The calendar flips to December this weekend and, in many area towns, this marks the start of the holiday season.
Here are a few highlights from towns covered by The Daily Voice:
The town of Auburn will have its first-ever holiday tree lighting at Drury Square starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The ceremony will include a sing-a-long and caroling and a special guest appearance from Santa.
On Sunday, the Auburn Mall will be having “Caring Santa” for families that have children with special needs, providing a subdued environment to visit with Santa for pictures from 9 to 11 a.m. Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the event by going to www.AbilityPath.org.
Grafton Celebrates the Holidays is Sunday with 27 stops across town offering events suitable for the entire family. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. with a craft fair at the Grafton Municipal Center and concludes with a visit from Santa Claus on a fire engine, who will light the Grafton Common Christmas tree and lead the town in song. For a complete list of stops, visit the Grafton website.
Santa Claus is coming to town to light the Christmas tree Saturday. The traditional Christmas celebration begins at 4:30 p.m. with Girl Scouts singing on the steps of the Town Hall.
The first candle on the Holden Menorah will be lit Dec. 8, officially beginning the eight days of Hanukkah. The celebration at the Holden Bandstand in front of 1130 Main St. begins at 5 p.m.
The lights will be lit on the Leicester Christmas tree at the Leicester Town Common Bandstand at 6 p.m. with a holiday concert following at 7 p.m. For the second year, the program also will feature the Christian Community Choir's presentation of “Everlasting Light,” with more than 50 voices representing the choirs of 11 area churches.
The 14th annual Chain of Lights celebration takes place Sunday throughout Millbury from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Activities include church fairs, a Victorian tea and free trolley rides at 22 stops around town: Pearson’s Elmhurst Farm, Hawk Hill Orchards, First Congregational Church, Earth Song, Asa Waters Mansion, Millbury Savings Bank, Millbury Towne Florist, Millbury Public Library, Millbury Fire Station #2, Reliant Medical Group, Elm Draught House Cinema, Michael Graves Studio, The Floral Boutique, Millbury Baptist Church, Millbury Federated Church, Millbury Credit Union, The Candy Shoppe, St. Brigid’s Church, Country Candle, The Felters Mill, Scales Restaurant and the Millbury Senior Center. The day culminates in the Christmas tree lighting at 4:30 p.m. at the Asa Waters Mansion.
Village Congregational Church will be having its Christmas fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, featuring handmade crafts, baked goods and a visit from Santa Claus.
Santa Claus comes to the Sumner House at 5 Church Road at 12:30 p.m.Saturday in an event sponsored by Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors.
Shrewsbury Police Patrolmen's Local 426 is having a "Fill the Wagon" Toy Drive from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Shrewsbury Police Department, 106 Maple Ave. Santa will be making an appearance.
Temple Chabad of Westborough will sponsor its Annual Public Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration in Shrewsbury at the Town Common on the first night of Hanukah, at 7 p.m. Dec. 8.
Caroling on the Common will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 23 on Shrewsbury Town Common, accompanied by the Worcester Brass Consort.
The town will light the first candle of Hanukkah at 12:15 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Westborough Rotary.
The handbell choirs of the Westborough First United Methodist Church will present a Christmas Handbell Concert at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 9.