New Year's Eve: FIRST NIGHT SAINT LOUIS In the spirit of this year’s theme, ‘Kaleidoscope,’ the Grand Center district will be illuminated with colorful lights on buildings and structures. Opening ceremony kicks off at 6 p.m. on Washington Boulevard near Grand Boulevard. Music and performances continue all night, with fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight. NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE ZOO Children in grades one through eight are invited to celebrate at the Saint Louis Zoo with games, a class with live animals, a moonlight hike around the Zoo and more. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts until 9:30 a.m. Jan. 1, when kids wake up to a breakfast with the beasts. $55 for members or $60; 646-4544 or Register by Dec. 19. BLACK VELVET & BLUEGRASS 2008 The Schlafly Bottleworks kitchen serves dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. and ‘Naked’ Mike Newman plays music at the bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. For $15 entry to the Crown Room, hear The Grass Pack play acoustic music and receive a complimentary midnight toast of Black Velvet—a combination of dark, full-bodied Oatmeal Stout and light sparkling wine. NEW YEAR’S EVE LEMP MANSION Rock in the New Year with The Hush Band in the Lemp’s Grand Hall. Starting at 8 p.m., the night also features a prime rib buffet dinner, a four-hour open well bar, party favors and Champagne at midnight. $65; 664-8024.

12/19 THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER The Grammy Award-winning quartet performs seasonal favorites at 8 p.m. at the Touhill. $33-$100; 516-4949 or

THIRD FRIDAY AT THIRD DEGREE GLASS See fiery glass-blowing demonstrations, shop for gifts, make a holiday keepsake and hear live music from 6 to 10 p.m. at Third Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar Blvd.

367-4527 or; free.

12/20 NATIONAL LUTHERAN CHOIR CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL The 60-voice choir brings a Twin-Cities tradition to St. Louis at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust St. Known for singing from all corners of a cathedral space, the choir will include poetry, scripture, and audience-participation carols. $20; 888-747-4589 or

JAVIER MENDOZA CHRISTMAS SHOW The singer-songwriter and 2007 Independent Music Awards finalist performs Christmas classics at The Chapel in the CWE at 6 and 8 p.m. $20;

12/20-23 THE LITTLE FIR TREE Just when the little fir tree thinks no one will ever pick her, a sick boy chooses her to celebrate Christmas. Based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson, The Repertory Theatre performs the play at the Loretto-Hilton Center in Webster Groves. $6, 968-4925 or

12/20 & 21 EARTHWAYS HOME PUBLIC TOUR See the three-story Victorian residence at 3617 Grandel Square that was renovated in 1994 to showcase energy-efficient systems, recycled products and waste-reduction practices. $3; hourly between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

12/21 HANUKkAH AT THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN Celebrate the holiday with storytelling, song and a ceremonial menorah-lighting from noon to 4 p.m. at the Garden. Activities included with garden admission.

‘AN OLD WORLD CHRISTMAS’ The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus performs ‘Magnificat’ by Arvo Part, ‘Ave Maria’ by Franz Biebl, a range of polychloral works and some familiar Christmas carols at the Cathedral Basilica. $12-$30; 534-1111 or

WINTER SOLSTICE SUNRISE OBSERVANCE Gather at the reconstructed Woodhenge sun circle in Collinsville, Ill., at 7 a.m. to observe the winter solstice and hear an archaeologist explain the significance of the site, which dates to the 12th century. Hosted by Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site; 618-346-5160.

12/22 COMPTON HEIGHTS CONCERT BAND The annual December Pops Concert features guest artists tenor Hugh Smith, soprano Gina Galati, and baritone Robert Ellison along with the 80-voice St. Louis Metro Singers and the band’s 30-piece Herald Trumpet Ensemble. 2 and 8 p.m. in Powell Symphony Hall. $20-$110; 534-1700 or

12/24 ‘IF IT FEELS GOOD, DON’T DO IT’ CD RELEASE PARTY Winner of the People’s Choice Award for Best Singer-Songwriter at the 2008 St. Louis Music Awards, Geoff Koch sings, whistles, and plays guitar, harmonica, piano and more at 9 p.m. at Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave.

THE FRONT ROOM Meredith Malone, assistant curator at the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum, presents two collage series by contemporary artist M.Ho in the Front Room at the Contemporary Art Museum. The collages draw from articles and advertisements in ‘The New York Times’ to question how words and photographs affect us. On display until Jan. 4. 

12/26 KWANZAA At the saint louis art museum Kwanzaa is a non-religious holiday that honors African traditions and history.  Celebrate with a presentation of readings, music and dance followed by holiday-themed refreshments and crafts at the Saint  Louis Art Museum. Free; 6 p.m.

12/26 & 27 GOOD 4 THE SOUL The four-piece outfit draws on jazz, funk, fusion, gospel and R&B repertoires in its performance at Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Ave. $10 students, $20 adults; 534-1111 or

12/27 RAJA’S BIRTHDAY Celebrate the Asian elephant’s 16th birthday at the Saint Louis Zoo. Free. 

RANDY HOLMES TRIO Trumpeter Holmes plays Chet Baker with his trio at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum from 4 to 6 p.m. Free.

PENGUIN PARTY The Missouri History Museum invites children ages 2 to 6 to hear stories about penguins and make a craft or play with puppets between noon and 2:30 p.m. Free.

BOTTLE ROCKETS 15th ANNI VERSARY SHOW The St. Louis-based ‘rural-rock’ band plays Blueberry Hill. $15; 727-4444.

12/27 & 28 OZ WITH ORCHESTRA The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra plays the Harold Arlen score live, along with a re-mastered and restored version of ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ $35-$80; 534-1700 or for tickets.

12/28 LUDO The St. Louis alternative rock band plays The Pageant at 7:30 p.m. $14-$16; 726-6161.

12/30 KWANZAA: FESTIVAL OF FRUITS Celebrate at noon and 3 p.m. at the Missouri Botanical Garden with Janice ‘Mama’ Katambwa, who will tell stories with costumes and percussion. Free with Garden admission.

HALF PINTS CLASS: CHIPS AND DIPS Enjoy a child-free shopping experience while your 3- to 5-year-old makes ‘Kermit’s Dip,’ fresh taco dip and homemade pita chips at the Whole Foods Market in Town and Country.  9 to 10 a.m. and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.; $15 or $12 with Kids Club Membership.