• BENEFITS

Gingerbread House Competition, benefits the Ronald McDonald House, Residence Inn by the Marriott, Portland. $25 per entry. 761-1660. Competition ends with gingerbread house auction, judging and finale brunch, 9 to 11 a.m. Friday.

Christmas Tree Sale, freshly cut trees from Acton Tree Farm to benefit the school, New School, Kennebunk. $25 to $35. 985-3745. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to Wednesday.

Join-In “Nutcracker,” come ready to perform in Nutcracker garb (children and adults); benefits the dance studio’s children’s scholarship fund; Belfast Dance Studio. $4; $7 per family. 338-5830. 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

Chili and Chowder Cookoff, benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Trackside Station, Rockland. $10. 831-9323. 5 to 8 p.m. Monday.

Clash of the Titans, battle of the cover bands, 21-plus; benefits Toys for Tots; Empire Dine & Dance, Portland. $5. portlandempire.com. The Muppets vs. Sesame Street, 9 p.m. Wednesday.

• ART/CRAFT FAIRS

Art in the Hood Holiday Craft Sale, 12 local artists, Townsend Real Estate & Art Gallery, Willard Square, South Portland. 842-9200. 5 to 8 p.m. today.

YES Art Works Holiday Arts Fair, Creative Work Systems, Portland and Saco. creativeworksystems.com. 2 to 6 p.m. today.

Annual Holiday Art Show, pottery, jewelry and more, Kittery Art Association. 439-1290. 3 to 6 p.m. today and Friday; noon to 6 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Second Annual Printmaking Holiday Sale, USM Art Department, Gorham. 780-5460. 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“Everything Under the Tree” Holiday Sale, works of 10 local artists, SoPo Art Studios, South Portland. 899-5939. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to Dec. 22. Through Dec. 23.

Annual Holiday Craft Fair, The Oak and the Ax, Biddeford. Free. theoakandtheax.blogspot.com. Noon Sunday.

• SPECIAL EVENTS

TODAY

Merry Madness, free hors d’oeuvres, raffles and music at the hotel; local stores open until 10 p.m.; Portland Regency Hotel. portlandmaine.com. 5 to 6 p.m. at hotel; until 10 p.m. at stores.

Sixth Annual Christmas Party, with the Sanford High School Chorus and refreshments, Sanford-Springvale Historical Museum, Sanford. 324-2797. 5 to 7 p.m.

Seventh Annual Festival of Gingerbread Houses, York Public Library. Call for times: 363-2818. Today to Saturday.

“Deck the Halls: The Carols of Christmas,” holiday celebration, Victoria Mansion, Portland. $15; $13.50 for seniors; $5 for ages 6 to 17. victoriamansion.org. Today to Jan. 8. 

FRIDAY

“Polar Express” Train Rides, holiday-decorated train rides to “The North Pole,” Narrow Gauge Railroad, Ocean Gateway Terminal, Portland. $25 to $40. porttix.com. Rides start at 2:45 p.m. Friday to Sunday, Wednesday and Dec. 22-23.

“Season of Light,” history and astronomy of the winter solstice, New Year’s, Hanukkah and Christmas, University of Southern Maine (Southworth Planetarium), Portland. $4 to $6. usm.maine.edu/planet. 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Through Dec. 30.

“Search for the Solar System’s Edge,” astronomy show, University of Southern Maine (Southworth Planetarium), Portland. $4 to $6. usm.maine.edu/planet. 8:30 p.m. Through Dec. 29.

Holiday Open House, with decorated shop windows, luminaries, holiday music and shops opens until 8 p.m., downtown Bath. visitbath.com. 5 to 8 p.m.

Lobster Crawl Auction, with lobster racing, a live auction and music by Pickle Jar Defenders, Mayo Street Arts, Portland. $1. mayostreetarts.org. 7 p.m.

Wine Tasting, Italian wines for gifts and important meals with Michael Burke of Vias wines, Rosemont Market & Bakery, Portland. rosemontmarket.com. 4 to 7 p.m.

Wine Tasting, Rosemont’s newest finds from Europe and the U.S. with Sam Brown of Pine State, Rosemont Market, Yarmouth. rosemontmarket.com. 4 to 6:30 p.m.

“Santa’s Reindeer Revue,” talent show by Santa’s rollicking band of renegade reindeer, Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, Portland. $8, $9. kitetails.org. 1 p.m. today; 4 p.m. Friday; 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday. Through Dec. 23.

Victorian Christmas at Donnell House, Victorian Christmas decor, kids’ crafts and live musical entertainment, Maine Maritime Museum (Donnell House), Bath. $5; $3 for ages 12 and under; $15 per family. 443-1316. 3 to 7 p.m. Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 3 to 7 p.m. Monday to Dec. 22. 

SATURDAY

Christmas with Deertrees, music and words, Bridgton Academy (chapel), North Bridgton. $5/donation. 583-6747. 3 p.m. 

SUNDAY

National Theatre in London: Live in HD, screening of “Collaborators,” Strand Theatre, Rockland. $23; $15 for students. rocklandstrand.com. 3 p.m.

MONDAY

Seanachie Nights: Spoken Word and Music, Bull Feeney’s, Portland. $9/donation. 253-0288. “Solstice Revels” with Sebastian Lockwood, Lynne Cullen and Janet Lynch, 7 to 9 p.m. 

TUESDAY

Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Gounod’s “Faust,” encore screening, Strand Theatre, Rockland. $23. rocklandstrand.com. 1 p.m. 

WEDNESDAY

Metropolitan Opera Live in HD: Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” screening of Mozart’s masterpiece, Strand Theatre, Rockland. $12.50; $10 for ages 18 and younger. rocklandstrand.com. 6:30 p.m.

“Stonehenge at Mid-Winter Eve,” astronomy show, University of Southern Maine (Southworth Planetarium), Portland. Donation. usm.maine.edu/planet. 8 p.m.

• FILMS

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), with music by Over a Cardboard Sea, State Theatre, Portland. $6. statetheatreportland.com. 6 and 9:30 p.m. Friday.

“White Christmas” (1954), Strand Theatre, Rockland. $5. rocklandstrand.com. 3 p.m. Saturday.

Fall Film Series: “Jane Eyre” (2011), York Public Library. Free. 363-2818. 3 p.m. Sunday.

“How to Start a Revolution,” documentary sponsored by OccupyMaine, Space, Portland. Free. space538.org. 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946), Skidompha Library, Damariscotta. Free. 563-5513. 6:30 p.m. Monday.

“A Christmas Carol” (1951), Rockland Library. Free. 594-0310. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 22.

• BOOKS/AUTHORS

Biddeford Adult Poetry Project, facilitated by local poet Joe Breuning, Second Congregational Church, Biddeford. 284-7898. 6 p.m. today.

Colin Woodard, author of “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America,” Skidompha Library, Damariscotta. 563-3207. 10 a.m. today.

Joyce Tenneson, author of “Shells: Nature’s Exquisite Creations,” Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland. Free. farnsworthmuseum.org. 3 to 5 p.m. Friday.

Kevin C. Mills, author of “Breakwater,” book release, Maine Authors Publishing Office, Rockland. kevincmills.com. 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Chris Van Dusen, author and illustrator of “The Circus Ship,” includes refreshments and a kids’ craft project, Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport. Free. penobscotmarinemuseum.org. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Solstice Dawning Celestial Poetry Evening, poetry and stars with local writers, University of Southern Maine (Southworth Planetarium), Portland. Donation. usm.maine.edu/planet. 7 p.m. Sunday.

Port Veritas Spoken Word Night, weekly poetry reading, Local Sprouts Cooperative, Portland. Free/donation. localsprouts.coop. 7 p.m. Tuesday.

• PARTICIPANT DANCE

Holiday Milonga del Oeste, dance/concert by tango band Tango Mucha Labia, Williston West Church, Portland. $10; bring indoor shoes. tangomuchalabia.com. Lessons at 8:15 p.m., dance at 9 p.m. Friday.

Contradance, Town Hall, Bowdoinham, $9. 666-3090. 8 to 11 p.m. (beginner’s lesson at 7:30 p.m.) Saturday.

Contradance, music by Soupbone and calling by Dugan Murphy, Mayo Street Arts, Portland. $7. mayostreetarts.org. 8 p.m. Saturday.