Festivities welcoming the holiday season in Westport begin at 5 p.m. today (Thursday, Nov. 29) when First Selectman Gordon Joseloff will light the Town Hall tree at 110 Myrtle Ave.

Complimentary refreshments will be served nearby at the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place.

After the tree lighting, the Downtown Merchants Association will host a festive reception featuring music by Chris Coogan and the Staples High School Orphenians, food, ice sculptures and a visit from Santa. The free event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church hall, 75 Church Lane.

In the spirit of the season, local nonprofit organizations will also provide information about their missions and offer alternatives to traditional holiday gift giving. Each organization will have wish lists with items priced from $10 to several hundred dollars that will benefit their organizations.

On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8, 9 and 15, 16, the DMA plans to enhance the seasonal atmosphere downtown with strolling carolers, free horse-and-buggy rides, hot cocoa and cider sales to benefit local youth organizations and Santa.

Visit www.WestportDMA.com for information.