Let them experience the ecstasy and the agony that is professional sports in Cleveland — take them to a game. The Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers host the Los Angeles Lakers (Dec. 20), Golden State Warriors (Dec. 23) and Miami Heat (Dec. 25) during the holidays, while the Cleveland Browns round out ’07 against the San Francisco 49ers (Dec. 30). For sold-out games, pick up seats at team-endorsed sources such as the Cavaliers’ www.flashseats.com or the Browns’ secondary-market supplier
www.viagogo.com. Tickets to the city’s new American Hockey League team, the Lake Erie Monsters, are easier to find. The Colorado Avalanche affiliate faces off against the Peoria Rivermen (Dec. 21 and 22), the Grand Rapids Griffins (Dec. 26), the Manitoba Moose (Dec. 28) and the Rochester Americans (Dec. 29) in a string of year-ending home games.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Los Angeles Lakers, Dec. 20, 8 p.m.; Golden State Warriors, Dec. 23, 6 p.m.; Miami Heat, Dec. 25, 2:30 p.m.;
Cleveland Browns: San Francisco 49ers, Dec. 30, 1 p.m.; www.clevelandbrowns.com, www.viagogo.com
Lake Erie Monsters: Peoria Rivermen, Dec. 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m.; Grand Rapids Griffins, Dec. 26, 7 p.m.; Manitoba Moose, Dec. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Rochester Americans, Dec. 29, 7:30 p.m.; www.lakeeriemonsters.com
Give that friend or relative pining for an old-fashioned Christmas Eve just that — Christmas Eve 1862, to be exact — by booking a Holiday Lantern Tour of Hale Farm & Village. The 90-minute guided walk of the living-history museum’s grounds stops at five 19th-century homes and a meeting house where visitors interact with “occupants” in period dress, sample holiday cookies made from historical recipes, and hand-dip a bayberry candle to take home. 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath; last tour dates of the season are Dec. 20, 21 & 22; tours depart every 20 minutes from 6 until 8:20 p.m.; admission is $18 per person (reservations are required); 1-877-HALE-FARM, www.wrhs.org
Amuse art-lovers with an afternoon of Impressionists and Modern Masters from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Although this exhibit is the only one currently open during the holiday season as the museum undergoes extensive renovations, it is worth the trip. The exhibit includes more than 130 works from the venerable institution’s collection of 19th- and 20th-century European art — paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by the likes of Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Rodin, Picasso, Matisse and Dalí. 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland; admission is free; call or check the Web site for museum hours; 1-888CMA-0033, www.clevelandart.org
Are the men of your house not into art? Drop them off at the nearby Western Reserve Historical Society’s Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum to see Wings & Wheels: Crawford Memories in Motion. The exhibit features rare vintage airplanes, cars, motorcycles and bicycles, including a 1942 White M-2 Halftrack, Gullwing Mercedes and 1919 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, from the society’s Crawford collection, as well as car advertisements, posters and other related artifacts. Also currently on display at WRHS is WWII Up Front and Personal, which showcases the memories, many delivered in oral histories, of Cleveland-area World War II veterans. 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland; admission to the entire museum is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $5 for students; call or check the Web site for museum hours; (216) 721-5722, www.wrhs.org
Instead of watching it on cable this year (again), why not check out “A Christmas Story” at The Cleveland Play House. This season’s final performances of the stage adaptation are Dec. 20, 22 and 23. Come early and check out the Festival of Trees, a free display of more than 75 professionally designed holiday trees and vignettes in the Play House’s rotunda, lobbies and promenade that is open to the public through Dec. 30. The Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
“A Christmas Story”: Dec. 20 & 21 7:30 p.m., Dec. 22 2 & 7:30 p.m., Dec. 23 2 p.m.; Tickets are $49 to $62 (discounted rates available for groups of 10 or more when booked in advance); (216) 795-7000
Festival of Trees: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Mon-Fri (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), 1:30 - 9 p.m. Sat, 12:30 to 9 p.m. Sun
Pack up the gang after dinner and head to the Festival of Lights at Blossom Music Center. The grounds of the outdoor concert venue are decorated with more than 2 million lights that can be enjoyed during a 15- to 20-minute cruise through the concert venue’s parklike grounds. 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls; $15 per car, $25 per limo or shuttle bus, $50 per full-size bus or RV; 6 - 9 p.m. Sun-Thu & 6 - 11 p.m. Fri & Sat; (330) 916-6068, www.blossomholidaylighting.com
The little ones will love Candy Wonder Land at Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen Reservation, a sweet attraction inspired by the classic Candyland board game. Visitors become game pieces as they make their way around the giant board inside the reservation’s nature center, their moves dictated by cards drawn from a box given to each group. 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road, Kirtland; open noon - 5 p.m. through Dec. 31 (closes at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and is closed all day Christmas); admission is free; (440) 256-1404, www.lakemetroparks.com
Cure your cabin fever with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s “December Days — Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold,” which allows you to embrace your inner polar bear before heading for refuge (and heat) indoors. Activities are split between the RainForest and Northern Trek exhibits with both areas of the zoo hosting live musical entertainment, children’s crafts and “Get Close” animal programs. There will also be ice sculpting on the Welcome Plaza and visits by Santa Claus inside the Northern Trek’s Wolf Lodge. 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland; Dec. 17-24 & 26-30; Admission is $3.50 for ages 12 and over and $2.50 for ages 2 to 11 (children under 2 are admitted free); 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.; (216) 661-6500, www.clemetzoo.com
If the weather outside is too frightful for the little ones, visit the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where 30- to 45-minute animal shows are staged at 1 and 3 p.m. daily in the comfort of the lobby. The performances, which feature critters ranging from eagles to snakes to skunks, are included in the regular museum admission. 10600 East Blvd., Cleveland; $9 for adults, $7 for children ages 7 to 18, and $6 for children ages 3 to 6 (children 2 and under free); call of visit the Web site for museum hours; (216) 231-4600, www.cmnh.org
Tired of the traditional New Year’s celebration? How about an evening in which the whole family can take part? Thousands of Northeast Ohioans ring in the New Year at First Night Akron, which encompasses activities at 18 downtown sites, including the John S. Knight Convention Center, Akron Civic Theatre and Akron Art Museum, and runs from 5 p.m. to midnight. Attractions include mask and hat making, interactive art exhibits, local bands, theater groups and dance troupes, as well as fireworks at 9 p.m. and midnight outside Canal Park. A $10 admission button provides admission to all activities, as well as shuttle-bus transportation between venues (children under 10 are admitted free). Purchase a button at Acme Fresh Market stores and FirstMerit Banks, or at www.firstnightakron.org.
California Closets serves all of Northern Ohio with custom designs for closet systems, pantries, home offices, garages and any other home organizational need. Visit our showroom at 1100 Resource Drive in Brooklyn Heights or call us for a free consultation at (216) 741-9000.
The Weidner Group Landscape Development, located in North Ridgeville, is ready to make our lazy hot Ohio summers last well into fall. This award-winning landscape development firm known for creative outdoor living spaces can lengthen the time you and your family can spend outdoors by the addition of an outdoor fireplace. Visit us at theweidnergroup.com. (440) 327-8147
Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs can add a signature touch to your home or garden. Call us at (440) 248-0050 or visit www.finelliironworks.com to view our custom-made products.
Granite Transformations’ unique product line provides the stunning look of Italian granite and glass mosaic without the messy demolition typical of such endeavors — our products can be installed right on top of your existing countertops! Each of our brilliantly engineered surfaces is heat, stain and scratch resistant and comes with a lifetime-limited warranty. (216) 360-8260, www.granitetransformations.com.
The Pattie Group Did you know that a “turn-key” approach in which your landscaping is handled by the same firm from design through installation and maintenance can save you money as well as time? The Pattie Group knows value engineering. Call (440) 338-1288 or visit www.pattiegroup.com.
The Thomas Brick Co. Beautiful solid teak and rosewood mosaic tiles. Suitable for floors, walls, ceiling, backsplashes, countertops and fireplace surroundings, Bamboo mosaics are also a part of the collection. Environmentally “green.” Call (216) 831-9116 (east) or (440) 892-9400 (west) or visit www.thomasbrick.com.