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A few ways to celebrate the holidays

After enjoying the company of friends and family and stuffing ourselves with food, what do we do next? Shop for gifts! And maybe avoid the malls. If you’re looking for unique, high-quality, locally handmade gifts and art, you might want to check out the annual Handmade Holiday show at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall. More than 100 hand-selected vendors will be selling their wares on Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24. The event is free to the public.

Or give your friends and family adventures for the new year. Almost any arts organization offers memberships or gift certificates. Tickets or passes let you pre-plan dates with those friends you’re always meaning to see. Shop a museum or theater gift store or holiday gift sales and events at galleries and visual arts venues. Buy CDs at your favorite holiday concerts. Or make a year-end donation in someone’s name. Give the arts and you also give back to the arts.

Want to have some holiday fun without spending the cash? Beginning this Friday, Nov. 23, enjoy the sights, sounds and spirit of the season at Seattle Center Winterfest, presenting six weeks of festive, free, fun-filled entertainment. Take in thousands of twinkling festive lights; visit the Winter Train & Village, an exhibit showcasing a turn-of-the-century village and train; and skate at the Winterfest Ice Rink (prices vary). And Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra will perform at 12:30 p.m. at Center House.

On Saturday, Nov. 24, watch artists create ice sculptures and see the Seattle Men’s Chorus perform at 12:30 p.m. at the Center House.  And There’s No Place Like Home (the Blue House)  by Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders, performs at 4 p.m. by the International Fountain. All Winterfest events are free except for the ice rink. For details, see the Winterfest performance schedule.

Happy Thanksgiving!