An abundance of benefits and holiday parties.

Dec. 2

"An Affair of the Heart," the 17th annual Montgomery County Executive's Ball, is at the Indian Spring Country Club, 13501 Layhill Rd., Silver Spring. Tickets: $75 ($85 at the door). Call 301-215-7227.

Dec. 4

The National Peace Foundation's 20th-anniversary gala dinner at the Monarch Hotel, 2401 M St. NW, honors Ambassador Andrew Young and the legacy of Peace Links, an organization founded 21 years ago by Betty Bumpers. Tickets: $200. Call 202-783-7030.

Dec. 5

The Business Volunteers for the Arts/Washington Recognition Awards luncheon, presented by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington in partnership with the Kennedy Center, is at the Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center. Tickets: $80 ($40 for alliance members). Call 202-638-2406, Ext. 24.

The 13th Washington Jewish Film Festival opens with the local premiere of "God Is Great, I'm Not," a French romantic comedy starring Audrey Tautou, at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. A wine reception follows. Tickets: $15. For information call 202-777-3248 or visit To order tickets call 800-494-TIXS or visit

Dec. 6

The 2002 National Symphony Orchestra Ball at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW, offers cocktails, dinner and dancing. Music by the National Symphony Orchestra and Soul Solutions. Tickets start at $600. Call 202-416-8102.

The benefit preview of the Indian Market -- which features Native American jewelry, baskets, pottery, beadwork and more -- is at the Grand Salon of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Tickets: $50. Pre-registration is required. Call 202-275-1585. The Indian Market is at the gallery Dec. 7 and 8.

The benefit preview party of the 2002 Audubon Holiday Fair -- the Dec. 7 and 8 fair features 115 artisans -- is at the Woodend Nature Sanctuary and Mansion, the headquarters of the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase. Preview party tickets: $30 ($35 at the door). Call 301-652-9188 or visit

"A Taste of Scotland," featuring rare Scotch whiskies, is at the Campagna Center, 418 S. Washington St., Alexandria. (The event is held in conjunction with the Scottish Walk Parade on Dec. 7 in Old Town Alexandria.) Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are $50, $65 and $85. Call 703-549-0111.

The Washington Ethical Society's Champagne Gala at the society, 7750 16th St. NW, offers a preview of the National Helping Hands Craft Sale there on Dec. 7-8. Gala tickets: $20 ($25 at the door). Call 202-882-6650, Ext. 20.

The Night of Trees Auction Gala at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW, benefits the D.C. Special Olympics. Tickets: $100. Call 202-408-2640.

The Junior League of Northern Virginia presents a preview party of "The Enchanted Forest," a festival Dec. 7-8 at the Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, that offers a display of more than 300 festive decorations. Tickets: $15. Wine tasting (Dec. 7) tickets: $55 ($100 for two). For information on other festival events and ticket prices, call 703-848-2884 or visit

The Beach Boys are slated to perform at Children's Charities Foundation's "BasketBall" gala at the Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H St. NW. The gala is held in connection with the annual BB&T Classic Dec. 7-8 at MCI Center. Gala tickets: $500 (includes tournament ticket). Call Vivian Thompson at 410-448-0700.

Dec. 12

The Young Benefactors of the Smithsonian Institution play host to their 10th annual Jolly Holiday party, at the Smithsonian Castle, 1000 Jefferson Dr. SW. Tickets: $55, which includes a one-year membership in the Young Benefactors ($35 for members). Tickets at the door are $5 more. Call 202-357-3030 or visit

Dec. 13

Gerald Charles Dickens, British actor and great-great-grandson of novelist Charles Dickens, will present a solo performance of "A Christmas Carol" at a luncheon at the Monarch Hotel, 2401 M St. NW, to benefit the Women's Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra. Tickets: $80 ($50 for children 16 and younger). Call 202-416-8149 or go to the Center's Web site at

Dec. 15

The Washington Ballet's "Nutcracker Tea Party" (with the cast in costume) at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, follows a performance of "The Nutcracker" at the Warner Theatre. Tickets: $125 (includes performance). Call 202-362-3606, Ext. 120.

The 13th Washington Jewish Film Festival's Exhibition of International Cinema closes with the Washington premiere of "Nowhere in Africa" at the D.C. Jewish Community Center. A wine reception follows. Tickets: $15. For information call 202-777-3248 or visit For tickets, call 800-494-TIXS or visit

"An Evening of Russian Enchantment," the Choral Arts Society of Washington's 22nd Annual Choral Arts Concert and Benefit Gala, features the society's Christmas music concert at the Kennedy Center and a silent auction and dinner-dance at the Russian Embassy. Tickets: $425 to $1,000. Call 202-244-3669, Ext. 15.

Dec. 17

The Washington Performing Arts Society is honoring Douglas H. Wheeler, president emeritus, with "A Salute to Douglas Wheeler" at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The evening features performances by Wynton Marsalis, Midori, the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers, and the WPAS Gospel Choir. All proceeds will benefit the Douglas H. Wheeler Endowment Fund for Arts Education to support the society's in-school arts education programs. Tickets: $500 to $1,000. Call 202-533-1879.

Dec. 24

The ninth annual Gefilte Fish Gala -- a party for young, mostly single Jewish professionals -- sponsored by Jewish community centers and other organizations is at Polly Esther's. All profits from the event go to charity. Suggested donation: $5. Canned goods and clothing for the needy will also be collected. Call 202-737-1970 or visit

Dec. 27

The Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association is sponsoring a "Snow Ball" at the Ritz-Carlton Washington, 1150 22nd St. NW. The event -- held in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show, which runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 at the Washington Convention Center -- benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. Tickets: $250. Call Archie Avedisian at 202-237-7200.