Several holiday traditions will return to Upper Arlington this year, offering free entertainment and good tidings for the season.
Beginning Nov. 23 and extending to Dec. 15, children and others wanting to submit their Christmas lists or notes to Santa Claus may do so by using a mailbox located in the Kenny Road parking lot of the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.
Children who hand-deliver their letters to Santa care of his special Upper Arlington mailbox will receive a reply from Santa directly from the North Pole. To guarantee delivery, include the child's full name, complete address with ZIP code and postage.
The city's annual Upper Arlington Winter Festival and Tree Lighting will return Dec. 1. The event is slated from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Mallway Park, 2096 Arlington Ave.
Admission is free and activities include caroling, a tree-lighting ceremony, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice-sculpting demonstrations, visits with Santa Claus, live reindeer, a bonfire with s'mores courtesy of Mallway Merchants, coffee and hot chocolate from Starbucks of Upper Arlington and holiday specials and door prizes offered by Mallway Merchants.
A day later, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 2, the Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department will play host to Brunch with Santa at the Amelita Mirolo Barn at Sunny 95 Park, 4395 Carriage Hill Lane.
Children and their families can join Santa for a meal. Cost is $16.50 per adult and $9.50 per child. Children younger than 2 are admitted free.
To register for the event, visit tinyurl.com /uasanta.
Also Dec. 2, the Upper Arlington Public Library will present its annual Holiday Happiness event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the main library, 2800 Tremont Road. The event is free and features a day of music, crafts and festive displays. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit from noon to 2 p.m.
The library also will hold its annual Home for the Holidays event Dec. 7 at the Miller Park branch, 1901 Arlington Ave. This annual tradition will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. and will include cookies and drinks, caroling and a craft project for children. Children also can write a letter to Santa, who will visit the library from 5 to 6 p.m.
Information about both library events can be found at ualibrary.org.
Other central Ohio holiday events include Village Lights from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 3 in German Village.
Thousands of luminarias will line the streets and patrons will be greeted by carolers and live music. Many retailers in the Village will offer discounts on merchandise.
The Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St., will host striezelmarkt, a Munich-style bazaar where vendors will sell an assortment of gifts and special gluhwein, a warm spiced wine, will be served.
The Center of Science and Industry, 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, has a variety of holiday-related events planned.
The holiday movie "Polar Express" will be shown at select times Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 15-17 at the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater. Live science shows start 30 minutes before each screening.
Those who attend will be treated to hot chocolate, cookies and other surprises, COSI spokeswoman Jaclyn Reynolds said.
Patrons will help illuminate the science-related light show, which will be held through Jan. 7. Visitors can pedal stationary bicycles that light up 12,000 lights, Reynolds said.
And although it doesn't necessarily fit into the theme of Christmas, the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery is on permanent display at COSI. The exhibit opened Nov. 17 with 130 specimens and hands-on activities.
ThisWeek reporter Gary Seman Jr. contributed to this story.