It is time to kick-off the holidays! The Village of Wauwatosa's annual tree lighting ceremony will break tradition and take place tonight, Friday, Dec. 3rd. (In the past, the tree was always lit on the first Saturday in December). Santa will have the honor of lighting the tree and all are welcome to sing along with the McKinley school chorus. There will also be hot chocolate, cider & cookies served. The tree lighting takes place at 6:30 at Root Common, where Wauwatosa Avenue (76th St) and Harwood meet.

Visits with Santa and horse-drawn wagon rides are also going to be available Friday from 7-9 pm and on Saturday from 2-5 pm. The wagon rides, sponsored by WaterStone Bank, are complimentary with your donation of cash or canned goods for the Wauwatosa Food Pantry.

While you are in the Village, be sure to stop by the Little Red Store, which is decorated for the holidays and where you will find a variety of Wauwatosa-themed gift items for sale. The Little Red Store will be open from 6:30-9 pm on Friday and from 2-5 pm on Saturday.

There are many other fabulous shopping opportunities in the village also. All the stores will be open late on Friday and 29 local businesses are participating in the Village's Holiday Passport drawing, where you can win 1 of 3 fabulous Village-inspired gift baskets. Visit the Village's web site for more information:

And just a little north of the Village, the Wauwatosa Historical Society is hosting "A Very Merry Christmas House" at the Kneeland Walker House this weekend. Spectacularly decorated for the holidays, this mansion is going to be open for tours free of charge on Saturday and Sunday, from 1-4 pm. Refreshments will also be offered.

I know that all of these festivities, combined with the snowfall predicted, will definitely put me in the holiday spirit! I hope that you and yours enjoy this weekend in the Village and that you have a very happy holiday season.