The final weekend before Christmas means last-minute shopping, wrapping and holiday planning. But don’t forget to make time for special events that create lasting memories of the season.
1. CAROLING IN JACKSON SQUARE
Patio Planters of the Vieux Carre sponsors the annual candlelight gathering to sing traditional Christmas songs in the heart of the old city. Candles and song books provided. 7 p.m. Sunday; gates open at 6:30 p.m. Free. www.patioplanters.org or call (504) 220-8300.
2. “THE NUTCRACKER”
Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic gets two sweet local treatments this weekend. With guest stars from Pacific Northwest Ballet, Delta Festival Ballet and the LPO perform at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Dixon Hall on the campus of Tulane University, $28 and up. (504) 888-0931. And, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., Ballet Hysell and the JPAS Symphony Orchestra stage the ballet at East Jefferson Auditorium, 400 Phlox Ave. in Metairie. $15-30. (504) 885-2000. www.jpas.org.
3. NOLA CHRISTMASFEST
A new celebration at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center creates a Christmas village of kids’ crafts, inflatables, a petting zoo, pictures with Santa, a parade of trees, gingerbread houses and live entertainment for all ages. Weekend headliners: Panorama Jazz Band, 7 p.m. Friday; Lena Prima at 8 p.m. Saturday; Joe Krown at 8 p.m. Sunday. Christmasfest is open noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 5-9 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 24 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Blvd. $15. (855) 477-8756. www.christmasinthedistrict.com.