Are the holidays in full effect yet?

Did last week feel a little early to start the holidays? As someone known for extreme holiday procrastination, I'm planning to get my local shop on earlier than the night before said gifts are to be given. Local wares are being sold at many different markets, check our Community Calendar for details. Or head over to downtown West Asheville and central East-West Asheville (yep, that's an area), and get your stroll/shop/dance on at the combo art walk and shopping day we profile in this week's holiday central.

We'll also get you ready for the school-free winter days with kids, with a whole host of fun ideas for small and large humans alike. And our resident Junker presents tales from the other side of Christmas: From the elves who sell, wrap and mail the packages that people are depending on for holiday cheer.

For a thoughtful take on the Hanukkah season and many ways to look at, and think about, the spinning of a dreidel, read this week's holiday commentary by Richard Chess.

Other holiday things to remember: Don't forget the seasonal sizzle in downtown Asheville (fireworks on Saturday night!), the holiday plays being presented at local theatre companies (check our calendar for details), the gingerbread houses at Grove Park (we'll show you some of them, check out the others in person) and my favorite part about the whole dang season: The pretty lights, the sparkle and fire in the air, the love that gets passed around.

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