SECOND ANNUAL COMEDY NIGHT. Thursday, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m., Swampscott High School auditorium, 200 Essex St. The Swampscott High Class of 2015 hosts to benefit the class. Event includes baked goods and raffles, master of ceremony Will Noonan, special guest Dan Crohn, and headliner Mike Whitman, the semifinalist of the 2008 Boston Comedy Festival. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. Suitable for attendees ages 13 and older. email@example.com.
“STUFF A CRUISER” DAY. Saturday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hamilton Police Department, 265 Bay Road. Donations of unwrapped gifts will be collected for Children’s Hospital Boston. Santa Claus will also meet kids and hand out candy canes. 978-468-1212.
“PAWS WITH CLAWS.” Pets can get their photos taken with “Santa Claws” on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Danvers PetSmart, 104 Andover St. Photos with Santa support homeless animals. Pet parents receive one 4-by-6-inch photograph in a holiday collector frame for $9.95 with savings card. For every photo package, PetSmart will donate $5 to PAWS Wakefield. 781-246-6111, PAWSwakefield@yahoo.com or www.pawswakefield.rescuegroups.org.
ETHICAL ELECTRONICS RECYCLING. Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, 1 to 4 p.m., parking lot across from National Grand Bank, 91 Pleasant St., Marblehead. For used electronics (almost anything with a battery or plug); hazardous materials of any kind will not be accepted. Incoming materials will be weighed, and attendees will be charged $1 per pound, payable by cash or check. Fees will be discounted if participant donates canned food; other special discounts also apply. Rain, snow or shine. 617-233-4120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FILL A POLICE CAR. Sunday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Stop & Shop, 301 Newbury St., Danvers. Stop & Shop and the Danvers Police Department will work to fill a police vehicle with groceries for the Danvers Food Bank. 978-762-4444.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH CHRISTMAS DINNER. Sunday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m., St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 4 Ocean St., Beverly. For anyone in need. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Free. To volunteer, donate warm clothing or provide musical entertainment, contact 978-948-3720 or email@example.com.
HOLIDAY SILENT AUCTION. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 6 to 8 p.m., 1640 Hart House, 51 Linebrook Road, Ipswich. The Ipswich Youth Football Cheerleaders will host. Free admission, but donations of unwrapped gifts are encouraged; gifts will be donated to Ipswich Caring. Proceeds from the event benefit the IYFL cheerleaders’ A and C teams upcoming trip to Walt Disney World to compete in the UCA National Cheerleading Championship. 978-397-6430.
GIVING GARDEN. Five trees, each dedicated to a local charity organization, in the Best Buy wing at the Liberty Tree Mall, 100 Independence Way, Danvers, during mall hours through Thursday, Dec. 27. Each tree contains ornaments of wishes specific to each charity/organization. Shoppers can purchase the item listed on the ornament, and it will be distributed to the appropriate charity/organization. 978-777-0795.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA. Saturday, Dec. 15, 8 to 10:30 a.m., North Shore Technical High School, 30 Log Bridge Road, Middleton. Full buffet, cookie decorating, face-painting and crafts with Santa’s elves, 50-50 raffle, children’s raffle table, and a chance to talk to Santa. Photographs with Santa will be available for purchase. $8/adult, $5/children 10 and under. 978-762-0001.
FOURTH ANNUAL SANTA STROLL. Saturday, Dec. 15, 9:30 a.m., Tapleyville rail trail crossing on Pine Street, Danvers. Meet Santa and hike south with him on the rail trail. Light refreshments will follow. Rain date Dec. 16. 978-777-4661.
‘“A CHRISTMAS CAROL’: ITS ORIGINS AND IMPORTANCE.” Saturday, Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m., Boxford Town Library, 10 Elm St. Professor Joel Brattin, an expert on Charles Dickens, is a member of the London-based Dickens Fellowship and has teamed with fellow members of the fellowship’s Worcester chapter to stage skits drawn from “Nicholas Nickleby,” “David Copperfield,” “Bleak House” and “Great Expectations.” Sponsored by the Friends of the Boxford Town Library. Free. 978-887-7323.
HAYRIDE WITH SANTA CLAUS. Saturday, Dec. 15, noon to 3 p.m., 656 Asbury St., Hamilton. Kids of all ages are invited to tour Green Meadows Farm with Santa and make an ornament at the crafts table. At 3 p.m., Santa will draw the winner of the GM Farm Dollhouse Raffle, which benefits Operation Troop Support and the Acord Food Pantry. www.gmfarm.com or 978-468-2277.
CANDY CANE VIEWING. Saturday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m., Putnam Pantry Candies, Route 1, Danvers. Watch homemade candy canes being made. Viewing includes candy cane samples, hot cider and chocolate. 978-777-1336.
SANTA CLAUS ARRIVES VIA LOBSTER BOAT. Saturday, Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m., Ferryway Public Landing by the Veterans Memorial Bridge and public pier, Beverly. Santa will greet and talk to boys and girls and hand out candy canes and hot chocolate. 12th annual event sponsored by Beverly Lobster Fleet and Beverly Harbormaster Department. 978-921-6059.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS AT THE PHILLIPS HOUSE. Saturday, Dec. 15, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Phillips House Museum, 34 Chestnut St., Salem. Free tours of the first floor, where visitors can learn about Salem Christmas traditions in the early 20th century. Hot cider served in Stevie Phillips’ playroom and special holiday sales in the museum shop. Jim and Maggi Dalton of Singing String Music will lead family-friendly holiday carols and parlor games from 7 to 8 p.m. Concert sponsored by Salem Cultural Council. Purchase tickets in advance. Free/open house and refreshments. Concert admission is $10/adults, $5/children and students, free/Historic New England Members. Reserve a space at 978-744-0440 or www.HistoricNewEngland.org.
VISIT WITH SANTA AND FROSTY. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 5 to 8 p.m., McDonald’s, 77 High St., Danvers. Participate in a coloring contest, ornament making and face-painting. Fifteen percent of sales will be donated to the Danvers Family Festival. 978-762-0902.
FAMILY DREIDEL NIGHT. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 6 p.m., Boxford Town Library, 10 Elm St. Four-sided spinning top played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Dreidel can be played with two to six players. Every player starts with an equal number of chocolate coins. To start the game, every player puts a coin in the middle to make a pot. Each player spins the dreidel and waits for it to fall on one side. Depending on which side it lands, the player either does nothing, takes everything in the pot, takes half the pot or puts another coin in the pot. Free; open to the public, regardless of religion. 978-887-7323.
INTRODUCTION TO TRACKING MAMMALS. Saturday, Dec. 15, 1 to 4 p.m., Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield. Join sanctuary naturalist Scott Santino, a tracking enthusiast, to learn the basics of tracking local mammals. Talk about the life histories of mammals native to Massachusetts, including rodents, carnivores, hoofed animals and lagomorphs. Following indoor introduction, hike the sanctuary to search for tracks, chews and scat. Meet in Nature Center. Dress for weather and wear sturdy footwear. $16/Audubon members, $19/nonmembers. Register at 978-887-9264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINTER SOLSTICE LANTERN WALK. Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, 4 to 6 p.m., Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield. Lantern making, 4 p.m., followed by solstice stories and folklore. Stroll the trails with lanterns in hand. Hot cider and cocoa served at the bonfire upon return. For families with children ages 4 and older. $7/members, $9/nonmembers; $6/child member, $7/nonmember. Meet in barn. Dress for weather. Register at 978-887-9264 or email@example.com.
Theater and performances
REPERTORY DANCE ENSEMBLE: “LOVE NOTES.” Thursday, Dec. 13, and Friday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 15, 2 p.m., Center for the Arts, Endicott College, 376 Hale St., Beverly. Dance concert will explore many aspects of love, including first love, old love, loss, hope and celebration. Students will perform new contemporary and modern dance vignettes. $5/general, free/Endicott ID. 978-232-7701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“STEEL MAGNOLIAS.” Friday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m., Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, Smith Hall, 562 Maple St., Danvers. Presented by North Shore Technical High School’s drama club. $10/adults, $7/students and seniors. 978-762-0001, ext. 243, or email@example.com.
“CHRISTMAS MEMORIES.” The Sea Change Theatre Company presents, by Karen Lund and Sean R. Gaffney, on Dec. 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23, with shows at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Sea Change is a new nonprofit theater at Dane Street Church, 10 Dane St., Beverly. 978-500-3885, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.seachangetheatre.com.
“A CHRISTMAS CAROL.” Through Dec. 23 at the North Shore Music Theatre, 62 Dunham Road, Beverly. With dazzling special effects that have grown even more exciting over time, traditional and original songs, and colorful costumes, “A Christmas Carol” has become a holiday favorite throughout New England. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic tale of a curmudgeonly miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by ghosts of Christmases past, present and future hoping to change his destiny and save his soul. This musical, an original adaptation written for NSMT audiences, follows Scrooge through a series of strange and magical journeys, where he ultimately discovers the true spirit of the holiday season. Tickets range $45 to $60. 978-232-7200 or www.nsmt.org.
HOLIDAY CONCERT IN MARBLEHEAD. Friday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., Church of St. Andrew, 135 Lafayette St. Featuring local female vocal trio Maeve Music. $15/ticket. 781-631-4951.
HOLIDAY CONCERT SPECTACULAR: “A FIRESIDE NOEL.” Saturday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., Community House of Hamilton and Wenham, 284 Bay Road, Hamilton. Professional and local talent will perform holiday favorites in song, dance and instrumental music. $12/general, $10/students and seniors. www.communityhouse.org.
“A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS.” Sunday, Dec. 16, 3 p.m., Ste. Anne Church, 290 Jefferson Ave., Salem. The Paul Madore Chorale presents concert with Joseph Stella, Ste. Anne Choir & Bell Ringers and tenor Giovanni Formisano. Free admission; donations accepted. 781-592-7284, 978-774-7981 or www.paulmadorechorale.org.
AN AFTERNOON OF CHRISTMAS DELIGHTS. Sunday, Dec. 16, 4 p.m., Christ the Redeemer Church, 188 Elliott St., Danvers. Christmas classics performed by harpists Nancy Unsworth and Jena Boehm, violinist Suzanne Powers, and solo vocalist Erin Cherry. Music will be interwoven between poems: Yeats’ “The Mother of God,” Levertov’s “Annunciation,” Donne’s “Annunciation,” Betjeman’s “Advent 1955,” Kavanagh’s “Advent,” Rossetti’s “Christmas Eve,” Coleridge’s “Salus Mundi,” Donne’s “Nativitie,” Hopkins’ “Moonless darkness stands between,” Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi,” L’Engle’s “A Christmas Poem,” and Wilbur’s “A Christmas Hymn.” A tea reception will follow. Free admission. www.ctr-anglican.org.
HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS CONCERT IN DANVERS. Sunday, Dec. 16, 5 p.m., Holy Trinity United Methodist Church, 16 Sylvan St., Danvers. Features both the Chancel Choir and the Handbell Choir, as well as vocal and piano solos. Also, guest soloist Audrey Fernandez Fraser from Boston will perform. Free. Handicapped-accessible. 978-777-7408.
“CHRISTMAS IN PARIS.” Sunday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m., First Universalist Society, 211 Bridge St., Salem. The Boston String Quartet performs its third annual Christmas series, which explores Parisian life by presenting traditional French carols and music from popular films. Concert features haunting French carols, all new stories and a multimedia adventure. $20/general, free for attendees under 18. 617-875-7851 or www.bostonstringquartet.com.
38TH ANNUAL EVERGREEN CHRISTMAS CAROL SING. Sunday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m., First Church in Wenham, 1 Arbor St. and Route 1A. The Enon Brass presents, featuring carol leader Katie Frigon. British-style brass band of the Community Band — Wenham. Free indoor performance followed by refreshments. Sponsored by the First Church in Wenham. www.facebook.com/CommunityBandWenham.
WILLOW FLUTE ENSEMBLE. Monday, Dec. 17, 7 to 8 p.m., Peabody Institute Library, Sutton Room, 82 Main St., Peabody. Featuring 12 flutes playing together at once. Part of library’s 2012 Concert Series. www.libraryinsight.net/eventdetails.asp?
MOVIE SCREENING. Thursday, Dec. 13, 10:30 to 12:10 p.m., Hamilton-Wenham Public Library, 14 Union St., Hamilton. “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” on the big screen. Rated PG. Bring a cushion for the chair. Free. www.hwlibrary.org.
HERITAGE FILMS. Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 11:30 a.m., Hollywood Hits Theater, 7 Hutchinson Drive, Danvers, and 7 p.m., Peabody Institute Library, 15 Sylvan St., Danvers. “Puritans Arrival in New England,” which recounts the arrival, life and plight encountered by the early settlers. Free. Presented by producer Dan Tremblay. 978-777-2711.
children and teens
GINGERBREAD EXPRESS MODEL TRAIN AND CONTEST. Thursday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wenham Museum, 132 Main St. The train travels through a gingerly crafted village of candy-covered houses, created by local bakers. Attendees can vote for their favorite. $8/adults, $6/children. 978-468-2377 or www.wenhammuseum.org.
M IS FOR MUSEUM: TOOT SWEET! Friday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m., Wenham Museum, 132 Main St. Visit the Gingerbread Express model train layout and create mini candy-covered sweet treats to eat or display at home. $10/museum members, $14/nonmember children, $7.50/nonmember adult. Includes museum admission, stories, games, songs, craft and snack. For children in preschool and older. Reserve a spot in advance at www.wenhammuseum.org or 978-468-2377.
CRAFTING TIME. Saturday, Dec. 15, Peabody Institute Library, 15 Sylvan St., Danvers. Enjoy an afternoon of crafts to celebrate the holidays. Create a special star-themed craft using card stock, glitter, glue, ribbons, tissue paper, stickers and beads. Drop in any time between 1 and 4 p.m. www.danverslibrary.org.
TOYS FOR TOTS TEDDY BEAR TEA. Saturday, Dec. 15, 2 to 4 p.m., Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square West, Salem. Buffet luncheon with finger sandwiches. All children can get their picture taken with the Hawthorne Bear. $21/adults, $13.50/children. Free admission for children who bring a Toys for Tots donation, new and unwrapped, and only two per table. Reservations strongly recommended. 978-825-4311.
HOLIDAY SING-ALONG WITH DARA VANREEMORTEL. Saturday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m., Peabody Institute Library Main Branch, 82 Main St., Peabody. Children ages 2 to 6 and their families are invited. Registration required at 978-531-0100, ext. 29.
DAMIEN ECHOLS TALKS. Saturday, Dec. 15, 2 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 210 Andover St., Peabody. Echols, a member of the West Memphis Three, spent 18 years on death row in Arkansas. Recently released in 2011 under the Alford plea, Echols now lives in Salem and has written “Life After Death,” a memoir about his early life and his grueling journey through the prison system. Echols will talk and sign copies of his book. Free; space is limited. 978-573-3268 or email@example.com.
AUTHOR TO SIGN BOOKS. Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 to 4 p.m., The Book Shop, 40 West St., Beverly Farms. Caldicott Medal winner Chris Van Allsburg, the author of “The Polar Express,” “Jumanji,” “The Chronicles of Harris Burdick” and others. Free. 978-927-2122 or bookshopofbeverlyfarms.com.
Presentations and discussions
HUMORIST TO READ. Thursday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m., Time & Tide Fine Art, 4 Market St., Ipswich. Doug Brendel will read his Christmas story “Dirty” and his story-poem “The Day After Christmas.” Fundraiser for New Thing, a humanitarian charity that Brendel and his wife direct in the former Soviet Union. Free admission; donations accepted. Between readings, Brendel will briefly introduce New Thing and answer questions. 978-810-1005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“GOOGLE EVERYTHING.” Thursday, Dec. 13, 7 to 9:30 p.m., McCarthy Auditorium, Peabody Municipal Light Plant, 201 Warren St. Ext. North Shore Computer Society meeting features computer expert Charles Hoover. Explore Google Docs, maps, calendars, Google+, Google Drive, Google Wallet and more. Also, attendees can share technical questions and answers during Tech Talk Time. Members are eligible to win a door prize. Seating is limited. Free. www.northshorecomputer.org or 888-955-6727.
“MANHATTAN IN MARBLEHEAD” SPEAKER SERIES. Sunday, Dec. 16, 8:15 p.m., JCC of the North Shore, 4 Community Road, Marblehead. Thinkers and writers on religion, in relation to the religious violence and protests that continue to make headlines every day. $10/JCC members, $12/community. Refreshments served 30 minutes prior to program. JCCNS.org or 781-631-8330.
EVENING BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex St. “The Culture of Narcissism” by Christopher Lasch. Handicapped-accessible. Discussion titles available at the checkout desk; alternate formats may also be available. 978-921-6062.
“PLACES NEAR AND PLACES FAR.” On view through Sunday, Dec. 16, Hall-Haskell House, 36 S. Main St., Ipswich. Exhibit features Ipswich photographer Mark Gooby’s collection of photographs of local and national landscapes. Gooby will be at the Hall-Haskell House gallery Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Artwork available for purchase. email@example.com.
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT. On view through Monday, Dec. 24, at Beverly Cooperative Bank, 254 Cabot St. Work by award-winning Osborne Davis Photography of Beverly. Viewing hours are Monday through Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. www.osbornedavisphoto.com.
“RACHEL ROME HOUPES: A CELEBRATION OF ART.” Solo show on view through Jan. 4, in the ArcWorks Community Art Center Gallery, 22 Foster St., Peabody. Exhibit features oil paintings, acrylics and mixed-media abstract art work by Rome Houpes. Free. Street and public-lot parking available. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. arcworksart.org or www.facebook.com/ArcWorksCommunityArtCenter.
“TAKE TWO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOM AND JUDY ROBINSON-COX.” On view through January at Cloister Gallery, St. Andrew’s Church, 135 Lafayette St., Marblehead. Exhibit features different photograph styles of landscapes, close-up macro views and abstract compositions inspired by Cape Ann’s atmosphere. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to noon. Handicapped-accessible. 781-631-4951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairs and sales
ANNUAL HOLIDAY ART & BOOK SALE. Thursday, Dec. 13 through Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 to 7 p.m., 86 Federal St., Salem. Jim McAllister’s sale includes more than 150 items available for purchase. 978-745-6314.
CHRISTMAS BAZAAR. Saturday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Elks Lodge, 40 Oak St., Peabody. Various vendors, pottery, candy trees, nature and landscape photography, woodworking crafts, handmade crafts, white elephant table, raffles, refreshments, and cash bar. Free admission. Event benefits A Ride for Maevyn, which raises money for a wheelchair van for a young girl in Peabody. www.facebook.com/events/454698171253404/.
FINZ SEAFOOD AND GRILL. Dec. 14, 9 p.m. to midnight, Shaun England. 76 Wharf St., Pickering Wharf, Salem. 978-774-8485.
GULU-GULU. Dec. 13, 90 Mile Portage; Dec. 14, DJ Seth; Dec. 15, Sylvana Joyce & The Moment; Dec. 19, Open Mike Night. All events begin at 8 p.m., unless otherwise noted. 247 Essex St., Salem. 978-740-8882.
HARDCOVER CAFE. Dec. 14, Dave Simmons and Kirsten Mandville. 15A Newbury St. (Route 1 north), Danvers. 978-774-1223.
HOWLING WOLF TAQUERIA. Dec. 14, Tokyo Tramps; Dec. 15, Erinn Brown; Dec. 16, 6 to 8 p.m., Steve Spungin. All shows are 10 p.m. to midnight unless otherwise noted. 76 Lafayette St., Salem. 978-774-9653 or www.feedyourwolf.com.
IN A PIG’S EYE. Dec. 13, Gracie Curran and The High Falutin’ Band; Dec. 14, 4 to 7 p.m., Blues Jam, and 9 to 11:30 p.m., Green Street Band with Matt Pert; Dec. 15, JAH-N-I-Roots Band; Dec. 16, 7 to 10 p.m., Peter Fedele and Charlie O’Neal Trio; Dec. 17, Open Mike with Orville Giddings; Dec. 19, Scardy Cats. 148 Derby St., Salem. 978-741-4436.