TODAY’S WORD is ubiquitous. "Christmas shopping has become more complicated because of the ubiquitous deals offered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday."

SUNDAY’S WORD was luminescence. That's the low-temperature emission of light. "Rudolph would've been just another reindeer if not for the luminescence of his proboscis."

Tree lighting time

Piedmont Arts will host its second annual tree lighting at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Gravely-Lester Art Garden -- but, as befits an arts organization, this is no ordinary tree. This one, created by Ian Hogg, is made from more than 3,000 lights strung on wire. Hogg is known for his artistry with lights, which can be seen adorning his yard on Indian Trail at Christmastime and illuminating the campgrounds at Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival .

The lighting will occur at sunset, and the tree will remain lit through New Year’s Day. This free event features Christmas-themed crafts for kids, hot chocolate, a live performance by the Martinsville High School Jazz Band and a visit from Santa Claus. The Gravely-Lester Art Garden is located at the corner of Starling Ave. and Market St. at the site of the historic "Little Post Office."

Charlie Brown time

Speaking of trees, who can forget the example of the woebegone Christmas tree preferred by Charlie Brown in "A Charlie Brown Christmas?" That scraggly pine became so well-known that it remains a euphemism for the scrawniest trees on the lot.

It's time once again to tune in to Charlie Brown, Linus and the gang, who first appeared on TV in 1965. That show has sparked various spinoffs, including recordings, books, other televised specials (Halloween, Thanksgiving etc.) and even a musical stage show.

The Stroller, back in the dark ages, actually once performed in the Charlie Brown Christmas stage show. It wasn't a big production, however, simply a pre-holiday assembly at the high school. And The Stroller's role? One of those people who skated around in the background while the music played and yelled "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown" at the very end.

Spectacular time

Thankfully, the Thespians will be much more skilled and entertaining for “Christmas Spectacular,” the Patriot Players' holiday show, which opens its six-show run on Thursday night. You can see the show at 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Walker Fine Arts Theatre at Patrick Henry Community College.

» SUNDAY’S TRIVIA ANSWER: A decade after Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was invented, in 1949, Johnny Marks penned the song that Gene Autry made No. 1 on the recording charts. Then in 1964 the animated TV version appeared on NBC, and it remains the longest-running Christmas special .

» TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: You probably know that's not really Schroeder playing, but what's the name of the familiar theme song for "A Charlie Brown Christmas"?

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