1. Celebrate winter
Winterfest will be held at Riverwalk Park, 421 Court Street in Jacksonville, from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy sledding, ice skating, and snowball fights. Santa arrives at 1 p.m. Other activities will include a petting zoo, reindeer games, hay rides, pony rides, and train rides. New this year, a candy shop will be available at the Riverwalk Marina. Stick around for the tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. There will be a donation station for Christmas Cheer at Riverwalk Crossing Park during on Dec. 2 from 1 - 6 p.m. Drop off a new, unwrapped toy for boys and girls ages 0-18. Donations will benefit local children. Free admission and parking. Jacksonville Transit will provide a free shuttle service between Riverwalk Crossing Park and Jacksonville Commons. Park at one location and access both the Winterfest outdoor activities at Riverwalk and the Arts & Crafts Show at the Commons with the convenience of Jacksonville Transit's shuttle service. Overflow parking for Winterfest at Riverwalk Crossing Park includes New Bridge Middle School, New River Shopping Center, Jacksonville Public Safety Complex, the County Justice Complex, and Jacksonville Landing.
2. Catch a movie
In theaters this weekend are “Wonder Wheel” rated PG-13, directed by Woody Allen and set on Coney Island in the 1950s, about the wife (Kate Winslet) of a carousel operator (Jim Belushi) and his estranged daughter (Juno Temple) pursuing the same man (Justin Timberlake); “The Disaster Artist” directed by and starring James Franco in a movie about the making of the cult classic “The Room,” considered to be one of the worst films ever made.
Or you could have a holiday movie night at home. There are a slew of good movies available on DVD and on streaming devices, including “Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Story.”
3. Fight AIDS
Friday is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with the virus, and to commemorate those who have died from it. Check your local newspaper for information on how to participate in fundraisers and other activities to support people affected by this disease.
It’s that delicious time again – time to bake for the holidays! You can start making cookies and cakes and eggnog, or whatever your family’s tradition is. And several special cookie centric holidays are here: Monday is National Cookie Day, and the first week of December is both Recipe Greetings for the Holidays Week and Cookie Cutter Week. So pour yourself a big glass of milk and whip up a batch of sugar cookies to cut and decorate.
5. Go shopping
Did you get all your holiday shopping done already? If so, congratulations! If not, there are plenty of sales still going on, and don’t forget to check out local deals.
6. Check out the lights
If you’re looking for a cheap way to entertain your family, there’s nothing better than driving around to look at holiday lights. Just hit the road and enjoy!
7. Get some fresh air
Join a park ranger for a nature hike at Hammocks Beach State Park, 1572 Hammocks Beach Road in Swansboro, on Dec. 3, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.