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This Week's Day-By-Day Picks 

Scrooge bah-humbugs  the holidays in Great  Lakes' A Christmas Carol (Wednesday).
  • Scrooge bah-humbugs the holidays in Great Lakes' A Christmas Carol (Wednesday).
Thursday, December 11

Hale Farm's Holiday Lantern Tours are more than just candlelit walks on rural historical grounds; they're trips back to the 19th century, to the days before Tony Hawk's Underground, iPods, and the new OutKast CD made life bearable. But imagine it's 1848, and the village's residents are awaiting your visit. There's the Hadley family, amusing itself with unsophisticated games and craft-making. There's miserly Mr. Tibbals, telling you why the holidays suck. And look! The Meredith clan is decorating its tree, and you can join them. The fun runs through December 21 at Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Road in Bath. Tours depart every 20 minutes, from 6 to 8:20 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 5 to 8:20 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12 and $15. Call 877-425-3327 for more information.

Friday, December 12

You better watch out. You better not cry. Better not pout, and here's why: Santa Claus is coming to the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center tonight, and he has neither time nor tolerance for whiny kids. He does, however, have three hours to stop by and say hello, and maybe help make a craft or two. Storytelling and snacks are also promised, and you can bet the big guy will stick around for cookies. Always time for that. It starts at 6:30 at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is $15, $8 for kids. Call 440-871-2900 for more info.

Ten years ago, Harry Connick Jr. released When My Heart Finds Christmas, his swingin' contribution to the holiday music canon. And as any artist worth his multiple-album contract can tell you, it's hard to stop at just one. The new Harry for the Holidays includes the retro singer and pianist's takes on familiar seasonal fare -- such as "Frosty the Snowman," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and "Silent Night" -- jazzed up with big-band horns and hepcat arrangements. Connick doesn't really do anything new with the material (Sinatra was there more than a half-century ago), but it sure beats Whitney Houston and Chicago's recent holiday offerings. Connick plays the Palace Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 8 tonight. Tickets range from $32.50 to $70. They are available by calling 216-241-6000.

Saturday, December 13

The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes has quite a cultural lesson lined up for Celebration of Lights. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and a Croatian Christmas are represented, as are Sweden's St. Lucia's Day and Thailand's Loy Krathong. "It's really a chance to see how light has been used around the time of the winter solstice," says Stephanie Thomas, the program's naturalist, who leads the illuminating outdoor tour. "A lot of things are still connected to nature through tradition." Besides, where else you gonna see a pagan bonfire tonight? Celebration of Lights happens from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, 2600 South Park Boulevard. Admission is $6, and registration is required. Call 216-321-5935 for more info.

Sunday, December 14

Red {an orchestra}'s holiday offering, A Red Christmas, is every bit as audacious, challenging, and intriguing as the group's regular-season programming. Centered on an update of Heinrich Schütz's oratorio Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi (complete with a new English translation!), the concert also includes "The Adoration of the Magi" and a piece by Respighi. The Good Company Chorus of Cleveland joins conductor Jonathan Sheffer and three of the orchestra's vocalists onstage. A Red Christmas is performed at 3 p.m. at St. Stanislaus Church, 3649 East 65th Street. Tickets range from $15 to $55, available by calling 440-519-1733.

Monday, December 15

Every bar has a Ladies' Night, but only Coach's Place looks out for the guys. The pub's Men's Night Out Mondays feature six TVs tuned to the weekly game and drafts that go for just a buck. It's enough to warm even our testosterone-pumping heart. Women are welcome, but with football on the tube and cheap brew in the mugs, they may go unnoticed. Coach's Place is at 19309 Nottingham Road. Admission is free. Call 216-531-8102 for more information.

Tuesday, December 16

More than 150 years of pictures are documented in Signs of Life: Recent Photography Acquisitions, the art museum's latest exploration of photography through the ages. Ten works -- by such pioneering shutterbugs as Louis de Clercq, Mark Klett, and Carrie Mae Weems -- make up the exhibit, which globetrots through African, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Mexican, and American settings. Think of them as travelogues through time, place, and -- in the case of "Lunar Panoramic Mosaic/Montage," a 1966 look at the moon -- space. Signs of Life is at the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Boulevard) through April 7. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closed Mondays). Admission is free. Call 216-421-7340 for more information.

Wednesday, December 17

Great Lakes Theater Festival has presented A Christmas Carol for 15 years, and it's become the local standard for Charles Dickens's oft-produced holiday tale. "A lot of people have seen this show," says artistic director Charles Fee. "It's the biggest one we have." The troupe performs the play as it had been staged for years by former artistic director Gerald Freedman, who returns again this year to tweak the material. "It's tough to keep it fresh," Fee admits. "But Gerald has brought back a spirit to the play that's hard to sustain over the years. It feels alive again." A Christmas Carol is at the Ohio Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) through Sunday, December 21. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $16 to $45, available by calling 216-241-6000.

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