To-do list: Your ultimate Northwest Austin guide for events this December

Stroll through the Trail of Lights

Stroll through the Trail of Lights

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Nov. 24-Dec. 24
Browse gifts at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar
More than 200 artisans and craftspeople sell their wares. Each Monday, 10 percent of proceeds are donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 24). Free admission. 6100 Airport Blvd.

Nov. 15-Dec. 10
Donate to Toys for Tots

First Choice ER teams up with national charity foundation, Toys for Tots, to collect holiday gifts for children in need. Gifts for children can be donated at any of First Choice Emergency Room’s five Austin-area locations, including one in Northwest Austin. Open 24/7. 10407 Jollyville Road.

Dec. 1-16
Watch a ‘People of Color Christmas’ performance
The comedic play tackles issues of race, gender, family class and relationships. Shows ares scheduled for three locations. Times vary. Free. Locations include the Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road.

Dec. 2
Skate with Santa
Chaparral Ice hosts the annual event with photo opportunities with Santa Claus, Christmas music, hot chocolate and an “Alice in Wonderland” performance from Chaparral Ice’s holiday figure skating program. Noon-2:30 p.m. Admission varies. 2525 W. Anderson Lane.

Dec. 2
Learn from experienced caregivers

The “Striking a Balance” Caregiver Conference allows caregivers to learn about local resources and topics such as synchronizing medicine, addressing difficult behavior associated with dementia and financing long-term care. 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. 6505 N. I-35.

Dec. 5
Play arcade games for a good cause
Pinballz Arcade-Lake Creek hosts a suicide prevention fundraiser with music from the Zach Willard Band and raffles. Proceeds benefit The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 7-10 p.m. Donations accepted. 13729 Research Blvd., Ste. 1350. 512-537-8737.

Dec. 6
Shop at a local Christmas bazaar
The Mothers of Preschoolers group, also known as MOPS, from Great Hills Baptist Church host dozens of vendors selling gift items such as baby accessories, Christmas ornaments, cosmetics, crafts and more. 9-11:30 a.m. Free. 10500 Jollyville Road.

Dec. 9
Compete in a Math Olympiad

Fifth and eighth graders throughout Austin compete in math challenges for prizes. Harmony Public Schools-Austin hosts the competition. 9-11 a.m. Free. Harmony School of Political Science & Communications, 13415 RM 620.

Dec. 9-23
Stroll through the Trail of Lights

The annual tradition features more than 40 displays, 2 million lights, food trucks and nightly entertainment and holiday activities. 7-10 p.m. $3 (free on Dec. 9-14, 18-19). Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road.

Dec. 10
Race in a festive 5k
The 22nd Annual Austin Jingle Bell 5k includes a chip-timed 5K race or a Kid’s Fun Run. The first 1,000 registrants receive a moisture-wicking athletics shirt. 7:45 a.m. Registration fees vary. The Domain 1, 11410 Century Oaks Terrace.

Dec. 14-16
Watch a performance of ‘The Nutcracker’

The Austin City Ballet presents the 17th Annual Austin Children’s Nutcracker at the Texas School for the Deaf. The performers range from 8 to 18 years old. 7:30 p.m. (Thu., Fri.) 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Sat.) Admission varies. 1102 South Congress Ave.

Dec. 18
Enjoy holiday festivities
Winter Wonderland at The Circuit features a 1-mile circuit of lights, a skating rink, a petting zoo, movies on the lawn and a tunnel of lights. Attendees can ride carnival rides and watch live music performances. 6 p.m. $16. Circuit of The Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd.

Library events in December

11 Track Your Family Tree: Free genealogy class. 2-4 p.m. Milwood Branch, 12500 Amherst Drive

13 BizAid Business Orientation: Free small business advice 3 p.m. North Village Branch, 2505 Steck Ave.

19 Afternoon Book Club Annual Holiday Meeting: Book club holiday celebration. 1:30 p.m. Spicewood Springs Branch, 8367 Spicewood Springs Road

23 Saturday crafts: Make a holiday gift to take home. 11 a.m. Milwood Branch, 12500 Amherst Drive

Number to know: 825
The number of local musicians and music industry professionals who received help attaining mental health or addiction care through the SIMS Foundation in 2016. The SIMS Foundation connects local artists to therapists, psychiatrists and substance abuse specialists in the Austin area for reduced fees. On Dec. 2, the SIMS Foundation hosts its annual fundraiser concert, Heart of the City, with a full line up of local acts performing at Emo’s. 7 p.m. $125. 2015 Riverside Drive.

By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.