We tell you what to do, where to be, and why for each week of the year.


What: 11th Hour Highlands ShopNite: Some 32 shops, businesses, and restaurants in the Highland ‘hood are staying open late-night on Thursday just for all you procrastinators out there. Whether you’re just getting started on your holiday list or scouring the city for that last, perfect gift, take your time and peruse for hours after normal closing time. Snatch up 20-percent-off purses at Starlet, lingerie at Isabella’s, and ornaments at the Perfect Petal.
Why: Hey, it’s not your fault that Great Aunt Louise only decided yesterday to hop a plane from Florida for Christmas…
Bonus: Le Chocolatier will be pouring hot chocolate; grab a steaming cup and browse the shop’s sugar-dripped displays for tasty stocking stuffers—at 15 percent off. 3718 W. 32nd Ave, 303-455-3431. Plus, if you spend $10 or more at any Highland merchant tomorrow, bring your receipt to Mead St. Station (Dec. 20th only) for a free glass of wine, beer, or well drink. 3625 W. 32nd Ave., 303-433-2138.
Details: Thu 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Highland retailers, 32nd Ave. and Lowell Blvd. Free. Visit www.highlands-square.com.


What: Mile High Sci-Fi Presents Gremlins: Yep, straight outta 1984. Join local comedians Matt Vogl, Harrison Raines, and Chris Atencio as they revisit (read: poke fun at) the classic flick where cuddly Gizmo transforms into psychopathic gremlins who take over idyllic Kingston Falls.
Why: Normally, people jabbering during a film would annoy us, but we’ll lay down some cash to hear these comedians sound off on this ’80s blockbuster-hall-of-famer.
Bonus: Tired of buying DVDs for the cinofile in your life? Pick-up a $10 MHSF shirt instead.
Details: Fri–Sat 8:30 p.m. Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Pkwy. $8.75. Call 303-595-3456 or visit www.milehighscifi.com.


What: “In a Holiday Mood”: Colorado Homegrown Tales pays tribute to the holiday season with five local authors’ pieces that take center stage at the Byers-Evans House Museum. In the spirit of exploring local literary talent through dramatic interpretation, professional actors will read short stories by Linda Berry, Wayne Faust, Beth Groundwater, and Carol McAdoo Rehme. Director and playwright Terry Dodd will perform his memory-piece Vaughn, New Mexico, Christmas Eve 1956.
Why: We know, we know… The Gift of the Magi and A Christmas Carol can never get old, but you’ve read them each at least a dozen times (not to mention the countless different theatrical versions of Scrooge that are out there). Try something new.
Bonus: Even in the shadow of the Denver Art Museum, the1889 Byers-Evans mansion still manages to impress. Stop by for a tour before the show, wander through the massive library room, and get the scoop on two of Denver’s pioneering families.
Details: Fri 7 p.m.; Sat–Sun 4 p.m., 7 p.m. Byers-Evans House Museum, 1310 Bannock St. $10. Call 720-233-0811 or visit www.homegrowntales.com.


What: Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade: T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house….It was quiet and dark because you closed up shop and hightailed it out of the city to Winter Park for the festivities. Christmas Eve is aglow with WP’s annual celebration, complete with carolers, a bonfire, fireworks, and torch-bearing skiers winding their way down the Lower Hughes trail. And don’t worry—the Big Guy himself always makes an appearance.
Why: The powder gods don’t take the day off on Christmas, and therefore, neither do you. On and off the slopes by 1 p.m., just in time for dinner and gifts.
Bonus: Zip up the Zephyr Express Gondola to the Lodge at Sunspot for a hassle-free Christmas Eve dinner. You’ll spend the evening toasting family and friends instead of fretting over cookbooks and burnt hams. Call 970-726-1446.
Details: Mon 5:30 p.m. Base of Winter Park Resort, next to the Zephyr Lift. Free. Call 970-726-1564 or visit www.skiwinterpark.com.