YOU’VE PEELED THE last day of November off your calendar, there’s a discernible chill in the air and you find that you’d rather have an Irish Coffee than a frozen margarita. Ahh, the unmistakable signs that old man winter is arriving on time.

But the first rustlings of winter signal more than just a change in seasons; the holidays will soon be in full tilt, and unless you plan to go into hibernation, you better plan now for the countdown to Christmas.

Here’s a preview to help you choose among the multitude of choral sing-a-longs, concerts, Christmas tree lightings, parades, ballets and those perennial favorites, home tours. (Haven’t you ever wondered what kind of wallpaper the folks in McKin-ney or Jefferson have?)

But the clock’s ticking: There are only 30 days left to hear, see and sing for the holidays.


The Dallas Ballet presents its classic holiday production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker December 20 through December 29 at 8 p.m. with matinees at 2 p.m. in the Fair Park Music Hall. Brilliant sets and costumes by Bjorn Wiinblad provide the backdrop for Fleming Flindt’s choreography. Tickets range from $5 to $28 and are available at the Majestic Theater box office and Ticketron. For more information, call 744-4430.

Childhood memories will be sparked when the Dallas Metropolitan Balletpresents a full-length ballet taken from Clement Moore’s classic play The Night Before Christmas. Performances are at McFarlin Auditorium on the Southern Methodist University campus December 14 and 15 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $4 to $10 and are available at Tick-etron, 640-7500.

The Fort Worth Ballet debuts an all-new production of The Nutcracker with choreography by Nanette Glushak and Michel Rahn. Fantastic sets and costumes will be the work of French designer Alain Vae’s. The ballet will be performed December 20 at 8 p.m., December 21 at 2 and 8 p.m. and December 22 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $6.50 to $24.00 and are available at the Central Ticket Office. For more information, call (817) 335-9000 or metro 429-1181.

The Richardson Ballet Company performs its version of The Nutcracker with choreography by Nancy Cross. Performances are December 7 at 2 and 8 p.m. and December 8 at 2 p.m. at Richardson High School. Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens and $8 for adults. For information, call Ticketron at 265-0789.


The First United Methodist Church of Dallas will present Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Hodie December 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance will include the chancel choir, soloists, the boys choir (the Kantorie) and the orchestra. Karols for Kids will be an evening of Christmas songs on December 15 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, and donations will benefit the Dallas Emergency Children’s Center. The candlelight service is Christmas Eve at 11 p.m. The church is located at 1928 Ross. For more information, call 742-6222.

The Highland Park United Methodist Church breaks out in song with the Messiah Sing-Along December 8 at 7 p.m. The congregation will split in groups to sing with the choir. The church is located at 3300 Mockingbird. For more information, call 521-3111.

The sanctuary choir and orchestra of the First Baptist Church of Dallas will perform its Singing Christmas Tree December 13 through December 20 at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 1707 San Jacinto. Free tickets will be issued at the door or call 969-0111 for advance seating.

The First Baptist Church of Richardson presents its children’s Christmas program December 8 at 7 p.m. Nine children’s choirs will perform Hark the Herald Angels December 8 at the 7 p.m. service. The church’s adult musical, Unto Us A Son Is Given, will also be performed at 7 p.m. The traditional candlelight service will be December 22 at 7 p.m. The church is located at 300 Phillips. For more information, call 235-5296.

The choral members of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth will present the Messiah December 8 at 7 p.m. in the Ed Landreth Auditorium. Carols by Candlelight will also be presented December 16 at 10:30 p.m. in the Robert Carr Chapel. For more information, call (817) 921-7810.


The Dallas Museum of Art will stage the Christmas play Second Shepherd, produced by the Hip Pocket Theater, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. This drama is based on the Biblical story but set in the Middle Ages. Tickets at the door are $11 for DMA members and $13 for non-members. For more information, call 922-0220.


Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the hectic holiday season with a leisurely surrey ride through the West End of downtown Dallas. The Dallas Surrey Services operates seven days a week, and a short 10-minute jaunt is $3 (twice as long for $6, contingent upon the weather).

In Arlington, Six Flags Over Texas joins in the holiday spirit with horse-drawn carriage rides between November 30 and December 31. It’s $1.50 for children and $2 for adults. For more information, call 941-5616.

Or see the sights of downtown Fort Worth on a 30-minute surrey ride that takes in the sights of historic Sundance Square. The horse-drawn carriages run seven days a week with a cost of $5 per person. For more information, call the downtown Fort Worth Hyatt at (817) 870-1234.


The Texas Boys Choir presents The Littlest Wise Man in conjunction with the Fort Worth Theater and the Dorothy Shaw Handbell Choir. Performances will be December 10 through December 15 at 7:30 p.m. with 3 p.m. matinees on December 14 and 15 at the Scott Theater. For information, call (817) 738-5429.

The boys choir of St. Marks School For Boys will sing its annual festival of nine lessons and carols December 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the school chapel. For information, call Jim Livengood at 363-6491.


The Dallas Symphony Orchestrapresents its annual Dallas Symphony Holiday Special December 19, 21, 22 at 8:15 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, SMU. The performances feature the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and chorus with conductor Kirk Trevor. Tickets range from $8 to $15 and are available at the Dallas Symphony box office at Joske’s in NorthPark. For more information, call 692-0203.

The Dallas Chamber Orchestra presents Baroque Christmas December 22 at 7 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, SMU. This annual concert is an ensemble of strings with musical selections from the Baroque period. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. For advance tickets, call 826-6974.

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra presents Joy of Christmas December 8 at 3 p.m. This Christmas concert, conducted by John Giordano, includes selections from The Nutcracker as well as familiar carols for an audience sing-a-long. Tickets, $2.50 for children under 12 and $7.50 for adults, are available at Central Ticket Agency. For more information, call (817) 921-2676.


The holiday spirit goes traveling with the Dancers Unlimited Repertory Company. From December 6 through December 20, the dancers will visit and perform at nursing homes, hospitals and day-care centers around town. For more information, call 742-7821.


The Richardson Chamber of Commerce Community Christmas Parade commences December 7 at 9 a.m. at Richardson High School. The Texas Sesquicentennial theme includes floats, marching bands and 6,000 participants. An awards ceremony for outstanding parade entries will be at J.J. Pierce High School after the festivities. For more information, call 234-4141.

The switch will be thrown on November 29 when the annual Christmas Parade of Lights in Fort Worth unveils 20-story-high candles that will light up downtown Fort Worth like a giant Christmas package. The parade will feature floats, musicians, mimes and horse-drawn carriage rides, all heading south on Main Street at 6 p.m. Jim Wacker, Texas Christian University’s football coach will be this year’s parade marshall. Appearances by city, county and state officials will also be featured. The Fort Worth Jaycees will light the Christmas tree at Fort Worth Plaza at 7 p.m. after the parade. For more information, call (817) 870-1692.


The legendary Million Dollar Pecan Tree will cast its lights December 12 at 7:30 p.m. Its 2,000 shimmering bulbs can be seen on Armstrong Parkway in Highland Park. For more information, call 521-4161.

Dallas’ own Holiday Tree Lighting will be December 5 at 7 p.m. at City Hall Plaza. A 55-foot Douglas Fir will be the center of attention as children, awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus, hang ornaments. For more information, call 670-3318.

Relive the past at the 13th annual Candlelight Tour of Old City Park at 1717 Gano, south of downtown Dallas. After the tree-lighting ceremonies at City Hall, guides at Old City Park will host walking tours of the historic 19-century businesses and residences that have been preserved in the park. Tours are December 5 and 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. and December 7 and 8 from 3 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $2 for children under 12 and senior citizens and $5 for adults. For more information, call 421-5141.

The City of Fort Worth presents the Citran Christinas Light Tour December 21 at 6 and 8:30 p.m. and December 22 at 6 p.m. Buses will depart from the Tandy Center Parking Lot in downtown Fort Worth to residential areas that are known for their holiday lighting displays. Each block will have Christmas themes that should light up the town. Tickets are $2 but children under 5 years old are admitted free. For more information, call (817) 870-6200.


The Dallas Women’s Auxiliary of the March of Dimes will decorate four Dallas homes in a “Come Home for Christmas” theme with flowers and homemade decorations. The tours start December 7 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continue December 8 from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 and are available at the door or through the March of Dimes Chapter Office. For more information, call 869-0595.

Experience an old-fashioned Christmas during the annual walking tours of the DeGolyer Estate. The historic mansion and gardens will be decorated for the holidays in historic grandeur beginning December 3 through December 8 from 1 and 5 p.m. There will be special toy displays, entertainment, refreshments and a special visit each day by Santa Claus. Groups may take tours at no charge between 9:30 a.m. and noon. Tickets are $1 for children under 12 and $2 for adults, with free admission on Tuesdays. The estate is located at 8525 Garland Road. For more information, call 327-8263.

The American Association of University Women will sponsor Piano’s eighth annual Holiday Tour of Homes December 7 and 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets for the four homes on the tour are $5 and may be purchased by calling Helen Greer at 596-4883; tickets will be $6 at the door.

Seven homes in the city of Cleburne will open their doors in the Cleburne Candlelight Walk December 7 from 2 to 10 p.m. Handbell choirs will provide entertainment, and craft items will be displayed inside the homes. Tickets, $1 for children under 12 and $6 for adults, are available by mail or at the 1st National Bank and the Layland Museum on the day of the tour. For more information, call (817) 641-6631.

Established in 1967, Kappa Kappa Gamma Christmas Tour of Homes is one of the oldest and largest tours in the Park Cities area. This year, the tour will feature four homes in addition to a Christmas store, located at the University Park United Methodist Church, which will feature a selection of baked goods, gift and handmade items, holiday decorations and a cookbook compiled by Kappa alumni. Tours will be Wednesday December 4 and Thursday December 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $6 and will be on sale tour days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at University Park United Methodist Church or for advance tickets, call (214) 526-1393.

Everyone is invited to attend Christmas in the Park at Bachman Lake. Decorations, caroling and thousands of lights will be on display. Santa’s workshop will be busy along with many costumed holiday characters in a Babes in Toyland setting. Dates are December 15 through 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Bachman Lake. Call 670-3051 for more information.

The McKinney Christmas Tour of Homes kicks off December 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and December 8 from 1 to 5 p.m. Sponsored by the Heritage Guild of Collin County, private residences, in addition to the Chestnut Square Historical homes, are on the docket. Tickets, $1 for children and $5 for adults, are available at the McKinney Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 542-0163.

The fourth annual Weatherford Candlelight Tour is sponsored by the Parker County Heritage Society December 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. The Chamber of Commerce will be filled with lights as buses take the tour-goers to six homes and one church. Santa Claus will tag along in a carriage to distribute candy as bell-ringers and choirs line the way. Tickets are $1 for children and $5 for adults. For more information, call Perry Gott at (817) 594-3801.

The Jefferson Christmas Candlelight Tour will be December 5 through December 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. Hosted by the Historic Jefferson Foundation, four homes will be decorated in all-natural material (nothing artificial except the lights). In addition to the tour, the First United Methodist Church will present Christmas music by the choir at 5:30 and 9:15 p.m. Tickets for the home tour, $1 for children and $6 for adults, are available by mail or at the Carnegie Library in Jefferson. For more information, call Dorothy Sain at (214) 665-8390.

The homeowners of the Eldorado Residential Community are in the spotlight December 12 when they host a light show at 7:30 p.m. Homes will be decked out in Christmas lights as they participate in a street-by-street competition. A tree-lighting ceremony will follow the competition. For more information, call Pam MacLure at 644-1472.


There will be a North Pole Mailbox, with direct delivery to Santa, set up in each of the 11 Sanger Harris department stores around the Metroplex (Highland Park location not included). The mailboxes will be located in the children’s departments, with stationery and pencils provided. Santa Claus says that you’d better hurry because he can only answer letters mailed to him between now and December 18.


Last-minute Christmas requests can be placed to Santa on the Ho Ho Hotline (1-800-432-HOHO) from December 9 to 23. Hotline hours are 1 to 7 p.m. EST. The hotline, sponsored by Hillhaven Corp., a subsidiary of National Medical Enterprises Inc., connects young callers with Santa and Mrs. Claus in more than 150 convalescent homes nationwide.


Casa de Los Amigos provides shelter for runaways and homeless youths between the ages of 12 and 17. Donations needed this holiday season include exercise mats, sports equipment, VCR tapes, arts and crafts supplies and magazine subscriptions. The shelter also needs a freezer, a washer and dryer and a portable stereo machine. For more information, call 358-4504.

The Salvation Army has a new project this year called the “Angel Tree.” A Christmas tree covered with angel-shaped ornaments will be on display at Prestonwood Town Center November 29 to December 15. These ornaments will contain the first name of a needy person along with his or her wish list. Shoppers can pick an angel off the tree, buy a Christmas present and return it to volunteers at the tree. Volunteers are also needed to work at the tree. The Angel Tree will be open during mall hours 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Sunday. For more information, call 353-2731.

The wish list of the Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas includes holiday food items, small Christmas gifts, entertainment items, yarn and craft materials and grocery-store certificates. For more information, call 823-5700.

The Family Place, a shelter for battered women and children, needs towels, blankets, silverware, pots and pans, small kitchen appliances, utensils and disposable diapers. They also need personal toiletry kits. For more information, call 559-4880.

The Volunteer Center is a referral service for approximately 475 volunteer agencies around Dallas. It needs volunteers to transport donated goods for two programs: “Adopt the Elderly” and “Adopt a Family.” The center also needs volunteers to help match up the elderly and families in the programs. For more information, call 744-1194.

The Children’s Emergency Shelter needs toys and clothing for infants and teenagers. For more information, call Martha Ritter at 920-7996.

The Juvenile Detention Home’s wish list includes table games, portable cassette players, scarves and mittens and other clothing items. For more information, call Debbie Moffitt at 920-7823.

Hope Cottage Inc. is a counseling and temporary foster-care center, adoption and pregnancy service, and handles emotionally disturbed 14- to 17-year-olds. Its wish list includes single beds and mattresses, twin-bed sheets, towels, a toaster, a weed-eater, microwave ovens, an iron and ironing board, electric can openers, an electric hand mixer, car seats, living room furniture and oversized stuffed animals. They also need a Santa Claus suit. For more information, call 526-8721.

VNA-Meals On Wheels is an organization that provides comfort for 1,350 physically or emotionally disabled persons who are homebound. They need volunteers who are willing to give a little of their time to those with no families of their own. To help, send Christmas cards or give small gifts such as stamps, stationery, calendars – anything with a personal touch. Call 689-0639 to help.

The wish list of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children includes children’s magazine subscriptions and Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls that are given to the children after surgery. There are 9,000 children on the patient roster, who range in age from birth to 15 years. Call 521-3168.

The Children’s Medical Center needs rattles, stuffed animals, 100-piece puzzles, models, blocks, activity books, games, stationery, perfume, wallets and craft kits. The children range in age from birth to 18 years. Call 920-2165.

The Buckner Children’s Home needs toys, microwaves, VCRs and a 19-inch color TV. The children range in age from 5 to 18 years. Call 321-4515.


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