Tis The Season to Go Local: Lots of Great Holiday Fun in 2012!

Holiday Workshop for Kids to Create Their Own Gifts Carrie Curran Art Studios is hosting a fun and creative workshop where kids can practice the art of giving. Children will have the opportunity to personally design a gift that will be wrapped and ready go when it's time to go home. This unique workshop is taking place on Saturday December 22nd from 9 am-3 pm. Registration costs $75 and includes all supplies and a pizza lunch. You can register online at CarrieCurranArt.com or contact them directly at 480-478-8121.

Walking in a "Country Winter Wonderland" 

Corral West Arena in Goodyear is hosting its first annual "Country Winter Wonderland". Located at Estrella Mountain Park, this event will feature live music, a light show, a wagon ride, crafts, contests, pics with Santa, holiday shopping, and other fun family activities! The festival will run Thursday through Sunday beginning on November 17th at 1pm. The last day of this event will be on December 23rd. The entrance fee is $10 per person, and that includes a wagon and pony ride; children that are 3 years and younger get in for free. Special event parking is available at the arena for $6 per vehicle. For more information on activities and contest entries, please visit www.phoenixhorserides.com.

"Everything is Terrible" this Holiday Season!

Another classic work of art returns this holiday season. "Everything Is Terrible! Holiday Special 2012! The Cataclysmic Transformation!" is a video blog that has been to added to and improved on over the last five years. This traditional holiday blog includes a collage of everyone’s “least favorite time of the year”. Stories include: fighting over donated toys, risque Santa, evil elves, and a string of caroling children that are out to ruin us all! This impressive, comedic work of genius will have us all asking "It is truly our last holiday season?" Everything Is Terrible will be on tour in December and will play in the Phoenix area on the 19th at Filmbar. For more information, please visit their website at www.everythingisterrible.com.

Valley Youth Theaters' Holiday Mission is "Operation Noah"

It has become a holiday tradition that every year during the run of a "Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail", new stuffed animals are collected for Operation Noah located in Chandler. These toys are given to young patients in hospitals all throughout Phoenix and surrounding areas. Operation Noah at the Valley Youth Theater  begins November 30th and runs through December 23rd, . A donation box will be in the lobby, so please stop by and drop in a stuffed animal or two. The address is 807 N. 3rd St. in Phoenix.

7th Ave Food, Fun, & Shopping 

Michael's Cafe will be sponsoring and hosting a 7th Ave Stroll Artwalk & Market event with festive tents, local shopping, food, and live music . The fun begins on Sunday December 23rd from 3-7 pm, just in time to pick up those last-minute holiday gifts. The address is 5025 N. 7th Ave. in Phoenix. Parking is available both in front of and behind the Smelly Dog. The light rail can also be taken to the 7th Ave and Camelback stop. For more information, please call 602-265-6806.

Don't Forget our Furry Friends this Holiday Season 

Rockstar Rescue has numerous items on their Christmas wish list this year from dog food, paper towels, and beds, to treadmills and quarantine houses (for those Rockstars who are sick).  Rockstar Rescue is an agency that takes in all dogs, and the ones that are in the most need unfortunately, need the most. The items on this list are essential to providing rehabilitation services and behavior training, so that rescue dogs can find a permanent home. If you would like to help, please go to Rockstar's Rescue Registry today.

 21 Nights of Light at Desert Botanical Garden 

This Valley holiday tradition continues in its 35th year this Friday November 30th with 8,000 glowing luminarias lighting up the Garden! The event will also feature live music from eleven "fabulous" local groups and warm apple cider! Tickets are still available for this weekend and can be purchased online at www.dbg.org.  Las Noches De Las Luminarias will run through December 30th. For more information, please call 480-941-1217.

ZooLights Showcases a New Light Spectacular! 

Every holiday season, we look forward to ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo. This evening event showcases 3.6 million lights to over 290,000 people each year. However, this season, the Zoo is debuting its new "Music in Motion" show that will be presented in and around the lake. This unique "dazzling" light show will synchronize 15,000 lights to "Wizards in Winter" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra! The lights will include: a dozen 12 foot tall floating light tubes, 26 dancing trees around the lake, a 24 ft. round shimmering sphere, six 3D butterflies, and a full-range sound system to enjoy all of the music. Visitors to this event will also have the opportunity to experience two 10 ft. tall wizards, a giant spider web full of lights, and a chance to take a photo next to a 3D oryx, lion, or tiger. The fun begins November 22nd and runs through January 6th from 6-10 pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.phoenixzoo.org.

Celebrate the Holidays at Arizona State Parks 

Fort Verde State Historic Park will be festively decorated this holiday season. If you are looking for a break from busy malls and internet shopping, join the park for a walk back in time. You'll have the opportunity to experience life from a frontier soldier's perspective, participate in Victorian ornament-making, and take a candlelit tour of the Fort. This event begins December 8th and runs through January 3rd

Yuma Quartermaster Depot  will magically turn into an enchanted Christmas Village this December! The park will be decorated with thousands of lights, the "Heritage Express" train will running, and there will be sledding on real snow! Visitors who ride the train will have the chance to view historic buildings and experience Christmas traditions from years' past. There will also be fun holiday activities including ornament-making, taking bank-robber photos, and decorating Christmas cookies. Local bands will be playing live music and there will also be "Christmas-Caroling Karaoke". Santa will also make an early trip to join in on the fun and have story-time with the kids! Christmas Village begins December 15th and runs from 5-9 pm daily. The last day of this event will be December 22nd. For detailed information on any of these events, please visit azstateparks.com

Buy A Local, One-of-a-Kind Christmas Gift This Year

Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA), a nonprofit that promotes sustainable urban living here in Phoenix, is offering over 120 various types of fruit trees. These trees have never been available in the Valley before and you won't find them in any of the local nurseries. Some of the varieties include: Arizona Sweet Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Vietnamese Guava, and  Honey Crisp Apple.

In order to make it an extra, special Christmas season, VPA is offering donations of these trees to a community or school garden of your choice. In support of VPA"s mission, money raised from individual orders and  community donations will help to "inspire sustainable, urban living in the desert southwest". Orders for trees are now being accepted through December 31st. Trees can be picked up during the course of two VPA events; one in late winter, and one in early spring.  At each event, demonstrations will be given so buyers can learn how to care for these unique fruit trees. For more information, or to place an order, please visit the VPA website at www.valleypermaculturealliance.org.