The 24th annual Dickens of a Christmas on McKinney's Main Street is met with nothing but a warm embrace and a bit of nostalgia on our part. Our first recollection of Christmas, in fact, is that of logically debunking the myth of any jolly, bearded, red-and-white chimney-giver and adopting the personally and socially rewarding tales of yuletide bliss provided by the blessed pen of dear St. Chaz. So a big "Thanks, baby" to Mr. Charles Dickens for the unrestricted and eternal story of Scrooge, Tiny Tim and A Christmas Carol, as it is and always will be the greatest holiday story ever told...in that "be-good-to-people-and-we're-all-human-beings-and-really-deserve-peace-on-earth" kind of way. During Dickens of a Christmas, expect a live musical choir, horse-drawn carriages, carolers and Victorian actors all within a warm family environment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus a Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m. Friday. And admission is free. God bless us everyone, indeed. Find your way from the First Baptist Church at 1615 W. Louisiana St. where there will be free shuttle service to the events downtown. Call 214-544-0379. --Matt Hursh
Jesus Christ, Superhero
Rarely does a conversation come up that attempts to bridge the--previously unrealized--gap between comic books and standard Christian values. Well, previously unrealized, to us. Others have thought of it. Some fans would call it heresy; some would call it betrayal. Still, others would call it capitalizing on the recent increase of comic-book licenses at the box office. We would call it, um, interesting. Makes sense; they both focus heavily on good and evil. David Zimmerman has recently written Comic Book Character, a book that uses the archetypal similarities of comic-book characters and the Bible to explain the Christian psyche in a unique way, taking the comic book/Bible amalgamation into new--and, we bet, extremely non-offensive--territory. To meet the man who walks the razor-sharp edge of Bible beating and fanboy, head on over to Logos Bookstore on November 26 at 1:30 p.m. Make sure to have your WWJD bracelet and your Daredevil issues one through six (when DD had the yellow costume!). We're sure Mr. Zimmerman will be more than pleased to discuss the relevance of both. Please go to www.dallas.logosbookstore.com or www.gospelcom.net/ivpress. --Jonathan Freeman
Death by Chocolate
As if food-centric holidays weren't going to offer sufficient opportunities to ingest sugary confections, chef David Lebovitz will conduct "The Great Class of Chocolate" on December 1 at Central Market on Interstate 30 and Hulen Street in Fort Worth. Along with teaching chocoholics how to satisfy their cravings, Lebovitz will be promoting his creation The Great Book of Chocolate, which details everything from the history of chocolate to recipes for items such as Bay Area brownies with ganache. Nummy. The class begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.; admission is $60 per person. Call 817-377-9005. --Mary Monigold
If, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, you find yourself unable to shake the horrible holiday memory of an intoxicated Uncle Barry screaming obscenities at the Cowboys game, consider the melodious sound of The North Caledonian Pipes and Drums for your postfeast mental enema. They'll pipe and drum away at the British Emporium, 140 N. Main St., Grapevine, as part of the store's St. Andrew's Day Scottish Celebration and Open House from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Scottish heritage event also includes food and giveaways. Call 817-421-2311 or visit www.british-emporium.com. --Mary Monigold
Charlie Brown had an idea: Instead of giving in to the glitter and flash of a modern commercialized Christmas, why not go for a warmhearted celebration? Pick the spindly, sincere little tree that needs love and a home. Charlie Brown's big, round, bald head probably would explode if he ventured into the Galleria Dallas this Friday. At noon, the mall will light up what it boasts is "the tallest indoor Christmas tree in the United States," rising 95 feet--including the base--into the mall's atrium. It'll include about 225,000 lights, more than 10,000 ornaments and a new star topper with extra-bright micro-lights. You get the picture--a celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace more Snoopy-like than Charlie Brownian. (But let's face it: Snoopy always was the coolest character in Peanuts.) There's more. The mall is featuring "The Illumination Celebration" several times daily during the holiday season, with a fog rising from the base of the tree choreographed to holiday music. (White Snake, presumably, was unavailable to perform.) "Missile Toes," a back-flipping, ice-skating Santa whose skates shoot fireworks, will perform at noon November 26 and November 27 and every Saturday during the holiday season. For the opening performances, Missile Toes will be joined by figure skater Jozef Sabovcik, a 1984 Olympic bronze medalist, and Amy Howerton, 2003 U.S. national champion. Oh, and a regular, non-exploding Santa will be on hand to hear the usual Christmas wishes. We do not, however, expect to see Linus recounting any stories about angels and shepherds tending their flocks. He was gonna show, but he'd already booked a gig in Vegas. See www.galleriadallas.com or call 972-702-7100. --Patrick Williams
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