Many Maryland arts groups have planned special events for the holiday season.

The University of Maryland Chorus, directed by Paul Traver, opens the Christmas season with a midnight concert tomorrow in the Student Union Grand Ballroom on the College Park campus. For information on the free concert, which includes Saint-Saens' "Christmas Oratorio" and carol singing, call 454-2501.

The Prince George's Choral Society will present a holiday concert at High Point High School in Beltsville tomorrow at 8 p.m. The program, featuring Respighi's "Laud to the Nativity," will be repeated Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly. Call 277-1710 for details.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Rockville Community Chorus presents its annual holiday concert and reception, and on Dec. 19 the Rockville Concert Band plays its annual free Christmas program. For details on both events, which will be in the Rockville Civic Center auditorium, call 424-8000, ext. 305.

The Laurel Oratorio Society will mark the opening of its 10th season on Dec. 10 with a holiday concert featuring music by Ralph Vaughan Williams and a new work by Laurel composer Carolyn Bock, commissioned for the event. The concert, directed by Marc Tardue, begins at 8 p.m. in St. Mary's Church, Laurel. For details, call 776-5704.

The Southern Maryland Choral Society, directed by Sandra Willetts, offers an opportunity to sing along with Handel's "Messiah" as well as Christmas carols on Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. in Bethany Christian Church, Camp Springs. For details, call 868-4544.

Montgomery College in Rockville will present programs of Christmas music, free and open to the public, Dec. 8 at noon, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. The college also will sponsor an Elizabethan holiday feast with singers, dancers and jugglers Dec. 15 and 16. For details, call 279-5301.

On Dec. 2 and 3, the University of Maryland will repeat last year's successful Tudor feast, presided over by Henry VIII, that will include music, dancing and a genuine boar's head. For details, call the College Park Student Union. For the Family Several holiday events are designed for children and the family. Silver Spring Stage will present a children's disco musical, "Let's Hear It for the Queen," every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 to 23. For details on the show, which begins at 8 p.m. Fridays and 1 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, call 387-8711.

The Prince George's Civic Opera will perform "Hansel and Gretel" at the Publick Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 23. Call 277-1710 for ticket information.

The Gingerbread Players will perform "The Wizard of Oz" in the Laurel Armory on Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. For details on the musical, which is based on the movie, call 796-3139.

Among several ballet productions during the holidays will be the Rockville Ballet's "Nutcracker" at the Rockville Civic Center auditorium Dec. 16 and 17. For details, call 424-8000, ext. 305.

For the third year, the Maryland Youth Ballet will present its family entertainment, "The Enchanted Clock." For detials on performances at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Dec. 28 to 30, call 657-4253. For those near Baltimore, the Maryland Ballet presents "Nutcracker" Dec. 26 to 30 at the city's Lyric Theater. Ticket information is available at 366-5800.

The opera favorite, "Amahl and the Night Visitors," will tour the Maryland area once again in December, sponsored by Prince George's Dimensions in Music. All performances are free, including two matinees Dec. 16 at Prince George's Community College. For details call 277-2200, ext. 342.

The Jewish Community Center in Rockville is sponsoring a Hanukah Family Festival, which includes a music revue, storytelling, arts and crafts workshops and closes with an outdoor candlelighting ceremony. Call 881-0100, ext. 46, for details. Art Events

Some area art galleries try to help the holiday shopper with special shows. The Bethesda Art Gallery features moderately priced prints that owner Betty Minor Duffy has collected all year for this gift-giving show. Call 656-6665 for details.

Tomorrow, the Plum Gallery in Kensington opens "Arts in Miniature," which features smaller works by many of its leading exhibitors. Call 933-0222 for more information. Sunday, the Glen Echo Park Gallery opens its annual December show of less expensive works by resident artists and instructors. Items range from jewelry to furniture. Call 492-6282 for details.

The Laurel Art Guild presents its annual Christmas show of works by members on Dec. 10 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Montpelier Mansion and Carriage House, Rte. 197 in Laurel. The Montpelier Mansion will also be the site of a Christmas Candelight Buffet Sunday. For tickets call 776-5116, evenings. There will be candlelight tours of the mansion with music and costumes on Dec. 4 and 5. Call 599-6776 for details.

A holiday tour of the Calvert Mansion in Riverdale is scheduled Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. A local artist will decorate the mansion with Christmas greens, and a Christmas shop will have gifts for sale, including reprints of children's books of the 1800S. For details, call 277-8350.