You've got enough to hunt for this time of year: the wrapping paper, those stored heirloom decorations, the jar of baking soda you know is somewhere in those darned unorganized cupboards.
Let the Star-Tribune take off a bit of the pressure. Use this Casper Christmas guide to find at least one holiday event that fits your hectic schedule, because free time is the last thing you want to go looking for.
Perhaps the time saved will help you locate those presents you bought early, only to lose them somewhere in your house. (Maybe they're with the backing soda.)
Don't let your children grow up to be couch potatoes. Casper has many chances for exercise on their holiday breaks, some with Santa himself.
* School's Out Cheap Skate and Bounce is 1 to 4 p.m. TODAY. Cost is $5 with your own skates, $7 with rentals. Info: 265-4214, www.wwskate.com
* Drop and Shop is is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. TODAY at the Casper Aquatic Center. Get some Christmas shopping done while children 8 and younger swim. An adult supervisor is required. Cost is $3.50. Info: 307-235-8383
* All-day skate sessions are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. TODAY and SATURDAY at the Casper Ice Arena. Cost is $5 and skate rental is free. Info: 235-8484 www.casperwy.gov.
* Santa will play sports at the Recreation Center from 3 to 4 p.m. DEC. 17 before heading to the pool from 4 to 6 p.m. (Cost for swimming is $3.) On DEC. 18, he will put on his ice skates from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Casper Ice Arena. There will be sleigh rides on the ice. (Cost for skating is $4 with free skate rentals.)
Play with trains
The Central Wyoming Model Railroaders Association offers kids and kids at heart many chances to play conductor this season.
* The association's annual open house is 6 to 10 p.m. TODAY, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. SATURDAY and noon to 4 p.m. SUNDAY. They have new construction on the N and HO scale layouts and Bob Baden will operate his O scale and tinplate layouts. (If you don't know what that means, go learn a thing or two.)
The club also offers times when people can run their personal trains on the tracks.
* Club members will present their Holiday on the Plains display DEC. 8-10, DEC. 15-17, DEC. 22-23 and DEC. 27-30 at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center.
It features a Christmas Tree Train, more layouts, hands-on training and equipment for guests to operate.
At the planetarium
A season of holiday shows begin today at the Casper Planetarium, 904 N. Poplar. Cost is $2.50 per person per show. Info: 577-0310.
* George and Oatmeal Save Santa is 7 p.m. TODAY, SATURDAY, DEC. 2-3, DEC. 9-10, DEC. 16-17 and DEC. 30. Santa is lost! George and Oatmeal search for Santa, and help him use the stars to guide his way back to the North Pole. For families with children.
* The Star of Bethlehem is 8 p.m. TODAY, SATURDAY, DEC. 2-3, DEC. 9-10, DEC. 16-17 and DEC. 30. See the night sky from 2,000 years ago. Learn who the Magi were, where they came from, and what led them to the little town in Palestine.
* The Little Star that Could is 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY; DEC. 6-8, DEC. 13-15, DEC. 20-22 and DEC. 27-29. Follow the adventures of a little star to discover the secret of planets and learn about the many different kinds of stars. For families with children.
What's Christmas without a little twinkle? Get your fix at these community events.
* The Christmas Parade is 6 p.m. SATURDAY through downtown. See how area groups and businesses used lights to fit with this year's theme, "The Magic of Christmas."
There will be music, hot chocolate, cookies and Santa makes one of his first Casper stops of the season.
Afterward, the Casper Elks Lodge will warm you up with a chili and soup cook-off. Cost is $5.
* Central Wyoming Hospice and Transitions will light the Hospice Tree of Love at 5 p.m. DEC. 4 at 319 S. Wilson St.
The tree will be decorated with paper ornaments in honor of loved ones who have passed away. Balloons with messages to loved ones will also be released. Info: 307-577-4832, email@example.com
Festival of Trees
Think of this as Christmas neatly wrapped into one package: Santa, cocoa, Teddy bears and more Christmas trees than you could ever fit in your living room.
Groups from around Casper have decorated dozens of trees to be auctioned off. Money raised benefits Special Olympics Wyoming.
* The Teddy Bear Tea is 1 to 3 p.m. SUNDAY at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming, 1701 E. K St. See the trees before the auction and bring a new Teddy Bear for the Teddy Bear Tree. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there and Anastasia's Fault will play holiday music.
* Festival of Trees auction is 6 p.m. TUESDAY at the Boys and Girls Club. The silent auction begins right away, the live auction begins at 7 p.m.
Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Tickets: $50 per person or $75 per couple. Each ticket includes a raffle ticket for a Best Buy Prize Package. Additional raffle tickets are $25 each or five for $100. Tickets available at Special Olympics Wyoming, Jonah Banks, First Interstate Banks, the Boys and Girls Club or online at www.specialolympicswy.org
Senior Mistletoe Ball
This sit-down dinner and dance is hosted by Central Wyoming Senior Services. There will be live entertainment with music by the band, "Spur of the Moment," dancing and the crowning of the king and queen.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner starts at 6 p.m. DEC. 2 at the Casper Senior Citizen Center, 1831 E. Fourth St. Tickets: $12, available through TUESDAY. Info: 307-265-4678, www.casperseniorcenter.com
‘The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge'
Stage III Community Theatre explores life one year after Scrooge's supposed change of heart in "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge." Scrooge sues Jacob Marley and the Christmas ghosts for kidnapping, assault, slander and more.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. DEC. 2-3, DEC. 9-10 and DEC. 15-17; 2 p.m. DEC. 11.
A special matinee will be 2 p.m. DEC. 4 to benefit the family of Joe Osterholt, a longtime Stage III supporter. Osterholt was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and faces a long road to recovery.
Active with Stage III since the mid 1990s, he has been an actor, director, set builder and designer, member and past president of the board. Most significantly, when Stage III purchased the former bar and lumber store at 900 North Center, it was Osterholt's leadership and tireless work on renovations that turned it into the theater it is today.
Stage III will host a silent auction during the entire run of this production and a variety of other fundraisers for the family. People may also donate directly to the Osterholt Family Fund at any location of Hilltop National Bank.
Tickets for all performances are $12 adults, $8 students and seniors. Available at Sonic Rainbow, Grant Street Grocery, Cadillac Cowgirl and at the door. Season ticket packages are available.
Info: 234-0946, www.stageiiitheatre.org
Christmas at the library
Best deal of the season: Donate canned goods to get fines cleared with Natrona County Public Library. (Does not apply to fees for lost or damaged items or accounts in collections.) Donations benefit Joshua's Storehouse.
Also, pencil in a few of the library's holiday events. Info: 307-577-READ, www.natronacountylibrary.org
* Hanging of the Greens, for students in seventh to 12th grades, is 4:30 p.m. DEC. 2. Hot cocoa and pizza will be served.
* Gingerbread House Open House is 1 to 4 p.m. DEC. 11 in Casper and 4 p.m. DEC. 14 in Mills.
Families can drop in to make gingerbread houses. Materials and candy will be supplied. Bring a cookie sheet for easy transport of your gingerbread house or village. Space and supplies are first come, first served.
* Bug Appetit! is 4 p.m. DEC. 12. Scott Seville of Casper College will serve up creepy, crawly delicacies with a holiday flair to tweens, grades 4-6.
* "A Cobweb Christmas" and crafts is 4 p.m. DEC. 14 for elementary school kids. Listen to the German Christmas story while making holiday crafts.
Find unique and handmade gifts at several holiday craft fairs and bazaars.
* Casper College Holiday Art Sale is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. DEC. 2 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. DEC. 3 in Room 102 of the visual arts building at Casper College. Find artwork priced from $2 to several hundred, all made by Casper College visual art students or guest artists.
Beverages and treats will be served. Proceeds help bring professional artists to the college and will help fund the art club's trip to New York.
* Troopers Drum & Bugle Corps sell holiday gift baskets assembled with Wyoming made items. Choose yours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. DEC. 2-3, or order by phone starting MONDAY.
Info: 307-472-2141, www.troopersdrumcorps.org
* Santa's Other Workshop is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. DEC. 3 at at Natrona County High School. Home-based businesses and crafters sell a variety of unique gifts such as children's books and women's watches. Gift baskets will be auctioned and benefit Natrona County High School Angels fund, which helps students in need.
* Sunrise Shopping Center Craft Fair is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. DEC. 3 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. DEC. 4 at 4000 S. Poplar St. Includes up to 70 vendors.
* First United Methodist Church's Alternative Christmas Fair is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. DEC. 3 and 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. DEC. 4 at the church, 322 E. Second St.
Crafts include olive wood nativity sets and carvings from Bethlehem; handcrafted Appalachian gifts from the Red Bird mission in Kentucky; African baskets, jewelry and carvings from Sierra Leone and Kenya; stained glass art and local crafters' handmade goods; as well as, fair trade coffee, tea and cocoa.
A Scholastic Book Fair will offer a great selection of children's books. Shoppers are encouraged to bring a canned good for Holy Cross Food Bank. Info: Call Ingrid Burnett at 234-9385.
* Holiday Mix & Jingle Craft and Trade Show will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. DEC. 10 at the Restoration Church, 411 S. Walsh St. Donations of non-perishable food items are appreciated.
* Twelve Days of Christmas continues through DEC. 23 at 3233 CY Ave. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Features local, state and area atrisans selling mostly "Made in Wyoming" gifts. Part of the proceeds will benefit Natrona County School District's Homeless Children's Program.
Christmas with Dee and Lee
Spend the holidays with Dee the Mammoth, hear the latest on Lee the T. Rex and more at the Tate Geological Museum Holiday Open House.
It is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. DEC. 3 at the museum, 125 College Drive. It is free.
Guests can tour the prep lab and make geologically-inclined Christmas decorations.
Great for families.
Sounds of the season
Catch one of these concerts and tap your toes to your favorite Christmas tunes.
* The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra presents "Holiday on Broadway," featuring Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte, at 7:30 p.m. DEC. 3 at the John F. Walsh Auditorium at Natrona County High School.
Dubbed Broadway's biggest personalities, Gravitte won a Tony Award for best featured actress in a musical for her performance in "Jerome Robbins' Broadway." She has appeared in seven Broadway productions, including "Chicago" and "Les Miserables."
Tickets: $18 adults, $15 seniors for general admission or $28 to $40 reserved seating. Available at Wind City Books, Sadler's Hallmark, Cadillac Cowgirl and the Wyoming Symphony Office, 225 S. David St., suite 1B. Info: 266-1478, www.wyomingsymphony.org
* Casper College Concert Band will perform at 3 p.m. DEC. 10 in Durham Hall, Aley Fine Arts Center at Casper College, 125 College Drive.
* The Casper Civic Chorale and Orchestra presents "Sing We Noel" at 7:30 p.m. DEC. 12 at First United Methodist Church.
Fearutes arrangements of familiar Christmas carols; the trombone quartet, Dem Bones; and an encore performance of "Gloria" by Mark Hayes.
Info: Call Wayne McIntire at 234-0372.
* Casper College's Madrigal Feaste is 6 to 9 p.m. DEC. 6-10 in the Thomas H. Empey Theatre. This annual event features a full meal while choirs serenade you in festive costumes and tickets sell out fast. Tickets: $45 per person. Info: 307-268-2606
* "Messiah," directed by Fred Taylor, is 4 p.m. DEC. 18 at Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, 4600 S. Poplar St.
Community musicians and vocalists have combined to present this difficult but popular holiday classic.
Tickets: $13 adults, $12 seniors, $7 students and school teachers, $5 ages 12 and younger. Available at Ayers Jewelry, Sonic Rainbow, The Shade Tree, Hill Music and Cadillac Cowgirl.
Holiday on the Homestead
Celebrate Christmas as trail pioneers did more than 100 years ago from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. DEC. 10 at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. Visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to benefit the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies and families of Natrona County.
Visitors will operate a model train with the Central Wyoming Model Railroad Association; make decorations as emigrant families did; and visit the Prairie Sweet Shop and make chocolate treats.
The Casper College Clarinet Group will perform from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Ana-Rachel and Friends will perform from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
See pioneer demonstrations and hear Christmas stories: Re-enactors will make corn husk dolls and candles and Frontier military re-enactors will provide demonstrations as well.
Info: Call Alex Rose at 261-7780.
Christmas, German style
The annual German Stammtisch Christmas Party is 5:30 p.m. DEC. 10 at the Isaac Walton League Clubhouse behind Ft. Caspar.
This is a free potluck dinner followed by a German Christmas carol sing-a-long and the public is invited.
Info: Call Margo H. Perry at 265-3696.
For the girls
The fifth annual Mommy, Teddy and Me Teddy Bear Tea is noon to 2:30 p.m. DEC. 10 at Crest Hill Elementary School.
School age girls ages 3 to 8, gather your mothers, aunts and grandmothers for this special tea. Teddy bears are welcomed. Includes a cupcake walk, lunch, story reading, games and a visit from Santa Claus.
Sponsored by Wyoming CARES. Tickets: $20 for two, available by calling 237-7035. Seating is limited.
Wyoming CARES is a statewide nonprofit with a mission to provide assistance to residents in need.