Madcap merriment all month long

Let the season of fun begin.

SHOP THE BLOCK at Raymond and University for the second annual Block Friday and Small Business Saturday extravaganza, Nov. 28 and 29. Junk Love will host an artist sale Friday, 1-6 p.m., and Saturday, noon-3 p.m.; shop owners say their stores will be full of merchandise; and eateries will have food specials. Just west on University Avenue, MidModMen is promising warm apple cider and holiday cookies and 25 percent off all vintage glassware, barware, framed art, and glass, wood and pottery décor. Urban Growler will open at 11 a.m. that day and is offering a free growler with the purchase of $100 in merchandise or gift cards.

THE SIBIRICA BOUTIQUE, a benefit for the charter school Laura Jeffreys Academy in St. Paul, will be held Friday-Sunday, Nov. 28-30, and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6-7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day at 966 N. Oxford St. in Como Park. Artists and crafters will be selling hand-painted silk scarves, jewelry, whimsical toys and accessories, herbal bath products, upcycled ornaments and décor, indie kids’ books and recordings of local musicians.

SANTA’S EVERYWHERE, MAN: He’ll pose for photographs with Mrs. Claus at Sunrise Bank on Como Avenue, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Dec. 6 (and he’s bringing reindeer with him). He’ll be hanging out at Milton Square later that day at 4:30 p.m. and will light the tree in the courtyard at 5 p.m. St. Paul Parks and Recreation will host a dinner with Santa and Mrs. Claus on Friday, Dec. 5, from 5:30-7 p.m. at Langford Park Recreation Center, 30 Langford Park. The event will include a spaghetti dinner, a craft project, cookie decorating and face-painting. Cost is $5 per person. Register at any St. Paul recreation center or call 651-298-5765. Register online at www.stpaul.gov/parks. Tots age 1-4 can meet Santa at a free holiday party on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 10-11:30 a.m. at Langford Recreation Center, 30 Langford Park. The party will include gym time, refreshments, a craft project and a visit with the jolly guy. Santa and his friend Christmas Carol will hold an evening of storytelling for children at Micawber’s Books at Milton Square, on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 6-7 p.m.

SHOP HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, St. Anthony Park’s annual celebration of local businesses, will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, with merchant specials; reindeer-pulled sleigh rides and Santa photo-ops at Sunrise Bank, 9 a.m.-noon; cookie decorating at Tim & Tom’s Speedy Market, 2310 Como Ave., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; a wine tasting at the Little Wine Shoppe, 2236 Carter Ave., 1-4 p.m.; an open house at Complexions on Carter in Milton Square; and a raffle for a gift basket filled with Milton Square merchant gifts. You can put your name in for the raffle at the Best Holiday Sale Ever! in the lower level of Milton Square that Saturday. Thistle will have a raffle for Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint classes taught by Thistle owner Heather O’Malley in the Milton Square shop, located right at the corner of Carter and Como avenues. Peapods Natural Toys, 2290 Como Ave., is offering a free canvas shopping bag with any purchase that day.

THE BEST HOLIDAY SALE EVER! will be held two days, Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7, noon-3 p.m., in the lower level of Milton Square. Local artists will sell handmade hats and purses; pottery; whimsical light-switch plates; flower fairies; gourmet cookies, granola and holiday trail mix; Christmas ornaments; stationery; jewelry; accessories; home décor; quirky photos; greeting cards; hand-printed tea towels; felted tapestries, vessels and woolen creatures; garishly cute monsters; and a lot of surprises. A raffle for a gift basket from Milton Square merchants will be held at the end of the day on Saturday.

LEARN TO MAKE YARN DOLLS. Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakota Life will host a free children’s yarn doll workshop on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6 and 7, in the former Bungalow Pottery store in the lower level of Milton Square. Saturday hours are noon-2 p.m. and Sunday hours are 1-2:30 p.m.

BLUE HOUSE BOUTIQUE: Check out this unique boutique on Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 2136 Carter Ave. The boutique is a major fundraiser for the Blue House, an orphanage in Uganda that was started by the late Beatrice Garubanda, a native of Uganda who had lived in St. Anthony Park. Saturday’s sale features a homemade lunch (from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), coffee and pastries. The sale will include gourmet goodies, a Christmas shop, pottery, knit accessories, jewelry, purses, fun baby and kid stuff, greeting cards, kitchen items, new African crafts and a raffle for a lace shawl.

IT’S THAT CHRISTMAS SAUSAGE TIME AGAIN: Every year Tim Faacks at Tim & Tom’s Speedy Market, 2310 Como Ave. W., cranks out more than 2,000 pounds of the Lindquist family’s Christmas sausage. He’s been mincing meat since just after Halloween and plans to keep the stuff in stock through New Year’s Day. The Christmas sausage comes from a secret recipe handed down to Faacks by the family of Harry Lindquist, a butcher in Minneapolis from the 1920s to the 1960s. Lindquist was the grandfather of St. Anthony Park residents Dave and Mark Hansen, who own Hansen Tree Farm.

AN ELEGANT HOLIDAY TEA: Lady Elegant’s Tea Room, 2230 Como Ave. in Milton Square in St. Anthony Park, will host a holiday tea with live music and a special Christmas menu on Saturday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. To find out more, go to www.ladyelegantstea.com or call the tearoom at 651-645-6676.

ROCKIN AROUND THE CHRISTMAS . . . record store! Rumor has it Barely Brothers Records, 783 Raymond Ave., will be rocking to live Christmas tunes all day long on Saturday, Dec. 13. The store opens at 10 a.m.

A COMO CHRISTMAS TEA: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory continues its three-course holiday tea tradition in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s North Garden. The tea will have two seatings, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., on Thursday, Dec. 11. Tickets are $35 per person if reserved before Thanksgiving and $40 per person after Thanksgiving. Reservations are required. Call 651-487-8250.

LIVE NATIVITY ON A COLD WINTER’S NIGHT: Bethel Lutheran Church, 670 W. Wheelock Parkway, will host a live nativity Saturday, Dec. 20, in four 15-minute enactments at 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. The event, which is free to the public, features a retelling of Jesus’ birth, the Christmas story, with actors and live sheep, goats and a cow in an outdoor stable setting. Between shows, guests will be invited to pet the animals and enjoy coffee, hot cocoa and cider, cookies and treats.

ALL ABOARD THE NIGHT TRAINS: Night Trains is a holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum in Bandana Square, 1021 Bandana Blvd., Suite 222. The show opens Saturday, Nov. 29, and runs every Saturday evening, 6-9 p.m., through Feb. 28. The museum’s dozens of model railroad layouts will be displayed with the lights turned down and the buildings and streetlights aglow. Admission is $10 per person or $25 for immediate families and $30 for extended families (maximum of 10 people). Admission is free for children ages 4 and under. Find out more at www.tcmrm.org.

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