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Los Gatos kicks the holiday season into high gear next week, with two family-friendly traditions that welcome thousands to downtown. The town-sponsored Tree Lighting Ceremony is Friday, Dec. 1, followed by the 61st annual Los Gatos Children’s Christmas and Holidays Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2. The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place at the Town Plaza at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Main Street. Festivities begin at 5 p.m. with music in the plaza and kids eagerly awaiting the big moment. That happens at precisely 6 p.m., when Mayor Rob Rennie will choose a child from the crowd to help him flip the switch that lights the huge holiday tree.

The show will run through Jan, 4, In addition, the Walnut Creek-based company announced the Diablo Ballet premiere of the Sweetheart Pas de Deux from Eugene Loring’s masterpiece ballet, “Billy the Kid” and the 2013 edition of ballet shoes how to tie “A Swingin’ Holiday,” Friday at 8 p.m, and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m, at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek, The season will also celebrate the appointment of Robert Dekkers, dancer and choreographer with Diablo Ballet, as resident choreographer..

Maybe it was an off night for Goulding, who was marginally better when she brought her previous Halcyon Days Tour to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco two years ago. She was also dealing with a tough situation, with one less band member than usual with her onstage. (The missing keyboardist had experienced an allergic reaction to something and had to go to the hospital, Goulding explained.) Plus, it was a somewhat disappointing turnout — the house was only about two-thirds full — which definitely factored into the low-energy levels.

Smart comedy for thinking adults, PITTSBURG — Standup comic Darren Carter headlines a monthly comedy show with Keith Lowell Jensen and Natasha Muse at the California Theatre, 8 p.m, Saturday 351 Railroad Ave, Doors open at ballet shoes how to tie 7 p.m, Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door, For tickets and information, call 925-428-1611 or go to, Black Diamond Ballet presents ‘Nutcracker’, PITTSBURG — The nonprofit organization Black Diamond Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” Dec, 13 and 14 at the Pittsburg Creative Arts Building, 250 School St..

City Wide Hymn Sing: You pick the hymns. With special guests Larry and Marilyn Sampson. May 6, 7 p.m. Bethel Church, 1201 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose. 408.371.3706 or 408.377.4181. Author Doctorow: The Center for the Literary Arts at San Jose State University presents author E.L. Doctorow, whose novels include Ragtime, Billy Bathgate and Lives of the Poets. A reading and book-signing with the author takes place May 10, 7 p.m. and he is featured in conversation with Andrew Altschul, May 11, 1 p.m. University Theatre, San Jose State University.