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Santa parade

Santa Claus will wind his way through the streets of Westchase from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. Starting in the Shires village, Santa, escorted by the 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.

Christmas Musical: St. James United Methodist Church at Tampa Palms will present Born to Die at 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. 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.

'Rediscover Christmas': Pastor Jeff Olsen of Grace Community Church will present a series of messages titled "Rediscover Christmas'' during the church's 10:30 a.m. service. Topics include "Rediscover Faith'' (Sunday), "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.

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

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. through Sunday. 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.

Westchase decorating contest: Untangle that strand of lights and dust off the inflatable Santa Claus. Judging for the World of Westchase's eighth annual Holiday Decorating Contest will take place on Saturday and Dec. 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 until 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. Saturday. 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. Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Dec. 16, 17, 19, 21 and 26. Barrels will be available to collect non-perishable food items and toys for families. Call (813) 949-1937.

Winter Wonderland: Boaters are sought to participate in the annual lighted parade of Temple Terrace. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday 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.

Hanukkah celebration: Temple Ohev Shalom, 6460 Tampa Palms Blvd., will have the event at 9:15 a.m. Sunday. The service will show how to light a menorah by pressing oil just like in the times of the Maccabees and will include the story of Hanukkah. Bring your menorah and candles for the candle lighting ceremony. Light refreshments will be served; a $5 donation per family will be greatly appreciated. Call (813) 632-9900.

Jesus, No Other Name: Carrollwood Baptist Church, 5395 Ehrlich Road, will have a Christmas program at 6 p.m. Sunday. The event will be presented by the Adult Praise Choir and Orchestra. Call (813) 962-3214.

Holiday concert: The Florida Folk Group SOUTHWIND will present its ninth annual concert at 5 p.m. Sunday. The popular Florida folk acoustic group features local 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 non-holiday tunes. There will be sing-along songs, including The 12 Days of Christmas. The opening show will be 9-year-old W.F. "Sonny'' Ebsary III, a.k.a. Rock 'N' Roll Sonny. The concert will be at Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa (UU Dome), 11400 Morris Bridge Road. The cost is $15. Call (813) 988-8188.

Christmas, UU style: The Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa has worship service at 11 a.m. Sundays. Katie Culbert and the children will present the intergenerational Christmas service on Sunday. It will be based on a UU mummer's play. The church is at 11400 Morris Bridge Road, Call (813) 988-8188.

Lessons and carols: The Chancel Choir of Grace Lutheran Church of Carrollwood will present a program at its 8:30 and 11 a.m. services Sunday. Under the direction of music director Tom Tietjen, the 30-plus voice choir will perform choral works of English composer John Rutter. The choir will be accompanied by harpist Dolly Roberts and organist James Sawyers. Also, soprano Lisa Watson, who has sung previously with the Florida Orchestra and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, will be featured. The church is at the corner of Linebaugh Avenue and N Dale Mabry Highway, north of Busch Boulevard. Call (813) 961-8747.

Holiday Donation Center: St. James United Methodist Church, in partnership with Metropolitan Ministries, is running a New Tampa Holiday Donation Center to collect items to help the poor.

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

Holiday baking: The Friends of the West Gate Regional Library is co-sponsoring the event at 7 p.m. Monday. Learn tips and techniques to create delicious holiday cookies. Refreshments and samples will be served. The library is at 7606 Paula Drive. Call (813) 554-5033.

Holiday party: The Tampa area's Parkinson's Support Group will host its event from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday. 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. 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 party: The MOMS Club-Westchase North Chapter will host a party from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. The group will meet at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center, 10405 Countryway Blvd. There will be activities for the kids and fun for moms. Prospective members are welcome. The club is a support group specifically for at-home mothers. Call (813) 855-9061.

Holiday program and meeting: The North Tampa Chamber of Commerce will meet Thursday 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. Tuesday. Reservations will be accepted after that date on the attendee check-in list for $20, payable at the door. Visit or call (813) 961-2420.

Holiday lighting contest: Residents of Northdale are encouraged to participate in the contest. Turn lights on after dark. The event is sponsored by the Northdale Civic Association. Judges will leave from Northdale Park at 6 p.m. for the final judging on Dec. 16.

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.