Step back into a simpler time with these Dallas County traditions. Celebrations of friends and family come with the gift of introduction to new friends and heart-warming holiday cheer.

Thursday, December 5 Waukee Public Library Festival of Trees kicks off the season with the first look at wreaths and trees decorated by residents, organizations, and businesses. Trees are lit at 6:30 p.m., with Pajama Time and stories following. As well, the Teen Advisory Board Silent Auction of Christmas baskets is held. Christmas trees and wreaths stay on display through the holidays; vote for a favorite by December 19. Each $1 vote helps buy new library books, CDs and DVDs.

Friday, December 6

Adel Holiday Open House starts at 5 p.m.; pick up a map and commemorative envelope for recipe cards at Sumpter Pharmacy and Wellness. Find Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the AdelPublic Library, strolling carolers downtown gathering donations for the Good Samaritan Food Pantry. The event concludes with the 7th Annual Lighted Parade at 7:15 p.m.

Waukee WinterFest celebrates community camaraderie at Triangle Park, with events from 6 to 8 p.m. With Santa, an ice sculpture demonstration, and refreshments at Waukee Community Center, WinterFest gathers old friends and introduces new ones.

Saturday, December 7

Dallas Center’s Holiday Celebration is fun for all ages. Stores decked out for the Best Dressed Window contest, a silent auction and Santa at the library, and at the Children’s Christmas Store in Legion Hall, the Boy Scouts Holiday Store, crafts by Sugar Grove Sunshine 4-H Club and more. Cub Scouts Chili Supper from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Methodist Church, and a lighted parade after.

Granger’s Breakfast with Santa and Vendor fair, with firemen and EMS members serving breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. – all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, donuts and beverages. Santa arrives via fire truck at 9 am, his treat sacks delivering camera-perfect grins. Free will donations help fund Fire and Ambulance department equipment; the 8 am to noon vendor fair provides one-stop shopping, and "Light Up Granger" luminaries are available.

Redfield WinterFest is an all-day celebration. From 9 am to 3 p.m. at Redfield Middle School, vendors provide a unique shopping experience. Santa comes from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Cinnamon rolls, walking tacos, hotdogs, desserts and beverages available all day. At 3:30 p.m., festivities continue at Legion Hall and city parks, with a chili cook-off and supper, and the holiday display lighting ceremony. Proceeds support the Old Settler’s Celebration and hometown improvements. Donations accepted for Snack Sacks, healthy weekend food for kids in need.

Van Meter Kids Shopping Day at Van Meter United Methodist Church gives youngsters an enjoyable venue to shop for affordable gifts.

Minburn’s Tree Lighting Festivities start at 5:30 p.m. with a soup supper sponsored by the Minburn Public Library, held at the United Methodist Church. At 6:30 p.m., enjoy a luminary-lit stroll to Meek Park for Christmas carols and the lighting of the Christmas tree. Then on to the American Legion Hall for cookie decorating and refreshments. Hopefully, the guy with a long white beard wearing a red suit will hear all the clatter and come see what ever could be the matter, making Minburn all the merrier!

Sunday, December 8 Adel Holiday Home Tour, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., features a quartet of homes and the Adel Historical Museum, each with distinctive architecture and seasonal adornment. Tickets available at the museum; proceeds benefit the Adel Historical Museum. Enjoy the "Festival of Trees" at the First Christian Church, where you can buy lunch soup and afternoon desserts.

Dallas Center Beta Sigma Phi Holiday Home Tour, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., shares Christmas cheer with beautiful holiday décor. Tickets are available at City Hall and the library.

Saturday, December 14 Dexter’s Kids Mall Christmas Shop and Bake Sale, where kids can shop new and gently used gifts for everyone, all for $1 or less, including gift wrapping! Kids Mall is open at Dexter United Methodist Church from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parents, there’s a bake sale, and walking taco or walking ham ball lunch.

Wreaths Across America, at Iowa Veterans Cemetery just outside of Van Meter, honors Veterans with by laying wreaths on their graves this Saturday morning. In conjunction, a Farmers Market is hosted at the Van Meter Veterans Reception Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with crafters, bakers, jewelers and more. And at the same time, the Van Meter Fire Department Chili Feed serves a hearty lunch, with proceeds helping the Van Meter Fire Department. Sunday, December 15 "The Heart of Christmas" Christmas Cantata, performed by the Senior Choir at Dallas Center’s United Methodist Church, 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. After the evening performance, a 6 p.m. pancake supper, and the Children’s Program at 7 p.m.

Mid-December Dawson’s Holiday Dinner, hosted by Clarence and Belinda Morman, is on! The free-will offering is donated to the City of Dawson for projects such as last year’s siding and roofing of the Community Building. Check at the Community Building for details.

Sunday, December 22

Granger’s Luminary Lighting Night gives Granger warm glow as nearly 2,000 luminaries are lit at dusk. Hosted by Partners of the Park, it’s a warm sight on a cold winter night.