A few changes in the routine promise plenty of holiday fun.

Neighborhood fireworks displays should sizzle – not fizzle. With that in mind, The Sacramento Bee once again assembled a team of flash-and-boom experts to chart points on the axis of spectacle and price.

The U.S. Forest Service advises people who are attending Fourth of July festivities at Lake Tahoe to keep the following laws and safety information in mind.

As imports of illegal fireworks into California increase, fire officials urged Sacramento-area residents Wednesday to only use those certified as “safe and sane” and report “dangerous” fireworks.

Egg hunt, pancake breakfast, live music, clowns, fire department, and arts and crafts. Arrive 30 minutes early. 10 a.m. Carmichael Park. 5750 Grant Ave., Carmichael. Free. 916-485-5322.

To honor their Christian friends at Easter – a celebration of renewal – Muslim leaders in Sacramento will deliver 300 gifts at noon today to the First Covenant Church in Rancho Cordova.

For those who don’t want to sit in a pew to attend Easter Sunday services, there are options along the American River, at Folsom Lake and in the parking lot at the Roseville Galleria.

Vehicle entrance fees go up $3 on Easter Sunday at Sacramento County regional parks.

Retailers rang up a few more sales in the recent holiday shopping season, but at the expense of profit margins. Battered by the recession and stagnant wages, Americans opened their wallets only when there was a deal.

Every year, Erin Huffstetler keeps her Christmas spending below $100 - for a family of four. We look at how she did it last year - for $99.70 - and how she’s already started on Christmas 2014. The fulltime “frugal lifestyle” blogger shares her banking, shopping and thrifting techniques. And actually makes it sound like fun, not a chore.

The future of Sacramento’s downtown, the manner in which the city is governed and the rural landscape of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – all will be shaped by a variety of decisions and events expected in 2014. Here are some of the key issues expected to play out in Sacramento and the broader region as the new year unfolds.

Before we look ahead to next year, let’s take one last look back at the fiasco that was 2013.

Fenix Drum and Dance Company hosted a celebration of the African American cultural holiday with drumming, lighting of candles, dancing, food and storytelling.

We all know the stereotypical New Year’s Eve partygoer: sparking-wine glass in one hand, noisemaker in mouth, cruising quickly toward a Jan. 1 hangover.

Instead of tossing Christmas trees in the trash, capital-area residents are encouraged to deliver them to designated tree-recycling locations.

The 2013 movie year stacks up better than any since 2009, when "Inglourious Basterds," "The Hurt Locker" "Up in the Air" and "Avatar" were released. This year's films clearly improved on 2012's, especially when you compare the best from both years.

It’s the countdown to 2014 and casino resorts have lined up a particularly enticing array of entertainment and parties.

Christmas spirit comes in home-baked treats.

Christmas Day will be especially star-studded this year in movie theaters.

You’re ready to kick off the new year, and you want to do it with a stylishly delicious meal. But you probably don’t have time to master fancy new kitchen skills. Or to shop for a million ingredients.

For Tuesday afternoon’s Christmas pageant at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento, the key roles in the re-enactment of the Christ child’s birth were taken by performers short on years but long on enthusiasm.

You can opt for a number of menus for New Year’s Eve, including a full three-course dinner (see Page D4) or you can go with a more casual atmosphere and serve lots of appetizer-sized nibbles.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command keeps an eye to the sky to follow Santa around the world. See where he is this Christmas eve.

More than anyone this Christmas season, Dolph Gotelli can share the meaning of Santa Claus. He understands the secret behind that kindly face and twinkling eyes.

Holiday workers may get a surprise treat.

For Kelly James-Enger, breaking up battles between her two children is a year-round job. But lately, the Downers Grove, Ill., mother has enjoyed a little help from a wide-eyed elf named Michael.

Beyond the filling tucked in a bed of masa, the beloved tamale tempts in a variety of styles, flavors.

Whether the cook on your holiday gift list is interested in reading about family and food in Soviet Russia or the preparation of classic French dishes such as jambon au foin (”leg in hay”), baking pies or making authentic pasta carbonara, this fall has been an excellent season for food and wine books.

Time is running short for holiday preparations, and a quick and easy cookie recipe seems just the ticket.

With all those presents to open, nobody wants to spend Christmas morning in the kitchen. So to keep you with the family, we have some easy dishes to suggest.

For those students who can’t make it home for the holidays, the town of Davis can feel pretty lonely around Christmas time. Some senior citizens in Davis might also be missing family as well, and in need of company and a cheery meal.

Book of Dreams readers have been asked to help purchase a storage shed for donated shoes set to be distributed to those in need.

Brick-and-mortar and e-bookstores are crowded with holiday-themed titles. If you’re looking for some stocking-stuffers, consider this sampling.

Not every holiday gift comes from a catalogue or off the retailer’s shelf. From the local craft fair to online Etsy-like websites, there’s no end of homemade gifts to buy. But what if you want something custom - like a hand-stitched quilt, a mid-century coffee table or a pair of agate earrings?

All-white home decor gets some bling for the season.

Grandmother was right. Save those bows and bags.

The holidays are a great time to pull out the old photos and reminisce, but there’s no need to huddle around a dusty album. There are a variety of ways to get them out in the open by making them part of your holiday decorations.

The generational aspect of sending holiday cards is not what you'd really expect: Older adults have done away with the ritual -- for a variety of reasons -- while many young people embrace the chance to send cards with baby photos through the mail. Or through e-mail.

Neighbors who have hoisted ladders and battled tangled wires now hope total strangers delight in the outcome. Of course, we’re talking about Christmas lighting, which lures us out of our homes to ogle the designs of others.

Gov. Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust-Brown, above, accompanied by their dog Sutter, hang an ornament on the state’s Christmas tree with Angel Valencia-Ceja, 8, of Vallejo, at Thursday night’s lighting ceremony.

Strolling carolers and handbell choir set the scene for a Winter Wonderland at Fairytale Town.

After Italian tour and special concert at the Vatican, members of the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra find warm inspiration in venerable Memorial Auditorium.

David Sedaris’ acerbic observations in “The SantaLand Diaries” may not be everyone’s idea of Christmas spirit, but that’s actually the point. “Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine,” a man once said. And what better way to keep Christmas than to be working on the inside of the biggest holiday display of them all, Macy’s SantaLand?

As part of annual Capitol holiday music concerts, Cantare Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Jeff Nelson, performs a variety of Christmas classics including music from the 17th century to contemporary pieces in the Capitol rotunda on Tuesday in Sacramento.

Sacramento Bee photographer Randy Pench took pictures of musicians performing at the state Capitol in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday, Dec. 10, and has presented them in a video that features the music that filled the building under the rotunda.

Tour organizers face the same challenge each year: How can they attract patrons during the hectic holiday season?

Bargains are available for nature lovers at the Holiday Sale at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael.

Composer and pianist John Bucchino may want to make Sacramento his second home after this weekend.

Will you deck out your house, street or neighborhood with holiday lights? The Sacramento Bee wants to put it in our annual map.

Start a new tradition or keep up an old one with one of these holiday festivals in the Sacramento region and a few beyond.

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