The holidays are upon us. Prepare to eat, celebrate and be merry for the next seven weeks, until the calendar flips to 2012.
We know our readers in Patchland want to know what holiday-centric events are going on in their communities, so we created the Patch Holiday Guide, a handy list of all the events— tree lightings, turkey trots, religious services and more— that are coming to your neighborhood this season.
Did we miss a great event? Add it to the comments and we'll be sure to include it in the guide!
We want to wish all of our Patch users Happy Holidays! We hope to help you make it the best one yet.
2011 Patch Holiday Guide
*Click the links for dates, times and more information on each event!*
Free Zoo admission on Thanksgiving Day Admission to the Zoo and The RainForest is free for everyone on Nov. 24.
Holiday tree-lighting ceremony: Visit downtown Mentor for a visit from Santa, choir performances, hot chocolate and cookies.
: Take a sleigh ride and view holiday lights around the City Center Complex, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, drop a letter in Santa's mailbox and check out the other activities and entertainment.
Solon holiday tree lighting The lighting begins at City Hall with carols and Santa and then moves into the Solon Center for the Arts for cookies, hot chocolate and more live entertainment.
Tree City Turkey Trot: Start your Thanksgiving off right with a 5K race or a 1-mile fun run.
Kent Festival of Lights: The Roosevelt High School ACE choir will perform and Santa will be in attendance.
Turkey Trot 5 Miler This 5-mile run through Old Hickory Trail and Center Valley Bike Path begins and ends at the Twinsburg Fitness Center.
Holiday CircleFest Many of University Circle’s museums, gardens, galleries, churches and schools open their doors and offer an afternoon of activities, food, and shopping. The event also features the Cleveland Museum of Art's Winter Lights Lantern Procession and the opening of the skating rink at Wade Oval.
Take this hike that will be guided by a Brecksville naturalist. Dog-less walks are welcome.
Beginning Nov. 24, Akron's Stan Hywet Hall will be bathed in lights and decorated with toys, fashion and culture from 1900 to today.
Enjoy holiday crafts, entertainment and light refreshments at Hale Farm and Village.
Family Fun: Chinese Food & A Movie: Hit the Maltz Museum Dec. 25 for a family day including Chinese food, Jewpardy and more.
Santa will flip the switch to light up the 50-foot tree at . Afterwards, enjoy a ride on the Holiday Express, shop at the Holiday Market and catch the fireworks display.
Look out Matt Lauer and Katy Couric. Lakewood is getting its own Holiday Parade. At 5 p.m. on Dec. 3, the Light Up Lakewood Parade, sponsored by, will march west on Detroit Avenue, from Parkhaven Row to the parking lot on Arthur Avenue.
: Get some local gifts at the holiday open house. Every guest is entered in a prize drawing.
Garden Store holiday open house: This Cleveland Botanical Garden event features décor, ornaments and accessories for the home as well as books, apparel and gifts. The open house will also feature seasonal refreshments and free gift wrapping.
Heights Arts annual holiday store: Art by more than 85 regional artists is for sale at Heights Arts in Cleveland Heights.
Gifts from the Heart Holiday Boutique: The Gifts from the Heart Holiday Boutique is an upscale juried invitational featuring more than 80 fine art and fine craft exhibitors held in a festive holiday setting.
Gifts from the Heart of Nature: The beauty of Northeast Ohio provides the inspiration for handcrafted gifts, available during the Gifts from the Heart of Nature event at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland.
Small Works holiday sale This annual sale at the Downtown Gallery in Kent allows admirers the opportunity to purchase unique gifts and support the local art community.
Avenue Antiques holiday open house: There will be refreshments provided and a gift certificate drawing at the store’s new location in North Canton.
Christkindl Markt: The Christkindl Markt in Canton is a fine arts and fine crafts show of local and national juried exhibitors. This holiday tradition features glassware, jewelry, pottery, paintings, metal sculpture, photography, floral arrangements, holiday items and more.
This special holiday sale in Stow will feature items to help you celebrate your winter holidays.
The Craft Shoppe is hosting this annual sale at Quirk Cultural Center in Cuyahoga Falls. Browse through handmade crafts, jewelery, home decore and more.
Food & Drink
Thanksgiving wine event: Wine educator Gary Twining will offer his suggestions on what to pair with the turkey and the other Thanksgiving dishes.
Breakfast with Santa: The Rotary Club of Twinsburg is holding a pancake and sausage breakfast with Santa Claus.
Breakfast with Santa: Join Santa for pancakes, eggs, sausage, biscuit and drink at the Twinsburg Community Center.
: Choose from a wide variety of homemade seasonal cookies for $8 per pound at Lutheran Home at Concord Reserve.
Sunday brunch with Santa: Enjoy brunch with Santa, with more than 60 feet of gourmet food and the sounds of the season at the 356 Fighter Group in North Canton.
Holiday music at the Solon Library: The Raffinato String Quartet, a group of young Solon musicians, will celebrate the season with holiday music.
“The Christmas Carol Rag”: This charming take on “The Christmas Carol” is a holiday treat for all ages.
Walsh Chorale Christmas concert: Come hear the Chorale Christmas concert of sacred music.
“The Nutcracker”: Ballet Theatre of Ohio, under the artistic direction of Christine Meneer, will present “The Nutcracker” at the Akron Civic Theatre for seven public performances.
The Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School presents this free concert.
Community Thanksgiving service: This community service is a combined effort of churches in the Solon Alliance of Interfaith Leaders.
Christmas roller-skating party: There will be games, raffles, prizes and a visit from Santa himself at Mentor Skateland.
Winter Wonderland: Bring the family to the Twinsburg Fitness Center to see Santa arriving in his red sleigh. Kids can participate in crafts, face painting, rides and attractions, snacks and even a picture with Santa.
Make sure to bring your camera. Take your own pictures of your dog with Santa at Stow's Double Dog Day Care.