Toys for Tots drive, Seton Southwest holiday bazaar, whiskey distilling course and more events for Southwest Austinites to attend in November and December

The Trail of Lights will feature new displays and interactive environments. The events will open to the public Dec. 9.

The Trail of Lights will feature new displays and interactive environments. The events will open to the public Dec. 9.

The holiday season is in full swing and across Austin individuals and families no shortage of options for shopping, learning and donating. Here's a selection of events happening in November and December. 

Nov. 13-Dec. 10

Donate toys for Christmas
First Choice ER has teamed up with Toys for Tots for the sixth annual holiday toy drive. Gifts for infants through age 12 may be dropped off new or unwrapped 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

First Choice ER,
9312 Brodie Lane.

Dec. 1

“Sip and Shop” at Seton
Locals can shop and enjoy hot beverages at the Seton Southwest Volunteers’ annual Goodie Gift Sale. All proceeds benefit the Seton Southwest Volunteer Program.

Free. 4 p.m.
Seton Southwest Hospital, 7900 FM 1826.

Dec. 2
Sing and stroll through downtown
The Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll celebrates the arrival of the holiday season. The event features live music and the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree.

Free. 5-9 p.m.
Congress Avenue and 11th Street.

Dec. 4
Join the holiday cookie exchange party
The Caregiving Cafe hosts a holiday cookie-exchange party to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. The group focuses on supporting unpaid family caregivers.

10:30 a.m.-noon.
St. Catherine of Siena Church, 4800 Convict Hill Road.

Dec. 8-10
Help feed families in need
Capital Metro, Whole Foods and the Central Texas Food Bank join efforts for the annual Stuff the Bus food drive. The goal is to fill a Capital Metro bus with food donations. A bus will be parked outside of the downtown and Domain Whole Foods Markets, in addition to smaller Capital Metro vehicles at the Arbor Trails, Gateway and Bee Cave stores. The buses will be open for donations between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. with volunteers on hand to accept food items. Monetary and product donations will also be accepted at all locations during regular store hours.

Free. Times vary. Whole Foods Market, 525 N. Lamar Blvd.
512-282-2111. www.centraltexasfood

Dec. 9-23

Stroll the Trail of Lights
The 53rd annual Austin Trail of Lights features new modernized displays, interactive environments, Austin’s food trucks, local musical talents, merchants and more.

7-10 p.m. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road.

Dec. 13
Read with therapy dogs
Certified Austin Dog Alliance volunteers with trained therapy dogs take over the library for story time. The program aims to improve children’s reading and communication skills. Free. 3:45-4:45 p.m. Pleasant Hill Branch, 211 E. William Cannon Drive. 512-974-3940.

Dec. 16

Learn about life in winter
At the Winter, Wonder, Land event guests learn about life cycle; take a hike to observe flora and fauna in the gardens and natural areas; and create a winter bouquet to celebrate the season.

$10-$15. Noon-2 p.m. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. 512-232-0100.

Dec. 17
Create a hanging terrarium orb
This class teaches participants how to create a hanging orb to give as a holiday gift. All materials are provided. Wine, beer and soft drinks are also included.

$50. 2-4 p.m. Articulture Designs,
6405 Manchaca Road. 512-762-5228.

Dec. 18-22
Get inspired by pop art
Children are inspired by artists from the pop-art movement. Those in attendance learn about a new pop artist each day and create their own masterpieces.

Recommended for ages 6-12. $59-$269. 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. The Art Garage, 11190 Circle Drive, Ste. 202. 512-852-9900.

Dec. 21
Distill your own whiskey
The class includes information on milling grains, making mash, fermentation, distilling and barreling whiskey. Guests also receive a tour of the distillery, a tasting and a 750-milliliter bottle of Still Austin whiskey.

$250. 10 a.m. Still Austin Whiskey Company, 440 E. St. Elmo Road. 512-276-2700.


Nov. 24-Dec. 24

Holiday art show kicks off Christmas season
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar features the work of more than 200 artists offering a wide variety of gifts. Attendees can expect to find paintings, photography, prints, sculptures, jewelry, clothing, accessories, glassworks, ceramics, and more.

Free. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 6100 Airport Blvd. 512-222-7303.

By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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