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Celebrate Christmas and the colder weather, and catch Patti Smith and Oliver Sacks

Kill two birds with one stone Thursday at U Street Music Hall’s Crank Up the Cause fundraiser, where you can get in your dance-party fix and get a jump start on your holiday giving. Hosted by Citizen Effect, the event features three DJs. Guests can choose to donate to one of five local charities. Purchase tickets ($10) here. 6 to 9:30.

Scandinavian holiday decoration is on display at the Danish Embassy (3200 Whitehaven St., NW) Thursday afternoon, when the “Creative Christmas: 50 Years of Iconic Danish Design” installation is open to the public. The exhibit includes a series of 50 trees designed with wood, fiber, glass, metal, and plastic. 1 to 5. Free.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks is reading and signing books at Politics and Prose Thursday. His latest book, The Mind’s Eye, tells the story of individuals who have succeeded despite losing what many consider to be crucial senses and abilities. The event is sponsored by Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 7 PM; $8

The Brooklyn-based band Buke and Gass play the Rock & Roll Hotel Thursday. The group features two homemade instruments—a baritone/ukulele and a guitar/bass hybrid—to create one big sound. They’re joined by Talk Normal and Hammer No More the Fingers. 8 PM; $10.

Next up in the Rockwell Film Series at the National Portrait Gallery’s McEvoy Auditorium  is Steven Spielberg’s classic Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Snake-phobes, beware. Thursday at 6:30; Free.

If your Christmas enthusiasm matches that of Buddy the Elf, Santarchy might be the next best thing to a visit to the North Pole. Each year, hundreds of holiday revelers gather in downtown DC in festive garb to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Click here for more information on event locations. It starts Saturday at 2. Free.

Punk icon Patti Smith is speaking at the National Portrait Gallery’s McEvoy Auditorium Saturday from 2 to 4. She’ll also sign copies of her National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, which details her life in early 1970s Manhattan and her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Free.

Embrace the sudden turn in temperature Saturday at Dahlak (1771 U St., NW), where there’s a ski-lodge-themed holiday party. “Slalom II: Bunny Hill Boogaloo” starts at 10, and guests are encouraged to wear their best 1980s skiwear. No cover.

The Party Crashers exhibit, which opens Saturday at Artisphere , looks at how comics have impacted the art world. There’ll be an opening reception from 8 to 11 PM. Free.

Arlington Cinema ’n’ Drafthouse is hosting a nine-movie holiday film festival Saturday. It features classics such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Christmas Story, as well as new favorites like Elf and Bad Santa. Tickets ($8) are available here. 11:45 AM to 10:45 PM.

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