The spirit of the holidays takes flight this time of year at the Historical Building, site of this Friday's Celebrate Iowa Gala.


You can join in a celebration of our great state Friday (Dec. 14), accompanied by the music of Iowa's own River Glen, the Awful Purdies and the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. It's the seventh annual Celebrate Iowa Gala, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the State Historical Building downtown—a night full of Iowa culture, cocktails and cuisine.

Funds raised support exhibits, programs and initiatives of the State Historical Society and the State Historical Museum. A VIP reception precedes the event. View the full program. Complimentary valet service will be provided at the covered entrance on Locust Street. Holiday cocktail attire is suggested. Tickets are $100 ($75 for young professionals, $500 for the full VIP treatment). Purchase tickets online or call 515-281-3809.

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By Design presents dsmDining —

Ceramic dinnerware from Terra Firma, available at Kitchen Collage, will delight the entertaining enthusiast on your gift list.


By Wini Moranville

When it comes to shopping for cooks on your list, it’s hard to beat the East Village. Here’s what I found on a recent foray:

• For the Tea Lover: At Gong Fu Tea, you can always pick a few eclectic tea selections for stocking stuffers, but if you’re looking to go big, consider the Tao Level Tea Club. The 12-month membership ($200) includes hand-selected loose-leaf tea delivered to the recipient’s home each month for one year. (414 E. Sixth St., 515-288-3388;

• For the Eco-Conscious Cook: Eden offers dishwashing liquid ($9) and other household cleansers from Common Good, a line of products made with plant-based ingredients and scented with 100 percent pure essential oil. Even better, the bottles are refillable at Eden to help recipients in their quest to go litterless. (418 E. Sixth St., 515-282-0669;

• For the Entertainer: From tidbit plates to platters, Kitchen Collage serves up pieces from the Terra Firma line of New York-made ceramics. They offer the entertaining enthusiast a striking way to showcase appetizers. Prices vary. (430 E. Locust St., 515-270-8202;

•  For Any Cook: Rory Brown, owner of Allspice, has debuted or revamped some gift sets for the season. The Barnyard collection ($24), for example, now has Prime Rib Rub and an artisan Worcestershire sauce, in addition to New York Steak and Burger Seasoning, Quebec Steak Seasoning and Espresso Rub. Other new sets include Double Dipping ($30), featuring four dip seasonings and a pretty glass container, and Mucho Mexican ($24), a collection of six seasonings for South of the Border cooking. (400 E. Locust St., 515-868-0808;

Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.


Minimalism is a huge trend this year – so much so that it’s spilling over into holiday decor. Read more »

The burdens of business and holidays are wearying for Ebenezer Scrooge, even before he encounters a life-changing series of spirits.


It's the role of a lifetime for local actor Richard Maynard, who, for more years than we can count, has become Ebenezer Scrooge every December in a stage production of Charles Dickens' classic tale "A Christmas Carol."

Get in the holiday spirit at shows this Friday, Dec. 14, through Dec. 23 produced by Iowa Stage Theatre Company at the Des Moines Social Club's Kum & Go Theater. You can get tickets ($40, with discounts for seniors and students) and more information by clicking here.

Tired of shopping in crowded cookie-cutter big-box stores? Take a fresh approach to gift-buying Sunday in West Des Moines.


If you're looking for locally produced gifts, 18 small businesses will be waiting to see you Sunday (Dec. 16) at the pop-up "Merry Market" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Hall, 111 S. 11th St. in West Des Moines. The gift market is curated by the producers of Market Day, Central Iowa’s longest running craft show, and includes handmade apparel, finely crafted tools, bath goods, artwork, jewelry, clothing, knits and more.

This is the third year for what the organizers bill as a "procrastinator’s gift mart"—an event to connect frazzled shoppers with unique gifts for everyone on their list. A bonus to reward your savvy shopping: The Hall serves adult beverages. They also plan to have food truck fare and they'll be screening classic Christmas movies throughout the day.

Here's another bonus: A percentage of proceeds from every purchase will go to benefit the Justice League of Food, a nonprofit set up to provide Iowa residents returning from incarceration with training in food service

A few lights can really brighten up the neighborhood; 150,000 lights can make it dazzling.


With the right weather and 150,000 twinkling lights, we always enjoy Jingle in the Junction as one of our holiday traditions. The last opportunity this year is Thursday, Dec. 13, from 5 to 9 p.m. Wander the Historic Valley Junction district, do some shopping to the sounds of carolers, and watch kids react to Santa and Mrs. Claus. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

The legendary Marilyn Maye sings at the Temple Theater next April 26, two weeks after her 91st birthday Photo: Kevin Alvey.


We learned this week of future local concerts by two legendary talents: Jazz singer Marilyn Maye will be at the Temple Theater April 26, and country music's Charlie Daniels comes to Hoyt Sherman Place March 29. Tickets for both shows go on sale this Friday. For other fun opportunities, explore a pair of easy-to-use online calendars. We at dsm magazine and the Business Record maintain this calendar with handy filters so you can see just the types of events you're searching for. For even more categories, check Catch Des Moines.

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