Nothing says "overdoing it for the holidays" like having your pet's picture taken with Santa Claus. But, hey, if the kids are into it and the dog doesn't bite, it's all good.It seems that one of the elves got away from Santa's North Pole compound and ended up at the Lawrence Humane Society (1805 East 19th Street). Following procedure for strays, the shelter snipped the little guy's little guys. Santa himself has to pick up the castrato elf on Sunday between noon and 4 p.m., which presents a perfect photo op. Conveniently, Herb's Studio will be there to take pictures of Santa with families and their pets. Ten dollars gets two 4-by-6 photos and the negatives. Proceeds benefit the animals of Douglas County. For details, call 785-843-6835.-- Michael Vennard
Take ski lessons in Missouri.
Colorado may border Kansas, but driving there with kids is no picnic. Unless, of course, your definition of picnic involves the question "Are we there yet?" and impossible bathroom demands. Luckily, you don't have to travel that far for ski lessons.Snow Creek offers lessons for children as well as for adults. Beginners learn such skills as putting on and taking off skis, getting up from a fall, and making turns in both directions without getting what instructors call an "edgie wedgie." First-timers can attend Learn to Ski/Board Mondays, with $19 lift and rental for kids between the ages of seven and twelve. Kids six and younger can ride the lift for free and rent skis for $10. Kids five and younger require a private lesson. For information, call 816-640-2200. For directions, see skisnowcreek.com. -- Gina Kaufmann
A Christmas Carol may be a heartwarming lesson in sharing for most of us, but for insecure little boys named Tim, it is a curse. As if it weren't bad enough for the average ten-year-old boy who wants nothing more than to master the slam dunk to have his name associated with the word tiny, Comedy Central's South Park went and introduced to its cast the politically incorrect Timmy, a belligerent retarded child. But that's not Dickens' fault. A Christmas Carol, showing through December 27 at the Missouri Repertory Theater (4949 Cherry, 816-235-2700), should prove a treat for the entire family, small Tims notwithstanding.-- Kaufmann