The Toys of Our Lives

Daytime drama at Toy Man Toy Show

SUN 12/14

The ultra-rare Japanese mini-Boba-Fett-toy prototype is priceless. It sits atop a table at the Toy Man Toy Show, gleaming like the Holy Grail. It is a replica of the helmet of Boba Fett, badass bounty hunter from the Star Wars films, three inches high and made of clear plastic. There may only be one in the universe, young Jedi.

It has no price tag. As they say, if you have to ask.... A boy of eight points at the precious item, more a museum piece than a toy, really, and asks what that thing shielded within the plastic cube is.

"It's a prototype," the vendor answers curtly. "Please don't touch it."

Intrigued by the idea that this is a very special toy, the boy stares at it for a moment, then walks down the aisle to buy some of last year's Hot Wheels at a meager 50 cents a car.

You'll find toys both mindlessly obscure and refreshingly inexpensive at the toy show, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Machinist Hall (12365 St. Charles Rock Road, free to $3, 636-332-0807). -- Byron Kerman

Gelt Trip
Oy to the World

SUN 12/14

There are better ways for kids to celebrate Chanukah than by singing "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" for eight nights straight -- like the Festival of Lights at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard).

Live folk music and dancing, courtesy of the Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School Choir and the Desert Moon Dance Academy, will take place alongside a shuk (Hebrew for bazaar) selling jewelry and other good last-minute holiday gifts.

The celebration happens from noon to 4 p.m. at the Garden's Ridgeway Center. Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids younger than twelve. Call 314-577-9400 or visit -- Rose Martelli

Pigs Are Smarter Than Reindeer, Anyway

SAT 12/13

Don't wait for Santa to come to you. Bundle up the family, hop in the minivan and take everyone to the fourth annual Holiday Santa Walk at Suson County Park (6073 Wells Road). Plan to arrive between 6 and 7:30 p.m., when the whole family will be able to release some of that pent-up holiday excitement during this one-hour self-guided stroll down a mile of candlelit walkways and illuminated barns. Join hundreds of grown-ups and children anxiously counting down the gift-giving days in old-fashioned outdoor style; visit Santa and his elves, munch on holiday cookies, guzzle down hot chocolate and -- this is the one the kids will remember for years to come -- see cows, chickens and pigs outfitted in red-and-green tuxedos and party dresses, slurping noisily at troughs filled with eggnog. Only joking, but the farm animals will be at the event, and they do like to be petted. Advance registration is required; call 314-894-3089 or 1-800-735-2966. Admission is $1 to $5. -- Mallarie Zimmer

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