thursday, dec. 6 The holiday season is upon us. And the folks over at the James H. Lynn Planetarium were wondering about all the traditions. How did they start and why do so many involving setting things ablaze? A new program entitled Season of Light will answer all these questions and more. Covering subjects as broad as the burning Yule log and sparkling Christmas tree lights to the lighting of luminaries and the Hanukkah Menorah. Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. $2-$3. Schiele Museum of Natural History, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, N.C. 704-5866-6908. www.schielemuseum.org.
friday, dec. 7 Scandal! That's the name of the game when Santa goes on trial for sexually harassing one of his antlered "friends" in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. But, of course, that's not the end of it. As this hiccup in the normally, smooth-run Christmas machine gets bigger, each reindeer must have his/her turn in the spotlight. No one's safe from the finger-pointing, not even Mrs. Claus. 10 p.m. $10 ADV; $15. Actor's Theatre of Charlotte, 650 E. Stonewall St. 704-342-2251. www.actorstheatrecharlotte.org.
saturdaY, DEC. 8 "Sashay Shanté! Strike a pose, I'm too sexy," and every other modeling cliché will probably be used again in earnest tonight. Get those stiletto heels on and pony-walk on over to The Expressions Fall Fashion Showcase. Presented by Damani Entertainment, this event will showcase the talents of second and third-year students at The Art Institute of Charlotte, including the Fashion Marketing and Management, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media and Culinary Arts programs. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Charlotte Battered Women's Shelter. 7 p.m. $15 ADV; $20. Hart-Witzen Gallery, 136 E. 36th St. www.damanient.com.
sundaY, DEC. 9 For the thirtieth year in a row, the less fortunate are invited to see how the other half decks the halls. Maybe the last time you were up-close and personal with a three-story condominium was watching a rerun of The Cosby Show. Don't fret. The 30th Annual Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour will show you the ins and outs of nine private Uptown homes in the grand Victorian style that this section is known for. Also featured are free horse and carriage rides and performances by hand bell choirs and carolers. This tour only lasts for three days. Noon-4 p.m. $20. Historic Fourth Ward, 9th & Poplar Streets. 704-651-4183. www.fofw.com.