There will be baked goods and live music like any normal holiday bazaar, but instead of vendors there will be nonprofits who need your help to make a difference in the community. It's like a gift to the world. Sat., Dec. 1, 11am-4pm; Sun., Dec. 2, noon-3pm. Free.
St. John's United Methodist Church, 2140 Allandale, 452-5737
Need something Austin-y (art, jewelry, prints, clothing, etc., whatnot, and then some) for a loved one this year? More than 125 artists and artisans will help you with your gifting conundrums. Special events occur throughout the month of December, so shop early and often. Through Dec. 24, 10am-10pm, everyday. Free.
The Marchesa Hall & Theatre, 6406 N I-35, 454-2000
Get a jump on the holiday with a weekend full of parades, live music and entertainment, a carnival, visits with Santa, and more than 125 artisans selling their wares. Sat.-Sun., Dec. 1-2, 10am-dusk. Free.
Don't get distracted by Santa or his entourage of floats, marching bands, and inflatables and forget to bring a toy to donate to Operation Blue Santa. Get a good spot along the parade has route down Congress from the Capitol to Cesar Chavez. 11am. Free.
Urban Shield needs 1,000 adult volunteers to portray victims in a disaster preparedness exercise for hospital personnel, law enforcement, and EMS technicians from Travis, Hays, and Williamson counties. Volunteers will have fake injuries, be faux decontaminated, and receive lunch and a T-shirt for their help. Register online.
What's under the dirt in your back yard? Find out and enjoy door prizes, displays, a fossil dig pit, and fossil vendors from around the world. Sat.-Sun., Dec. 1-2, 9am-5pm. $3 ($2, students; kids under 6, free).
Old Settlers Park, 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, 512/218-5540
Tired of seeing our city all lit up for the holidays from the ground. Well, these short tours grants you a bird's eye view. Fridays & Saturdays through December. $125, 15-minute tour; $255, 30-minute tour.
The Downtown Austin Alliance and KUT host this evening of seasonal spirit starting with carols on the South Steps of the state Capitol at 6pm. The Capitol tree is lit at 7pm followed by an invitation to take a walk down Congress Avenue where stores and museums will be open late and lousy with specials and all manner of holiday cheer. 6-9pm. Free.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities aims to help attendees understand the history of racism and the impact of institutionalized racism in our state. Joyce James moderates. 9-11:30am. Free.
St. James' Episcopal Church, 1941 Webberville Rd., 926-6339
Santa's tired of waiting for global warming to catch up at the North Pole. He's spending most of his pre-Christmastime among the 1.5 million lights of Santa's Ranch. Why not join him? Through Dec. 30, 6-10pm. $24 per car.
9561 N. I-35, New Braunfels (two miles south of Tanger Outlet Mall)
Eat Drink Local Week and the Bicycle Sport Shop invite families to jump on their bikes and take rider-friendly routes to farms and community gardens all over town. Tour stops include children’s hands-on gardening activities, henhouse tours, farm tours, and samplings. Tours leave from two spots: SFC Farmers' Market, Fourth & Guadalupe, 10am; and Triangle Farmers' Market, 46th and Lamar, 9am. Tickets can be purchased online. 9am. $30.
Tan Cerca de la Frontera brings women from around the world to sell their creations and tell their stories of overcoming adversity and what it means to buy fair trade goods. Come out on Sunday from 2-4pm for a trans-cultural poetry reading. Sat.-Sun., Dec. 1-2, 10am-6pm. Free.