org/site/TR/Gala/GalaFY10Midwest?fr_id=28348&pg=entry

Parsons Dance, Nov. 16

Acclaimed for "their virtuosity, energy and sexiness" and led by artistic director/choreographer David Parsons, Parsons Dance is an internationally renowned company committed to building new audiences for contemporary dance all over the world. Their performance begins at 8 p.m. at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $31-$59 or $27-$48 for groups of 10 or more.

(262)781-9520 or wilson-center.com

A Christmas Story, Nov. 29-Dec. 23 

Have a seriously fun theater experience at Sunset Playhouse. Watch this play based on one of the most beloved Christmas films. Show times vary. Tickets are $25 adults, $23 seniors/students, $17 members and $12.50 on Value Nights (Nov. 29 and Dec. 12).

9262)782-4430 or www.sunsetplayhouse.com

Tree Lighting and German Holiday Market, Dec. 1

See the annual lighting of the evergreen then peruse the Holiday Market for gifts to exchange or treasure yourself. The event is 3-7 p.m. in downtown Brookfield. www.visitbrookfield.com

Christmas at the Inn, Dec. 1-2

The Elmbrook Historical Society presents holiday traditions from times past at The Dousman Stage Coach Inn. This year’s Nordic Christmas at the Inn will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. $5 adults, $2 children ages 5-12, free for children ages 4 and younger. (262)782-4057 or www.elmbrookhistoricalsociety.org

Wilson Center Big Band with Jenny Thiel, Dec. 5

Two performances, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., feature Milwaukee’s "Best Jazz Artist" Jenny Thiel with the Wilson Center Big Band for a concert of holiday favorites. Matinee tickets are $16-$21 or $15-$19 for groups of 10 or more. Evening tickets are $20-$30 or $16-$24 for groups. (262)781-9520 or wilson-center.com

Petra Van Nuis/Andy Brown Quartet, Dec. 7

Jazz vocalist Petra Van Nuis will present timeless, romantic music from the season starting at 8 p.m. at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $30 or $24.50 for groups of 10 or more. (262)781-9520 or wilson-center.com

Cherish the Ladies, Dec. 8

Cherish the Ladies, an engaging Irish ensemble, will present their family-friendly Celtic Christmas performance at 8 p.m. at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. Tickets are $33-$63 or $29-$52 for groups of 10 or more. (262)781-9520 or wilson-center.com

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops, Dec. 9

On location at the Sharon LYnne Wilson Center for the Arts, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra presents its annual Holiday Pops concert of carols, sing-a-longs and favorite holiday music. The 2 p.m. matinee is $33-$63 or $29-$52 for groups of 10 or more. (262)781-9520 or www.wilson-center.com

Winter Concert, Dec. 16

Brookfield Civic Band and Civic Chorus unite for a concert of holiday classics at 2 p.m. at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. $5 adults, $3 seniors, free for children 12 and younger. (262)796-6675 or www.brookfieldcivicband.org

Brown Deer

Holly Days Craft Fair, Nov. 3

The 32nd annual craft fair at Brown Deer High School is presented by the Junior Woman’s Club. It includes a variety of vendors, legendary homemade chili and baked goods, and face painting and pictures with Santa for kids of all ages. Visit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for only $2. www.browndeerjuniorwomansclub.com

"Embrace the Wonder," Dec. 6 

Shoreland Community Church hosts its annual women’s event at the Radisson Hotel in Glendale. The evening includes inspirational messages and encouraging music by Sacrifice of Praise, with dessert and fellowship with women of all ages. Tickets are $7 or three for $20. (414)918-3975 or shorelandwomen@gmail.com


Holiday Window and Santa’s Workshop Unveiling, Nov. 9

See how yuletide charm has transformed downtown Cedarburg, starting at 6 p.m. Presented by the Cedarburg Merchants Organization. www.cedarburgchristmas.com

"Christmas in Poland" Festive Friday Eve, Nov. 16

Celebrate the season with the traditions of Poland at Cedar Creek Settlement from 5-9 p.m., featuring Syrena Polish Dancers, Polish music, food samples, crafts and culture. Also enjoy complimentary cider, cookies and wine tasting. (262)377-4763 or www.cedarcreeksettlement.com

Breakfast with Santa, Nov. 17

Bring the kids to breakfast from 9-11 a.m. at the Cedarburg Community Center, which includes a book reading by a local author and a visit to the Secret Santa workshop, where helpers guide them in selecting gifts for family and friends. Attendees who bring an unwrapped toy to donate will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win a $250 toy gift card. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 2 to 10. Seating is limited; call Alison Mantel at (414)559-4358 for reservations or www.cedarburgjuniors.org

Festival of Trees, Nov. 17

Cedarburg Junior Woman’s Club will deck out the Community Center with more than 50 trees, wreaths and other holiday décor. View the merry spectacle from 1-4 p.m. Lakeshore Dance will perform excerpts from "The Nutcracker" and the Trinity Irish Dancers will offer live entertainment. Live greenery from Johnson’s Gardens will be available for purchase, tickets will be sold for a gift card tree raffle, and children can purchase gifts from the Secret Santa workshop. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 2-12. Visit www.cedarburgjuniors.org or contact Tracy Braun at (262)377-2217.

Magic of the Lights Gala, Nov. 17

All items from the Festival of Trees will be auctioned to the highest bidder at this adults-only gala, held from 7-10 p.m. at the Cedarburg Community Center. The evening also includes heavy appetizers, wine, beer and musical entertainment. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Call Alison Mantel at (414)559-4358 or visit www.cedarburgjuniors.org

"Home For The Holidays" Festive Friday Eve, Nov. 23

From 5-9 p.m., Cedar Creek Settlement offers two "make it and take it" holiday projects, easy entertaining ideas for the holidays, and live music with complimentary cider, cookies and wine tasting. (262)377-4763 or www.cedarcreeksettlement.com

Santa’s Workshop, Nov. 23-Dec. 23

A life-size gingerbread house will reside outside the Cedarburg Community Center thanks to grants from the Greater Cedarburg Foundation and Festivals of Cedarburg, Inc. Santa Claus will visit Nov. 23-24, Dec. 1, 9, 14-16 and 22-23. When he’s not in, you can peek in to see the toys his elves have worked on to prepare for the big day. www.cedarburgchristmas.com

Gingerbread March/Scavenger Hunt, Nov. 26

Gather the children for a stroll down Washington Avenue to find holiday treasures. Register at the Cedarburg Cultural Center by 3:30 p.m. The scavenger hunt is held 4-7 p.m. and sponsored by the Cedarburg Merchant Organization and U.S. Bank. www.cedarburgchristmas.com

Christmas Tree Lighting, Nov. 26

Family festivities begin at the Community Center at 5:30 p.m., and include a Christmas concert, cookies, cider, carols, holiday activities, crafts, and Secret Santa and Santa’s Mailbox coordinated by the Cedarburg Junior Woman’s Club. Then head to City Hall at 7 p.m. for the annual tree lighting ceremony led by Mr. and Mrs. Claus. www.cedarburgchristmas.com

Blizzard of Art Exhibit and Sale, Nov. 27-Dec. 30

The Cedarburg Artists’ Guild presents an array of original works in the Main Street Gallery of the Cedarburg Cultural Center. Many pieces are less than $200 — perfect for holiday gifts and decorating your own home. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. (262)375-3676 or www.cedarburgculturalcenter.org

Holiday Craft and Gift Sale, Nov. 29-Dec. 1

Cedarburg Senior Center presents an exhibition of Christmas gifts in the Historic Lincoln Building, along with a cookie and bake sale. Hours are noon-5 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. www.cedarburgchristmas.com

Cedarburg Artists’ Guild Holiday Art Fair, Nov. 30-Dec. 2

Arts and crafts by more than 40 members of the Cedarburg Artists’ Guild will be for sale at this annual Holiday Art Fair in the Community Center. Selections will include jewelry, fiber and wearable art, fabric sculptures, hand-crafted furniture, paintings, drawings, photography and ceramics. Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission, free trolley rides and public parking. www.cedarburgartistsguild.com

"Christmas in the Country," Nov. 30-Dec. 2

Wisconsin’s premier Christmas boutique is part of Festive Friday Eve and can be explored throughout the weekend. Cedarburg High School Choral Singers will perform. Admission is $3. (262)377-4763 or www.cedarcreeksettlement.com

The Lettermen Holiday Performance, Dec. 1

Cedarburg Performing Arts Center presents harmony for the holidays by The Lettermen at 7:30 p.m. Their signature sound includes "Smile," "Put Your Head On My Shoulder," "Shangri-La," "Love" and "Traces/Memories." Tickets are $50. (262)376-6162 or www.cedarburgpac.com

"Santa’s Workshop" Festive Friday Eve, Dec. 7

Visit with Santa Claus from 5-9 p.m. at Cedar Creek Settlement. Additionally, David HB Drake presents children’s songs of the season while the kids create a "make it and take it" holiday project or decorate cookies. Complimentary cider and cookies too. (262)377-4763 or www.cedarcreeksettlement.com

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert, Dec. 7

The acclaimed Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra returns to the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. for a concert of holiday favorites and sing-alongs. Tickets are $50; proceeds support student scholarships and community service of the Cedarburg-Grafton Rotary Club. (262)707-7308, (262)376-6161 or www.cedarburggraftonrotary.com

"Santa’s Liquid Helper," Dec. 7-8 

An adult event, "Santa’s Liquid Helper" begins at 7:30 p.m. at Cedarburg Cultural Center. Roast the season with Cedarburg’s resident comedy troupe, McMann & Tate. Tickets are $10 member advanced, $12 advanced, $14 at the door or $125 for a table of eight. (262)375-3676 or www.cedarburgculturalcenter.org

Pictures with Santa, Dec. 8

Capture the joys of the season with a free picture of your child with Santa, made possible by The Cedarburg Lions. Take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the magic grotto of Johnson’s Gardens from 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m., www.cedarburgchristmas.com

"Miracle on 34th Street," Dec. 8

Step off the streets of Cedarburg and into New York City during the classic Christmas film, "Miracle on 34th Street," at Cedarburg’s historic Rivoli Theater. Tickets are $1 per person. Show starts at noon. www.cedarburgchristmas.com

"A Taste of Christmas" Festive Friday Eve, Dec. 14

This night out for grownups allows leisurely shopping in the festive atmosphere of Cedar Creek Settlement. Enjoy complimentary munchies and wine tasting while listening to Sinatra singer Ed Frank and the Grafton High School Choral Singers. (262)377-4763 or www.cedarcreeksettlement.com

River Cities Jazz Big Band Holiday Show, Dec. 14

Herald in the season in style with Wisconsin’s own 18-piece River Cities Jazz Big Band. A merry salute to the holidays starts at 7:30 p.m. at Cedarburg Cultural Center. Tickets are $22 member advanced, $24 advanced, $26 at the door, $10 student and $235 for a table of eight. (262)375-3676 or www.cedarburgculturalcenter.org

George Winston, Dec. 20

Solo pianist George Winston will perform at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m., presenting seasonal favorites and songs from his upcoming record, "Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions 2 – A Louisiana Wetlands Benefit." Tickets are $50. (262)376-6162 or www.cedarburgpac.com

"Frantic Friday Eve," Dec. 21

Get your last-minute shopping done from 5-9 p.m. at Cedar Creek Settlement. Irish singer/musician Derek Byrne will perform and complimentary cookies and cider will be available. (262)377-4763 or www.cedarcreeksettlement.com


Delafield Tree Lighting, Nov. 16

Spend the evening in the downtown district to welcome the holiday season with friends and neighbors. The fun will be 4-7 p.m., with the traditional tree lighting ceremony beginning at 5:30 p.m. or www.visitdelafield.org

Breakfast with the Reindeer, Dec. 1

Join the Delafield Chamber of Commerce and member businesses for a celebration including shopping, caroling, live reindeer, pictures with Santa and warm holiday treats, from 9 a.m.-noon. (262)646-8100 or www.visitdelafield.org

Christmas at Hawk’s Inn, Dec. 1-2

Treat yourself and family to an 1850s Christmas at Hawk’s Inn. The open house is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes guided tours of the traditional decorations, fireplace cooking demos and tastings of Christmas stew, warm cider, doughnut holes, roasted chestnuts and popcorn, as well as rug-hooking demos. The Visitor’s Center features sing-alongs, gifts and a bake sale. (262)646-4794 or www.hawksinn.org

Ladies Night Out, Dec. 13

Join the ladies of downtown Delafield for a night of shopping, raffles and fun to benefit the Kettle Moraine Food Pantry. The raffle prizes will be baskets and items donated by participating local businesses. Drawings will be at Revere’s restaurant; must be present to win. Food and drink specials will be available. (262)646-7090 or www.visitdelafield.org

Elm Grove

Holiday Open House, Nov. 9-10

The Elm Grove Business Association presents horse-drawn wagon rides, hot cocoa and cider, sales and demonstrations at shops, restaurants and local businesses, and many other activities the whole family will enjoy. Elm Grove Public Library will have a used book sale, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame convent will hold its annual Holiday Gift and Bake Sale. For details, contact Holly A. Kuusinen of Professional Insurance Services, Inc. at (262)844-5260 or www.elmgrovebusinessassociation.com

Christmas in the Grove, Nov. 9-10

This annual juried fine arts, collectibles, holiday gifts and wearable art show is sponsored by the Elm Grove Woman’s Club. It begins at 4 p.m. Friday and will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For details, contact Holly A. Kuusinen of Professional Insurance Services, Inc. at (262)844-5260 or www.elmgrovebusinessassociation.com


Holiday Craft and Gift Expo, Nov. 23-25

After years at State Fair Park, this show is bigger and better at its new location in Milwaukee County Sports Complex. In addition to crafts, gifts and handmade treats, the expo features live music by Main Street Song & Dance Troup, Rev. Raymond and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, and Carmen Nickerson with Kostia. Friday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; adults $5, children $2, free for children 6 and younger; free parking. (262)506-4114 or www.craftfairwisconsin.com


Cookies with Santa, Dec. 1

The Genesee Athletic Association presents a snack with Santa from noon to 4 p.m. at the Genesee Town Hall. (262)968-3656 or www.towngenesee.org


5K Candy Cane Run/Walk, Nov. 10

Edward Jones sponsors this family-friendly event that winds through the neighborhood streets south of Mequon Road. Leashed dogs are welcome. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Germantown Community Library. $25 day of race; T-shirts limited; $10 for students 17 and younger. For route map and registration information, visit www.germantownchamber.org

The Spirit of Christmas Parade, Nov. 10

Deutschstadt Heritage Foundation and Columbia-St. Mary’s Germantown Clinic present the annual holiday parade. The parade will begin north of Mequon Road and Pilgrim, travels to Fond du Lac Avenue then to Main Street, and south onto Squire Drive. (262)255-1812 or www.germantownchamber.org

Germantown Christmas Festival and Tree Lighting, Nov. 10

After the parade, head to the Germantown Community Library for free horse-drawn carriage rides, hot beverages, treats, the Friends of the Library basket sale, visits with Santa and the lighting of the community tree. (262)255-1812 or www.germantownchamber.org

Sinter Klausen Christmas Concert, Dec. 2

The Germantown Historical Society presents its annual concert from 3-4 p.m. at Christ Church Museum in Dheinsville. The evening features an old-fashioned children’s choir singing German/English carols, sing-a-longs, musical selections on the antique pump organ, and a visit from St. Nick. Free; donations appreciated. (262)628-3170 or www.germantownhistoricalsociety.com


"Brilliant Night, Dazzling Lights" Tree Lighting Ceremony, Nov. 16

Ring in the holiday season with Bayshore Town Center and the City of Glendale. Gather in the Town Square at 6 p.m. to witness Santa’s arrival and the lighting of a 50-foot tree, complete with yuletide tunes. www.welcometoglendale.com

Menorah Lighting, Dec. 9

The City of Glendale and Bayshore Town Center will host a lighting of a menorah at 5:30 p.m. in the Rotunda. Sing, dance, eat and celebrate with the Lubavitch of Wisconsin. www.welcometoglendale.com


Grafton Community Christmas Tree Lighting, Nov. 18

Gather with friends and neighbors in Paramount Plaza at 6:30 p.m. to help light the 20 trees decorated by local businesses, churches and volunteer organizations, and recognize Grafton’s Citizen of the Year. Local children’s choirs will sing songs of the season and Jolly the Elf will distribute goodie bags while collecting letters to Santa. (262)377-1650 or www.grafton-wi.org

Breakfast with Santa, Nov. 24

Cornerstone Community Bank sponsors this memorable meal at Circle B Recreation from 7:30-10 a.m. Bring your camera to capture images of your child with Santa and other characters. Advance registration required. (262)377-1650 or www.grafton-wi.org

33rd Annual Christmas Parade, Nov. 24

Sounds of the Season Parade is presented by the Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Columbia St. Mary’s. It begins at 11 a.m. at the corner of 6th and Washington. The 100 units will feature South Shore Drill Team, the University of Wisconsin Marching Band, and of course, Santa. (262)377-1650 or www.grafton-wi.org

The Domes, Milwaukee


"A Christmas Carol," Nov. 30-Dec. 16

The Lake Country Players will present this holiday classic on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. $15. (262)367-4697 or lakecountryplayhouse.net

Holiday Train, Dec. 8

Thanks to the support of the Hartland community and Canadian Pacific Railway, the spectacularly lit Holiday Train will again usher in the season. Hartland is one of 140 stops in the U.S. and Canada to help collect for food pantries. See the train arrive at 301 Pawling Ave. at approximately 9:15 p.m. and stay for musical entertainment at the box car. Bring donations to help meet the goal of $12,000 and thousands of pounds of food. Come early to get your parking spot and enjoy specials in the local shops and restaurants. (262)367-7059 or www.hartland-wi.org

Menomonee Falls

Jingle Bell Craft Fair, Nov. 18

Support the Menomonee Falls High School Choir as you shop the 150 vendors of arts and crafts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. Admission is $2. Contact Brian Scheehle for more information at schebri@sdmf.k12.wi.us

Christmas in the Village Centre, Nov. 24

Shop, eat and be merry in the village of Menomonee Falls. See the costumed Patio Players and hear Accompany of Kids sing carols, and enjoy activities at the Associated Bank building. Horse and buggy rides are $2 per person. (262)251-8797 or www.shoppingthevillage.com

Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade, Nov. 25

Bring the family to Centennial Park at 4 p.m., then watch a parade of festive floats, costumed characters and more go by on Main Street and Appleton Avenue starting at 4:30 p.m. (262)251-8797 or www.shoppingthevillage.com

Silver Tea and Cookie Sale, Dec. 2

You are invited to the Miller-Davidson House at Old Falls Village from 1-4 p.m. for tea and Christmas cookies. Free admission, parking and refreshments are presented by the Menomonee Falls Historical Society; donations are appreciated. Buy some cookies to take home and share. Mrs. Claus will read stories to children and all can tour the historic home decked out for the holidays. (262)250-3901 or mfhistory@yahoo.com


Holiday Tree Lighting, Dec. 7

Gather together from 6-8 p.m. at the Walgreens on the corner of Freistadt Road and Main Street in Thiensville for holiday carolers, beverages and cookies, and the first appearance of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Free; donations appreciated. http://thiensvillebusiness.com

"December Songs," Dec. 8

Wisconsin Singer Songwriters will perform an acoustic holiday celebration at the Unitarian Church North, featuring Dan Navarro, Amy Speace, Jon Vezner and Sally Barris. Tickets are $20 for adults in advance or $23 at the door; $14 students with ID in advance or $17 at the door. http://wsss.org


Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Sing, Nov. 27

The village tree lighting ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. at Merton Village Hall. Bring the family for Christmas treats, musical entertainment, caroling and a visit from the man in red. (262)538-0820 or www.villageofmerton.com


Official Holiday Ornament

For the 12th consecutive year, a limited-edition ornament will highlight a downtown Milwaukee icon. The 2012 edition features the Milwaukee County Courthouse, and is $19.95 plus shipping and handling. Past editions in the series are $24.95 plus shipping and handling. (414)220-4700 or www.milwaukeeholidaylights.com

WEEBLES Coast to Coast exhibit, through Jan. 1

The newest special exhibit at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum invites visitors on a pretend trip that explores the 50 states. Learn U.S. geography, history and culture through puzzles and games, physical challenges, music, singing, dancing, art and role play. It is supported by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Community Grant Fund and was developed in collaboration with Hasbro Inc. (414)390-KIDS (5437) or www.bbcmkids.org

Music Under Glass, Nov. 1-March 14

See The Domes at Mitchell Park Conservatory in a new light. Live music performances are every Thursday at 6:30 p.m., with light shows at intermission and following the concert. Food and beverages available for purchase. $6.50 adults, $5 children, ages 6-17. (414)257-5600 or www.countyparks.com

Indoor and In-Store Farmers Market, Nov. 7-Dec. 19

Each Wednesday, shop the local offerings of the Westown Association and Shops of Grand Avenue’s farmers market. It is held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on level two of the arcade, just below the food court. Also explore new Pop Up shops, chef demos, live music and live artists. http://grandavenueshops.com

Jewelry at The Domes, Nov 10-11

The Loose Bead Society of Greater Milwaukee’s designers and artists present a unique fair of one-of-a-kind jewelry. Bead stitching and weaving, metals, glass and precious stones will be available to view, buy and collect, for a friend—or yourself. The event is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with general admission pricing; $6.50 adults, $5 children ages 6-17. (414)257-5600 or www.loosebeadsociety.org

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra League’s Holiday House, Nov. 10-18

Visit the magnificent home at 2221 N. Terrace Ave., Milwaukee, to support the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Tours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; $15 general admission, $10 volunteer. Also visit the café and holiday boutique. A special preview party will be 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 9 for $60, $85 (Patron) or $100 (Sustainer). A wine and cheese evening is 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 13 for $25. New League members celebrate from 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 11. For more information or reservations, contact Erin Fahl at (414)226-7851 or fahle@mso.org., http://www.mso.org/tickets/special_events/holiday_house

Member Private Holiday Shopping Event, Nov. 13

Milwaukee Art Museum members enjoy an exclusive evening of holiday shopping in the Museum Store with wine and hors d’oeuvres from 5-8 p.m. Artist Joanna Poehlmann will reveal and personalize the new ornament she designed for the museum and the Milwaukee Guitar Quartet will perform. Purchase gifts with the Member Double Discount (20 percent off) then have them wrapped. To RSVP, call (414)224-3875 or email museumstore@mam.org

Christmas Tree Lighting, Nov. 15 

Enjoy festive music and see local officials and others light the city/county Christmas tree at 4:30 p.m. in Red Arrow Park. http://county.milwaukee.gov/ParksCalendar

Christmas Preview Gala, Nov. 15 

This annual reception, held 5:30-7 p.m., provides the opportunity to see the Pabst Mansion in all of its holiday finery while enjoying champagne, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Tickets are $15 members; $40 non-members. (414)931-0808 or www.pabstmansion.com

Holiday Lights Festival Kick-Off Extravaganza, Nov. 15

The ceremonial switch-flipping begins at 6 p.m. in Pere Marquette Park, complete with live music, holiday entertainment, a visit from Santa, refreshments and a dynamic fireworks show. Then hop aboard the Jingle Bus, free this night only. (414)220-4700 or www.milwaukeeholidaylights.com

Jingle Bus, Nov. 15-Dec. 30

Every Thursday through Sunday (excluding holidays), this Coach USA bus will escort visitors on a tour of downtown and then return to the Shops of Grand Avenue. The bus operates 6-9 p.m. for $1 per person with tours narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors who will acquaint riders with key attractions and landmarks. (414)727-3581 or www.grandavenueshops.com

Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, Nov. 15-Dec. 31

Animated light displays are aglow in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park and Zeidler Union Square, and throughout downtown Milwaukee for six weeks of holiday spirit. Cathedral Square Park will again become "Community Spirit Park" with fresh evergreens decorated in themed ornaments by 70 metro Milwaukee schools. (414)220-4700 or www.milwaukeeholidaylights.com

Holiday Folk Fair International,Nov. 16-18

Produced by the International Institute of Wisconsin, Holiday Folk Fair International celebrates the cultural heritage of the people living in southeastern Wisconsin. Held at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park, this year’s theme is "Celebrate the Culture of the Story," and features photo and story displays and international dance groups. A United States Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony will be Saturday, and an "Around the World" 5K Run/Walk will be on Sunday. Hours: Nov. 16, 2-10 p.m.; Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tickets are $10 advance, $12 adults; $10 children ages 6-12 and 62 and older. Family four-packs are $36. (414)225-6220 or www.folkfair.org

Grand Avenue Christmas, Nov. 16 -Jan. 13

The Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion’s nationally recognized Christmas display returns with more than just festive decorations. See this mansion, and the Charles Allis Art Museum and the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum for $13 with a Holiday Season Pass, available at all three locations. (414)931-0808 or www.pabstmansion.com

Milwaukee Holiday Parade, Nov. 17

Milwaukee’s 86th annual parade, presented by Johnson Controls, begins at 9:30 a.m. Bring non-perishable food items to benefit the Hunger Task Force’s Food for Families. The hour-long parade features 100 units and will be televised on Fox 6. Park for only $3 at the Shops of Grand Avenue until 5:30 p.m., and be sure to visit Santa at the Warming House in Center Court from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (262)377-5935 or www.milwaukeeparade.com

Let it Snow Holiday Show, Nov. 17-Jan. 6

The Show Dome at Mitchell Park Conservatory will be transformed into a winter wonderland of children sleighing, sledding and having fun among a plethora of poinsettias. A large tree decorated with snowflakes, icicles and snowmen is the centerpiece of the show. $6.50 adults, $5 seniors/students/children. (414)527-5611 or http://county.milwaukee.gov/FloralShowampEventSc10360.htm

Gingerbread Day, Nov. 23

A tasty trip to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum offers paper crafts in the Artists Studio, tales at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and gingerbread play dough fun at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (414)390-KIDS (5437) or www.bbcmkids.org

Lighting of the Whale, Nov. 23

An unusual holiday tradition begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Milwaukee Public Museum. This year, watch for a pirate to help museum officials pull the gigantic lever that illuminates more than 4,200 white lights adorning the massive humpback whale skeleton that hangs over the Grand Staircase. Free with admission. (414)278-2702 or www.mpm.edu

Twilight Tours, Nov. 23 and Dec. 21

Visit the Pabst Mansion during an open house from 5:30-7 p.m. Engaging guides provide tours of the elaborately decorated rooms while recounting Victorian holiday history. Refreshments will be served. Tickets are $12 adults in advance or $15 at the door, $6 children in advance, or $8. (414)931-0808 or www.pabstmansion.com

Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24

Shop the local businesses of the Historic Third Ward from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and receive incentives and special offers. www.historicthirdward.org

Christmas in the Ward, Nov. 30-Dec. 1

The 24th Annual Christmas in the Ward celebration features live entertainment, local shopping, dining and more. The tree lighting ceremony and fireworks are from 5-8 p.m. Friday in Catalano Square at Broadway and Menomonee. The fun continues from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Free. www.historicthirdward.org/events/christmas.php

European Holiday Traditions Come Alive!, Nov. 30-Dec. 1

Spend the day at Milwaukee Public Museum to see enactors and interpreters immersed in the European holiday traditions of a century past, and some that still endure today. Free with admission. (414)278-2702 or www.mpm.edu

Homemade Holiday Open House, Dec. 1

Bring children ages 3-12 to the Wehr Nature Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to create homemade holiday treasures. Gifts will be made from natural and reusable objects, including tree-cookie coasters, pencil holders, recycled crayons, holiday ornaments and bird feeders. Three projects per child are included in admission fee ($6 child, $5 child Friend of Wehr, $1 adult); additional projects are $1 each. Food available for purchase. (414)425-8550 or http://county.milwaukee.gov/WehrNatureCenter10115.htm

Breakfast and Lunch with Santa, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16

Racine Danish Kringles sponsors this annual event at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Children have the opportunity to share a meal with Jolly St. Nick while enjoying musical entertainment and receiving a special gift. Lunch is served both days at noon; breakfast is served Saturdays only at 9 a.m. Call the zoo at (414)256-5466 for a reservation form or www.milwaukeezoo.org

Boerner’s Holiday Celebration, Dec. 2

Celebrate with the Friends of Boerner Botanical Gardens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This annual tradition includes story time with Lois Ehlert, a Milwaukee children’s author, interactive crafts based on her books, a holiday music performance by the Suzuki School of Violin, and of course, a visit from Santa. $6 per child. (414)525-5664 or jschmitz@fbbg.org; www.boernerbotanicalgardens.org

"Home for the Holidays," Dec. 2

Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays at Milwaukee Art Museum presents an opportunity for children of all ages to create handmade holiday gifts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free with museum admission; kids 12 and younger free daily. www.mam.org

Winter Tree and Shrub Identification Workshop, Dec. 3

Nature lovers ages 13 and older can learn how to identify foliage without its leaves. Starting at 1 p.m., Mark Verhagen, Natural Areas Management Specialist at Wehr Nature Center, will share other characteristics to look for before the class heads out into the grounds to practice. $10 Milwaukee County resident; $15 non-resident; $8 Friend of Wehr. Register by Nov. 26 to (414)425-8550 or wehr@milwcnty.com

MAM After Dark, Dec. 7

Northwestern Mutual Foundation presents a not-to-be-missed feature program, after-hours access to the galleries, music, food, cash bar and more from 5 p.m. to midnight. $12 at the door, $6 (plus fees) in advance, free for members. www.mam.org

Dickens Dinners, Dec. 7-9, 14-16, 19-22

Bartolotta Restaurants will again offer the celebrated Dickens Dinners at the Pabst Mansion. For more information on this traditional English feast, call Bartolotta’s at (414)727-6980.

Breakfast with Santa, Dec. 8 An enchanted breakfast will be from 10 a.m. to noon at Kosciuszko Community Center. Start with pancakes, then make arts and crafts and take a picture with St. Nick. $2 adults and children 13 and older; $1 children 12 and younger. Tickets required to enter. (414)645-4624 or http://county.milwaukee.gov/ParksCalendar

Cocoa with the Clauses, Dec. 8

Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit Cathedral Square Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children can share their wish lists and take photos while they enjoy rockin’ holiday tunes. Free. (414)220-4700 or www.milwaukeeholidaylights.com

Radio Disney Saturdays with Santa, Dec. 8, 15, 22

Hang out in the food court at the Shops of Grand Avenue from noon to 1:30 p.m. for the ultimate holiday dance party with games and prizes. http://grandavenueshops.com

Holiday Tea and Tour, Dec. 9 

Enjoy a traditional English tea with a docent-led tour of the "Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London" exhibition at Milwaukee Art Museum. The event will be 1-3 p.m.; reservations required. This exhibit, on display through Jan. 13, showcases the masterpieces of the Iveagh Bequest collection. Admission: $15 adults; $12 students/seniors/military; members and children 12 and younger are free. www.mam.org

Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 15

Participate in the National Audubon Society’s 113th annual Christmas Bird Count from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Wehr Nature Center. This count is held throughout the country and provides information on long-term trends, as collected by the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology. Bring field guides, binoculars and a dish to pass at the potluck chili lunch (not required). Register by Dec. 8 to wehr@milwcnty.com For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu/birds/wbba

New Year’s Eve Skate, Dec. 31

The Slice of Ice outdoor rink at Red Arrow Park is open from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. to ring in the arrival of a new year. Free with your own skates. Rentals are $8/pair for adults, $7/pair for ages 17 and younger. Skate sharpening is $6/pair. If the National Weather Service issues a cold weather, blizzard or wind-chill advisory, Slice of Ice will be closed. (414)289-8791 or http://county.milwaukee.gov/ParksCalendar

New Year’s Eve Pajama Party, Dec. 31

A family-friendly New Year’s party begins at 5:30 p.m. at Betty Brinn Children’s Museum. Dance in your jammies, enjoy late night snacks, create a holiday hat and listen to a special bedtime story with Baby New Year and Father Time. The event is complete with noisemakers, a ball drop, juice toast and a time capsule to remember the evening. Tickets are $14 or $10 for museum members; free for children younger than 1 year. Space is limited. Purchase tickets at the museum or by phone at (414)390-KIDS (5437), ext. 242 or www.bbcmkids.org

New Year’s Eve Family Celebration, Dec. 31

A night of traditional entertainment, music, food and party favors perfect for families returns to The Domes (Mitchell Park Conservatory). The fun begins at 6 p.m. and proceeds benefit Friends of the Domes. Special event rates apply; $12 adults; $5 children ages 6-17; (414)257-5600 or www.milwaukeedomes.org

Holiday Lights, Milwaukee


Giving Thanks Days, Nov. 10-11 

The Elegant Farmer hosts its annual Giving Thanks Days, which supports local families in need. Purchase a pie (eight inches or larger) and a portion of the proceeds will benefit a food pantry. (262)363-6770 or www.elegantfarmer.com

Midnight Magic, Dec. 1

This old-fashioned Christmas celebration is 10 a.m. to midnight throughout the town. It features shopping, crafters, a parade at 3 p.m., a tree lighting at the library, holiday entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, historic trolley rides, fireworks at 9 p.m., pictures with Santa and more. (262)363-7758 or www.mukwonagochamber.org

Christmas Express Santa Train, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16

This December, you can ride the rails with a storytelling Santa Claus. The Christmas Express will depart The Elegant Farmer at 11:45 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Purchase tickets from the East Troy Railroad, (262)642-3263 or www.easttroyrr.org

"Miracle on 34th Street," Dec. 7-8, 14-16

Is Kris Kringle the real Santa? The Mukwonago Village Players present this heartwarming Christmas classic at Mukwonago High School. Times and ticket prices are TBA. www.mukwonagovillageplayers.com


Downtown Holiday Open House, Nov. 23-25

Downtown Oconomowoc will host live entertainment, specialty foods, holiday decorations, great shopping and more in three fun-filled festive days. (262)567-7114 or www.downtownoconomowoc.org

German Christmas Market, Nov. 23-25

The German Christmas Market recreates the traditional holiday markets of Europe, with authentic German cuisine, retail huts, actors in costume and live entertainment. www.GermanChristmasMarket.org

"The 2012 Holiday Extravaganza – Immanuel," Nov. 28

Lorie Line will perform glorious Christmas music with her grand piano and her Fab Five at 7:30 p.m. at Oconomowoc Arts Center. Bring and ring your bells as part of this brand-new holiday show. Reserved seating. $46; service fees might apply. (262)560-3172 or www.theoac.net

Little Big Holiday Party, Dec. 1

Enjoy a seasonal celebration at Olympia Resort from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. A $25 ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, two drinks, raffle tickets, a comedy show, DJ and late-night snacks. A special $79 guest room rate includes breakfast for two Sunday morning. (800)558-9573 or www.olympiaresort.com

"Christmas in New York 2012," Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2, 6-9, 13-15

Back by popular demand, "Christmas in New York" returns to Theatre on Main. Get into the spirit of the season with timeless classics and new holiday favorites Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets are $16 adults; $12 students/seniors. Group discounts and VIP seating available. (262)853-7628 or www.theatreonmain.org

"I’ve Got Yule Babe," Dec. 7-8

Joel Kopischke brings a three-piece band and a trio of back-up singers for this festive Cabaret Café event at the Oconomowoc Arts Center. Seating is reserved, and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. with the show at 7 p.m. Show-only tickets are $22 adults or $10 students. A dinner package is $32 or $20. Service fees might apply. (262)560-3172 or www.theoac.net

New Year’s Eve Saints & Sinners Party, Dec. 31

Ring in the new year with KISS FM and Bobby Way & The Wayouts at Olympia Resort. www.olympiaresort.com


Holiday Festival, Dec. 1

Ring in the holiday season with music, food, drink and snapshots with Santa at the Clark House Museum. Then see the lighting of the Christmas tree at Village Hall. (262)695-9735 or www.positivelypewaukee.com

Port Washington

Winter Farmers Market, Nov. 3, 10, 17, Dec. 8, 15, 22, 29

On Saturdays this winter, peruse the farmers market for seasonal produce, meat, dairy products and other goodies at First Congregational Church from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free. (262)284-2022 or http://portfish.org/winter-farmers-market

Christmas on the Corner and Christmas Parade, Dec. 1

Celebrate a hometown Christmas starting at 3 p.m., with reindeer, carolers, in-store promotions, photos with St. Nick, a living nativity, carriage rides and strolling musicians. The parade begins at 6:15 p.m. and is followed by fireworks. (262)284-0900 or www.visitportwashington.com


"Stop, Shop & Restore," Dec. 8

The Shorewood Business Improvement District invites the community to "Stop, Shop & Restore" — a fun way to de-stress during the holidays. Enjoy relaxation stations, horse-drawn carriage rides, roaming carolers, refreshments, merchant sales and more. www.shorewoodwi.com


Joy Tree, Nov. 28-Dec. 13

The Sussex Community Center sponsors holiday trees in its lobby and in the lobby of Village Hall. Each is decorated with gift idea tags. Take as many tags as you wish and return the wrapped gift(s) to the Village Hall or Community Center before Dec. 13, for distribution by Sussex Outreach Services for older adults. www.village.sussex.wi.us

Village Tree Lighting, Dec. 1

See officials flip the switch on the village Christmas tree at 5 p.m. on the front lawn of Village Hall. www.village.sussex.wi.us

Wishes in Wonderland, Wauwatosa


Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree Lighting, Nov. 16

Bring the family to The Rotunda on Broadway in downtown Waukesha at 6 p.m. for this traditional event. In addition to caroling, an inspirational message and a visit from Santa, food items and cash donations will be collected for the Salvation Army to help kick off its 2012 Red Kettle Campaign. (262)549-6154 or www.DowntownWaukesha.com

Holiday Open House, Nov. 18

Visit the Waukesha County Museum for an open house from 1-4 p.m. Enjoy free admission, including the feature exhibition of holiday quilts in "America Celebrates!" Free hot chocolate, popcorn and crafts too. (262)521-2859 or www.waukeshacountymuseum.org

Christmas Parade, Nov. 18

The 50th Annual Holiday Parade will wind through historic downtown Waukesha, complete with marching bands, festive floats and the man of the hour, Santa Claus. This event begins at 4 p.m. and is sponsored by the Blood Center of Wisconsin. (262)549-6154 or www.downtownwaukesha.com

Fashionable Tidings Luncheon, Nov. 28

Support Waukesha Choral Union and enjoy a festive fashion show of holiday designs by Bruce Paul Goodman, with lunch and a basket raffle. The event begins at 11 a.m. at Merrill Hills Country Club. $35 (includes lunch); purchase from a WCU member, at any Waukesha State Bank, call (414)297-9310 or visit www.choralunion.org

"Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols," Nov. 30-Dec. 16

See your favorite holiday heroes and villains present the stories and songs of the season – a whole lotta fun at Waukesha Civic Theatre. Performances are 7 p.m. Fridays; 6 p.m. Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Sundays. Additional 2 p.m. matinees will be Saturday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 15. Tickets are $19 adults, $17 students/seniors, $15 subscribers/groups, $10 educational groups; service fees apply. (262)547-0708 or www.waukeshacivictheatre.org

"Comedy Tonight: I Got Yule, Babe," Dec. 10 and 13

Local favorite Joel Kopischke and his band present holiday hits that are a little naughty and a lotta nice at Waukesha Civic Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults; $8 students/seniors; $6 subscribers/groups; service fees apply. (262)547-0708 or www.waukeshacivictheatre.org

"Nuncrackers," Dec. 20-22

The loveable Little Sisters of Hoboken plus Father Virgil and a few Mt. Saint Helen’s students have some fun at Waukesha Civic Theatre. Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15; service fees apply. (262)547-0708 or www.waukeshacivictheatre.org

"Swingin’ With Bing!" Dec. 29-31

Welcome the New Year with Bing Crosby and friends. Waukesha Civic Theatre pays a special holiday tribute to one of the most beloved entertainers at 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; and 8 p.m. Monday. Tickets are $19 adults; $17 students/seniors; $15 subscribers/groups; $10 educational groups; service fees apply. (262)547-0708 or www.waukeshacivictheatre.org


Holiday Magic Weekend, Nov. 30-Dec. 1

Among the opportunities to bask in the spirit of theseason are the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, including lighted horse-drawn wagon rides through the village and visits with Santa until 9 p.m. Saturday shoppers also can take horse-drawn wagon rides from 2:30-6 p.m. www.villageofwauwatosa.com

Wishes in Wonderland, Dec. 2

This third annual charity event is from 9 a.m.-noon at Dave & Buster’s in Wauwatosa to benefit Wisconsin’s Children’s Hospital and Make-A-Wish Foundation. For $10, enjoy breakfast and a photo with Santa, holiday craft activities, a free game area, hot chocolate and food buffets. Purchase tickets at Dave & Buster’s or Elegance Salon & Spa. (414)454-1000 or www.elegancesalonandspa.com

Whitefish Bay

Holiday Stroll, Nov. 23

Stroll stylish Silver Spring Drive for entertainment that includes a parade, tree lighting ceremony, food, music and shopping specials. Also take the opportunity for a free pony, train, or trolley ride, and a visit with Santa and his reindeer. www.shopwhitefishbay.com