“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks / Dressed in holiday style / In the air / There’s a feeling / Of Christmas / Children laughing / People passing / Meeting smile after smile / And on every street corner you’ll hear / ‘Silver bells …’”

– Classic Christmas song

Ho, ho, ho, folks, and let me just say, “Merry Christmas.” This is one of those hurry-up years, when it seems like Christmas is coming faster than ever.

So much to do. So much to do. And where in the world could you possibly find a busier schedule than we’ve got going on today than right here at home? Mercy sakes, there’s more to do than anyone can get done.

Taking a quick second glance (at Christmas time, all lists must be double-checked) at the very long list – why it’s exhausting to even contemplate it all. But ’t’is the season, and it’s a lovely (or “most wonderful” if you prefer) time of the year.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, do make it merry and bright. Smile at folks, drop a dollar or some coins in the Salvation Army kettle and offer Christmas greetings to each and everyone you meet.

Breakfast with Santa

Chili’s and The Ark are hosting a special Breakfast with Santa, starting at 8 a.m., at Chili’s. Proceeds will benefit The Ark families. The $10 per person admission covers a pancake breakfast and a photo op with Santa. All adults escorting a child will need to purchase a ticket.

Christmas Under the Stars

Don’t miss the area’s premiere Christmas Under the Stars festival from 5-10 p.m. tonight spread throughout the area around the Depot Civic and Cultural Center and Lehnis Railroad Museum, into the Red Cross parking lot, and then along the open area usually reserved for recreational vehicles. Hosted by the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, many of the activities are offered for free, but there may be a nominal charge at some activity centers to benefit local nonprofit agencies.

Activities and booths which began Friday night and continue tonight include miniature Christmas village displays, a decorated Christmas tree contest, fire pit with S'mores and storytelling, choirs, Christmas karaoke, "Road to Bethlehem” live nativity by Aldersgate Enrichment Center, character cutouts for pictures, photos with Santa on the caboose at the railroad museum, cookie decorating, ornament decorating, picture frame ornaments, reindeer food, pet bowl decorating, silent stocking auction, inflatable obstacle course, giant gingerbread house, live trees for sale, letters to Santa, showings of the Polar Express movie, Guitar Hero contests, cake walk, Choo Choo Christmas events at the railroad museum, paint ball tree decorating, pony rides, starlit trail of lights, and holiday treats and drinks.

Toys for Kids

Toys for Kids will be providing toys for less fortunate families who are in need of help during the holidays. Today is the last day for parents to sign up to receive gifts for their children. Registration will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grand Starz, 2323 Belle Plain. To register, a parent or guardian should bring a picture ID and the Social Security cards for the children. Distribution day for the toys will be Saturday, Dec. 19, at Grand Starz.

Monetary donations can be sent by mail to Toys for Kids; P.O. Box 912; Brownwood, TX 76804. Also, there are drop boxes at several local retailers, Stanley Dodge, where each toy donor is given a chance to win a Wii, Fire Station 1 and Citizens National Bank are accepting donations.

First Baptist Christmas concert

First Baptist Church in Brownwood will present its annual Christmas concert at 6 p.m. today, with a second performance at 6 p.m. Sunday. The entire FBC Music Ministry will be represented with the sounds of the Sanctuary Choir supported by the orchestra, children’s choirs, and the handbell ensemble, invoking the warmth and beauty of seasonal favorites.

The FBC Music Ministry is under the direction of Dr. Gregory Church, assistant professor of music at Howard Payne University.

Coggin Avenue Christmas event

The Music and Worship Ministry of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church, 1815 Coggin Ave., will present “A Baby Changes Everything” at 7 p.m. The program is open to the public and there is no admission charge. The program tells the story of three imagined, troubled seekers who almost slept through the first Christmas.

And the list goes on

• The Brown County Museum of History is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday.

• The Heart of Texas Dance Club meets from 7 to 9 p.m. each Saturday at St. John’s Church, on Main and Depot, for open dance practice. Cost is $2 per person. Call 646-0048 or 646-0037 for information.

• In-town recycling is available on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the Austin Avenue underpass at Avenue A and Brady Avenue. The collection is made possible by Keep Brownwood Beautiful volunteers and the City of Brownwood. Items accepted are plastic water/soda bottles, plastic milk jugs, cardboard, glass jars and bottles, newspaper, aluminum cans, tin cans, cell phones, printer cartridges, white office paper and magazines.

• The Home Depot has a Kids Workshop from 9 a.m. until noon on the first Saturday of each month. Youngsters ages 5 and older are invited to participate with their parents. For information, call 643-1381.

• The Lake Brownwood Lions Club, 6751 Highway 279, will host bingo at 1:30 p.m. and a dance from 6 to 10 p.m. with a $4 per person admission. Snack bar will be open.