The Faneuil Hall Christmas Tree – 2011

November is here, which means it is time to start preparing our wallets, stomachs, and spirits for the 2012 holiday events in Boston. This holiday season in Boston brings back the classic events like the 71st Annual Boston Common Tree Lighting, the opening of the Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, and the Downtown Crossing Holiday Market. Boston will be buzzing throughout November and December with more lightings, ice skating, shopping events, holiday parties, and even a bunch of half-naked Santas running through the city. Don’t worry — it’s for a good cause, and it’s all part of Boston’s gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year. So put these special holiday events on your radar now to make sure you don’t miss out on any of this year’s festive cheer in Boston.

Week of 11/12

Frog Pong Winter Season Opening – 10 A.M.–10 P.M. –  Friday, Nov. 16 – Weather permitting, the Frog Pond at Boston Common opens the winter season with public ice skating at 10 A.M. and raffles with prizes to win free lessons.

Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting Ceremony & Launch of Blink! – Saturday, Nov. 17 – Faneuil Hall Marketplace – The storied section of Boston kicks off the holidays with an early, annual tree lighting as well as their launch of Blink!, a 6-week state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza featuring music from the Holiday Pops.

Week of 11/19

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets – Thursday, Nov. 22 – Metlife Stadium, NY – The classic east coast rivalry continues this Thanksgiving at Metlife Stadium. Be sure to catch it on TV and to also avoid all the food-throwing tantrums sure to be caused by the game’s results this Turkey Day.

Black Friday – Friday, Nov. 23 – The biggest shopping day of deals comes again after Thanksgiving, and the city of Boston won’t be skimping.

The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker Performance – Friday, Nov. 23–Sunday, Dec. 30 – Boston Ballet – All new sets and costumes revamp the traditional Nutcracker tale in 2012 for a memorable, magical Christmas performance by the Boston Ballet.

27th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert – Saturday, Nov. 24 – Faneuil Hall Marketplace – There’s nothing like the jolly sounds of the tuba echoing through Faneuil Hall and its lighted holiday tree to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Downtown Crossing Holiday Market – Saturday, Nov. 24 — Saturday, Dec. 29 – Downtown Crossing – The Downtown Boston BID brings the city once again the Holiday Market, where Christmas shoppers can browse over original arts, local handmade crafts, artisanal food, jewelry, home decor, and more, just in time for gift-giving season.

Week of 11/26

Cyber Monday – Monday, Nov. 26 – The Monday after Thanksgiving, the Internet will be rife with online deals for the holiday shopping rush in this virtual version of Black Friday.

71st Annual Boston Common Tree Lighting Ceremony – Thursday, Nov. 29 – Boston Common – A gift each year from Nova Scotia, Canada, the Boston Common Christmas Tree goes up in light at the end of November with an event presided over by Mayor Menino and featuring acts like The Rockettes and noted vocalists, such as last year’s performer, American Idol’s Katherine McPhee.

Frog Pond Skating Spectacular – 5 P.M. Thursday, Nov. 29 – Frog Pond, Boston Common – The night of the tree lighting, there will be an ice skating show at the Frog Pond before the ceremony featuring The Skating Club of Boston’s talented members.

31 Nights of Lights at Prudential Center – Saturday, Dec. 1–Monday, Dec. 31 – Prudential Tower – Starting December 1st, Prudential Center will light the top of the Tower each night a different color in support of their 31 partnered Boston organizations. The colors will continue until New Year’s Eve.

Week of 12/3

Boston Holiday Pops – Wednesday, Dec. 5–Monday, Dec. 24 – Symphony Hall – During the month of December, the historic Symphony Hall hosts the Boston Pops in holiday-themed orchestra concerts with classic Christmas sing-alongs and visits from St. Nick.

No Rest for the Wicked Funny – Friday, Dec. 7–Saturday, Dec. 8 – Improv Asylum, North End – A 24-hour improv show put on by No Rest for the Wicked Funny, Inc., a fundraiser that uses the art of comedy to raise awareness and funds to improve the community for those who need it most. The event will benefit Globe Santa, a fund that collects donations for underprivileged children in the Greater Boston area to receive gifts during the holidays.

Santa Speedo Run – Saturday, Dec. 8 – Lir – When else can you run down Newbury Street not in your finest fashions but in your skimpiest Speedo? This 1-mile jog in December garners 500 participants who dress down and run for Play Ball Foundation, an organization that uses the lessons of sports to build character and teamwork in Boston middle-schoolers, in nothing but Christmas garb and a tiny bathing suit. Santa hats and beards encouraged, and thongs not allowed.

SoWa Holiday Market – Saturday, Dec. 8–Sunday, Dec. 9 – Benjamin Franklin Institute – The artisanal, indie SoWa Open Market returns to the South End in its 9th year for the Christmas shopping season and is ideal for finding novel and original gifts.

Week of 12/10

Boston String Quartet: Christmas in Paris! – Wednesday, Dec. 12 – Cambridge Performing Arts Center – The 3rd annual Christmas series of the Boson String Quartet will explore Paris through traditional French carols, music from hit French movies, and of course Edith Piaf.

A Very GK! Holiday Festival – 2:30 p.m. – Friday, Dec. 14 – Royale – This alternative music concert festival is brought to you by Power Kingdom and will go down at Royale nightclub in Boston.

Week of 12/24

Christmas Eve/Christmas – Dec. 24–Dec. 25

Week of 12/31

First Night 2013 – 1 p.m.–midnight – Monday, Dec. 31 –  Boston – Every New Year’s Eve, Boston is home to the First Night Festival of the Arts, where 200 performances and exhibits occur in 35 different indoor and outdoor venues across the city. The program events include music, a parade, films, art installations, and giant ice sculptures all around Boston’s downtown.

New Year’s Eve – Monday, Dec. 31 – Boston – To ring in the New Year, Boston’s clubs, bars, and hotels pull out all the stops and throw parties, galas, balls, and pub crawls.