Naughty & Nice

Freaky fun that will have you feeling festive

December 25, Steinhardt Building, 35 West 67th Street, 212.601.1000, makor.com

Dust off that kinara and grab those mishumaa saba, 'cause Kwanzaa is back—and the American Museum of Natural History is once again on the scene with its free annual Kwanzaa Festival. Actor-singer Kevin Anthony and KISS-FM's Diana King host the all-day event that includes a performance by the Creative Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, face painting and other activities for the kiddies, and an African marketplace boasting goods from Nigeria to the Caribbean. Plus, if you happen to get hungry, Kwanzaa fare will be sold. 'Tis the season for nguzo saba! FRANKLIN

Art stars Haunted Pussy hang with J.C. on Orchard Street
Art stars Haunted Pussy hang with J.C. on Orchard Street

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Desperate for free labor, overburdened social-service organizations and underfunded quirky interest groups plead that their work is fun, important, and politically meaningful. If you are seeking such purpose, a change of routine, or to do good this holiday season, opportunities abound for mingling with odd demographics and performing obscure tasks that are sure to satisfy this seasonal urge. New York Cares provides an online database of activities, referring volunteers to targeted tasks of interest and keeping them updated on the latest New York need (Olympics 2012, anyone?). If you are looking for weekly fun, partner up with a wheelchair-bound boogier at the Jewish Home and Hospital for Thursday-night dancing to the "oldies but goodies." Or if you have a flair for fashion and counsel, provide wardrobe supplements and career advice to soon-to-be-employed women at the Bottomless Closet. Feeling overwhelmed by relatives during the holidays? Escape on a brisk walk through Williamsburg with a needy pup from the Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition, or tote a bag of bagels through town from a local café to a shelter, as part of City Harvest's hunger-fighting "Street Fleet." Volunteering opportunities vary come springtime, so you can also resolve this New Year's to get dirty dredging the Gowanus with the Urban Divers or vow to weed a local lot with community-garden activists the Green Guerrillas. At Christmas dinner you will be armed with anecdotes sure to bewilder and delight the out-of-towners, and perhaps inspire the locals. COLE


nycares.org; jewishhome.org; bottomlesscloset.org; barcshelter.org; cityharvest.org; urbandivers.org; greenguerillas.org

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December 26, American Museum of Natural History, Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, 79th Street and Central Park West, 212.769.5315

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