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Editor's Note 

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

As newspaperman Francis Pharcellus Church once said, Santa exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist. And so, in the spirit of the season, staff reporter Jeff Gardner tracked down ol' St. Nick himself and learned how the Christmas spirit grew in the heart of Tucsonan Patrick Cunningham until he realized his calling was to make glad the heart of childhood.

And if you want to catch up with Santa before the big day arrives, he'll be out and about this weekend. In City Week, calendar editor Emily Dieckman has a rundown of some of the places you'll find Father Christmas, including the Tucson Petting Zoo and Pump It Up's magical kingdom of bounce houses. Emily also has the lowdown on the many other ways you can make merry and brighten the season for others.

Speaking of making merry: Jeff and and Emily also bring you our annual New Year's Guide, with our picks for where you should ring in 2018. There's plenty of fun to be had: big parties downtown at the Rialto, Hotel Congress, the reopened Playground and elsewhere; a screening of Labyrinth at the Loft; stand-up acts at Laff's Comedy Caffé; and plenty of other spots to kiss 2017 goodbye.

Speaking of fun times: It may be Christmas week, but there's a lot going on in this town. Snoop Dog is hitting up the Rialto, 98 Degrees is doing a Christmas concert at Desert Diamond Casino; and Hotel Congress has a heck of a week planned, including performances by Hank Topless, Howe Gelb (who will be playing Giant Sand's first album, Beyond the Valley of the Rain, in its entirety!), Al Perry and—just ahead of New Year's Eve—the return of the Wooden Ball, which features local artists doing (mostly) acoustic sets. Details on all of that—and more—can be found in our newest music column, Xavier Omar Otero's XOXO...

If you're still looking to find a gift, the TW staff has some last-minute advice in this week's Chow section: Some flavors of Tucson that make perfect stocking stuffers, from the coffee beans at EXO to a bottle of Whiskey del Bac.

Elsewhere in the book: Staff writer Danyelle Khmara takes in a vigil for sex workers who lost their lives this year and gets you caught up on some of latest politics in this week's Currents section; arts writer Margaret Regan encourages you check out two terrific shows at the UA Museum of Art and Etherton Gallery before they end their runs; Mark Whittaker introduces you to Emily Peterson, the woman behind Beer Geek Bakery, which crafts baked goods to accompany the frosty cold suds coming from local breweries; movie critic Bob Grimm says The Last Jedi is terrific in places but has a lot of boring moments; and, of course, there's a bunch more for you to dig into.

Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

— Jim Nintzel Executive Editor

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