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A Very Boston Christmas

Holiday markets, gardens, and services abound


Downtown Crossing is decked out for the holidays, with shoppers filling the sidewalks. Photo courtesy of the Downtown Crossing Holiday Market

If your holiday calendar isn’t full yet, not to worry. There are many events happening all around Boston from now until the end of December. Check out these recommendations.

Get in the holiday spirit or pick up some last-minute gifts at the Downtown Crossing Holiday Market. The market, a hit in its debut last year, features local artists and designers selling jewelry, pottery, holiday ornaments, clothing, and more.

The Downtown Crossing Holiday Market, on Summer Street between Washington and Hawley, is open daily, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through December 24, with live music from noon to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. and a visit from Santa from noon to 2 p.m.

If you’d rather not wrap the gifts you just bought, head over to the Charity Gift Wrap at the Shops at Prudential Center and have it done for you, for free.

The gift-wrapping booth, in front of Barnes & Noble in Huntington Arcade, is open daily, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through December 24. All donations for this free service benefit local nonprofit organizations. Gifts do not have to be purchased at Barnes & Noble in order to take advantage of this service.

What better way to warm up on a chilly day than to visit a Venetian-inspired holiday garden? The courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is displaying flowering jade trees, holly topiaries, dark red poinsettias, red and ivory amaryllis, and silver artemisia.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 The Fenway, is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The museum is closed on Christmas day.) Admission is $5 for college students with a student ID, $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors. Children under 18 and anyone named Isabella are admitted free.

On campus, Marsh Chapel ushers in Christmas day with its peaceful and joyful Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. The service is a time for both meditation and celebration and will feature a Christmas message titled The Word Became Flesh, given by the Rev. Robert Hill, dean of Marsh Chapel.

The service, which is open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. on December 24 at Marsh Chapel, 735 Commonwealth Ave.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 may have been released a month ago, but many fans want to keep the magic going. The Harvard Museum of Natural History is hosting a Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt. Muggles, witches, and wizards of all ages are invited to pick up a Marauder’s Map and travel through the galleries, uncovering the science behind the magic and exploring hundreds of specimens, from snowy owls to snakes, wolves to wolfsbane.

The scavenger hunt is free with museum admission. The Harvard Museum of Natural History, 26 Oxford St., just past Harvard Yard, Cambridge, is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Admission is $7 for non-Harvard students with student ID, $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $6 for children ages 3 to 18.

If you’re looking to relax after all of the hustle and bustle, take in a movie at Regal Fenway 13, 401 Park Dr. Now showing: How Do You Know (Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson), Little Fockers (Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller), Gulliver’s Travels (Jack Black, Emily Blunt), and Country Strong (Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw).

Tom Vellner can be reached at tvellner@bu.edu.

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