Community dinners and children’s parties. Holiday décor and special shopping events. Caring for the less fortunate. Dallas County shares hometown holiday spirit that is all too easily lost in the city shuffle. Here is a sampling of the way ways that Dallas County hometowns put "happy" in the holidays these first few weeks of the season.

Sunday, December 1 Dexter’s Old Fashioned Christmas at the Roundhouse is a jolly good time, with friendly fellowship, crafts and activities tables, a Cookie Walk Sale and carols around the piano from 1 to 3 p.m. Come early for the Pasta Dinner at Dexter United Methodist Church; serving starts at 11:30 a.m. Woodward’s Holiday Tree Lighting, with a special visit from Santa, switches on all-new LED Christmas lights at 6 p.m. in Centennial Plaza. The Lions Club hosts, with goodies, hot cocoa and cookies at the Woodward Social Center. Enjoy shopping while you wander under the glimmer of the new lights on Main Street. 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 Adel Public Library, strolling carolers downtown; 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.