Holiday happenings: Your guide to all-things-December in Bugleland

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SHOP HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: St. Anthony Park neighborhood businesses kick off the season on Saturday, Dec. 3, with merchant specials, carolers, reindeer-pulled sleigh rides and Santa photo-ops at Park Midway Bank, a wine-tasting at the little wine shoppe, an artisan market at Milton Square, at the corner of Como and Carter avenues, and cookie decorating at Tim and Tom’s Speedy Market. Shop at Micawber’s Books, 2238 Carter Ave., that day and a portion of your purchases will go to St. Anthony Park Elementary School.

New this year: 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 will make a hand-dipped candle that they can take home.

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA (OR TWO): And there will be Santa-sighting opportunities galore in St. Anthony Park this month: 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. 3, 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. 9, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Langford Park Recreation Center, 30 Langford Park. The event will include a spaghetti dinner, a craft project, cookie decorating and face-painting. Cost is $5 per person, with a $25 maximum per family. Ages 2 and under are free. Register at any St. Paul recreation center or call 651-298-5765. Register at www.stpaul.gov/parks.

Santa and his friend Christmas Carol will hold two nights of storytelling for children in the lower level of Milton Square, on Monday, Dec. 12 and 19, at 5 p.m. To find out more or to reserve a spot for this free event, send an email to miltonsquare2262@gmail.com .

BLUE  HOUSE BOUTIQUE: Check out this unique boutique on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to noon, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. The boutique is a major fundraiser for the Blue House, an orphanage in Uganda that was started by the late Beatrice Garubanda, a native of Uganda who had lived in St. Anthony Park. The sale features handmade items, including knits, crafts, cards, gifts, table centerpieces, ornaments, gourmet food and more. Saturday’s sale features a homemade lunch (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), coffee and pastries.

HOLIDAY  CONCERT: The North Star Chorus and Lake Country Chorus combine voices to bring you a delightful program of seasonal singing. The concert will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, at Roseville Lutheran Church, 1215 Roselawn Ave. W., Roseville. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, with a $30 maximum per family. More information is available online at northstarchorus.org.

HOLIDAY TEA AND TOUR: Warm up at an afternoon garden tea Friday, Dec. 9, in the North Garden at Como Park’s Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. 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 $45. Reservations are required. Call 651-487-8250.

VICTORIAN  CHRISTMAS TEA AND ”A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Actor Luke Peterson is back at Lady Elegant’s Tea Room, 2230 Carter Ave., with his one-man show of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” on two Saturdays, Dec. 11 and 18. There will be two seatings each day, at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The multi-course tea includes Ebenezer Scrooge’s cheddar soup, eggnog scones, Mrs. Fezziwig’s English trifle and Mrs. Cratchit’s plum pudding. Cost is $45. Prepaid reservations are required. Call Lady Elegant’s at 651-645-6676.

“MESSIAH” SING-ALONG: You can get your hallelujahs on Sunday, Dec. 18, at Como Park Lutheran Church, 1376 Hoyt Ave. W., for a Handel’s “Messiah” Sing-along that starts at 3 p.m. The concert will feature Karen Wilkerson, soprano; Nicole Warner, alto; Brad Bradshaw, tenor; and Mike Schmidt, bass. Pianist Michael Santoro and a string quartet will accompany. The church encourages both singers and listeners to attend.

FREE HOLIDAY DANCE PERFORMANCES: Join the Sugar Plum Fairy and Falcon Heights’ Out on a Limb Dance Company and School as they perform scenes from “The Nutcracker” each Wednesday from Nov. 30 to Dec. 21, at Rosedale Center in Macy’s Court. Performancees are every 30 minutes starting at 5:30 p.m. The last performance is at 7 p.m.

FIFTEEN  HUNDRED POUNDS OF SAUSAGE: That’s how much Tim Faacks at Tim & Tom’s Speedy Market, 2310 Como Ave. W., cranks out of his signature Christmas sausage each year. He’s been mincing meat since just after Halloween and plans to keep the stuff in stock through New Year’s Day.

The secret recipe for the Christmas sausage was handed down to Faacks by the Lindquist family, whose patriarch, Harry, was a butcher in Minneapolis from the 1920s to the 1960s. His daughter Charlotte Lindquist Hansen, raised her family in St. Anthony Park. She is the mother of residents Dave and Mark Hansen.

CHRISTMAS ON THE FARM: Gibbs Museum will host A Country Christmas for three Saturdays in December: Dec. 3, 10 and 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children.

ICE, FROST AND  FLOWERS: Walk through a wonderland of hundreds of site-grown poinsettias at the Como conservatory’s annual Holiday Flower Show, which opens Saturday, Dec. 3. This year, the Sunken Garden will feature an ice-and-frost theme showcasing the cultivars Ice Punch, Ice Crystals, Ruby Frost and Red Glitter. The conservatory will also display five red poinsettia cultivars that are new to the market: Protégé Dark Red, Viking Red, Encore, Bravo Bright Red and Jubilee Red. Dusty Miller plants, which often resemble snowflakes, will be interspersed to add to the display.

The conservatory will be open on Dec. 4 from 8 to 10 a.m. for individuals and families to use the setting as a backdrop for photos before hours. At a cost of $5 per person, guests can bring in their cameras and find the perfect spot for their holiday photo.

The Holiday Flower Show tradition began in 1925 and continues to be the most visited flower attraction at the conservatory today. The show will run from Dec. 3 to Jan. 22. The conservatory is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both the Como Park Zoo and the conservatory are open 365 days a year.