With Christmas just about a month away, there's a lot to do: shopping, decorating, baking and wrapping gifts. But don't forget to take time to enjoy the abundance of festivities offered in the community.
Lawrence will mark the start of the holiday season Friday in its downtown area. Activities will begin at 3 p.m. with local choral groups in the 700 and 800 blocks of Massachusetts Street. At 4 p.m. there will be a 4-H band playing in the 700 block followed by storytelling and music at 5 p.m. in front of US Bank, 900 Mass. The Salvation Army will have its Kettle Kickoff during the festivities. Kettles will be near the singers with the main kettle in front of the bank. The money benefits The Salvation Army of Lawrence.
The young and young at heart will not want to miss Santa's arrival at 6 p.m. at Weaver's department store, 901 Mass. He will be rescued from the roof by the Lawrence Fire Department and then visit with children.
Here are some other holiday festivities to put on your list:
¢ Bizarre Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. Music provided by Bob Heckler; John Thompson; MPC; Acoustic Feedback; Raghsidad; Vera, Chuck & Dave; Al Macfarlane; Breezedale; Natalie Cox; Barry Barnes; Maria Anthony; St. Luke's Gospel Choir; and Heebie Jeebies.
¢ Festival of Trees, viewing 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Nov. 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Liberty Hall, 642 Mass. The auction will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Liberty Hall with doors opening at 7 p.m. The cost for viewing and to attend the auction is a $2 donation for adults. The event benefits The Shelter Inc.
¢ Bethlehem Living Christmas, with the Ottawa Bible Church, 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 to 3. Park at the sales barn at 3619 N. Highway 59 north of Ottawa for the bus ride. Free admission. For more information, visit www.ottawabiblechurch.org/bethlehem.htm. or call (785) 242-8313.
¢ Arts & Crafts Bazaar, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2, Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 21st and Harper streets, free admission.
¢ Holiday Art Fair, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 2, Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., reception to follow from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
¢ Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade, 11 a.m. Dec. 2, downtown Lawrence. Parade route begins at Seventh and Massachusetts streets and will travel past the courthouse to 12th and Massachusetts streets. There will be more than 100 entries, including carriages and wagons, large riding groups and outriders.
¢ Holiday Homes Tour benefit, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 3, Health Care Access Clinic, 1920 Moodie Road, $10 (includes calendar), www.healthcareaccess.org.
¢ 82nd annual Holiday Vespers, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, $10 to $12.50.
¢ 11th annual Organ Vespers concert, 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Bales Organ Recital Hall on Kansas University's west campus, free.
¢ Gingerbread House Festival, viewing 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 2, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, Eldridge Hotel, 701 Mass. The auction will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the hotel. The event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County.
¢ KU Jazz Vespers, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive.
¢ Downtown Lawrence Farmers Holiday Market, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Knights of Columbus Hall, 2206 E. 23rd St.
¢ Drive for 500 Toys for Tots collection, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Dole Institute of Politics, KU's west campus, children's activities, Santa visit, silent auction and more. Cash donations also accepted.
¢ Children's Holiday Shop, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.
¢ Burning River Brass holiday concert, a brass and percussion ensemble, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, Lied Center, 1600 Stewart Drive, $23 to $28.
¢ Lawrence Civic Choir concert, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave., $10, with discounts for seniors, students and children, www.lawrencecivicchoir.org.
¢ Christmas Rocks 2006, with the Prairie Fire Grand Community String Orchestra, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 10, Liberty Hall, 642 Mass., $5, kids 12 and younger get in free. Benefits the Americana Music Academy. For more information, visit www.americana-music.org.
¢ Free Lawrence Community Christmas dinner, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 25, everyone welcome, home deliveries available, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt.