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Your weekly guide: Five (plus) don't-miss events — Heugel school & Heights home tours included

Your weekly guide: Five (plus) don't-miss events — Heugel school & Heights home tours included

Reed Home - 606 E 8and one half St Heights Home Hsitoric
Open for two days only, the Houston Heights Association Holiday Home Tour welcomes design curious denizens to survey how residents of Houston Heights bedeck their abodes with merriment. Courtesy of Houston Heights Association
Mayor's 2012 Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting, Presented by Reliant
Holiday cheer invades City Hall at this yearly event during which Mayor Annise Parker and her cronies light up the 63-foot White Fir Holiday Tree. Courtesy of Photo by Richard Carson
Dickens on The Strand
Travel back in time to 19th-century Victorian London at Dickens on the Strand street festival on the island. Photo by David Canright, Galveston Historical Foundation
Amy Fote and Artists of Houston Ballet
Houston Ballet principal Amy Fote is saying farewell, but not without a big ballet fuss at Houston Ballet's "Jubilee of Dance: Tribute to Amy Fote." Photo by © Amitava Sarkar
Reed Home - 606 E 8and one half St Heights Home Hsitoric
Mayor's 2012 Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting, Presented by Reliant
Dickens on The Strand
Amy Fote and Artists of Houston Ballet

Thanksgiving gluttony is over. December gaiety is almost upon us. You may be tempted to work off your turkey calories, though Ensure to balance that health routine with local happenings that feed your cravings for the gift-giving month.

On the calendar are fundraisers, design tours, concerts, craft markets, cocktail classes, joyful dance shows and a day trip to Galveston to revel in the pleasures of yesteryear.

Click on the the links below each suggestion to access helpful features, like being able to download the information to your electronic diary and accessing details on nearby amenities, including restaurants, bars, hotels and shopping. 

Volunteer Houston's Second Annual "Taste-ful: Celebrating 25 Years of Saint Nicholas"

Go for the food or go in observance of the spirit of the season. Either way you can't you wrong at this Volunteer Houston event.

Chef David Luna's nibbles promise to journey around the globe to taste the different traditions of Saint Nicholas, from the traditional to the exotic. Fittingly, the philanthropic gathering benefits A Visit from St. Nicholas, a Volunteer Houston initiative that fills backpacks with holiday goodies and donates them to 10,000 children locally. 

The deets: Thursday, 7 p.m.; Hotel Icon; tickets start at $100.

2012 Houston Heights Association Holiday Home Tour "Carols by Candlelight"

Open for two days only, the Houston Heights Association Holiday Home Tour welcomes design curious denizens to survey how residents of arguably one of most charming neighborhoods in the city bedeck their abodes with merriment. Six fetching homes, from newly built to buildings on the National Register of Historic Places list, reveal the quirkiness of the area and their owners.

Travel to and from properties on the shuttle buses.

Not into crowds? Pony up $125 for the patron's party on Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m.

The deets: Friday and Saturday; headquarters located at Heights Fire Station; $20 in advance, $25 on tour days, $5 per home.

Mayor's 2012 Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Presented by Reliant

Holiday cheer invades City Hall at this yearly event during which Mayor Annise Parker and her cronies light up the 63-foot White Fir Holiday Tree — with LED, energy efficient bulbs. Headlining the tuneful lineup is Dennis Edwards and The Temptations Review, alongside Bio Hazard Band, HSPVA, Marcie Chapa, Ernest Walker, the University of Houston Mixed Chorus, Houston Dance Theatre, MacArthur Jammin' Generals Drumline, American Idol contestant Colton Barry and Lil' J. Xavier.

Though the event is free to attend, guests are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped gift to build up The Salvation Army's arsenal. Because no child, regardless of faith, should go without something special.

The deets: Friday, 6 p.m.; Hermann Square Park - City Hall; event is free.

Galveston Historical Foundation's "Dickens on The Strand"

Travel back in time to 19th-century Victorian London at this annual street festival on the island. Parades, entertainment on five stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers and costumed vendors will surely tickle your fancy for all things Charles Dickens. Special events like tea tastings, concerts and themed meals complement a weekend of regal tenor. Presented by the Galveston Historical Foundation.

For the 200th anniversary of the writer's birth, the event will attempt to break the world record for most signatures on a birthday card. 

The deets: Thursday through Sunday, The Strand National Historic Landmark District; tickets start at $8.

AIGA Houston's Third Annual Market "DesignCraft"

Cyber Monday is long gone, so it's time to turn our attention back to supporting local creatives, who in turn offer holiday shoppers gifts for those hard-to-shop-for friends and family members. The American Institute of Graphic Arts Houston's "DesignCraft" market curates and sets up more than 45 intimate booths that display the output of artists, artisans, illustrators, screen printers, letterpress shops, interior designers, fashion designers and smiths of many genres. 

The deets: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Market Square Park; free event.

Cocktail Class at Anvil Bar & Refuge

If spending time with your "loved ones" has caused you to hit the bottle more than one time, then let Anvil Bar & Refuge help you wash away those drunken sorrows with class and pride. Bobby Heugel leads a cocktail tutorial with Southern flair, featuring Pappy Van Winkle 23-year Bourbon and selections choice selections from Buffalo Trace antique reserve. 

Here's how the event unfolds: You learn, you taste, you drink, you go home and repeat. Heck, by mastering the mixing of adult beverages you are sure to befriend others — because everyone loves a tasty drink.

The deets: Sunday, 2 p.m.; Anvil Bar & Refuge; class fee is $60.

Arts smarty pants and in-the-loop dance maven Nancy Wozny's pick: Houston Ballet presents "Jubilee of Dance"

Nancy says: "It's still hard for me to believe that Houston Ballet principal Amy Fote is saying farewell, with her last performance in The Nutcracker on Dec. 29, but not without a big ballet fuss at Houston Ballet's "Jubilee of Dance: Tribute to Amy Fote." After seven marvelous years with the company, Fote is ready to move on, but fans will get to see her in some of her favorite roles, such as Hanna in Ronald Hynd's beloved and enchanting The Merry Widow.

"A video tribute will take us on a trip through her life and work. I already miss her!"

The deets: Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Wortham Theater Center; tickets start at $50.