Christmas events, like Christmas shopping and Christmas music on the radio, start as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers go into the fridge.
From now until Santa comes sliding down chimneys, there's plenty to do to get into the holiday spirit -- from parades and Christmas carols to live theater, music and dance.
Some of the big ones happen this weekend, such as Christmas Tree Lane's first walk night, the annual Tuba Christmas, the opening of "White Christmas" and Clovis' Christmas parade. Our guide to holiday events gives you the scoop on those -- and adds plenty more.
Entering its 90th year, we don't need to sell you on Christmas Tree Lane.
You know what it's about. It's a Fresno Christmas staple for the whole family.
So let's just skip to what you need to know: The walk nights are Saturday (which is also opening night) and Dec. 11. Otherwise, it's open 6-11 p.m. (Fridays and Saturday) and 6-10 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday) until Dec. 25.
Something new this year: the Fresno Jingle Bell Run, a 5K down Christmas Tree Lane on Dec. 15. It comes complete with jingle bells, a decorated course and a candy cane station. Get more info at fresnojinglebellrun.com.
-- If you love parades, then pick a good spot at these two annual events. First up is Saturday's Children's Electric Christmas Parade in Old Town Clovis (starting at 6:30 p.m.). Dec. 8 is Fresno's 83rd annual Christmas Parade on the Fulton Mall at 11 a.m. Details: downtownfresno.org, oldtownclovis.org.
-- Enjoy Fresno Chaffee Zoo with a new view -- covered in Christmas lights. The annual Zoo Lights event runs 5-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Dec. 7-9, 14-23 and 26-30. $3-$6. Details: (559) 498-5910.
-- After a seven-year hiatus, Christmas at Kearney Mansion is back. The historic Fresno mansion offers a series of Victorian Christmas teas Dec. 7-8, 14-15 and 20-21 ($25-$35) and Sunday open houses Dec. 2, 9 and 16 ($6-$10.) To set a reservation or get more info: (559) 441-0862.
-- Sing Christmas carols, make your own ornaments, watch old cartoons and decorate a tree at the annual Mmm Mmm Christmas celebration organized by Nate Butler on Dec. 21 at Starline, 833 E. Fern Ave. 8:30 p.m. $3. natebutler.com.
We're so used to a constant barrage of holiday music -- on the radio, as part of Christmas albums, piped into stores -- that we forget how lively and warm a live symphony orchestra can make the genre. The Fresno Philharmonic's "Home for the Holidays" concert, with guest conductor Carl Topilow on the podium, includes such favorites as "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "Polar Express" and sleigh ride.
The Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale, conducted by Anna Hamre, joins the orchestra in such traditional tunes as the Hallelujah chorus from "Messiah," "Silent Night" and "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
Special guest is Dan Pessano of Good Company Players, who will narrate " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" with the orchestra. 8 p.m. Saturday, Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. Details: fresnophil.org, (559) 261-0600. $10-$75.
-- Ever listened to an elephant-herd-sized group of tubas boom out a Christmas carol? Manchester Mall is a great place to experience the annual Tuba Christmas. Noon and 1 p.m. Saturday. Free. (After a decade-long hiatus, Tuba Christmas participants will play Dec. 9 at the lighting of the General Grant Tree at Sequoia National Park.)
-- The premiere performance of Kevin Memley's "The Prayer of St. Francis" is a highlight of the San Joaquin Chorale's Christmas concerts. Many of the pieces on the program are newer arrangements of familiar carols, including "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Away in a Manger" and "Jingle Bells." In a more reflective turn, the chorale will sing Locklair's "O Magnun Mysterium" and Fielding's "Behold the Dark and Bitter Night."