Festive fun and local shopping abound in St. Anthony Park this holiday season

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The St. Anthony Park neighborhood kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 1, with its annual Shop Home for the Holidays in the Como Avenue business district. Shoppers will find merchant specials, reindeer-pulled sleigh rides and Santa photo-ops at Park Midway Bank from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., cookie decorating at Tim and Tom’s Speedy Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a wine-tasting at the Little Wine Shoppe, 2236 Carter Ave., and an artisan market at Milton Square, at the corner of Como and Carter avenues.

If you shop at Micawber’s Books, 2238 Carter Ave., a portion of that day’s purchases will go to St. Anthony Park Elementary School.

Satori Photography will host a complimentary hot-chocolate bar at the artisan village and will be selling gift certificates.

Milton Square’s skincare boutique, Complexions on Carter, will hold an open house from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

Costumed interpreters from Gibbs Museum will host a beeswax candle-making workshop at Bungalow Pottery in Milton Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can make a hand-dipped candle to take home with them.

Finnish Bistro will feature a make-your-own gift basket fête from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. You supply the basket and fill it with your choice of Bistro goodies, then let the Basket Professionals complete the arrangement with cellophane wrap and ribbons. The staff will be serving complimentary hard apple cider for the 21-and-older crowd and non-alcoholic apple cider for the younger crowd.

This year, Milton Square’s artisan market—featuring silk-screened textiles, pottery, jewelry, foil mosaics, gourmet cookies and granola, felted handbags, and more—will continue on Sunday, Dec. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. Murray Junior High School’s band will also be on hand to sell brownie and hot cocoa mixes, bath salts and more to raise money for a spring trip.

SANTA’S EVERYWHERE, MAN: He’ll pose for photographs with Mrs. Claus at Park Midway Bank, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, then return to the neighborhood at 5 p.m. for a tree-lighting event in the Milton Square Courtyard, 2232 Carter Ave.

St. Paul Parks and Recreation will host a dinner with Santa and Mrs. Claus on Friday, Dec. 14, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Langford Park Recreation Center, 30 Langford Park. The event will include a spaghetti dinner, craft project, cookie decorating and face-painting. Cost is $5 per person. Register at any St. Paul recreation center or call 651-298-5765. Register online at www.stpaul.gov/parks.

Santa and Christmas Carol will host two nights of storytelling for children in the lower level of Milton Square on Monday, Dec. 10, at 5:30 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, but Santa and Christmas Carol are requesting guests bring a new pair of mittens or gloves to be donated to a local charity. Space is limited, so reserve a spot by emailing Heather at miltonsquare2262@gmail.com.

BLUE HOUSE BOUTIQUE: This unique boutique is a major fundraiser for the Blue House, an orphanage in rural Uganda for girls who have lost their parents to AIDS. The Blue House was started by the late Beatrice Garubanda, a native of Uganda who had lived in St. Anthony Park.

The boutique will be open Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 2136 Carter Ave.

New this year: African gifts, including baskets and pictures made in Kazo. Saturday’s sale features a homemade lunch (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), coffee and pastries.

CHILDREN’S ART WORKSHOP: Driftwood Community Arts will offer a free art workshop for kids of all ages on Sunday, Dec. 2, in the lower level of Milton Square. The workshop will run from noon to 4 p.m., alongside the artisan market.

HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE: The Minnesota State Horticultural Society’s holiday open house is Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature a holiday decorating demonstration at 11 a.m.. as well as local vendors selling handmade holiday merchandise and gift items. The society is located at 2705 Lincoln Drive, Roseville. Go to www.northerngardener.org for more information.

YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF THE CHRISTMAS SAUSAGE? Listen up. This year, Tim Faacks’ goal at Tim & Tom’s Speedy Market, 2310 Como Ave. W., is to crank out 2,000 pounds of the Lindquist family’s Christmas sausage. He’s been mincing meat since just after Halloween and plans to keep the stuff in stock through New Year’s Day.

The Christmas sausage is made from a secret recipe handed down by the family of Harry Lindquist, a butcher in Minneapolis from the 1920s to the 1960s. Lindquist was the grandfather of St. Anthony Park natives Dave and Mark Hansen.

REFLECTING MARY, A CHORAL MIDRASH: The St. Paul Vocal Forum will perform on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 1660 W. County Road B. Under the direction of Karin Barrett, the chamber choir will present Reflecting Mary: A Choral Midrash. The music will present a series of reflections from many views centering around the life of Mary.

You’ll hear “Magnificat” by Arvo Pärt, “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” by Hugo Distler and more. St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church organist Ann Braaten will accompany the choir.

Admission is free, but guests are encouraged to bring a donation of hats and mittens for the Mary Hall Supportive Housing Program in St. Paul.

HOLIDAY SHOW AT GALLERY 1639: Located in the Cox Insurance building at 1639 W. Larpenteur Ave., Gallery 1639 is hosting a festive show featuring the work of Denise Hermes—collector of vintage Christmas and found objects, who combines fresh greens into her designs—and Whitney Hermes, whose graphic products play with favorite holiday sayings and songs. The show runs through Saturday, Dec. 15 and is open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

CELTIC YULE PARTY: Boiled In Lead will play an acoustic “Yule Party” concert at on Friday, Dec. 14, at 8 p.m. at Celtic Junction, 836 N. Prior Ave. The holiday event will include a traditional mummers mystery play and “The Short Swords,” a rapper sword dance team. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Children 12 and under free.

Find out more at www.thecelticjunction.com.

HOLIDAY TEA AND TOUR: Warm up at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Holiday Tea on Thursday, Dec. 13, in the North Garden. There will be two seatings for the three-course tea, one at 11 a.m. and one at 2 p.m. The tea will be followed by a behind-the-scenes tour of the conservatory. Tickets cost $40. Reservations are required. Call 651-487-8250.