By Kristi Casey Sanders

Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to start checking off your holiday shopping list. Nearly 100,000 shoppers crowd Buckhead’s malls between “Black Friday” and Christmas. Instead, take advantage of the Simon Evening of Giving, a private shopping and entertainment event that also raises funds for Atlanta’s arts community and other local nonprofit organizations.

Co-presented by Lenox Square Mall and Encore Atlanta magazine, Simon Evening of Giving will take place on Nov. 18 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Shoppers purchase tickets from participating charities, such as Theatre of the Stars and The Fox Theatre. Tickets are $35; $25 from each ticket goes directly to charity, and $5 from each ticket benefits the Simon Youth Foundation – a nonprofit organization fostering educational and career development for at-risk youth.

“Simon Evening of Giving allows our center to make a significant contribution to the communities we serve, and Lenox Square is pleased to spearhead this effort,” says Dewayne Herbert, area director of mall marketing for Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. “We have an especially exciting evening planned of elite fashion, food and fundraising.”

The event not only is an innovative way to raise funds, says Sherry White, publisher of Encore Atlanta, it is a night of entertainment that will appeal to shoppers and art lovers of all ages.

“Not only will ticket holders have exclusive access to the mall, but they will have access to some of the best sales of the season,” White says. “There will be no lines; Santa will be there for the kids; there will be a runway fashion show spectacular; and entertainment will be provided by the arts entities. What’s not to love?” Lenox Square is home to shops ranging from casual staples such as J. Crew and Banana Republic to designer boutiques such as Salvatore Ferragamo and Nicole Miller.

Other features include a silent auction and food tastings from restaurants and caterers such as Affairs to Remember, Gordon Biersch and Prime. Tickets can be purchased from participating charities, at Lenox Square’s Simon Guest Services Center and online at .