'Tis the season for candlelight, carols and Christmas cheer. Every town and hamlet across the state is being gilded and garnished with garlands of greens and holiday trappings. Celebrations already are under way in Brunswick, Westminster and Upper Marlboro, and in the days ahead there will be more open-house celebrations, candlelight walks, holiday house tours, concerts, feasts and lighted boat parades.
If you can make time for a day trip in the midst of the inevitable holiday rush, you'll have a banquet of seasonal delights to choose from. Here is a roundup of Christmas events around Maryland:
GOING ON NOW THROUGH NOV. 25
Victorian Christmas at Brunswick Museum, 40 W. Potomac St., Brunswick. This railroad town holds its seasonal event at the Brunswick Museum, decked out in old-fashioned trim, as model trains run through a Christmas garden and Christmas stories are read in the parlor. Period music, a display of Victorian toys, art exhibit, visits with Santa and a Christmas bake shop are additional features. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $2 for adults, $1 for children and senior citizens. Details: (301) 834-7100.
THROUGH DEC. 2
Christmas Open House at Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster. "O Tannenbaum" sets the theme for this year's celebration. Each room of the 1852 farmhouse and log cabin will be enhanced by a Christmas tree trimmed in a different theme, including "Peacock Fantasy," "Traditional," "Down on the Farm," "Folk Art," "English Hunt" and many more. In addition there will be a mini-Christmas tree decorating contest, crafts demonstrations in outbuilding, daily visits by Santa Claus from noon to 2 p.m. and holiday foods for sale. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Free admission. Details: 876-2667.
NOV. 30 TO JAN. 3
Winter Festival of Lights, Watkins Regional Park, Upper Marlboro. Visitors can drive through the park, which sparkles with 125,000 lights illuminating the park's buildings and shrubbery. This year's displays include a giant glittering tree, Santa and his reindeer, a gingerbread house, mechanized toys and a "path of peace." From dark to 9:30 p.m. nightly. Free, but donations of canned goods and money accepted. Call (301) 699-2407.
NOV. 30, DEC. 1-2, DEC. 7-9
Ballestone Manor Holly Tour, Rocky Point Golf Course, Back River Neck Road, Essex. Costumed guides lead candlelight tours through the manor house, followed by homemade cookies and hot cider by the fireside; Civil War soldiers in full dress uniform act as escorts both weekends; Civil War encampment on second weekend; visit by Santa each day; exhibit of Santas from private collection; music by Sacred Harmony and St. Clare's Childrens Choir. Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission: $2.50 for adults, free for under 14. Details: 887-0218, 887-0217.
NOV. 30, DEC. 1, 2, 8, 9
Christmas Madrigal Evenings, St. Mary's City. Dine on oyster stew, a "grand sallet," beef pasty and other festive fare in the decorated Reconstructed State House of 1676 decked with fresh pine swags and blazing yule log, as madrigals and carols are sung by costumed entertainers and a playlet on life in the early capital is performed by St. Maries Citty Players. Evenings begin with wassail hour at 6:30 p.m. Admission: $35. Reservations limited and available on first come, first served basis. Details: (301) 862-0965.
A Family Holiday Celebration, 201 W. Monument St., Baltimore. The Maryland Historical Society presents "An Edwardian Christmas," an afternoon of music, gift and ornament making, cookie decorating, a gingerbread house demonstration, toy and train displays, storytelling and a visit by Santa. Hours: 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission: $3 per child, free for adults. Space limited; registration required. Details: 685-3750, Ext. 334 or 335.
DEC. 1, 2
Christmas in New Market. Stroll the picturesque streets of Maryland's antiques capital and enjoy the Colonial decorations and music by Williamsburg troubadour John Durant, carolers and other musicians; take a horse-drawn buggy ride through town; shop at the more than 30 antique shops and wind up in the town park for the tree-lighting ceremony, Christmas story and music featured each afternoon; free hot cider and cookies Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; free concerts both days; food and baked goods at the Fire Hall and the New Market Grange; live Nativity scene; and a Colonial Christmas at the Rossig Log House. Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Just off Interstate 70 at Exit 62. Details: (301) 865-5055.