Who’s ready to put the ho-ho-ho in holiday cheer around here?

The holidays officially kick off this week with the new version of the Grand Illumination at Kanawha Plaza called RVA Illuminates, the Dominion Energy Christmas Parade and the tree lighting at The Jefferson Hotel. Dig in and put some tinsel on it.


Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights: Over a million lights and displays set to this year’s theme “Magic in the Air.” 5 to 10 p.m. daily at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave. $8-$13 adults, free for children younger than 3. www.lewis ginter.org or (804) 262-9887. Through Jan. 6 (except Dec. 24 and 25)

Illuminate Light Show: Drive-thru holiday light show and Santa’s Village at The Meadow Event Park, Doswell. Nightly 5:30 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31. Cars $25. 13111 Dawn Blvd., Doswell, Gate 1. (804) 994-7846 or www.illuminatelightshow.com

Tacky Lights: A Richmond tradition where local houses light up with over-the-top, supersize, mega-wattage displays. Houses light up now through Dec. 31. Find the ultimate guide to the biggest and best houses at www.richmond.com/holiday/tacky-lights.

Legendary Santa: The one and only Legendary Santa listens to Christmas wishes and takes photos with kids at the Children’s Museum of Richmond, downtown location. Through Dec. 24. Times and prices vary. 2626 W. Broad St. c-mor.org or (804) 474-7062.

Ice skating at the Children’s Museum of Richmond: New 1,344-square-foot outdoor skating rink now open for the holidays. Times vary, fee for skating. Children’s Museum of Richmond, 2626 W. Broad St. c-mor.org or (804) 474-7062.

Stony Point on Ice: Ice-skating rink, holiday trees and holiday snow. Times vary, ice skating for a fee. Stony Point Fashion Park, 9200 Stony Point Parkway. www.shopstonypoint.com

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!: 50 “Peanuts” comic strips from the 1950s through the 1990s celebrate the iconic art of Charles M. Schulz and the beloved holiday TV special at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, 428 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. Suggested donation $5 to $10, through Jan. 12. VirginiaHistory.org or (804) 340-1800

Holiday events:

Tree lighting at The Jefferson Hotel

Monday, Dec. 2

A Richmond tradition with musical performances, the tree-lighting ceremony, holiday characters and performers, plus cookies, hot chocolate and cider. Music at 5 p.m., festivities at 5:35 p.m. The Jefferson Hotel, 101 W. Franklin St. Free to the public. www.jeffersonhotel.com or (804) 788-8000

RVA Illuminates

Friday, Dec. 6

The city of Richmond is taking over the Grand Illumination from the James Center and moving it to Kanawha Plaza with a new name: RVA Illuminates. Expect lots of lights, a big holiday tree, music from No BS! Brass Band, a handbell choir from Miles Jones Elementary School and a performance from City Dance Theatre. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m.; Mayor Levar Stoney will flip the switch at 6 p.m. 801 E. Canal St. www.facebook.com/events/997720427271307/

Shockoe Illuminates

Friday, Dec. 6

The 17th Street Market will transform into a European holiday market with a variety of vendors, visits from Father Christmas, Irish dancing by The Baffa Academy, and horse and carriage rides. Plus, for the first time, you can purchase an alcoholic beverage at a market restaurant and take it outside to enjoy on the plaza. 5 to 9 p.m. 17th Street Market, 100 N. 17th St. www.facebook.com/events/559306201307816/

Dominion Energy Christmas Parade

Saturday, Dec. 7

The Christmas Parade gets stepping down Broad Street, starting at the Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., and ending at Seventh Street. Starts at 10 a.m. www.richmondparade.org

Court End Christmas

Sunday, Dec. 8

Several historic sites such as The Valentine and the Governor’s Mansion will have a holiday open house with children’s activities, performances, music and more. Noon to 4 p.m. Free. www.facebook.com/events/397859201158791/

Victorian Christmas at Maymont

Sunday, Dec. 8

Step back in time for a Victorian Christmas at the Maymont mansion. Free admission; fees for activities. 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 1700 Hampton St. maymont.org or (804) 358-7166, ext. 329

Tacky Lights Run

Saturday, Dec. 14

Dress up in lights and check out the Tacky Lights of Midlothian’s Walton Park on the CarMax Tacky Lights Run. Starts at 6 p.m. $10-$45. www.sportsbackers.org/events/tacky-light-run

James River Parade of Lights

Saturday, Dec. 14

Boats decked out in holiday lights motor down the James River. Spectator spots at Libby Hill Park, 28th and East Franklin streets; Osborne Park and Boat Landing, 9530 Osborne Turnpike, Henrico; and Henricus Historical Park, 251 Henricus Park Road, Chester. Festivities start at 4 p.m.; viewing starts at 6 p.m. depending on location. www.facebook.com/events/507207323160234/

Fan Holiday House Tour

Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15

Tour Fan houses dressed up for the holidays, noon to 5 p.m., $25 in advance, $35 day of tour. www.fandistrict.org/Holiday-House-Tour

Church Hill Holiday House Tour

Sunday, Dec. 15

Church Hill homes decorated for the holidays open their doors, noon to 5 p.m., $25. www.churchhill.org/explore/church-hill-holiday-house-tour-tickets

Branch Museum 100th Anniversary

Thursday, Dec. 19

The Branch House was built as a winter holiday house, and the family spent its first Christmas there in December 1919. Now home to The Branch Museum of Architecture & Design, the house celebrates its 100th anniversary with a lavish holiday party featuring vintage decorations and drinks. 6 to 9 p.m. $100. 2501 Monument Ave. branchmuseum.org

Miracle of Christmas at the Zoo

Saturday, Dec. 21, to Monday, Dec. 23

Live Nativity with musical performances at the Metro Richmond Zoo. Gates open at 6:15 p.m., three shows at 7 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. 8300 Beaver Bridge Road, Moseley. Free admission. metrorichmondzoo.com

Holiday Glitter Walking Tour

Thursday, Dec. 26, and Friday, Dec. 27

Enjoy a holiday walking tour of the homes on Monument Avenue. 6 to 7:30 p.m. $15, ages 18 and under free. thevalentine.org

Kwanzaa Festival

Saturday, Dec. 28

The Capital City Kwanzaa Festival will be held at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. 1 to 9 p.m. 1000 Mosby St. $5 to $7, children 12 and under are free. efsinc.org

Holiday performances:

The Elf on the Shelf

Monday, Dec. 2

A Christmas musical inspired by the classic children’s book. 6 p.m., Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St. $29 to $59. etix.com or (800) 514-3849

Richmond Symphony: Handel’s Messiah

Friday, Dec. 6

Richmond Symphony performs the holiday classic. 7:30 p.m., Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St. $14 to $60. www.richmondsymphony.com or (804) 788-1212

Richmond Symphony: Let it Snow!

Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8

A holiday pops concert featuring former Richmond singer-songwriter and indie sensation Natalie Prass. 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St. $10 to $82. www.richmondsymphony.com or (804) 788-1212

Richmond Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Starts Friday, Dec. 13

The holiday classic returns with performances through Dec. 23. Times and prices vary. Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St. etix.com or (800) 514-3849

Andrew Peterson Presents ‘Behold the Lamb of God’

Tuesday, Dec. 17

Nashville singer-songwriter presents the Advent song cycle “Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ.” 7 p.m. $20. Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel St. etix.com or (800) 514-3849

Hip-Hop Nutcracker

Thursday, Dec. 26

A hip-hop version of the holiday classic. 7:30 p.m., Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel St. $37-$67. etix.com or (800) 514-3849

Holiday Dreams

Friday, Dec. 27

A holiday-inspired cirque spectacular with performers, music, lasers and holograms. Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel St. $42 to $72. etix.com or (800) 514-3849

Theme parks:

WinterFest at Kings Dominion: WinterFest returns with millions of lights, an ice-skating rink, rides, the Peanuts characters and a holiday menu. $26 to $47. Select nights through Jan. 1. Kings Dominion, Doswell. www.kingsdominion.com

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: More than10 million lights, the Christmas Town Express, rides, holiday shows, a tree maze and more. $34.99 to $49.99 online, $59.99 at the gate. Select dates through Jan. 5. Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, buschgardens.com/williamsburg

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(804) 649-6151

Twitter: @collcurran

Colleen Curran covers arts and entertainment for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She writes the weekly column Top Five Weekend Events.

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