Worthington will kick off the holiday season with shopping, visits with Santa and a festive tree lighting ceremony this Sunday.

Worthington will kick off the holiday season with shopping, visits with Santa and a festive tree lighting ceremony this Sunday.

The annual open house will run from noon to 5:30 p.m., when the community is invited to gather on the Village Green to sing carols and watch as the tree is lighted.

And though Sunday opens the season, downtown merchants will continue to offer special shopping events and sales clear up to Christmas Day, and kids and families are invited to Christmas events at the Orange Johnson House and at the new McConnell Arts Center.

Downtown shops and restaurants will open at noon on Sunday. Throughout the afternoon, shoppers can enjoy music, refreshments and specials.

Ride around old Worthington in a horse-drawn carriage from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., or have children's photos taken with Santa between 1 and 5 p.m. on the front porch of the Worthington Inn.

Kids are invited to make Christmas crafts while their parents taste morsels from holiday baskets at Maple Lee Florists. Kids will also enjoy are the "animatronic" scenes in the front window of Zettler's Worthington Hardware.

The city's Christmas tree has been decorated. At 5:30, everyone will gather around the tree on the northeast quadrant to sing and watch as the lights go on for the season.

Downtown merchants would like to remind residents that their businesses are more than just a charming facade, that they are filled with gifts and decorating items for the holidays.

Besides the open house, they will also hold a special Illuminating Shopping event on Dec. 3 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Glowing luminaries will light the way between the shops, where cheese and wine will be served, live music will play. Again, carriage rides will also be provided.

Shope like Fritzy Jacobs will offer special deals on gifts and decorations, and Jennifer Richards will open On Second Thought, with her popular resale items and cards, purses, jewelry, and other items made by local artists.

Illuminating Shopping night will also be Ladies' Night at Worthington Jewelers. Women are invited to come in and enjoy wine, cheese and chocolate while they check out the latest in jewelry and make out a "wish list."

On Dec. 10, men are invited to come in for free Scotch, beer, pizza and cigars. They can shop for the women in their lives in a non-threatening environment, said Worthington Jewelers owner Joe Davis.

Damsels in this Dress will hold a trunk showing of a line of clothing designed by a Cleveland designer who works in a fabric of cotton and bamboo on Dec. 12. The following day, there will be a party and spa day for the Damsel Divas, a special club for Damsels customers.

Other holiday events coming up include the first-ever musical tour of homes sponsored by the Chamber Music Connection on Dec. 6. Nine homes decorated for the season will be on the tour, and young musicians will play at each home and at St. John's Episcopal Church, where hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from several Worthington merchants.

At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Nov. 28 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, the Handel: Messiah Community Sing Along will be held at the Bronwynn Theater at the McConnell Arts Center.

Other holiday offerings at the MAC include the Worthington Chorus presenting "A Hero's Song" on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and the Alliance Chorus presenting Harmonies for the Holidays on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On Dec. 5 and 6, artists will be at the MAC selling their works at an event called Wrap it up at the MAC. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p .m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

During the sale, children from first through sixth grades are invited to create two gifts during a workshop. The event is supervised and family is invited to join in.

The Orange Johnson House will be open for a special family evening on Dec. 11 from 7-9 p.m. Santa will visit and refreshments will be provided. A small admission fee will be charged.

The museum, 956 High St., will also be open Dec. 6, 13, and 20 from 1 to 5 p.m. Those events are free.