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With the snow falling this morning it certainly is beginning to feel a lot more like the holidays! If you’re looking for ways to entertain yourselves without spending a lot of money, you’re in for a treat: There are a bunch of free arts and cultural events—as well as alternative shopping opportunities in which you can get your holiday shopping done and support local artists in one go—taking place tonight and this weekend all around town. All of these events from Free in DC are all-ages, free, and in D.C., unless otherwise noted.

Note: Due to the holidays, Freestylin’ D.C. will be on break for the next two weeks, and will return the first Monday of 2011.  Fear not though! I’ll have lots of suggestions for free and low-cost things to do during this time on Free in DC. Happy holidays to you all!

It’s the third Thursday of the month already, which means that it’s WVSA’s ARTiculate Gallery’s monthly open house at 16th & L St. NW. This month’s open house features a holiday sale, with select artworks 50 percent off, and handmade holiday cards, gift wrap, jewelry, and ornaments for sale. Ends at 7 p.m.

The Embassy of Haiti in Dupont Circle hosts a free screening of the documentary Lift Up! The film follows two brothers, Clifford Muse and Huguens Jean, as they return to post-earthquake Haiti, the country of their birth, to pay their final respects and fulfill a promise to their grandfather. This screening, which starts at 7 p.m., is free event and open to the public.

In Dupont Circle, check out HOME, Hillyer’s monthly open mic night. Tonight’s event features Khadijah “Moon” Ali Coleman, whose previous gigs include performances at the Green Festival and Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest, and the 2009 Pedagogy & Theater of the Oppressed conference in Minnesota. $5 cover for those not performing; sign-up starts at 6 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m.

Check out BMI’s monthly “Hungry for Music” showcase from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Hard Rock Cafe. This month’s showcase, which is free and all-ages, features performances by David Kitchen, Luke Brindley, Adrian Krygowski (aka Adrian Hardcore) and Wammie winner Patty Reese, as well as an acoustic set by the trio Deep River. All cash and musical instrument donations will support the organization Hungry for Music.

The National Gallery of Art screens the 1914 silent film version of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, accompanied by Andrew Simpson, who will perform the original score on the piano. The 23-minute film screens at 1 p.m.

It’s the monthly third Saturday youth open mic at Busboys and Poets 5th & K, starting at 5 p.m. Local slammer Jonathan B. Tucker and JayTee, a senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy and emcee with Cloud IX Productions, host the event, which showcases the talents of area high school poets.

Bypass the mall and do some holiday shopping outdoors at the annual Downtown Holiday Market, which is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily through December 23. It’s a wonderful place to shop for arts and craft items, and a chance to support local artists and small businesses. I found a super cute hat there last year and I’m always impressed with the selection of  winter wear,  jewelry, photography, paintings, and other great gift items. The vendors are outside up shop along F St. NW between 7th & 9th Streets; and you can enjoy free live music over warm drinks and snacks, which are available for purchase.

While in the area, you can also stop by Carroll Square Art Gallery at 975 F St. NW to view the “Tracy’s Kids” art exhibit, which features works from the Tracy’s Kids Art Therapy Program. The program, which began 19 years ago at the Lombardi Cancer Center, helps young cancer patients and their families cope with the emotional stress and trauma of cancer and its treatment.

Amy Melrose is the creator of Free in DC, an arts, culture, and consciousness blog highlighting free and low-cost events that are all Metro accessible in the D.C. area. You can also follow Free in DC on Twitter and Facebook.