Get festive with weekend of holiday activities

Whether you want to visit with Santa, enjoy a classic holiday production or just enjoy the season with folks in your community, Gwinnett's got you covered this weekend. Here are some of the ways you can celebrate the holidays a few weeks early:

•Head down to the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center in Duluth as Gwinnett Ballet Theatre kicks off its annual production of "The Nutcracker." The shows run today through Dec. 18, and performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $20 or $12 for senior citizens and children. Call 770-978-0188 or visit www.gwinnettballet.org.

•Check out Sugarloaf Performing Arts' holiday dance production, "Christmas Spectacular," at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Peachtree Ridge High School, 1555 Old Peachtree Road in Suwanee. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Call 770-476-0025.

•Be moved by the music as Gwinnett Choral Guild and Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North Sanctuary Choir present George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North, 11420 Crabapple Road in Roswell. Admission is $10. Call 404-223-9962.

•Give the kids a taste of the theater with "Wendy's Winter Wonderland" presented by Wendy Bennett as part of its Aurora Children's Playhouse at 10 a.m. at the Aurora Theatre, 3087-B Main St. in Duluth. Tickets are $7 for children, $5 for adults. Call 770-476-7926 or visit www.auroratheatre.com.

•Tell Santa what's on your wish list this year as you enjoy Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Centerville Community Center, 3025 Bethany Church Road in Snellville. The cost is $3 per person, and all proceeds will be donated to Partnership Against Domestic Violence. Call 770-985-4713 or visit www.centervillecommunitycenter.com.

•You can also catch Claus at the Mall of Georgia, 3333 Buford Drive in Buford, where there'll be a Simon Kidgits Club Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Breakfast is free for club members and $5 for non-members, which includes an annual Kidgits Club membership. The mall will also hold a "Santabration," featuring live entertainment in the Village Pavilion, a parade and a tree lighting, from noon to 9 p.m. Visit www.mallofgeorgia.com.

•It takes a lot of breakfast to satisfy a guy as busy as Santa Claus. The Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth will also hold breakfast with Santa events at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $3 per person in addition to museum admission. Reservations are required and may be made at the museum's front gate or by calling 770-476-2013. Breakfast attendees will have priority seating on the 10 and 11 a.m. train rides with Santa. The museum is located at 3595 Peachtree Road in Duluth. Visit www.srmduluth.org.

•See Santa arrive in Suwanee on a Kubota tractor during the city's annual caboose lighting at 5 p.m. Saturday at the red caboose on Main Street in historic Old Town Suwanee. The holiday celebration will include musical performances, treats and warm beverages. Bring your camera to take pictures with Santa. Visit www.suwanee.com.

•Tour some houses decked in holiday style during the Historic Norcross Holiday Home Tour, a walking tour of five homes, which will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday with a candlelight tour from 6 to 9 p.m. Visitors can enjoy carolers, bell choirs and music. The cost is $20, which includes free trolley service. Call 770-325-1872 or visit www.norcrossholidayhometour.com.

•Seek out unique gifts at Pinckneyville Community Center's holiday craft festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, featuring items such as pottery, jewelry, embroidery, glass paintings, dolls, scarves, crocheted and knitted items. Children ages 3 to 17 can shop for inexpensive items at Santa's Gift Shoppe, where gift-wrapping is free. The center is located at 4650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Norcross. Call 770-417-2200.

And don't forget these ongoing events:

•"A Stone Mountain Christmas" festivities run through Dec. 30 at Stone Mountain Park. Visit www.stonemountainpark.com.

•Lake Lanier Islands' Magical Nights of Lights come to life from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly Saturday through Dec. 30. Visit www.lakelanierislands.com.

•The ice skating rink in historic downtown Lawrenceville on Crogan Street is open through Jan. 2. For dates and times, visit www.visitlawrenceville.com.

•The Aurora Theatre presents "Hometown Holidays - Christmas Canteen 2005," through Dec. 23 at the theater, 3087-B Main St. in Duluth. For show times and more information, call 770-476-7926 or visit www.auroratheatre.com.