COLUMBIA — Numerous holiday events are scheduled for the first weekend in December. From Christmas trees to carolers, this weekend is full of activities to kick off the season.
- Growing Hope Gala: 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Holiday Inn Executive Center, $75.
The Lutheran Family and Children Services will celebrate its 15th year of Growing Hope, an "elegant" dinner with a live and silent auction. Those who RSVP to the gala will be able to attend and bid on professionally decorated trees. Proceeds benefit the organization.
- Living Windows Festival: 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, The District, free.
To start off December with holiday spirit, downtown shopkeepers will move all merchandise from their front windows to make room for their own holiday performances. Although The District will not know all of the stores that are participating until Friday, many stores have already begun sewing costumes, writing scripts and building sets to entertain onlookers. Those who go down to witness the productions will also get a chance to visit with Santa and be serenaded by strolling carolers.
Christmas Tree Lighting at Shelter Insurance: 6 p.m., Friday, 1817 W. Broadway, free.
Shelter Insurance Companies will have a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, while the West Junior High School Delphian Choir and Viking Band will provide holiday music.
- Sacred Heart annual Christmas Bazaar: 3 to 8 p.m., Friday, 8 to 4 p.m., Saturday, 1115 Locust St.
The annual Christmas Bazaar is the biggest fundraiser for Sacred Heart. Parishioners have made Christmas items, such as quilts and crafts to sell at the bazaar. There will also be a bake sale and a book sale as well as a silent auction.
- Mizzou Forestry Club’s Christmas Tree Sale: 3 to 8 p.m., Friday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Memorial Stadium.
MU’s Forestry Club is selling Christmas trees on campus. Each tree is $7 per foot, and the trees range from 4 to 8 feet.
- Columbia Handbell Ensemble Winter Concert: 7 p.m., Saturday, First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway; adult tickets are $6 in advance, $7 at the door. Admission for children 12 and under is $1; 442-1149.
Listen to this community choir perform its winter concert.
- St. Louis Ballet’s "The Nutcracker": 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, Jesse Auditorium, $29, $25, $19, children $14; 882-3781.
The St. Louis Ballet carries on the holiday tradition by returning to perform "The Nutcracker."
- Holiday Home Tour: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, noon to 4 p.m., Sunday. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Headquarters is Tiger Place. 573-657-1414 for more information.
The 28th annual Holiday Home Tour, hosted by the Women's Symphony League, lasts two days. The self-guided tour of four homes — owned by *Robert Duncan and Annette Gobel, Celeste Hardnock, Robert and Susan Winkelmann and Brent and Erica Beshore — features collections from the homeowner's world travels and begins Saturday morning. Music ranging from the harp to strings will be provided at each home. Early risers will be able to purchase interesting items at the boutique donated by the Symphony Leagues' members as well as baked goods.
- A Dickens Victorian Christmas: 7:30 p.m., Sunday to Tuesday, Historic Senior Hall Parlor, $15, 876-7199.
Stephens College is presenting an authentic recreation of a Victorian Christmas Celebration, which will be hosted by “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dickens." Holiday music, period dance, refreshments and games will also be provided.
- Blind Boone Holiday Concert: 6 p.m., Sunday, Second Baptist Church, 407 E. Broadway, $10 donation, 449-4703.
This concert features the music of John W. "Blind" Boone performed by Tom Andes, Columbia Public Schools Fifth-Grade Honors Choir and guests soloists Linda Dodds and Celestine Hayes. Proceeds benefit the John W. Boone Heritage Foundation.
- Breakfast with Santa, 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, Rock Bridge High School cafeteria and main commons, $5.
Santa is making an early pit-stop in town during this fundraiser. A entrance fee buys attendees a continental breakfast, a complimentary gift from Santa and a candy cane. Activities will include Christmas craft making, storytelling and a visit from Santa. Proceeds from the day will help pay for the class of 2012's senior activities.
- Holiday Bazaar: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, 2615 Shepard Blvd.
This fundraising event will have a variety of offerings including jewelry, knitted items, coffee and tea, holiday decorations and handmade items from Honduras. The funds from this event will go to help raise funds for a church-sponsored Honduras school/work transport project to allow the residents to get to school and employment during seasonal floods. It will also help support foreign fair trade small coffee/cocoa farmers to earn a fair wage for their labors.
Missourian reporters Julia Boudreau and Crystal Herber contributed to this report.