10 Grab A Saw
Catch a ride on the horse-drawn wagon out to the fields of more than 50,000 Christmas trees to choose just the right one at Big Tree Plantation. Before roping it atop your car, head to the barn for hot chocolate as well as a fabulous assortment of wreaths, ribbons and ornaments. For Fontanini collectors, the collection of crèches is a dream come true.
Big Tree Plantation, 2544 S. Waynesville Road, Morrow. (513) 836-0975 or www.bigtreeplantation.com
 
9 Giddyup to Fountain Square
 The best advice. Do it all "” skate on the Square, shop at Tiffany and have a cocktail at Palomino. On Saturdays during the holidays, make sure your carriage ride returns you to the Square in time to see Santa rappel down the side of the 525 Vine Building to Macy's rooftop.
Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine, Cincinnati. (513) 763-8036 or www.myfountainsquare.com.
8 Sultry Celebration
You'll melt when Over the Rhine's Karin Bergquist wraps her voice around "All I Ever Get for Christmas is Blue" at the annual Christmas show from the husband-wife musical team of Linford Detweiler and Bergquist. The Dec. 17 concert at the Taft Theater "has become a wonderful way for us to close our working year with our extended musical family," says Detweiler. "It connects me to my childhood growing up in small towns in southeast Ohio. Once a year we would put together a Christmas program," he says, with kids putting on flannel robes as shepherds and everyone having a part. "I loved that feeling as a child," he says. That spirit comes through to the audience, making this one very, very Cincy holiday tradition.
Taft Theater, 317 E. Fifth Street, Cincinnati. (513) 232-6220 or www.overtherhine.com.
 
7 Caroling & Carriages
The Annual Lebanon Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival is an early start to a month of magic. Dec. 3. Two parades, the second by candlelight, bell choirs, storytelling and the North Pole Express, bring out your holiday spirit.
Downtown Lebanon, Ohio. (513) 932-1100 or www.lebanonchamber.org.
 
6 Elegance & Antiques
Beyond the antique German feather trees and exquisite ornaments, don't miss the special exhibit of illustrated editions of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" from the 1850s through the 1920s, at the Taft Museum of Art. Then, of course, a bowl of soup at the café. In a setting like this, you just pine to have someone wait on you.
Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Cincinnati. (513) 241-0343 or www.taftmuseum.org.
If you can't keep track of the number of times the family has bundled up and headed over to go see Scrooge, join the crowd. Remember Grandpa making noises like clanging chains on the ride back home? Or when your cousin jumped in her seat when the knocker fell for the first time? "A Christmas Carol" is a spellbinding delight in this intimate theater.
Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Cincinnati. (513) 421-3888 or www.cincyplay.com.
The tree of spectacular red poinsettias can't steal the show from the live nativity "” a quiet, contemplative favorite.
Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati. (513) 421-4086 or www.cincyparks.com/krohn-conservatory.
 
3 All Aboard!
The new home of the Duke Energy Holiday Trains has too many holiday events to list. Check out the trains "” it's not Christmas otherwise "” but there's so much more. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati. (513) 287-7000 or www.cincymuseum.org.
 
2 Lighting the Way
Kids introduced to Santa's reindeer from a Snugli now find PNC's Festival of Lights can make a perfect date night and some are even pushing a stroller themselves. Two million lights! Talk about tradition "” it's the 29th year. Don't miss the lighting of the Menorah at 7 p.m. Dec. 22.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati. (513) 281-4700 or www.cincinnatizoo.org
 
1 Not Your Grandma's "Nutcracker"
New choreography, sets and extraordinary costumes revitalize the classic holiday tradition of Cincinnati Ballet's "Nutcracker." More memories to make amid the 5,000 glittering snowflakes and one of childhood's most enduring stories.
Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati. (513) 621-2787 or www.newnutcracker.org.