Here's a look at what's going on throughout Howard County and the area.

The Mall in Columbia

* Santa and Me photos, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 24. Lower level, outside Lord & Taylor.

* Pet Nights With Santa, 6-9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday. Owners and their pets can have pictures taken with Santa Claus. Enter the mall at the Bun Penny entrance.

* Charity gift wrap, benefiting the National Council of Jewish Women and Howard County General Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary. Open during mall hours, through Dec. 24. Upper level between J. Crew and Build-A-Bear.

* Salvation Army Angel Tree. Adopting an angel from the tree can help fulfill a child's wish for Christmas. During mall hours through Dec. 23. Outside Lord & Taylor on upper level.

Historic Ellicott City

* Midnight Merriment, 7:30 p.m.-midnight tomorrow. Businesses along Main Street will stay open until midnight and serve shoppers holiday treats. There will be carolers and performers in Victorian dress, and children can meet Santa after he rides down Main Street on an antique firetruck. Santa will be available for photos until 9 p.m.

* Victorian Holiday Open House and Bake Sale at Patapsco Female Institute. A chance to toast the holidays with hot punch and light refreshments served by members of Almira's Polite Society, an antebellum living history troupe in Victorian attire. The Friends of the Whipps Cemetery and Memorial Gardens hosts a bake sale, and music will be provided by Consort Anon. Sponsored by the Friends of the Patapsco Female Institute. 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Mount Ida Visitor Center, 3691 Sarah's Lane, Ellicott City.

* Holiday Model Train Exhibit, four model-train displays, including a 300-square-foot O scale train layout, will be featured at the Ellicott City B&O Railroad Station Museum. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday and daily 11 a.m.-4 p.m., through Jan. 22. 2711 Maryland Ave., Ellicott City. Call for rates 410-461-1944 or www.ecbo.org.

* It's a Wonderful Night, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 11, an opportunity to celebrate "The Greatest Generation" at this holiday shopping event on Main Street, sponsored by the Howard County Tourism Council. Music from the '40s and WWII re-enactors will set the scene. Visitors can meet Santa and win prizes. 410-313-1900.

* "A December Show," at Gallerie Elan in Ellicott City. Works by Maryland glass artist Brendan Kager and Canadian painter Katerina Mertikas will be on display in this show, which is meant to inspire happiness and good spirit. The openings will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. tomorrow and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Regular gallery hours are 11 a.m. -5 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. The show will be taken down the first week of January. 8090 Main St., Ellicott City. Free. 410-461-0870 or www.gallerieelan.com.

Historic Savage Mill

* Holiday Parade of Trees, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; decorated trees are on display throughout the season. Sponsored by local and national nonprofit and charitable organizations. Small donation requested. 410-792-2820.

* It's a Wonderful Night, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 11, a holiday shopping event sponsored by Howard County Tourism. Similar to the event along Main Street in Historic Ellicott City, with live big-band music and Santa. Merchants will offer shoppers baked goods and holiday cheer. 410-313-1900.

Tree Lighting

* Howard County Aglow, an old-fashioned, traditional tree-lighting festival, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 9. Centennial Park, off Route 108, Ellicott City, will be lighted with hundreds of luminaria. Visitors can check out an ice sculpture display and demonstration and other sights. Train rides and seasonal refreshments will be available. Sponsored by Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks. Centennial Park, 10000 Route 108, Ellicott City. Free admission; train rides, $2; luminaria display, $1. 410-313-4275.

Symphony of Lights

* A 20-minute drive-through display of more than 70 animated and stationary holiday light creations 6-11 nightly, through Jan. 1. Merriweather Post Pavilion entrance on Broken Land Parkway in Columbia. Proceeds benefit Howard County General Hospital. Vehicles with up to 11 passengers, $15; commercial vans and minibuses seating 12 to 24 people, $25; buses exceeding 24 passengers, $100. Tickets available at the front gate. 410-740-7666.

Hanukkah

* A Hanukkah party for seniors, held by the Howard County section of the National Council of Jewish Women. A holiday lunch will be served at noon Dec. 11, followed by a menorah lighting and entertainment. Open to Howard County seniors ages 65 and older. Call 410-381-7999 for more information.

* Skate the Day Away, a community roller-skating event sponsored by Howard County Hadassah and the Jewish Federation of Howard County. 2-5 p.m. Dec. 25 at the Supreme Sports Club roller rink, 7080 Deepage Dr., Columbia. $15 per family before Dec. 15; $20 after Dec. 15. Skate rental is additional. 410-418-9262 or www.hocohadassah.org.

Days End Farm

* Holiday party, with proceeds benefiting the rescued horses and ponies at Days End Farm. The event will feature an appetizer buffet with beer, wine and soda, a cash bar, door prizes and a raffle. The After Hours band will perform golden oldies and rock-and-roll. 7-11 p.m. Dec. 9, Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane, Clarksville. Seating is limited. Admission is $40 and a gift for the horses. For more information, call 301-854-5037 or visit www.defhr.org.

Holiday Crafts

* Holiday shopping at Howard County Conservancy, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Shoppers can create gift bags or bring bags to fill. Nature and gardening books, journals, birdseed ornaments, pottery, soaps and candles. All proceeds will benefit the conservancy. Gudelsky Environmental Education Center, 10520 Old Frederick Rd., Woodstock. 410-465-8877.

* Holiday sale and open house, featuring local artists selling wearable, functional, decorative and fine art pieces, 2-6 p.m. tomorrow, Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Rd., Ellicott City. Free admission. 410-313-2787.

* Holiday Mart, a craft show with more than 125 artisans, sponsored by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The Centennial Madrigal Singers will perform at 10 a.m. Centennial High School, 4300 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City. Admission is $4; ages 3-12, $1; 2 and younger, free. 410-313-7275.

* Columbia Association Art Center's annual fine arts and craft show, "Singular Sensations," runs tomorrow through Dec. 18 at the center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia. Art work includes pottery, jewelry, glass, photographs, sculptures, paintings, fiber works and cards. A reception will be held 6-9 p.m. next Thursday at the center. For more information and gallery hours, call 410-730-0075.

Breakfast With Santa

* Breakfast and More With Santa, seatings are at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast and 11:30 a.m. for lunch Saturday. Includes cartoons, arts and crafts, goodie bag, and a visit and photo with Santa. The Secret Shop will be open for children to purchase inexpensive gifts with free gift-wrapping. Sponsored by the Wilde Lake Community Association. Slayton House, Wilde Lake Village Green, 10451 Twin Rivers Rd., Columbia. Admission is $4; advanced purchase required. 410-730-3987.

* Breakfast With Santa, 9 and 11 a.m. Sunday. Sheraton Columbia Hotel, 10207 Wincopin Cir., Columbia. $17.95; children 4-11, $10; 3 and younger, free. 410-730-3900, Ext. 1451.

Christmas Trees

* Atholton High School Boosters will hold a holiday tree sale on the school parking lot, 6520 Freetown Rd., Columbia. Fresh-cut Douglas fir, Fraser fir and blue spruce trees will be sold. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 18.

* Mount Hebron Backers will hold a holiday tree and trim sale at the school, 9440 Old Frederick Rd., Ellicott City, 3-9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays while supplies last. Douglas fir, Scotch pine and blue spruce trees, wreaths and roping will be sold. For more information, call 410-203-2203.

* Santa Arrives at the Christmas Tree Farm. Santa arrives on weekends. People can cut Christmas trees. The farm also has a Christmas shop with handmade wreaths, crafts and arrangements and free coloring books. 15155 Triadelphia Lake Mill Rd., Glenelg. Call 410-489-4460 for hours and more information.

Concerts

* The Columbia Pro Cantare chorus will perform the Christmas portion and selections from Parts II and III of Handel's "Messiah," accompanied by orchestra and organ. A lecture will be held 6:30-7 p.m. before the concert, and refreshments will be served at intermission. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Jim Rouse Theatre for Performing Arts, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd., Columbia. $25 at the door; $22 for seniors and students; $2 less if purchased in advance. 410-799-9321.

* Winter concert by the Howard Community College Singers, conducted by Judith Cavendish, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Smith Theatre, HCC, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. $3; students free. 410-772-4587.

* "A Christmas Noel," performed by the Columbia Pro Cantare chorus, 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Rd., Columbia, and 4 p.m. Dec. 18, Memorial Episcopal Church, 1401 Bolton St., Baltimore. $17 at the door; $15 for students and seniors; $2 less if purchased in advance. 410-799-9321.

* "Messiah" singalong, 6 p.m. Sunday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4100 St. John's Lane, Ellicott City. All are welcome to sing along with the choir and orchestra. Free sheet music will be provided. 240-475-8768.

* Atholton winter concert, the first part of the winter concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Atholton High School auditorium. The women's choir, men's choir, percussion ensemble, men's quartet, concert band and symphony orchestra will perform. The second part will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and will feature the women's quartet, concert choir, madrigal singers, symphonic wind ensemble and a combined performance of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus," from "Messiah." Each concert is $3 per individual or $5 per family, $2 for seniors. Atholton High School, 6520 Freetown Rd., Columbia. 410-313-7065.

* "The Voices of Christmas," performed by the combined Chancel Choir and Trinity Youth Choirs, 4 p.m. Dec. 11 at Mount Zion United Methodist Church, 12430 Scaggsville Rd. (Route 216), Highland. Christmas caroling and dinner in the Fellowship Hall after the concert. 410-531-5173.

* Columbia Concert Band's annual winter concert at 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at River Hill High School, 12101 Route 108, Clarksville. Admission is free. Call 301-596-9783 or visit www.columbiaband.org.

Theater

* "Letters to S.A.N.T.A.," a holiday fairytale explores the inner workings and "grown-up" secrets of the North Pole. Presented by Howard Community College's Student-Alumni Arts. Theatre Outback, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Show runs tomorrow through Dec. 17, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. $15; $12 for seniors and groups; $10 for students. For reservations 410-772-4900, Ext. 0. For more information, call 410-772-4515 or visit www.howardcc.edu/studentarts.

* "Jingle Bell Rock," a modern-day musical based on Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," will be performed by the Young Artists Theatre. First shows are at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. For schedule of performances through Dec. 30, call 301-604-2844 or visit www.yatheatre.com. $8; $7 for groups of 10 or more.

* "Mame," the tale of Auntie Mame, who at the height of the Roaring Twenties becomes the guardian of her 10-year-old nephew, Patrick, then sees her life turned upside down when the stock market crashes. Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia will perform "Mame" as its holiday production through Feb. 19. 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and Sunday. 5900 Symphony Woods Rd., Columbia. $41-46 for adults; $27.50 to $46 for children 12 and younger. Call 800-888-6297 or www.tobysdinnertheatre.com.

Christmas in New Market

* Strolling carolers, a traditional tree lighting, visits with Santa, a live nativity and horse-drawn carriage rides are among the festivities. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. New Market is at exit 62 off Interstate 70. For more information call 301-865-6108.

Candlelight Tour

* Waverly Holiday Candlelight Tour: Tours of the 18th-century home of Maryland Gov. George Howard decorated in its holiday best by the Howard County Council of Garden Clubs. 1-4 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-noon and 6:30-9 p.m. Monday. Historic Waverly Mansion, 2300 Waverly Mansion Dr., Marriottsville. 410-313-5400.

Holiday Teas

* Historic Oakland's holiday tea, featuring scones, sandwiches and desserts catered by the Tea Trolley. 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday and Dec. 13 and 20. Reservations required. Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia. $18.90. 410-730-4801 or www.historic-oakland.com.

'The Nutcracker' Ballet

* Performed by the Howard County Ballet, with music by the Howard County Ballet Orchestra, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18. Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd., Columbia. $20; children, students and seniors, $15. 410-465-8233.

* The Patuxent Youth Ballet performs scenes from the holiday classic 7 p.m. Tuesday. Central Library, 10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia. Free. Register at 410-313-7880.

* The Columbia Chamber Ballet, the performing company of Ballet With Cindee Velle, features selections from "The Nutcracker" throughout the area. For show times, visit www.CindeeVelleBallet.com/news.htm or call 410-465-7674. Most shows are free.

* "The Nutcracker on Ice" is performed by more than 100 members of the Columbia Figure Skating Club. 3 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 4:30 and 6 p.m. Dec. 11. Ages 4 to adult. Columbia Ice Rink in the Oakland Mills Village Center, 5876 Thunder Hill Rd., Columbia. $9; free, children younger than 3. 410-813-4026.

Nativities

* Live nativity, the Greccio Experience. Christmas carols and a service of prayers presented by the Secular Franciscans of St. Joseph Cupertino Fraternity and the Conventual Franciscan Friars of the Shrine of St. Anthony, 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11. Shrine of St. Anthony, 12290 Folly Quarter Rd., Ellicott City. Free. 410-531-2800.

* More than 100 nativity sets from around the world on display 7-9 p.m. Dec. 16 and 6-9 p.m. Dec. 17. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4100 St. John's Lane, Ellicott City. Free admission. 240-461-3466.

Kwanzaa Celebration

* Countywide Kwanzaa celebration, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 26. Kahler Hall, Harper's Choice Village Center, 5440 Old Tucker Row, Columbia. Sponsored by the Howard County Center of African American Culture. The event includes music, lighting of candles, a cultural program and an explanation of the first night of Kwanzaa. Fee to be determined. 410-730-3888.

New Year's Eve Events

* Port Discovery's annual Noontime New Year celebration features a visit by Maryland Public Television's Bob the Vid Tech. Make-your-own noisemakers and hats, and a toast to the new year with milk and cookies. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 31. Port Discovery Museum, 35 Market Pl., Baltimore. $11; seniors, $10; children 3-12, $8.50; 2 and younger, free. 410-727-8120 or www.portdiscovery.com.

* First Night Annapolis, a family-friendly New Year's Eve event showcasing hundreds of performers in music, dance, theater and comedy. Events held throughout the Annapolis waterfront area. More details, including price, should be available by today on the Web site www.firstnightannapolis.org or by calling 410-268-8553.

* Baltimore's New Year's Eve Spectacular at the Inner Harbor. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend Baltimore's free New Year's party, with live music in the Harborplace Amphitheatre and fireworks at midnight over the harbor. www.bop.org.

* Aboard the USS Constellation people can ring in the new year with a twilight menu of catered food, champagne, local ales, wines and mulled cider. The night also features tours of the ship, canon demonstrations and a place to watch the Baltimore fireworks. 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Inner Harbor. $75. 410-539-1797 Ext. 422, or www.constellation.org.

-- Compiled by JOSHUA ZUMBRUN

Chloe Young gets off to a rocky start as she and other teacakes, her sister, Brenna Young, Sarah Fishkind and Hayleigh Simpson, rehearse the Columbia Figure Skating Club's "The Nutcracker on Ice."

One-year-old Kru M. Corke of Montgomery County visits Santa at the Columbia Mall on Friday.

Shoppers flood the Columbia Mall. On some days, visitors and their pets can can be photographed with Santa.

Arissa Falat, left, and Alexis Finks practice their roles as French dolls and snowflakes for "The Nutcracker on Ice" at the Columbia Ice Rink.

A poinsettia tree decorates the mall. Elsewhere in the mall, Shoppers can help needy children through an Angel Tree.

Judi DeFino peruses the Bearing Gifts store in Historic Savage Mill.