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General Events for Sat., Dec. 12
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    Luminations at LBJ Wildflower Center

    In a year that could use some sparkle, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is bringing back a beloved winter tradition. It's a strollable Hill Country experience where thousands of luminarias light the way. For the first time ever, Luminations will wind through the Texas Arboretum among glowing oaks and the light-splashed forts of Fortlandia, a collection of forts custom-designed and built by local architects, designers, and artists.
    Through Jan. 3. Members only on Mondays; closed Dec. 24, 25, 31 & Jan. 1  
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    Winter Wanderland

    Snow close, yet snow far out! Austin Motel is decked out for the holidays with a neon rainbow, and they're serving up hot chocolate (with optional peppermint schnapps), a Sugar Plum cocktail, and La Colombe coffee. Snacks include Reindeer Chow and hot pretzels.
    Through Jan. 3. Free, but RSVP.  
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    ACR Outdoor Market

    Shop for Earth-friendly artwork and goods sourced with reused materials from Austin Creative Reuse staff and volunteers as well as Reuse Gallery artists.
    Sat.-Sun., Dec. 12-13, noon-5pm  
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    APA! Drive-Through Holiday Photos

    Meow-y Christmas and Happy Paw-lidays! Book a photo shoot at Austin Pets Alive! to memorialize the season with your favorite furry friend. Special goodies and entry into a raffle are included with the ticket.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 10am-4pm. $40.  
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    Austin Trail of Lights

    Austin's 56th annual holiday tradition returns to Zilker Park as a drive-through event this year and runs two additional weeks. As you drive through the trail illuminated by more than 2 million lights, tune in via your car radio for holiday music, highlights, and history. This year guests can choose a ticket type based on their preferred date and time, with prices ranging from $25-35 per vehicle for GA or a $60 per vehicle "Dash Pass" which includes early entry and festive refreshments.
    Through Jan. 3 (except New Year's Day). GA, $25-35 per vehicle; Dash Pass, $60 per vehicle.  
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    Blue Genie Art Bazaar

    The beloved Austin holiday shopping experience returns for its 20th year with four shopping options to ensure safety in the time of COVID-19. For in-store shopping, reserve free tickets online for a "no wait" entry. Walk-ins are also welcome, but guests may have to wait outside if it's at capacity. Online shoppers can either pick up items in-store or have them shipped anywhere in the U.S. Personal shoppers and virtual shopping will also be available through the BGAB website. BGAB is a family-friendly experience where you can find one-of-a-kind, handcrafted jewelry, artwork, home goods, and gifts for everyone on your shopping list.
    Through Dec. 24, 10am-10pm daily (10am-6pm on Dec. 24)  
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    Downtown Holiday Stroll

    This year, the hallmark event is more than just one evening; it's a month of free activities and holiday happenings. Visit the 45-foot-tall holiday tree by the Capitol, catch a movie at Paramount or the new Blue Starlite, and download or pick up a holiday passport to guide your way and collect stamps as you experience all that Downtown Austin has to offer.
    Through Dec. 31  
    Downtown Austin
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    Holibabes Market

    Features the work of 34 local female makers, artists and woman-owned creative small businesses. Visitors are also invited to check out an installation by local artist Aimee Everett while shopping for the perfect locally made gifts. Plus, thanks to Bumble, the first 50 attendees get a free gift bag filled with Bumble-branded goodies.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 10am-7pm; Sun., Dec. 13, noon-6pm  
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    Mozart's 2020 COVID-Cautious Christmas Light Show

    Sip a delicious hot bevvie and see the beautiful light show by the lake. Reservations required.
    Through Jan. 6, 6pm-12mid. $10 per table for one-hour show.  
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    Winter Well-Being Toolkit

    The stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic could make this winter and holiday season tougher than usual. Integral Care recently launched a Winter Well-Being Toolkit, a compilation of ideas to boost mental health, fight the winter blues, stay safely connected and celebrate the season in new ways. Topics include ideas to make gatherings special, tips for fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder, steps for improving happiness, ways to get moving and elevate your mood, and mindfulness activities. Plus, check out their YouTube channel for a winter mental health forum video.
    Ongoing  
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    #TsoGiving Holiday Initiative

    Tso Chinese Delivery has partnered with seven local organizations with the goal to provide $100,000 in meals to Austinites in need. Make a direct donation online, or add a donation to any food order placed at Tso Chinese Delivery. For every $1 raised, #TsoGiving can donate $3 worth of meals.
    Through Dec. 31  
    Remote
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    AAYHF Annual Toy Drive

    African American Youth Harvest Foundation is seeking donations of toys for youth 3 months to 17 years of age. Gift cards are also welcome.
    Through Dec. 18  
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    Anomaly Archives Adventure Club Monthly Meetups

    The Anomaly Archives is the lending library of the Scientific Anomaly Institute, an org all about anomalous phenomena: the Fortean, mysterious, paranormal, UFOs, and "weird news headlines."
    Through Dec. 12. Second Saturdays, 3-5pm. Free.  
    Online via YouTube or Facebook Live
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    Anomaly Archives Streamathon

    A variety of speakers, musicians, filmmakers, and artists explore the exciting world of UFOs, Bigfoot, synchronicities, and other high strangeness for an ongoing fundraising event for the Anomaly Archives, a nonprofit struggling to survive pandemic times. Streaming through YouTube and Facebook every Saturday through the end of the year.
    Saturdays. Donations accepted.  
    Online
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    APA! Holiday Store Now Open

    When you're shopping for the animal lovers in your life, you'll find the perfect gift and support the nonprofit at the Austin Pets Alive! online store. They've got a people & pets cookbook, ornaments, toys, and the must-have outerwear for winter: the "I Like Big Mutts and I Cannot Lie" hoodie.
    Ongoing  
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    Armadillo Art Concierge

    Sadly, we can't visit the Armadillo Art Bazaar in person this year. The next best thing is Armadillo Art Concierge, an online, curated shopping guide pointing visitors to collections by content, process, medium, or artist location. Follow them on social media @armadillobazaar to see spotlighted art each day.
    Ongoing  
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    Austin Creative Reuse

    ACR is such a neat place, filled to the brim with donations of reusable items, but you don't even have to be there to take advantage of their Earth-friendly stock. Shop online for gifts, holiday wrapping, craft supplies and notions, and even fun mystery packs.
    Ongoing  
    Online or in-store at 2005 Wheless
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    Austin Flea Holiday Market

    Find one-of-a-kind gifts including jewelry, bath & body products, vintage, original artwork, paper goods, textiles, and so much more at this outdoor market with live music.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 10am-4pm. Free.  
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    Austin Paranormal Investigations at Pioneer Farms

    Step back in time and communicate with the spirit world at this historic (and reputedly haunted) location.
    Sat., March 13, 7pm. $45.  
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    Austin Public Library Virtual Book Clubs

    Austin Public Library has a full schedule of virtual book clubs throughout the fall, including true crime, LGBTQ content, graphic novels, and more. Check out the online calendar and see if one strikes your fancy.
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    Be a Santa to a Senior

    Fulfilling a senior's Christmas wish couldn't be easier. Simply visit Home Instead Senior Care's virtual tree, choose a recipient, and purchase their wish list item from Amazon. It'll be safely delivered and will make someone's day. You can also visit one of Home Instead's three Austin-area locations to participate.
    Through Dec. 15  
    Virtual
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    Blood Bazaar

    Blood Over Texas' online holiday market is the spot to find all kinds of evil wares for fans of goth and horror. All the vendors are local, and include many of the sellers from past Horror for the Holidays events.
    Through Dec. 24  
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    Central Texas Food Bank Giving Opportunities

    The holidays will be tougher for everyone this year. The food bank has put together a list of 10 ways to make a difference to someone in need, from an online matched donation to donating your change at participating stores. Check out the list online and help CTFB fight hunger.
    Ongoing  
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    Chanukah With Young Jewish Professionals of Austin

    Check out the schedule for all the special events, including nightly menorah lightings, a latke cookout, a dreidel game with a twist, and more. The grand lighting at the Capitol with Gov. Abbott takes place Dec. 17 and you can join on Zoom.
    Dec. 10-17  
    Online and at various locations
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    Civic Events

    City of Austin "How to Help" Portal

    Looking for the right way to help your community during the pandemic? Or do you have a volunteer opportunity that you want to list? Visit the city's "How to Help" portal to make a match. The portal includes ways to help from home, donation drives, and active community engagement opportunities.
     
    Online
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    Coming of Age Online Holiday Fundraiser

    Double your holiday gifting by supporting a local nonprofit as you shop. Visit this unique online estate sale for electronics, collectibles, kitchenware, and lots more, and all proceeds benefit Travis County's Coming of Age program, which supports individuals age 50 and up. Shipping and local delivery are available.
    Ongoing  
    Virtual
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    December in the District

    Help support local businesses by making 2nd Street District your one-stop-shop. Enjoy seasonal sips, holiday creations, and the 10th annual Holiday Window Walk. Plus, check out their new passport activation in partnership with the Downtown Austin Alliance, wherein you collect stamps and earn prizes as you explore.
    Dec. 1-30. Free.  
    Second Street downtown
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    Donate Blood, Get Free Whataburger

    All month long, when you donate with We Are Blood, get a free honey butter chicken biscuit from Whataburger. Donors between Dec. 24 and 31 also get a free sweatshirt. Appointments are mandatory; schedule online or call 512/206-1266.
    Through Dec. 31  
    We Are Blood donor centers & mobile drives
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    Donate Platelets, Get a Free Baseball Tee

    During its monthlong Platelet Step-Up campaign, We Are Blood is offering a branded baseball tee to donors who successfully donate platelets twice during December. Appointments are mandatory; schedule online or call 512/206-1266.
    Dec. 1-31  
    We Are Blood donor centers & mobile drives
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    Drive-in Havdanukkah

    A drive-in camp-style song & dance session to celebrate the season. Proceeds go to Shalom Austin
    Sat., Dec. 12, 6pm. $18 suggested donation; $36, VIP.  
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    Explore Downtown With New Smart Trips Bike Map

    Looking for a fun, safe, and family-friendly activity to help you get outside? Smart Trips has just completed a new route to explore Downtown Austin. This bike map includes turn-by-turn directions and a digital map.: They even made a video while pedaling so you can get a glimpse of the interesting new attractions along the route. Don’t have a bike? Ride a MetroBike for free when you sign up for the Smart Trips Resource Guide at SmartTripsAustin.org/order.
    Ongoing. Free.  
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    Frost Bank Cookies With Santa Drive-Thru Event

    A holiday poem from Frost Bank: "Santa and Frost invite you for a treat/ Please join us for holiday cookies to eat. Bring your holiday list of what you want and need/ and from six feet apart, Santa will read. Our drive-thru event will be one to remember/ brought to you on the 12th of December."
    Sat., Dec. 12, 10:30am-12:30pm. Free.  
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    Frost Bank Cookies With Santa Drive-Thru Event

    A holiday poem from Frost Bank: "Santa and Frost invite you for a treat/ Please join us for holiday cookies to eat. Bring your holiday list of what you want and need/ and from six feet apart, Santa will read. Our drive-thru event will be one to remember/ brought to you on the 12th of December."
    Sat., Dec. 12, 10:30am-12:30pm. Free.  
    Frost Bank West Lake Hills, 5656 Bee Caves Rd.
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    Gibson Wonderland

    Sip a festive holiday cocktail and snap a photo at the Gibson Sleigh, then tag #gibsonwonderland and @gibsonstreetbar for a chance at a prize.
    Through Dec. 31  
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    Half Marathon Race Seeks Volunteers

    The Austin Runners Club is looking for volunteers for a classic Austin race, the Decker Challenge. Sign up online to help with packet pickup, race setup, and more duties.
    Race date: Sun., Dec. 20  
    Race held at COTA; sign up online
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    Holiday Lights in Georgetown’s Historic Town Square

    Enjoy the lights and local flavor throughout the holiday season.
    Through Jan. 2. Free.  
    Historic Town Square, East Seventh Street, Georgetown
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    Holiday Market & Craft Fair

    Over 25 vendors will be spread across five acres so there's plenty of room to wander between the tents and artist studios.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 10am-5pm. Free.  
    12919 Nutty Brown Rd.
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    Judaism UnBoxed

    Brought to you by Chabad of Austin, Judaism UnBoxed is hands-on Jewish discovery and growth, Jewish culinary lessons, and quality family time all in one. Receive holiday baking kit boxes for the Jewish holidays and/or challah baking boxes every month.
    Ongoing  
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    Lend a Hand ATX

    Lend a Hand ATX, created by Austin Tech Alliance, is a platform to help skilled tech volunteers and those in need make critical community connections during the COVID-19 crisis. Create an account, make an offer or request, and find a match!
    April 24-Dec. 15  
    Online
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    Lone Star Holiday Market

    Shop local vendors, find unique gifts, and even get them wrapped. There'll be live music and libations nightly.
    Through Dec. 20, Fri.-Sun., 2-8pm  
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    Lost Pines Christmas

    There are plenty of holiday happenings in Bastrop, just a hop, skip, and a jump from Austin: Take in the sights at the River of Lights, head downtown to shop the Holiday Sidewalk Stroll, take in Elf! The Musical at Bastrop Opera House, or visit Krampus at Scream Hollow's Twisted Christmas.
    Through Jan. 1  
    Bastrop
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    NeighborWoods Tree Adoption Event

    Austin residents with qualifying properties are invited to sign up for TreeFolks’ program to get a free tree to reduce energy use, offset carbon, and cool down the city. Registration required.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 10am  
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    Northern Lights Holiday Spectacular

    Presented by Toyota of Cedar Park, this drive-through light show has a special bonus of a different holiday movie screening each night.
    Through Dec. 31. Light show opens at 5pm; films screen at 7 & 10pm  
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    Personalized Video Message From Santa

    COVID has taken away our Santa Claus visits this year, but don't worry! The Volunteer Services Council has you covered with a personalized video message from Santa. Support mental health programs at Austin State Hospital with this unique fundraiser: For only $20, get a video your kids will love with a personal message including facts only Santa Claus would know. Order online or call 512/419-2323 for more details.
    Order by Dec. 13. $20.  
    Virtual
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    Puppy Petting Zoo

    DogEmbark says puppies needs to meet 100 different people and dogs before they reach 16 weeks of age to learn the social skills they need to be happy, positive members of the community. So they're offering a COVID-conscious space at Barton Creek Farmers Market for dogs seven-16 weeks old to socialize. If you've got a potential puppy participant, register online. If not, you could be one of those important 100, so go pet the puppers!
    Saturdays, 9am-1pm  
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    Queer Creatives Holiday Market

    Support underrepresented small business owners this holiday at this inclusive, intentionally intersectional, digital space that celebrates creative entrepreneurs and empowers the diverse creator community.
    Through Dec. 12  
    Virtual
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    Reuse Gift Wrapping Challenge

    According to Austin Creative Reuse, if every family chose reused materials to wrap three gifts, the paper saved would cover 45,000 football fields. So they're calling on the community to think outside the box and choose reuse this year. Submit photos of your wrapping ideas to the contest via email, and they'll be judged on creativity, workmanship, and use of reused materials. Get ideas and materials from ACR or use what you have on hand.
    Dec. 11-31  
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    Round Rock Chabad Chanukah

    There's a lot to do this week for Chanukah with Chabad of Round Rock: Meet at Prete Plaza on Dec. 13 for menorah lighting and a take-home craft, attend a class with Rabbi Mendel on Dec. 14, or try latkes at Women's Night Out on Dec. 15. Get the full schedule online and message them to get menorahs or dreidels.
    Dec. 10-17  
    Chabad of Round Rock
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    Santa's Sleigh Selfies

    Visit anytime after dark to see the tree lit with thousands of twinkly lights and take photos with Santa's sleigh.
    Through Jan. 3  
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    Scholz Jingle Jam and Toys for Tots

    Scholz Garten will be giving guests a $5 gift card to the restaurant in exchange for new and unwrapped toys for their Toys for Tots bin, now through Dec. 12. And on Dec. 11, get dressed up in your ugliest holiday sweater, enjoy live music from the Jingleberries, sip warm drinks, and indulge in a turkey dinner at Jingle Jam, 5-8pm.
    Through Dec. 12. Free.  
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    Soul Studio Holiday Pop-Up

    Soul Studio, a natural dye house and sustainable fashion label specializing in plant-dyed silks, is making shopping easier this season by featuring local, handcrafted, and ethical gifts meant to inspire and delight. Shop fashion, accessories, art and home goods in this one-stop, experiential market where you'll find something for every femme on your list.
    Through Dec. 23. Tue.-Sun., noon-7pm  
    Soul Studio, 2511-A E. Sixth
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    Sounds of the Season Featuring Tinsel

    The festive and merry Tinsel singers will grace the magnificent porch of the Neill-Cochran House Museum to sing all your Holiday favorites.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 6pm; Sun., Dec. 20, 2:30pm. $10-25.  
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    Sun Radio's 12 Days of Christmas

    Support the Sun Radio Foundation by donating or bidding on an item in their virtual auction, which includes exclusive, unique, and local items like signed guitars from Lyle Lovett and Jade Bird, staycation retreats, jewelry, and more.
    Through Dec. 22  
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    The Wandering Vegan Holiday Market

    It's back! Your one-stop-shop for all things cruelty-free, the market is hosted by the Vegan Nom and features snacks and sips from Nom Burger, East Austin Coffee, Curcuma, Bruja's Brew, and Milky Way Shakes to enjoy as you peruse goods from local vegan artisans selling skincare products, makeup, jewelry, candles, succulents, artwork, clothing, and much more. It's 100% vegan and family-friendly, and four-legged friends are also welcome.
    Sat., Dec. 12, noon-4pm  
    The Vegan Nom, 2324 E. Cesar Chavez
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    Tomlinson's Pound 4 Pound Pet Food Drive Presented by KXAN

    Every holiday season, Tomlinson’s Feed hosts Central Texas’ largest pet food drive in support of 30+ local animal rescues and shelters. When you gift a bag of food in-store or online, your donation will be doubled (pound for pound) by healthy pet food makers. In 2019, the drive raised 163,584 pounds of high-quality, donated pet food, and this year's goal is to raise 175,000.
    Through Dec. 24  
    Online or at any Tomlinson's Feed location
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    Virtual Candle Lighting With Shalom Austin

    Join in every night of Hanukkah to light candles together, learn about the various organizations and populations that make up the Austin Jewish landscape, and see a different segment of the community showcased each night.
    Dec. 10-17  
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    Virtual DIY: Make a Succulent Wreath

    A holiday tradition returns! The Articulture succulent wreath class is a favorite every year. Join from home to have a lot of fun while learning a new craft and techniques so you can repeat the process anytime (hint, hint: These wreaths make a perfect gift). Materials provided via pickup or delivery.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 11am. $140+.  
    Virtual
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    Volunteer with Austin Parks Foundation

    Help APF set up brand-new outdoor classrooms at Pecan Springs Elementary for school and community use. Registration required.
    Sat., Dec. 12, 9am-noon  
    Pecan Springs Elementary, 3100 Rogge
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    Winter Holiday Mystic Market

    An event that partners local, women-owned health and wellness shops with local cosmic practitioners, hosted by Rituals Rising and Joy Organics.
    Through Jan. 15. Mon.-Sat., 11am-6pm; Sun., noon-5pm  

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