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    Leonard A. Lauder Postcard Archive/Museum of Fine Arts


    SHOW-YOUR-STRIPES CHILDREN’S ZEBRA TEA Kids love a tea party, especially when it has marzipan chocolate mice, black and white brownies, and gingerbread zebra cookies. All that, and grilled cheese and PB&J tea sandwiches, too. Bring a new stuffed toy for donation to Children’s Hospital in Boston. Dec. 23 and 30, 2-4 p.m. $30, $16 kids. UpStairs on the Square, 91 Winthrop St., Cambridge. 617-864-1933, www.upstairson

    BIG BIRD’S ADVENTURE: ONE WORLD, ONE SKY The election is over, and Big Bird is still with us. The lovable Sesame Street character is featured in a new planetarium show, along with Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu. Together, they explore the night sky and offer kids an introduction to astronomy. Dec. 22-Jan. 1. Call or see website for showtimes. $10, $9 seniors, $8 ages 3-11. Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Boston. 617-723-2500,

    REAL SCHOOL OF MUSIC STUDENT SHOWCASE See the cream of the crop from the Real School of Music perform original material and covers to benefit the school. The program features ensembles, duos, and soloists. Dec. 22, 4-8 p.m. $5. Johnny D’s, 17 Holland St., Somerville. 617-776-2004,

    Milva DiDomizio



    JEWISH CHRISTMAS EVE Chef Michael Leviton grew up in Newton and spent many a Christmas Eve eating Chinese food and going to the movies. The tradition continues with a special menu featuring Chinese fare, Hanukkah staples, and Christmas dishes with a French twist. Among the choices are chow fun with Maine shrimp, potato latkes, and chicken roulade for two. After dinner, head across the street to the West Newton Cinema for a movie. Dec. 24, 5:30-9 p.m. Call for reservations, pricing a la carte. Lumière, 1293 Washington St., West Newton. 617-244-9199,

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    A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS Jacqueline Schwab, the pianist who tickled the ivories for Ken Burns’s Civil War film, is featured at a holiday concert of music from the era. Tenor Joseph Holmes and mezzo Holly Zagaria are also featured in hymns, carols, and popular songs of the day like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. $30, $25 seniors and students. Wakefield Unitarian Universalist Church, 326 Main St., Wakefield. 339-203-9366,

    JBALL 2012: THE CHOSEN PARTY What’s a Jewish professional to do on Christmas Eve? The J Connection offers choices for the young, and older. Both events feature top 40 dance music, cocktail reception, and giveaways. Dec. 24. $15-$25. 8 p.m.-2 a.m., 20s & 30s JBall at Wild Rover, 65 Chatham St., Boston. 8 p.m.-midnight, 40+ JBall, McCormick & Schmick’s, 1 North Market St. Boston. 781-444-7771,

    SATURDAY MORNING BIRDING Rise up and enjoy a little communion with nature at this weekly event for birders of all skill levels. The program covers the best birding spots in the Newburyport/Plum Island area. Dec. 22, 9-11:30 a.m. $10. Bring binoculars if available. Joppa Flats Education Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport. 978-462-9998,

    Milva DiDomizio

    Art and activities

    HOLIDAY VACATION WEEK AT THE MFA The Museum of Fine Arts offers plenty of kid stuff during school break. Check out the Art of the Americas Wing and other areas of the museum, and partake in activities like making a charm necklace, designing your own coin, and creating an animal print. Kids are also invited to look to the past at the exhibit “The Postcard Age,” then look to the future by making their own New Year’s resolution postcards. Pictured: Ice skaters, from a series advertising the Saint-Sauveur sports complex. Activities Dec. 26-31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (postcard activity until 8 p.m. Dec. 26). Museum hours: Wed-Fri 10 a.m.-9:45 p.m., Sat-Sun
    10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Activities free with museum admission of $25, $23 seniors and students,
    kids free; free for all after 4 p.m. Wed. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston.

    Milva DiDomizio