The wave of holiday special events that mark the weeks leading up to Christmas, Chanukah, Winter solstice and New Year’s Day, has begun in the local area with concerts at local churches, children’s events and art shows.

COLBURN CHILDREN’S CHOIR — This holiday “Masters in the Chapel” series concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, December 12th, at the First Lutheran Church of Venice will feature a performance by the Colburn Children’s Choir, an ensemble of child musicians from the Colburn School of Performing Arts in downtown Los Angeles.

The student choir, led by Mark Williams, will perform Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by Johann Sebastian Bach along with other classical holiday selections.

The First Lutheran Church of Venice is at 815 Venice Blvd., Venice. Tickets are $15 for adults or $10 for children and seniors.

Information, (310) 821-2740.

MESSIAH CONCERT — For the past 34 years, Westchester Lutheran Church has been holding holiday performances of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. This year is no exception. The 35th annual performance of Messiah, directed by Marshall Ramirez, is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, December 5th, at the Westchester Lutheran Church, 7831 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children.

The choral concert features solo artists from the Los Angeles Opera and the Pacific Chorale, a group of singers from local choirs and a 20-piece orchestra.

This year Messiah’s traditional alto solo will be sung by countertenor Joseph Mathieu, who has performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Singers and is a regular performer at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of John Mauceri.

Other special guest singers include bass Louis Lebherz, who has been singing with the Los Angeles Opera since 1987, tenor Gabriel Silva and soprano Linda Williams Pearce.

Information, (310) 670-5422.

SMC CHORALE — “A Christmas Celebration,” concert featuring the Santa Monica College (SMC) Concert Chorale, led by professor James Smith, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 4th and 5th, off-campus at the First United Methodist Church, 1008 11th St., Santa Monica.

Suggested donation is $15 for general admission and $10 for students and senior citizens.

The concert will feature special guest Peter Graves, actor and host of A&E’s Biography cable television program.

Included in the program will be Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and Donald McCullough’s Canite Tuba.

The performances will close with audience sing-alongs of Christmas carols, featuring Graves as guest narrator.

In addition to the SMC Concert Chorale, the concerts will include performances by the Chancel Choir of the First United Methodist Church, the Los Angeles Concert Orchestra and the Spirit of L.A. Ringers.

Information, (310) 393-8258.

CHURCH OF THE MESSIAH — Congregational Church of the Messiah is gearing up for some musical Christmas celebrations at the church, 7300 Manchester Ave., Westchester.

The first, “Carols and Cuisine,” a combination Christmas musical program and seasonal dinner, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, December 4th. The program will include Christmas songs sung by the church choir, the hand bell choir and individual instrumental and vocal solos between the courses of the meal.

Yana Reznik is musical coordinator for the evening. Suggested donation is $8 for adults and $5 for children.

Information, (310) 670-2242.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 9th, the Messiah Guild of Service meeting will include a Christmas concert featuring soprano Melinda Goodall and pianist Louise Thomas in the church sanctuary. Goodall was musical director at the church for over 25 years and is now the principal of the Loyola Village School in Westchester. Thomas is director of collaborative arts at Chapman University in Orange. Following the performance there will be a potluck luncheon in the church’s Arlington Hall.

Admission is free.

Information, (310) 670-3227.

WINTERLIT — Snow and ice floes will turn the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade into a winter wonderland. The Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place kick off a series of festive holiday events Friday, December 3rd, with the Third Annual Winterlit Celebration between 4 and 6 p.m. Admission is free. The event is organized by the Bayside District Corporation.

Installed in each of the three courtyards along the Promenade will be holiday decorations designed by Ramsey Avery, including three 22-foot crystallized trees and glowing ice floes.

The Winterlit lighting ceremony will feature celebrity guest Marion Ross, star of the television program Gilmore Girls, who will throw the switch at 5:15 p.m., illuminating the entire Promenade, including the 22-foot trees, the ice floes and lights in jacaranda trees.

At some point in the evening, snow will drift down on the revelers near Santa Monica Place.

Festivities will revolve around a main stage, set up on the Promenade between Santa Monica Boulevard and Arizona Avenue.

Attractions include carolers, an appearance by “Surfing Santa” and his beach-attired elves, and a concert by the Santa Monica High School Orchestra.

Children’s activities include a petting zoo, pony rides, bubble mania, holiday crafts, magic shows, theater, a toy demonstration and a kids’ dancing area.

Information, (310) 458-3921.

HOLIDAY BOOSTER — “Roosevelt Holiday Marketplace,” with approximately 80 vendors or holiday items as well as live music, “silly rides” and a crafts table for children, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 4th, at the Roosevelt Elementary School, 801 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. Admission is free.

The event is a fundraiser hosted by the PTA and the school booster club.

Much of the proceeds from the event go towards funding fine arts education for Roosevelt’s students.

Information, (310) 305-5675.

SANTA’S VILLAGE — A family Christmas fair, “Santa’s Snowy Village and the Festival of Trees,” is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 5th, at the Visitation School

O’Sullivan Parish Hall, 8740 Emerson Ave., Westchester. Admission is free.

The event includes the arrival of Santa’s elves by fire engine at noon; the arrival of Mrs. Claus and the Clausettes by limo at 12:30 p.m. and the arrival of Santa by helicopter at 1 p.m.

Photo opportunities with Santa will be available for $10 and with Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman or Santa’s Elves for $4.

The day’s highlights will include vendors, sled runs and “reindeer” pony rides. Children’s activities include a coloring contest, face painting, gingerbread cookie decorating, games, storytelling, letters to Santa and craft projects with Santa’s elves.

Holiday films will be screened throughout the day. Decorated Christmas trees will be available for bidding through a silent auction.

Toys for the needy will also be collected for distribution via St. Margaret’s Center Toyland Express.

Information, (310) 994-9904.

CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS — California Christmas, an exhibit and art sale of landscape paintings to benefit the California Heritage Museum is at the museum through Sunday, January 9th, 2612 Main St., Santa Monica. Admission is free.

Information, (310) 392-8537.

HOLIDAY ART — Two holiday-themed art exhibitions, Tree Trimmings: The Ornament Show and Winter Wonderlands, are on display through Thursday, December 23rd, at Track 16 Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave. C1, Santa Monica. Admission is free.

Tree Trimmings, curated by Ashley Eckenweiler, “manifests the collectible holiday ornament into consequential art.”

Artists, including Liz McGrath, Gary Baseman, Charlie Krafft, Camille Rose Garcia and Jeff Soto, present their ornament creations. The collectible ornaments include dangling figurines, miniature paintings, sculpted holiday characters and hanging abstract contraptions.

Winter Wonderlands is comprised of about 50 photographic images from across the United States showing traditional and non-traditional interpretations of the Christmas holiday. The photos were taken by Christina Patoski over the past 30 years and culminated with the publishing of the book, Merry Christmas America: A Front Yard View of the Holidays in 1994.

Subject matter ranges from “the simplicity of a decorated miner’s cabin to the blinding excess of an antebellum mansion.” Patoski sees the Christmas subject matter as a “transitory folk art form” that is distinctly American and is practiced by a wide element of American society.

A slide lecture with commentary by Patoski and “You Thought Santa Was A Fool,” performance art by Georgeanne Dean, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, December 10th, at Track 16 Gallery. Admission is $5.

Information, (310) 264-4678.