Plant a Tree (or something): It isn’t spring
but darn, it feels like it. Makes you want to get your hands dirty
and do something to green up the land. tree.jpg How about heading to a nursery and finding
out what the experts suggest putting in the ground. Plant it and
spend the New Year watching it grow.

Music, Music, Music: It wouldn’t be
Christmastime without the charming Nutcracker. The
Santa Barbara Festival Ballet is staging its production
at the Arlington Saturday at 2:30 and 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2:30
p.m., Santa Barbara’s only fully orchestrated live performance, the
ballet folks say. nutcracker.jpg The Montecito School of Ballet is
staging The Night Before Christmas and Les
at the Lobero
on Sunday
at 2:30 p.m. The Westmont Christmas Festival is scheduled Friday
at the college at 8 p.m. and Saturday at the First Presbyterian
Church, also at 8. La Arcada shopping mall will be
presenting concerts from noon to 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday and
next weekend.

Parade of Lights: To many, the single-file
parade of boats from the harbor, their lights glistening on the
water, is a highlight of the season. (You can’t get this in
Bakersfield.) The 21st Parade of Lights takes place Sunday. From
3-5 p.m. there’s Santa’s Village, with real snow
and Santa, followed by the boat parade at
5:30, finishing off with a fireworks display.

Speaking of Parades: Not to be outdone by State
Street, Milpas folks will be stepping off in their annual holiday
parade Friday at 6 p.m. Bands, tykes in Santa hats, and dance

Dining: The Tee Off,
celebrating its 50th anniversary, will be rolling back its
to 1956 levels Sunday and Monday. You can fill up
on a prime rib dinner for $5.95, chicken for $4.95, top sirloin for
$6.25, and a shrimp dinner for $5. First come,
first served. Doors open at 4 p.m. at 3627 State St. Ruben
, Tee Off chef since 1980, also oversees the newly
opened Kona Ranch House in Goleta. John
owns both restaurants, along with The
and Longboard’s on Stearns Wharf,
El Paseo, and Harry’s Plaza Café,
plus Scotch & Sirloin in Ventura.

Free Flick: There’s no charge to see the
screening of the 1976 film All the President’s Men,
Saturday at 6:30 p.m., at the Marjorie Luke Theatre in Santa Barbara Junior
. A $10 coffee and snacks reception will follow. It’s the
kickoff of the Heroism in Journalism film festival
of occasional movies, raising funds for beleaguered
News-Press journalists. movie.jpg The film will be preceded by a 5-6:15
p.m. reception at Arnoldi’s Café, 721 Cota St. Admission is $50 and
all proceeds will go to the Journalists Loan Fund.
Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served and the journalists will be
there to meet guests. Speakers at the reception and film will
include international investigative reporter Ann Louise
, Reagan biographer Lou Cannon,
and former ABC and NBC correspondent Sander

Night of the Little Pines: Noche de los
at the classic Casa del Herrero on
Saturday night not only involves fine food and music but also an
auction of tabletop Christmas trees created by local authors,
writers, designers, architects, and others. (It’s sold out.)
Kevin Costner’s, a tree laden with baseball
memorabilia relating to his Field of Dreams film, was a
hit at Wednesday’s preview. herrero.jpg The main house, 1387 East Valley Rd.,
is decorated in period-style original to the Steedman family.
Reservations required at 565-5653 ($125 for non-members). Tours are
scheduled today, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with advance reservations

Champagne Afternoon: All Champagnes are not
alike, as you can find out Saturday, 2-4 p.m., at the Wine Cask. bubbly.jpg For $70 you can taste various sorts of
the bubbly and snacks, and buy bottles of the good stuff at
discounted prices for attendees.

Visiting Mr. Green: You might say that the
current Ensemble Theatre production, Visiting Mr.
, has a twist of the Scrooge element. A grouchy old guy
is holed up in a New York apartment when there’s a knock at the
door. What follows is a friendship that gradually develops between
two men, each with deep family issues and painful secrets that play
out in dramatic fashion, issues that many of us face in our own
lives. (Through Dec. 17.)


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