Love the brisk wintry weather? Or would you rather stay cozy inside, munching on cookies and listening to live music? The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum offers both festive indoor and outdoor options through Jan. 3.
Walk the grounds to view the annual illuminated display "Winter Lights," presenting 14 themed vignettes and sculptures including waterlilies, butterflies, "Winter Wedding" and "Frozen Falls." The expanded outdoor S'Mores Village features a wood fire pit, lighted straw bale maze and food and beverages.
Inside the Great Hall, gaze at a 24-foot-tall live poinsettia tree, nature-inspired decorated evergreens, lights and festive decor. A Holiday Gift Market of pottery, jewelry, garden-themed decor and pet items by local artists and vendors is from 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 15. Naturalist Matt Schuth will sign his book "Nature at Our Doorstep" from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Gift & Garden Store.
"Winter Lights" is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays through Sundays through Jan. 3; also Dec. 26-27, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Events are free with gate admission: $15 for ages 16 and older; free for ages 15 and younger. arboretum.umn.edu.
Audubon bird count
Sponsored by the Minnesota Ornithological Union, this nationwide bird census requires assistance from the public to identify species. Participants can move at their own pace to search for birds in different sections of the park. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 15. Free, advance registration required at 763-694-7650. Lowry Nature Center, Carver Park Reserve, Victoria. threeriversparks.org
Nature center bird count
A drop-in program to watch and record winter birds on the trails of Maplewood Nature Center. Enter sightings into eBird or hand-write a list for a naturalist. 9:30-11 a.m. Dec. 15. Free. 2659 E. 7th St., Maplewood. maplewoodmn.gov/960/Nature-Center
Textile Center shop
Those still trying to check names off their gift list can find unique items at the Textile Center's holiday gallery shop. The seasonal expanded retail space features work by local fiber artist Elsa Jo Ellison and showcases cloth from around the world. Ellison is one of more than 100 crafters whose handmade work, including cozy wearables, fiber art and other merchandise, will be sold this year. There's also a selfie opportunity at the event, with a life-size, yarn-bombed Santa on display. Noon to 4 p.m. through Dec. 24. 3000 University Av. SE., Mpls. textilecentermn.org.
Take an exclusive, after-hours tour of the "Handmade Holidays" exhibition at the American Swedish Institute. Fill your senses with the smell and sights of seasonal traditions from Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. Listen to stories that highlight the handmade details and decorations inside the historic home. The event features light bites and glögg, a mulled wine. 7 p.m. Dec. 18, 27 & Jan. 10. $55, $50 for members; tickets at asimn.org. 2600 Park Av. S., Mpls.