Savor the season at the Arb

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's elves have decked the Great Hall for the holidays. "Making Spirits Bright" showcases a 20-foot-tall tree composed of hundreds of live red and white poinsettias, as well as gingerbread houses and evergreens trimmed with handmade ornaments by the Minnesota Herb Society. Events include drop-in plant craft activities, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Jan 3, live music performances, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and pet photos with Santa, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 20. Or simply walk the grounds to admire the quiet winter beauty. "Making Spirits Bright" continues through Jan. 3 at 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska. Gate admission: $12 adults and ages 13 and older; free for members. Free admission on Thursdays. Go to or call 952-443-1400.

Great American giveaway

A $50,000 windfall would go a long way toward financing that kitchen makeover or updating your home furnishings next year. The Great American Country (GAC) channel, which airs shows such as "Lakefront Bargain Hunt," "Junk Gypsies" and "Flea Market Flip," is giving away $50,000 in cash. You can enter once a day through Dec. 22. Go to and click on "Sweepstakes."

Santa on stage

On a holiday shopping trip with kids in tow? Stop by Bachman's to watch "Santa's Magical Music," a play featuring the antics of Albert the Elf. Join in a caroling sing-a-long and bring a camera to take photos with Santa and Albert. The play is at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Minneapolis store, 6010 Lyndale Av. S. The performance lasts 20 minutes; seating is first come, first served. Go to or call 612-861-7600.