The Compleat Holiday Happenings List

From Nutcracker to First Night, and everything in between

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A Garfield Christmas When the ornaments on his Christmas tree come to life, Garfield learns the true importance of the holidays and the joy of giving in this new musical production. Tickets: $15. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sun., Dec. 26, at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

VOLUNTEERING AND HOLIDAY DRIVESAnnual Toy and Gift Drive Each year, Children's Home Society of Florida (CHS) helps more than 1,200 local children during the holidays. These youngsters receive no gifts without generous contributions from the community. If you are interested in making a gift donation (please, no games or toys that promote violence), call Loraine at 727-552-1482 or Lisa at 813-740-4266.

RCS Food Bank The Religious Community Services Food Bank needs drivers are also needed to assist with deliveries and pick-ups of food donated during the holiday season. Drivers should have a clean driving record and have the ability to drive Food Bank vehicles. Finally, Food Bank needs volunteers to sort and prepare boxes of food for distribution to households in need. To volunteer, call 727-443-4031.

Hospice Volunteers are needed for Trees of Love at Tyrone Square Mall and Westfield Shoppingtown Countryside. Volunteers greet community members and accept contributions from individuals wishing to honor loved ones with personalized dove ornaments. A variety of volunteer positions are also available in the gift-wrap areas at both shopping centers. All proceeds benefit programs and services provided by The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast. Call 727-586-4432 or e-mail [email protected] to volunteer. Through Dec. 24.

Metropolitan Ministries MetMin feeds thousands of homeless and poverty-stricken locals each month and you can lend a hand by volunteering at the holiday center, where donations are received, sorted and distributed. For more information or additional drop-off locations, call 813-209-1044. Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Center is located on the 2100 block of N. Florida Avenue in Tampa.

CHANUKAH EVENTSVodka Latke Formerly "The Matza Ball," this Chanukah celebration is presented by the Young Adult Division (YAD) of the Tampa Jewish Federation. Music by DJ Matt the Bratt. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 813-769-9267. Admission: $20 in advance/$25 at the door. 8 p.m. to midnight on Sat., Dec. 25, at Lotus Night Club, 1507 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa.

Chanukah Sale and Gift Shop A selection of gifts for adults and children. For more information, call 813-598-6479 or 727-785-3465. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mon.-Fri. at Congregation B'nai Emmunah, 3374 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs.

Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop Featuring an abundance of Chanukah gift items. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. at Schaarai Zedek, 3303 W. Swann Ave., Tampa, 813-876-2377.

NEW YEAR'S EVE CELEBRATIONS New Year's Eve Dinner Theater Celebration Seating for the holiday dinner buffet begins at 6 p.m. for this special performance of Joe DiPietro's Over the River and Through the Woods. The show itself gets underway at 8 p.m., and afterward, guests can stay on to enjoy an evening of music and dancing from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Of course, no New Year's fete would be complete without a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and Early Bird doesn't disappoint. And finally, attendees are treated to a continental breakfast buffet beginning at 1 a.m. $49. Fri., Dec. 31, at Bill Irle's Early Bird Dinner Theatre, 1411 N. Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater, 727-446-5898.

13 Ugly Men New Years Party This benefit for school funding organization A Gift For Teaching features entertainment by local favorites The Untouchables (formerly Disco Inferno) and DJ Doug Shaw, a silent auction, heavy hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight and a full breakfast buffet. A complete dinner menu and valet parking are also available. Advanced tickets ($20 for women/$30 for men) can be purchased at; admission is an additional $5 at the door. 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Fri., Dec. 31, at Jackson's Bistro, 601 S. Harbor Island Blvd., Tampa.

New Year's Eve Cruise The Kai Lani Catamaran sails on the Gulf to Sand Key and revelers can spend the holiday on the water while drinking, mingling and dancing the night away. A fireworks show and a champagne toast occur at midnight. Ages 21 and up. For more information or to make a reservation, call 727-446-6778. Tickets: $80 per person (includes three-hour open bar, complimentary buffet, free champagne toast and party favors, free disposable camera and entry into a drawing for a private charter). Boarding occurs from 9 to 9:30 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 31. The cruise departs at 10 p.m. from the Clearwater Beach Marina, Slip #49, Clearwater Beach.

Family New Year's Eve Party This alcohol-free celebration features live entertainment by Christina Sanders (a spiritual singer from Nashville), ice skating, broomball, a scavenger hunt, a free buffet, door prizes, party favors and more. For more information, call 813-684-7825. Tickets: $21.99 adults/$17.99 children 12 and younger with parent or guardian. 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Fri., Dec. 31, at the Ice Sports Forum, 10222 Elizabeth Place, Tampa.

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