Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Most Austin area school districts are closed today for the Good Friday holiday. But some students will be attending class.

That’s because they’re making up days off for bad weather earlier in the school year.

DO have school:

  • Burnet ISD will have regular school hours today.
  • Del Valle ISD is holding classes today.
  • Dripping Springs ISD is holding classes today and on Memorial Day to make up for canceled classes.
  • Eanes ISD is holding classes today. The rest of the school year will continue as planned.
  • Lockhart ISD will hold regular school hours today and on Memorial Day.
  • Manor ISD is holding classes today as a make-up. There will not be classes on Memorial Day.
  • Texas School for the Deaf will have regular school hours today.
  • Wimberley ISD is also holding classes this Good Friday.

DO NOT have school:

  • Austin ISD is off today. AISD has no make-up days scheduled for the rest of the school year.

The holidays are here and it might surprise people how energy-intensive they can be. Commentator Michael Webber is keeping a list - and checking it twice - on some ways we burn fuel this time of year.

For starters: There's the energy involved in travel to visit family – those long road trips over the hills and through the woods to visit Grandma, plane flights, even train travel.

Then there's the energy for heating our homes during cold weather. In the northeast that's likely fuel oil; gas in the Southwest; and electricity in the South. Then there are all those presents!

The holiday season is here. For many that means traveling, shopping and celebrating – all of which can pose certain safety issues. Here’s a rundown of holiday safety tips, and info about city services offered over the winter holidays:

Auto-Burglary Awareness Program

In Texas, a vehicle is broken into every 2.5 minutes, and auto-burglaries escalate during the holiday season.  With the holiday season upon us, local law enforcement is raising awareness over auto burglaries.  

The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Project suggests that you take the following actions to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of auto burglary:

  • Lock your car and take your keys
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain view
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings      
  • Avoid carrying a large amount of cash or credit cards
Jan Gunter

Christmas is fast approaching and Santa’s elves are hard at work – not just at the North Pole, but here in  Austin.

For more than a century, the Salvation Army has been helping with Santa's mission. Back in the 1800s, the Salvation Army’s Christmas mission consisted of delivering food baskets to people who would otherwise go hungry.

But by the 1970s, Austin Salvation Army Major Shannon Winters recalls, the group’s focus turned to toys for children in need. Its humble mission grew into a project that, in Winters’ words, now covers “six thousand children in Austin that are depending on us.”

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for older people. Many live alone and are on fixed incomes.

The local Home Instead Senior Care offices are encouraging Central Texans to “Be a Santa to a Senior” by purchasing gifts for area seniors in need.

The group has identified more than 1,000 older people in the Austin area who could use a little holiday cheer. Many have lost a spouse or don’t have immediate family in the area.

Joy Diaz for KUT News

Every Memorial Day we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty.

But Rick Smith doesn’t wait on any specific day of the year. He has made it his mission in life to honor the U.S. flag every morning and night – and plans on doing so for the rest of his life.

KUT News

If you’re flying out of Austin for the holidays, be ready to arrive at the airport early and expect long lines.  Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is advising travelers to arrive 90 minutes before their departure time from today through Dec. 21.

Checkpoints open at 4 a.m. to give passengers on the earliest flights ample time to get check their bags and get through security. ABIA has also temporarily opened a fourth security checkpoint to handle the high volume of holiday travelers and reduce security wait times.  

KUT News

The Austin Salvation Army is warning people to keep an eye out for imposter bell ringers after a man was spotted with a red kettle at the corner of Parmer and Metric yesterday.

The Salvation Army says bell ringers who are collecting money legitimately for the organization will have necessary signage and identification and won't be positioned on street corners. Instead, Salvation Army bell ringers are located at stores and malls.

If you’re feeling holiday withdrawal during the weeks between Labor Day and Halloween, there’s good news: today you can celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the quirky holiday. International Talk Like a Pirate Day was created in 2002 after columnist Dave Barry wrote a piece in the Miami Herald about the piratical exploits of Oregonians John Baur and Mark Summers (otherwise known by their pirate aliases, Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy). Baur and Summers began Talk Like a Pirate Day among their circle of friends while playing racquetball in 1995 and appealed to Barry to publicize the event seven years later. 

Today, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is celebrated with events all over the world, from Texas to Japan.

Daniel Reese, KUT News

The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding Fourth of July revelers to plan ahead before they party.

“If you are drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or some other form of transportation,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Otherwise, you could be making a very expensive or even fatal mistake.”

DPS has ramped up DWI patrols and will continue to increase enforcement through July 8. The department will focus their patrols on areas they consider to be high-risk during holiday weekends.

Photo courtesy of maddcow

An Austin Energy tradition going on 45 years continued today as the power company hung Christmas lights around the park's moonlight tower. The Zilker Tree will not be lit, however, until December 4. 

Meanwhile, the Trail of Lights is back this year was cancelled again this year. Check out the story here.   

Image courtesy Photography

People have a lot going on this time of year. Party planning, family and friends in town, plus thinking about work next year and meeting those New Year’s resolutions.

For some, all of this can be too much. Michelle Magid calls it the holiday blues. She’s a psychiatrist at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and an assistant professor at UT Southwestern in Dallas.

Santa Claus
Image courtesy Lady Dragonfly CC

Probably no surprise that the guy credited with distributing gifts to millions of kids is getting more tech savvy. Here are some ways to track Santa's flight path on the WWW.

The official NORAD Santa Tracker is going mobile. Not only can you follow Saint Nick's path on their website, but you can also follow his progress on your cell phone by visiting or doing a search for "Santa" on your smartphone's Google Maps app.

The city had to cancel the Trail of Lights this year because of budget cuts, but there is another event going on in its place.  It's not quite the Trail of Lights, but it is bright, it's holiday-themed, and it's next to the Zilker Tree.

Flipped ON Christmas runs through December 23rd. It's an "extraordinary, world-class, light and sound experience that's being produced by Austinites," according to spokesperson Jennifer Hill Robenalt.

Austin's bustling non-profit community is brimming with need over the holidays. There's no way we can mention them all, but here are four charities that could use your help. Please add your favorite non-profit to support in the comments section below.