Food is a key ingredient to a happy holiday season.

Local restaurants are offering some special events to get diners in the spirit, and others are going to be open for service on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Check back as we update this list, and let us know if we need to add a restaurant: email [email protected] 

A taste of the holidays 

Better Basket

This downtown grocery store is hosting a Christmas celebration with hot chocolate, cookie decorating, and more family fun. It’s 2-6 p.m. Dec. 11. Details: 910-399-7539, http://shopbetterbasket.com, 143 N Front St. in Wilmington.

Blockade Runner Beach Resort 

This family owned Wrightsville Beach hotel is continuing a 15-year tradition with an an event brought to you by Opera House Theatre Company. Holiday Cabaret: Hark! The Herald Angels Swing is Dec. 17 and 18. Overnight packages are available through the hotel, and dinner-and-show tickets through Opera House. Details: 866-884-5781, www.Blockade-Runner.com, 275 Waynick Blvd in Wrightsville Beach.