What happens when the nastiest kids in town take over the church Christmas pageant? They learn about the true meaning of Christmas, of course. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever tells the story of the dreadful Herdman herd. All six kids are bad -- they lie, cuss and smoke cigars (even the girls). The only place the Bradley kids are safe from the horrible Herdmans is in church. But when Charlie Bradley brags to Leroy Herdman about the free desserts he gets at Sunday school, the Herdmans show up to claim their share. Finding no sweets, they threaten all the other kids and get themselves cast in the lead roles in the pageant. Everyone is worried that this will be the worst Christmas pageant ever, but don't you worry -- the titles of children's plays are rarely ironic. 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 19; 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, December 20. Main Street Theater, 4617 Montrose. For information and tickets, call 713-524-6706 or visit www.mainstreettheater.com. $8 to $10; kids under three not admitted. -- Lisa Simon
Kristina Short watches as Mischa Hutchings smokes
a cigar over the baby Jesus.
The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center gets down
The YMCA teaches little monkeys new tricks over New
So you think your youngsters are mature beyond their years? Sign 'em up for "Scatology -- the Scoop on Poop" and see if they can stop giggling long enough to learn oodles about doo-doo and how biologists use it to study the behavior of animals. BYONC (bring your own nose clips). 9 a.m. Saturday, December 20. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4501 Woodway. For information, call 713-681-8433 or visit www.houstonnaturecenter.org. $9 to $15. -- Keith Plocek
Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah
We'll bet you have plans around New Year's Eve that aren't kid-friendly. Don't punish your wallet with baby-sitting by the hour -- send your youngsters to the all-inclusive YMCA winter camp on Lake Livingston. Cheers! Registration deadline: Wednesday, December 24. Winter camp: Sunday, December 28 through Thursday, January 1. For info and an application, call 713-758-9275, 936-594-2274 or visit www.ymcacampcullen.org. $225; free bus from Houston. -- Lisa Simon