1. Candlelight at Old City Park December 4-5. 11-12. Sometimes we all need a little reminder of what the Christmas season was about before retail marketing- remember last year’s Teletubbie craze-took over. Put away the plastic, abandon the shopping malls, and escape into a traditional 19th century Texas Christmas. 5 p.m.-10p.m., Saturdays; 5p.m.-9p.m., Sundays. 1717 Gano Street. 214-421-5141.
2. Miracle on Commerce Street: Holiday Parade December 4. Here in Dallas, you can avoid all the insipid commentating usually associated with the big-name holiday parades (do you really care how much plastic makes Superman float?) by putting down that second helping of pie and actually taking part in the fun. Tell Raggedy Ann and Andy we sent you. 10 a.m. Lamar and Commerce to Akard. 214-456-8383.
3. It’s a Wonderful Life December 10-16. Rather than watching George Bailey run through the snowy streets on Christmas Eve for the 15th time on the tube, head on over to the Majestic to see this version of a Christmas favorite. An added bonus: This version’s a musical. Majestic Theater, 1925 Elm. 214-373-8000.
4. Jingle Bell 5K December 21. The free 100 percent cotton long-sleeve Tee and the complimentary set of jingle bells alone are worth the trip downtown. But if the cool souvenirs aren’t enough to get you moving, then participate in the Carter Bloodcare’s annual fund-raiser run to help the thousands of Dallas area residents who may need the center’s service in the upcoming year. 6 p.m. Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard. 214-351-8549.
5. Handel’s Messiah December 6-7. The magnificent arias make an evening spent listening to one of Handel’s own favorite pieces a perennial holiday must. The Ontario Chorus joins the Fort Worth Symphony, 7:30p.m. Bass Hall, Fort Worth. 817-665-6600.
6. Kwanzaa Festival December 11-12. Despite what you may have heard, Kwanzaa is not an alternative to Christmas. Rather, the celebration of reaffirmation, thanksgiving, and unity is just one more opportunity this season to reflect on our blessings. Make an effort to stop by the city’s Kwanzaa celebration. New experiences are what make life al I the richer. Automobile Building, Fair Park. 214-653-66 71.
7. Bracebridge Hall Dinner December 14. If you know of another Christmas party where the spread will feature plum pudding, peacock pie, and steaming cups of wassail-whatever that is- then we stand corrected. But we’re betting that this yuletide tribute to writer Washington Irving is the most unique Christmas celebration in town. Harvey Hotel, 3404 Bellah Court, Irving. 972-570-7294.
8. The Fabulous Thunderbirds December 2. Led by Jimmy Ray Vaughn, little brother of you know who, this band of local-boys-made-good’s brand of R&B-flavored rock n’ roll has earned it its own cult following. A Thunderbird show is the perfect opportunity to dance away some of that leftover Thanksgiving weight. Caravan of Dreams, 312 Houston Street, Fort Worth. 214-373-8000.
9. Smackdown: World Wrestling Federation December 21. Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, the Undertaker, and the reincarnated World Wrestling Federation have taken the world by storm. Smackdown is one of the most popular shows on television. Every kid and Bubba worth their salt can demonstrate its stars’ signature moves. Live a little. At the very least, you’ll be amused. 7:30 p.m. Reunion Arena. 214-373-8000.
10. Keb’ Mo’ December 28. Legend has it that an aging bluesman named him Keb’Mo’ after hearing the native Californian play a few blues licks one night in a bar. A boy who played with such heart and such skill, reasoned the bluesman, deserved a more fitting name than Kevin Moore. The blues ain’t been the same since. Bass Hall, Fort Worth. 817-665-6500.