Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend

Bring on the holiday cheer with another tree lighting, festivals, fairs, and more.

Holiday Spirit
Boston Common Tree Lighting

Following a long tradition of serving as a thank-you gift from the people of Nova Scotia to the people of Boston for providing the first emergency assistance to arrive after the 1917 Halifax Explosion, a 47-foot white spruce has made the long trek from the Canadian province via ferry and truck and will be lit in the annual ceremony on the Boston Common Thursday evening. This year’s tree has an extra special meaning, as a group of runners led the tree out of Halifax, offering condolences from the people of Nova Scotia for the Boston Marathon bombings in April. A pyrotechnic display will follow the tree lighting, after which Mayor Menino will proceed to Arlington Street to light the trees along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. There will be an appearance by Santa Clause, performances by Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block and Erika Van Pelt from American Idol, hot chocolate and cookies provided by Taj Boston, and if you get there early, you can catch the free Frog Pond Skating Spectacular at 5 p.m., starring Olympic figure skating medalists and hopefuls.

Free, Thursday, December 5, 6-8 p.m., Boston Common,

Holiday Arts & Eats Festival

This holiday festival has it all—and for all ages. On Friday, the 21+ only “Holiday Arts & Eats After Dark” event will offer plenty of beer and hot mulled wine—perfect for warming the soul on a chilly winter night—as well as live bands and a DJ. On Saturday and Sunday, bring out the entire family for a visit with Santa and Mrs. Clause, a holiday train ride, and a photo opportunity with a LEGO version of the Red Sox’s 2013 World Series trophy. And on all three days, enjoy special treats from a vast array of food trucks, whose owners have “winterized” their menus for the first-ever winter food truck festival in the area. Enjoy holiday-themed dessert from Kickass Cupcakes and Whoo(pie) Wagon, as well as classics from favorites like Mei Mei, Bon Me, and Paris Creperie—just a few of the 20 trucks that will be in attendance throughout the weekend—as you browse through an artisan market inside a festive heated tent and enjoy musical stylings from local choral and a cappella groups.

$5-15, Friday, December 6, 6-10 p.m., Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, noon-6 p.m., Assembly Row, 300 Grand Union Blvd., Somerville,

South End Cookie Festival

This Saturday, the South End Business Alliance will host its inaugural Cookie Festival, featuring limited edition cookies from six local bakeries. Indulge in a ginger molasses cookie from Flour Bakery, a chewy ginger molasses version from The Buttery, a “Cospresso” cookie from Above & Beyond Catering, the “Bramble” from Sugary Bakery, the “Blueberry Pancookie” from Rox Diner, and a chocolate-dipped oatmeal creation with pecans from 570 Market. At the end of the last delicious tour, a special tree lighting will take place at the BCA Plaza to welcome the holiday season.

$20, Saturday, December 7, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., tours begin at Diseno, 409 Harrison Ave.,

Berklee Singers Showcase 30th Anniversary Concert

John Mayer may have dropped out of Berklee, but when notable alumni Susan Tedeschi, Paula Cole, and Amy Heidemann from Karmin, to name a few, were students, they performed in the annual Singers Showcase. Following in its 30-year tradition of celebrating exceptional talent, the music school will open up the stage of its largest concert hall tonight to eight student vocalists, who were chosen from more than 100 who auditioned. The first half will feature songs by Mariah Carey, Billy Porter, Jessie J, The Script, Christina Aguilera, and more, while the second will pay tribute to alumni as the eight vocalists perform their signature songs. Guest vocalists include Daniel McClain, whose songs are featured on Earth, Wind & Fire’s latest album, as well as Deanna Della Cioppa, a season eight finalist on America’s Got Talent.

$8 in advance, $12 day of show, Thursday, December 5, 8-10 p.m., Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave.,

Arts & Crafts
Harvard Square Holiday Fair

Churches are not only for worshipping. Now in its 28th season, the Harvard Square Holiday Fair transforms the First Parish Church in Cambridge into a holiday marketplace. Browse through original (and affordable!) gifts from a variety of New England craftspeople, while interacting with friends and fellow shoppers. And if you happen to forget someone on your list, no need to worry—the fair will continue well beyond this weekend.

Free, Friday, December 6, to Sunday, December 8; Friday, December 13, to Sunday, December 15; and Wednesday, December 18, to Monday, December 23; basement and courtyard of First Parish Church, 1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge,