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Tis the Season

Holiday in the park: The family event will take place at Upper Tampa Bay Park from 6 to 9 p.m. today and Saturday, Dec. 8-9 and 15-16. Highlights include a hayride through a greeting card lane, a visit to the park's Nature Center and a stop at the miniature holiday village. The event is free; donations will be accepted to benefit Friends of the County

Parks, a not-for-profit organization that supports the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. The park is at 8001 Double Ranch Road, off Hillsborough Avenue, 4 miles west of Memorial Highway. Call (813) 855-1765.

'The Nativity Story': A free display of The Nativity Story movie guide will be at Muvico Starlight 20 Theater from today through Sunday. The theater is at 18002 Highwood Preserve Parkway, New Tampa. The photo-illustrated display includes a description of how the movie came to be and how it lines up with the Bible's account of Jesus' birth.

'Rediscover Christmas': Pastor Jeff Olsen of Grace Community Church will present a four-week series of messages titled "Rediscover Christmas'' during the church's 10:30 a.m. service beginning Sunday. Topics include "Rediscover Courage'' (Sunday), "Rediscover Faith'' (Dec. 10), "Rediscover Hope'' (Dec. 17) and "Rediscover Love'' (Dec. 24). First-time guests receive a free CD and their choice of the books Why a Manger or The Case for Christmas. The church meets at Kids R Kids Learning Center, 15440 Mansfield, east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Call (813) 994-9363.

Holiday wine and food pairing: The class will be offered from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The event will be at Florida Estates Winery, 25241 State Road 52, near Land O'Lakes. The class includes wine tasting, snacks, dessert and logo wine glass. The cost is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Reservations are requested. Call (727) 526-2113.

Hanukkah gift fair: Judaica by Sisterhood, at Congregation Beth Am, will sponsor its annual event from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday and Dec. 10. Merchandise will be in the lobby of the temple, 2030 W Fletcher Ave. Call (813) 968-8511, ext. 7.

Holiday magic show: The comedic performance of master illusionist and magician Christopher Ox will be at noon and 3 p.m. Sunday. The high-tech magic spectacular event will be at the Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave. Tickets are $15 for nonmember adult, $12 for nonmember child, $10 for MOSI member adult and $8 for MOSI member child. Visit or call (813) 987-6080.

Holiday dinner meeting: The Hillsborough County Democratic Women's Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Mimi's Cafe, 11702 N Dale Mabry Highway, for dinner and a gift exchange. Also, food donations will be accepted for Metropolitan Ministries. Prospective members are welcome. Dues are $20 per year for Democrats. Call (813) 932-6902.

Charity luncheon: Tampa Palms Women's Club will sponsor its semiannual event at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 at Compton's Park Community Center, 16101 Compton Drive. The not-for-profit organization will present $9,000 to OASIS, PACE, YEA, Kids and Canines, God's Pedal Power, Crisis Center, and Everyday Blessings. Also, toys will be presented for disadvantaged children at Tampa Palms and Lawton Chiles elementary schools. Club membership is open to residents of Tampa Palms Areas 1-4. Call (813) 975-1224.

Night in Bethlehem: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will present a live nativity event. Visitors will be greeted every half hour from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7-10.

Jacob, the village storyteller, and his wife, Isabelle, will tell the story of what took place on a night "just like tonight." Sit on "Shepherd's Hill" to witness the savior's miraculous birth, and sing with shepherds and choirs of angels.

The youth choir will present Christmas music. The church is at 7851 Lutz-Lake Fern Road, Lutz. For free tickets, call (813) 838-3497.

Christmas musical: St. James United Methodist Church at Tampa Palms will present "Born to Die'' at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 and 9 and 4 p.m. Dec. 10. The family production conveys the overall message that Jesus was sent to earth to save lives and then change lives by His love. For ticket information (complimentary tickets available through sponsorship program), visit or call (813) 971-4790.

Santa parade: Santa Claus will wind his way through the streets of Westchase from noon to 6 p.m. on Dec. 9. Starting in the Shires village, Santa, escorted by Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and fire department officials, will ride through the community on a fire truck. The parade will end in West Park Village. There, Santa will collect toys for needy children. The parade is hosted by the Westchase Community Foundation, which raises money for Westchase families with seriously ill children. Visit or call (813) 920-0350.

Westchase decorating contest: Untangle that strand of lights and dust off the inflatable Santa Claus. Judging for the World of Westchase's 8th Annual Holiday Decorating Contest will take place on Dec. 9 and 10, rain or shine. One Westchase village will receive bragging rights, as well as the village name engraved on a plaque. Three individual homeowners will receive prize packages. Pictures will appear online and in the January edition of World of Westchase, the community's magazine. Seasonal decorations are permitted between Thanksgiving and Jan. 15, according to Westchase deed restrictions. Call (813) 920-9809.

Breakfast with Santa/Old Lutz School: The Citizens for the Old Lutz School will sponsor Breakfast With Santa from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Dec. 9. Highlights include breakfast and crafts for kids ($2) and Santa stories. The 10th annual event will also feature the school house open for viewing from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21 and 26. Barrels will be available to collect nonperishable food items and toys for families. Call (813) 949-1937.

Lightning Reindeer Run: The Tampa Bay Lightning Reindeer Run will kick off at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive. The 5K will begin at 8 a.m., one-mile run for kids and adults at 9:15 and kids races (toddler to age 10 - 50 to 600 yards) on Dec. 9. Registration closes at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The event is presented by University Community Health. Proceeds will benefit the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation. Call (813)-301-6590.

Winter Wonderland: Boaters are sought to participate in the annual lighted parade of Temple Terrace. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 on the Hillsborough River at Riverhills Park.

Area boaters are invited to enter their vessels with colorful lights and decorations to illuminate the city's riverfront. There is no entry fee. The parade will be part of the Winter Wonderland family holiday celebration. The free event, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., will feature hayrides, music, games, food, arts and crafts, a bonfire, and more. Call (813) 989-7180.

Holiday concert: The Florida Folk Group SOUTHWIND will present its ninth annual event at 5 p.m. Dec. 10. The opening show will be 9-year old W.F. "Sonny'' Ebsary III, a.k.a. Rock 'N' Roll Sonny. The popular Florida folk acoustic group features four area musicians, Mary Ann Dinella, Sandra Jemison, Sharon Nauman and Dennis Devine.

They will perform a mix of traditional, contemporary and original songs including holiday and nonholiday tunes. There will be sing-along songs including The 12 Days of Christmas. The concert will be at Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa (UU Dome), 11400 Morris Bridge Road. The cost is $15. Call (813) 988-8188.

Holiday Donation Center: St. James United Methodist Church is announcing its third annual partnership with Metropolitan Ministries. The church will offer the New Tampa Holiday Donation Center to collect items to help the poor.

Donations needed include turkeys and other food items, new toys and gifts, as well as financial donations. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 11-23 and 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 24. St. James is at 16202 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Call (813) 971-4790.

Holiday party: The Tampa area's Parkinson's Support Group will host its event from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 13. The event is open to all including a spouse, relative, friend or significant other who has Parkinson's disease.

There will be a planned shared buffet meal, lots of socializing and holiday fun. Call (813) 269-1486 or (813) 932-6902 to add your dish to the list or just come. The party will be at First Church of the Nazarene, 5902 N Himes Ave.

Holiday program and meeting: The North Tampa Chamber of Commerce will meet Dec. 14 at Comfort Inn, 820 E Busch Blvd. Doors will open at 11 a.m.; a buffet lunch will begin at 11:15.

The holiday program of traditional Christmas music will be presented at 11:30 a.m. by the children of Hope Children's Home. The cost is $15 for early registration and must be in to the chamber office by 5 p.m. Dec. 12. Reservations will be accepted after that date on the attendee check-in list for $20, payable at the door. Visit www.northtampa or call (813) 961-2420.

Are you planning a religious, charitable or cultural event to celebrate the holiday season? Let us know about it. We will publish our 'Tis the Season Calendar through New Year's Day. Please send information at least two weeks before the event. E-mail us at or fax to (813) 269-5310.