A mitten drive, a community tree lighting and visits with the jolly old elf himself are just a few of the activities that will give Dublin a holiday feel this year.

A mitten drive, a community tree lighting and visits with the jolly old elf himself are just a few of the activities that will give Dublin a holiday feel this year.

"There's something for everyone," says Josh Poland, who as the city's public information officer is in charge of the kickoff to the season: the annual lighting of a large, decorated spruce tree Dec. 1.

This year's event, scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the front lawn of Indian Run Elementary School, 80 W. Bridge St., will include Christmas carols by Pinney Elementary School students, a Christmas stilt walker, live reindeer and the Grinch. "It's a big production," says Poland.

An artist will be on hand to draw caricatures of children, Paulettes Princess Parties will entertain with a show called Frozen Over, and Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves will mingle with the crowd. Complimentary doughnuts and hot chocolate will top off the night.

Seasonal Shopping

Santa will make a return trip two days later for Holly Days, an afternoon of family activities from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 3 in Historic Dublin.

The Clauses will pose for photographs from 1 to 3 p.m. at Our CupCakery, 16 N. High St., and the Dublin Singers will walk through the area performing Irish and holiday songs, says Linda Kick, the bakery's owner.

"We're providing fun activities for the community so people can stroll and shop and eat in Historic Dublin," Kick says. She says businesses will be decorated in the historic Williamsburg, Virginia, colors of green and gold.

All the stores will be open and hosting special events, says Christena Wentz, vice president of the Historic Dublin Business Association and owner of Chelsea Borough Home. These will include free holiday Irish crafts for children at the Dean Insurance Group, 16 W. Bridge St., and live music and talks about Irish Christmas traditions at Ha'Penny Bridge Imports of Ireland, 75 S. High St. "It's a time for all of us to celebrate the season," Wentz says.

Washington Township will bring a firetruck that folks can tour in exchange for donations to the Firefighters for Kids Toy Drive, Kick says. The vehicle will be parked from 1 to 4 p.m. behind the Dublin Veterinary Clinic, 32 W. Bridge St. Clinic employees also will talk with pet owners about holiday hazards for animals.

A week later, on Dec. 10, the business association sponsors Irish Second Saturday, an afternoon of themed music, arts and crafts, and discounts at Ha'Penny Bridge Imports.

"We encourage people to shop local and support the businesses in our community," says Jenny Amorose, chief operating officer for the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. "The city will put up holiday banners and wreaths, and we want people to come down and look around in this quaint area."

Giving Back

The chamber is partnering with Dublin Cleaners again this year for the annual Food, Coat and Mitten Drive. Residents can drop off nonperishable food items and usable coats and mittens before Jan. 1 at the chamber offices, 129 S. High St., Amorose says.

Dublin Cleaners launders the coats, and the winter items are donated to the Welcome Warehouse, a charity that helps needy families in the Dublin City School District. "Our whole front office fills up with coats and mittens," Amorose says. "We collected 200 to 300 coats of all sorts last year."

The chamber also will collect food at the NextGen Dublin Holiday Party, Amorose says. The free event, for young professionals 21 and older, is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Brookside Country Club, 2770 W. Dublin-Granville Road. "It's a great opportunity for young professionals to get together and meet other young professionals in the area while helping a local cause," she says.

Holiday Performances

Packed crowds are expected for Dublin Scioto High School's production of Irving Berlin's musical White Christmas, which will be staged at 8 p.m. Dec. 2-3 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 3-4. "We always do a Christmas play," says Principal Bob Scott. "Last year's was almost sold out, and White Christmas will be huge this year."

The school also will have holiday concerts, including a choir and orchestra show at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the school, 4000 Hard Road. The concert is free and always draws a crowd, Scott says. "It's short -- it doesn't eat up your whole evening -- and it's just uplifting," he says.

Dublin Coffman and Dublin Jerome high schools also host holiday concerts. Coffman has scheduled a choir and orchestra event at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the school, 6780 Coffman Road. Check the district's website, dublinschools.net, closer to the holiday season for additional performances.

Three events at the 200-seat Abbey Theater of Dublin also are Christmas themed. The Dublin Dance Center will perform The Nutcracker for the fifth year at 11 a.m. Dec. 3. The next day, at 3 p.m. Dec. 4, Columbus jazz singer Dwight Lenox will give a holiday concert featuring such classics as Let It Snow and The Christmas Song. Tickets for each event cost $7 for adults and $5 for youth and senior citizens. The theater is located in the Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road.

Irish Christmas in America: The Show will return to the venue for a 5 p.m. Dec. 18 performance. Michael Schirtzinger, theater supervisor at the Abbey, says the event, which nearly sold out last year, features seven musicians playing traditional Irish Christmas songs and dancing. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children and seniors.

Tickets for all three Abbey Theater events can be purchased by calling 614-410-4550, by visiting the Dublin Community Recreation Center or online at dublinohiousa.gov/abbey-theater.

Other Festivities

The popular Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt returns this year, through Dec. 17.

Participants can obtain a scavenger hunt card at the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library or from area shops, and then make their way through Historic Dublin businesses, noting where they find each elf. Merchants give a special treat for each elf found; hunters who find all 12 can enter a grand-prize drawing. For more information, go to historicdublin.org.

Our CupCakery once again will offer the Family Gingerbread House Workshop, where groups of up to three people can build a cottage from noon to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4. The workshop is $49 and all supplies are provided, including house trimmings.

Everyone is invited to the Dublin Scioto High School Santa Breakfast, scheduled from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Dec. 10 in the school cafeteria. The school's Key Club sponsors the event, which includes pancakes, pictures with Santa and crafts for kids. "It's not the holidays until you have a 5-year-old kid at the Santa Breakfast screaming at the top of their lungs on Santa's lap because they're afraid of Santa," Scott says.

One Dublin event celebrates Thanksgiving: the Flying Feather Four Miler, which begins and ends at the Club at Corazon, 7155 Corazon Drive. The 4-mile race, which steps off at 9 a.m. Nov. 24, winds through Glacier Ridge Metro Park. All runners and walkers will receive a shirt and a finisher's medal. Those 21 and older also will receive a hat, gloves and a bottle of wine. Those under age 21 will receive a bottle of nonalcoholic sparkling cider. Children ages 3-10 can run in the Gobbler Chase, which begins at 8:30 a.m. and is less than a quarter of a mile. Gobbler participants will receive a shirt, medal and book.

Flying Feather proceeds benefit the 2nd & 7 Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by former Ohio State University football players that provides books to needy children. Participation is limited to 4,500 people. Same-day registration will be available if spots remain. For more information, go to theflyingfeather.com.

While not strictly a holiday event, the Irish Fairy Doors of Dublin Trail is expected to attract plenty of visitors over the Christmas season, says Sara Blatnik, communications manager for the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Seven green sparkly doors, each 6 inches high, have been scattered inside historic district businesses since St. Patrick's Day. Visitors are encouraged to pick up a trail guide at the bureau, 9 S. High St., find the doors in each shop and write down the fairy name for that business, Blatnik says. "We've seen all ages doing it, including little kids dressing up as fairies," she says. "It's really unique to Dublin."

The bureau will mail a free Irish fairy doors T-shirt to anyone who turns in a completed trail guide. As of mid-October, nearly 800 shirts had been sent, Blatnik says. "Our whole brand is centered around the theme 'Irish is an Attitude,' " she says. "This is a good chance to explore the unique shops in the area, it's free, and you get something free."

Kathy Lynn Gray is a freelance writer.

This story appears in the Fall 2016 issue of Dublin365.