Many local businesses and religious organizations offer fun social and cultural activities for the holidays—most are open to all; some are for seniors and, in some cases, their families. Events listed below are free, unless otherwise noted. Be sure to call ahead to confirm times, make reservations, if required, and inquire about handicapped accessibility if needed.
On Dec. 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Church of the Saviour will hold its annual Advent Festival, featuring fair-trade items and holiday greenery for sale, a silent auction, homemade donuts, a cookie walk, and live music. (2537 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-321-8880)
The 23rd annual Holiday CircleFest will be held in University Circle on Dec. 4. More than a dozen museums, gardens, galleries, churches and schools will open their doors to provide activities, music, food, fun and shopping, 1–5:30 p.m. Ice skating, ice-carving demonstrations and horse carriage rides will be available at the Rink at Wade Oval from noon to 7 p.m. (weather permitting). The festivities will conclude with a Winter Lights Lantern Procession at The Cleveland Museum of Art, 5:30–6 p.m. (10820 East Blvd., Cleveland, 216-791-3900)
McGregor will present three events this holiday season—a holiday jazz concert with soloist Abriel Dodson on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 23 at 2:30 p.m., and a choir concert on Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. (14900 Private Drive, Cleveland, 216-851-8200)
The Cedar Fairmount shopping district will host a Pop-In-Pop-Out event on Dec. 8, 6–8 p.m. Appletree Books, Pavilion Home & Floral, and Ten Thousand Villages will all have guest artists and purveyors on site, selling their work, and refreshments will be served.
The Coventry Village Holiday Festival will take place on Dec. 10, from noon to 11 p.m., featuring live music, community caroling, kiddie karaoke, poets and storytellers, photos with Santa and Coventry Claus, holiday family portraits, showings of the movies “Home Alone” and “Gremlins” in the Centrum Theatre, and an Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl (for ages 21 and older). There will be free [meter] parking at Coventry Village’s parking garage, parking lots and street meters.
At 7 p.m. on Dec. 11 and 12, Nighttown will present its 11th annual Musical Theater Project production of “A Christmas Cabaret.” The show features live performances of well-known classics and hidden gems, as well as a few sing-alongs. Call 216-245-8687 for tickets ($31 to $35). (12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights)
The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will host the 116th annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 11, starting at 8:15 a.m. This is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world that provides critical data on bird population trends. Bird walks will be offered to help participants locate and identify resident winter birds. Free binocular rentals are available, with ID. No experience is necessary; registration is required. (2600 South Park Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-321-5935)
The First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland will present A Festival of Lessons and Carols on Dec. 18, 4–6 p.m., a Christmas Nativity Pageant with live animals on Dec. 24, 7–10 p.m., and a candlelight service on Dec. 24, 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. (3630 Fairmount Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-932-7480)
The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center will host a Winter Centerpiece Workshop on Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. Fresh greens and other materials will be available, to make decorations suitable for any holiday. There is a $7.50 fee; registration is required. (1 Monticello Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-691-7377)
St. Ann Church will collect food for the Hunger Bank on Dec. 24, 5–6 p.m., and Dec. 25, noon to 2 p.m. (2175 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-321-0024)
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage will hold a Can Can Food Drive and Festivities on Dec. 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bring a canned-good donation and/or pay what you can toward museum admission. There will be a special film screening, a card-making activity to welcome new immigrants, and a craft activity for kids. All canned goods will be donated to the Semach Sedek Kosher Food Bank and Pantry, and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Walk-ins are welcome, but advance reservations are encouraged. (2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, 216-593-0575)
The Stone Gardens Assisted Living Residence will hold its annual Rock for All Ages Chanukah concert with Noah Budin on Dec. 27, 7:30 p.m. (27090 Cedar Road, Beachwood, 216-292-0070)
The Maltz Museum will also host a Hanukkah candle lighting on Dec. 28, 5–6 p.m. Children of all ages and backgrounds are invited to this event, featuring singing, games, Hanukkah history, and a cookie reception. Registration required.
The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center will host its annual New Year’s party on Jan. 5, starting at noon, featuring a catered lunch and entertainment. Admission is $12; advance registration required.
A note to my readers: This will be my last Senior Scene column. I have enjoyed connecting with you over the last five and a half years, and appreciate all of your positive support and feedback. I wish each of you and your families much health and happiness. Happy holidays, and best wishes for a wonderful new year!