1 Festival of Lights – Powell Gardens presents a new holiday tradition with its first Festival of Lights. This unique holiday experience is open from 3 to 9 p.m. each Thursday through Sunday through Jan. 7. This event, artfully curated by the Powell Gardens Horticulture staff, includes botanically-themed displays that stretch along a winding pathway through five of the seven themed gardens. The walking portion of the spectacular display allows guest to experience the serene setting of the Gardens at dark and encounter moments hidden throughout the gardens, including flower sculptures and illuminated insects, bedazzled trees, cascading pools of lights and fanciful up-lit displays. Holiday activities are planned throughout the duration of the festival – Saturday: Natural Holiday Décor Workshop; Sunday: Christmas Trio from the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance; Dec. 16: Making Spirits Bright with Tom’s Town Distilling Co.; Jan. 7: Amorosa, a quartet founded in 2012 by members of the Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra. For questions, call 697-2600. Festival admission applies: $12 for adults; $10 for ages 60 and older; $5 for ages 5-12; ages 4 and under are free. Parking is $5.

2 Selfies with Santa – The National Frontier Trails Museum is holding “Selfies with Santa & Seaman the dog” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, 318 W. Pacific Ave., Independence. Kids can dress up as Lewis & Clark and take a photo with Seaman, a Newfoundland dog, just like the one they took on their journey. You may take a wagon ride (10 a.m.-4 p.m.), play with old fashioned toys and make your own ornament. This is a free event, but regular admission applies if you plan to visit the exhibits. For questions, call 325-7576.

3 Spirit of Caring Christmas Concert – The concert, emceed by Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross, will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, at Blue Springs South High School, 1200 S.E. Adams Dairy Pkwy. The concert, a benefit for the Blue Springs Community Services League, includes Blue Springs elementary school choirs, soloists, ensembles, bands, a surprise “Holiday Guest,” and much more. Tickets are $5 at Blue Springs City Hall or at the door. For questions, contact Sharon Wingate, CSL site manager, at wingates@cslcares.org or 229-0033.

4 Messiah Sing-along – The Independence Messiah Choir has been presenting Handel's Messiah to the community since 1916. Through the years, the Choir performed in various venues in Independence and Kansas City, including the Auditorium and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The Choir is returning to Independence for an Advent service at 7 p.m. Sunday, at the Community of Christ Temple, 201 S. River Blvd., Independence. The service will feature sing-alongs and solos. Admission is free. A goodwill offering will be received. For questions, call 833-1000 or visit www.CofChrist.org/messiah.

5 Winter Solstice hike – In honor of the shortest day of the year, walk a forest trail lit by torches to ice sculptures, telescopes and a bonfire between 5 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13, at George Owens Nature Park, 1601 S. Speck Road, Independence. View the night sky; see live owls and drink free hot chocolate. The first 175 guests will receive a free travel mug. For questions, call 325-7115.

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