Bundle up for a visit with Santa at Thursday’s Fondren Unwrapped.

by Sherry Lucas

I’m a sucker for vintage black-and-white Christmas movies, and “It’s a Wonderful Life” is hardly the only one. “Christmas in Connecticut” is an annual must. And, “The Bishop’s Wife,” with Cary Grant as a visiting angel, David Niven as a beleaguered bishop and the lovely Loretta Young as his sparkling wife, is another.

I’m thinking now of a street scene in “The Bishop’s Wife” that always strikes me as so quintessentially Christmas — just full of holiday cheer. Nothing of the hectic and harried grabfest that holiday prep seems to turn into. The scene is less about commerce and more about community and camaraderie. That’s how I I think of Fondren Unwrapped — a cheerful small town sort of a setting, where running into friends and neighbors and checking in with favorite shopkeepers is even more important than working your way down some holiday list.

With so many open houses and holiday markets in the days ahead, bounty and bargains beckon. Remember to be generous in spirit as well. Plenty to see, hear and do out there, too, so wrap up warmly and find your fun.

Get an early start on keeping holiday stress at bay with The Village Social: Bend & Brew, 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Highland Village in LeFleur East. After getting sweaty and stretchy, you’ve earned a craft beer or pop from Deep South Pops.

Fondren Unwrapped on Thursday declares open season for holiday fun with merchant open houses throughout the downtown Fondren historic district, costumed characters, art, school choirs, kids activities and more. Lap up the libations and treats that’ll greet you throughout the neighborhood as you browse and buy and make merry as you make the rounds, starting at 5 p.m.

During Fondren Unwrapped, be sure to check out Art Space 86, this time in the private dining room of CAET, with an Italy-themed show “That’s amore!” that includes work by Jerrod Partridge, David West and Kaley Carter. 5-8 p.m. Thursday.

“That’s amore!” is an Italy-themed show by Art Space 86 Thursday at CAET. Image: Jerrod Partridge

The “Breathe In, Breathe Art” auction, 6 p.m. Thursday at The Flamingo, is a chance to inhale a great mix of food, drink, live jazz and cool art (sold by silent auction), with proceeds benefiting the Kid Logistics charity for Mississippi children cystic fibrosis. It’s free to attend, and the art includes works by H.C. Porter, Jerrod Partridge, Ginger Williams Cook, Dylan Mortimer, Fred Miles and more.

The Charlie Hunter Trio brings the great jazz guitarist’s profound artistry to the Duling Hall spotlight, 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $15 advance (ardenland.net) and $20 day of show.

Museum After Hours, 5:30 p.m.-until Thursday at the Mississippi Museum of Art, inspired by the upcoming “Water/Ways” traveling exhibit, includes: a pop-up exhibition of artwork from the museum’s collection depicting bodies of water and photos by local artists; High Note Jam with Scott Albert Johnson; a dance performance by Ballet Magnificat’s Youth Ballet; Screen on the Green with an 8 p.m. showing of “Annie.” The event is free and open to the public.

Scott Albert Johnson performs for High Note Jam Thursday at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art

A Holiday Open House, 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Two Mississippi Museums, is a chance to sample Mississippi-made gourmet goodies, meet local artists and artisans, purchase museum gift memberships and more.

Anjou Restaurant in Ridgeland celebrates Beaujolais Nouveau Day, 4-9 p.m. Thursday with a special four-course menu including a glass of Beaujolais. It’s $50 a person, plus tax and gratuity. Whet your appetite with a look at the special menu on the event’s Facebook post. Reservations are recommended.

Sidle up to Santa for photos at Highland Village, 1-6 pm. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1-6 p.m Sunday.

The 2018 Handworks Holiday Market Friday and Saturday at the Mississippi Trade Mart pulls together the region’s best artisans for an arts and crafts shopping party that’s bound to speak straight to your holiday list with culinary treats, decor, jewelry, cool designs and more. This approachable family-friendly event kicks off the season with shopping hours 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $8, $free for kids younger than 12.

The Handworks Holiday Market is Friday and Saturday at the Mississippi Trade Mart. Image: Handworks Holiday Market

Monster Jam, with shows at 7 p.m. Friday, and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Coliseum, brings big truck thrills and action to the Mississippi Coliseum. Tickets are $15 to $45 and up on ticketmaster.com.

Join the celebration of Operation Shoestring’s Golden Anniversary, 7-10 p.m. Friday at the Mississippi Museum of Art, amid a swirl of songs, sounds and stories from 1968 — chart-topping hits from the era as strides made over the past 50 years are recognized and stakeholders prepare for the work ahead. Concert tickets are $10 advance (operationshowstring.org) and $15 at the door. The concert caps Operation Shoestring’s signature event, Conversation About Community, challenging participants to “Rise to the Future,” starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Jackson Convention Complex; full-day registration is $50 and there are also a la carte options on their website.

Cocktails & Canvases + Old Soul Bourbon release party, 6-9 p.m. Friday at Cathead Distillery showcases some of the city’s unique artists, including Harris Fyfe Art, Lee Clark Malouf, Allen Butler and more, plus a celebration of the release of the new Old Soul Bourbon. The evening also includes Cathead cocktails by Hal & Mal’s, live music from Davis Coen and Downstream Drifters, tours, tastings and more. A food vendor will be onsite. Admission is free.

The Molly Ringwalds kick up their vintage mix of ‘80s fun, 9 p.m. Friday at Duling Hall. Tickets are $25 advance (ardenland.net) and $30 day of show.

The Molly Ringwalds perform Friday at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Saturday at 7:30 a.m., join the 12Ks for the Holidays Charity Run through historic Fondren – headquartered at their new home, The Cedars (4145 Old Canton Road) –  in the fundraiser for the Good Samaritan Center. The event’s in its 9th year. Register at christmas12k.com or at 6:30 a.m. on race day. There’s a 12K run 5K run at 7:30 a.m., a 5K walk at 7:31 a.m. and a One-Mile Fun Run at 9:30 a.m.

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s Bravo II concert delivers “Magical Moments,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Thalia Mara Hall, with Mozart’s “Magic Flute” Overture, Strauss’ moving tone poem “Death and Transfiguration” and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, with its rousing finale. Enjoy classical music at its best from Jackson’s finest musicians. Tickets start at $26 for adults; it’s $5 for students/students accompanied by a paying adult; call 601-960-1565 or visit msorchestra.com.

Family Day Saturday at the Mississippi Museum of Art gets crafty with a “Material and Movement” theme and activities such as arts and crafts, dance sessions including by the Choctaw nation and more, 9 a.m. to noon.

Mac Powell and the Family Reunion delivers classic and sing-along gospel, country and American rock, along with some of Powell’s favorite Third Day songs he penned and his latest originals, in a Sunday show at Duling Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets to the all-ages show are $15 advance (ardenland.net), $20 day of show and $50 VIP Meet & Greet.

Mac Powell and the Family Reunion entertain Sunday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 35 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional Fondren events, see our online calendar here. Reach Sherry at sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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