McNinch House morphs into a "Victorian holiday wonderland," as its press release puts it, for Christmas each year, and for the 2009 season, owner Ellen Davis will open on Sundays and Mondays in December. The restaurant is also adding two abbreviated fixed-price menus for the season, with a five-course version for $79 and four courses for $59. Among the dishes: Burgundy- and spice-marinated loin of venison, and Grateful Growers Tamworth pork osso buco. 511 N. Church St.; 704-332-6159.
The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge (10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway) does lots for the festive season. On the restaurant-related side, there's:
- The "Biggest Little Office Holiday Party" 6:30-midnight Dec. 4, with three courses, dessert and coffee station, live music and two drinks per person for $64. Reservations: 704-248-4035.
- Etiquette Tea with Mrs. Claus is billed as a "festive, fun way to learn table manner lessons" for kids, who'll get treats, crafts and story time 2-4 p.m. Dec. 6. $40 per child, $20 per adult (for groups of 6 or more, $35 per child, $15 per adult); reservations: 704-248-4055.
- Christmas Day Brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., a buffet with omelet and carving stations for $48.95 ($25.95 for 7-12, $7.95 for 3-6, and free for younger). Reservations: 704-248-4100.
- New Year's Eve Package, with four-course dinner, breakfast in bed, and late check-out of 4 p.m., starting at $294 for a single and $394 for double occupancy. Reservations: 888-627-8048.