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Christmas near, so enjoy holiday activities this weekend

This time next week, the Christmas gifts will have been (mostly) opened, the eggnog consumed and the holiday decor already looking a little tired.

We hate to sound so cynical, so just consider it our way of nudging you into activity this weekend. It's the last one before Christmas, after all. And that means it's time to take in as much seasonal cheer as you can before it all becomes a distant memory.

Here are 10 things to do this weekend to get into the holiday mood:

1) See a holiday movie. Finish your holiday shopping then take in one of the Christmas-y movies at the movieplex, such as the remake of " A Christmas Carol" or the Robert DeNiro flick " Everybody's Fine." (See showtimes on Pages xx-xx.) Or you can see the Will Ferrell comedy " Elf" for free at 10 a.m. Saturday at Warren Oldtown, 329 N. Mead.

2) Make memories with family and friends with free carriage rides at Bradley Fair. Tonight and Saturday are the final evenings to enjoy rides around the shopping center, from 6 to 10 p.m. See the decorated Christmas tree and miles of crystal lights as you ride in the holiday carriages. For more information, call 316-630-9990.

3) See a Miniature Christmas Tree Exhibit by artist Sylvia Jackson at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, 204 S. Main. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for kids. For more information, call 316-265-9314.

4) Remember the reason for the season by watching " The Road to Bethlehem," a depiction of the events leading to the birth of Jesus. It's at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Vineyard Church, 2020 E. Blake. Groups leave every 15 minutes for the 35- to 40-minute presentation. A donation of $5 is suggested. For more information, call 877-500-7445.

5) The whole family will enjoy Exploration Place's Holiday Workshops, offered Sunday through Dec. 30. Among the workshops are ones to make edible chocolate ornaments, at 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday; one of make a mini gingerbread house at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and one on making Christmas tree toppers, at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. All workshops are at Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd. Call for prices and to register, at 316-660-0665.

6) Have the kids' photos taken with Santa during mall hours through Thursday at Towne East Square, 7700 E. Kellogg. Fees ranging from $17.99 to $24.99 are charged. For more information, call 316-686-4849.

7) Head to Old Town Square and the Farm & Art Market Plaza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday for Holiday on the Plazas, an outdoor arts and crafts fair. Admission is free. For more information, call 316-462-2787, ext. 742. Free carriage rides will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Old Town Square.

8) Listen to the seasonal sounds of the Diamond W Wranglers and enjoy a holiday dinner at the Empire House Theater at Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 Museum Blvd. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and dinner is at 6:30 with the musical entertainment following. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for kids by calling 866-830-8283. Reservations are strongly recommended.

9) Brett Valliant, organist at First United Methodist Church, will perform his 10th annual Christmas Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the church, 330 N. Broadway. A donation is suggested.

10) Plan an excursion to see one of Wichita's large outdoor light displays, or both of them.

Lights on the Lake is a drive-through display open through Christmas Day at Heartspring, 8700 E. 29th St. North. You'll see thousands of lights, more than 70 displays and a 40-foot tree. Hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday and 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Photos with Santa and refreshments will be available Friday through Sunday. Admission to the display is free, but donations are encouraged. Proceeds go to Heartspring. For more information, call 316-634-8761.

Lights on St. Paul is a drive-through display on St. Paul from Douglas to Second Street. It's open through Dec. 27. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Photos with Santa and refreshments will be offered Friday through Sunday. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. Proceeds benefit The Arc of Sedgwick County, serving people with developmental disabilities For more information, call 316-943-1191.

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