December has several special events to celebrate the holidays, and the season, and here’s what’s come across my screen so far. (And please, please, if you have something I should know about, post or email! I’d love to share, and will update this post with any new information.)

Friday, December 3

5-8:30 Parent’s Night Out, Bangor Parks & Rec. $6 Bangor residents, $10, non-residents.

Saturday, December 4

9am-11am Breakfast with the Claus‘, Bangor Grange, 1192 Ohio Street. Gift bags for kids, crafts, photo op. Suggested donation of $3 adult, $2 child, or $8 for family of four or more.

All day, Downtown Holiday Festival

11am-4pm Art Factory, 40 Harlow Street. University of Maine Museum of Art will have various art projects for kids to make — for free!

11am-4pm Santa’s Workshop, 20 Broad Street. Meet Santa in the lobby of the Charles Inn. Bring your own camera for the photo op.

Noon- 3pm Santa Scavenger Hunt. Start and end at Santa’s Workshop. The scavenger hunt is designed for younger children and all hunters will receive a prize.

1pm-6pm Downtown Holiday Marketplace, 40 Harlow Street. Small business and crafters will have their wares on sale in the UMMA/EMDC building.

3:30-4:30 Cookies & Cocoa, Maine Discovery Museum. The MDM will close early (3pm) but the lobby will be open for free cookies and cocoa as families wait for the parade to begin.

4:30pm Festival of Lights parade. The annual holiday parade will wind through downtown Bangor, and immediately after, the Tree Lighting will take place in West Market Square.

December 8

7pm The Velveteen Rabbit. Penobscot Theatre. Toys come to live in this classic story, playing all month at the Penobscot Theatre. Visit their site for times and tickets.

Friday, December 10

5:30pm Gingerbread Housebuilding workshop, Bangor Parks & Rec Center. Kids ages 5-12 can build their own gingerbread house and take it home! $6 for Bangor residents, $9 for non-residents.

7pm Willy Wonka, Jr. Next Generation Theatre, Brewer. “Roald Dahl’s timeless story of the world famous candy man comes to life in this stage adaptation, featuring favorite songs such as “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination”. Performed by the Next Generation children’s theatre program! Tickets: $8 for adults, $4 for children” (Also playing December 11 and December 12.)

Saturday, December 11

Noon-4pm Santa’s Workshop, 20 Broad Street. Meet Santa in the lobby of the Charles Inn. Bring your own camera for the photo op.

5-6pm Skate with the Bears, Alfond Arena, Orono.  The Friends of Maine Hockey present this free family event, which is a great opportunity for fans of all ages to meet the players and have their picture taken.

Friday, December 17

5-8:30 Parents’ Night Out, Bangor Parks & Rec. $6 Bangor residents, $10, non-residents.

5:30-9 Holiday Parents’ Night Out, Maine Discovery Museum. Pizza dinner, playtime, and crafts. 24/member-child; $28/non-member child; siblings half-price. Ages 4+. Pre-register.

Saturday, December 18

Noon-4pm Santa’s Workshop, 20 Broad Street. Meet Santa in the lobby of the Charles Inn. Bring your own camera for the photo op.

Friday, December 31

3pm-2011 Downtown Countdown 2011: The Rhythm of Life Specific events TBA.

All month:

Go ice skating: Sawyer Arena’s open skating schedule is posted.

Go swimming: The UMaine Leisure Pool is great for families, and their break hours start December 17. It’s very easy to find parking when students are gone, so break is a perfect time to try the pool if you haven’t before.

Feed the hungry: Hannaford makes it easy to donate to local food cupboards, and in exchange, you get a coupon book. Did you know $1 can buy $10 of food for a food bank? That’s why we choose the money option. (For little kids, though, the box is a great way to make it tangible.)

Give to a child in need: There are many ways to give this holiday season. The Bangor Daily News and Salvation Army allow you to donate money online to the Santa’s Helper fund. Also, this year you can choose a local child from an online Angel Tree, as a partnership between JCPenney and the Salvation Army. (You do NOT need to buy the angel gifts at JCPenney — they are just a sponsor.) I found that searching for a child using Google Chrome didn’t work, but it did work in Safari. You will also find many angel trees around town, which again, choosing a gift with your child probably makes it more tangible than donating money online.

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