NEW YORK CITY TAKES ON A HOLIDAY AURA with special window displays, Christmas lights and free entertainment. A free brochure highlighting things to do and see is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed $10 envelope to Holiday Guide, Manhattan East Suite Hotels, 505 E. 75th St., New York, N.Y. 10021-3103.

Among the events:1/2 An autographed manuscript of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," dated 1843, is on view in the East Room of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 29 E. 36th St., through Dec.13.

1/2 The Fifth Avenue windows of Lord & Taylor, 38th St. and Fifth Ave., become animated recreations of holiday scenes including Grand Central Station, circa 1871.

1/2 A Victorian Christmas tree decorated with antique ornaments will be on display at Forbes Magazine Galleries, 12th St. and Fifth Ave. from Dec. 10-Jan.2 on Tue., Wed., Fri., and Sat. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

1/2 Live performances at the World Trade Center, Church and Liberty St., from Dec. 10-21, and puppet shows from Dec. 26-31, weekdays beginning at noon. Free.

1/2 Christmas scene right out of Dickens at Gotham Book Mart, 41 W. 47th St. from Dec. 6-Jan. 5. Tree with rare Victorian ornaments and Neapolitan creche figures as well as antique toys and ornaments. Open Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

1/2 Handcrafted nativity scene on display at St. Peter's Church, 54th St. and Lexington Ave. from Dec. 16 through Ephinany. Sundays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

1/2 Sixty-five foot Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, Fifth Ave. between 49th and 51st Streets.

1/2 Sidewalks of New York will offer organized tours of Fifth Avenue's holiday sights for a fee of $10. Held every Saturday evening in December. Call (212) 517-0201.

1/2 Christmas tree and baroque creche on display in the Medieval Sculpture Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 82nd St. and Fifth Ave. through Jan. 13. Neapolitan creche terracotta and wood figures were created by an 18th century craftsman. They include the holy family, merchants, burghers, peasants and animals. Tues. - Thurs. and Sun. from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. until 8:45 p.m. Suggestion admission fee.

1/2 Radio City Music Hall's "Christmas Spectacular" with 180 live performers including a "Living Nativity" and the Rockettes will be performed through Jan. 3. Call (212) 247-4777 for ticket information.

For more information on these events contact the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau, (212) 397-8222, or go to the Visitors Information Center at Two Columbus Circle.

SPECIAL HOLIDAY RATE AT THE FIVE-STAR STOUFFER STANFORD COURT HOTEL IN SAN FRANCISCO. Room rate of $149 is good through Dec. 30. Complimentary services include gift wrapping, transportation to downtown location in Rolls-Royce limousine, morning newspaper and coffee with wake-up calls. If you stay two nights you'll receive a $25 gift certificate to Gump's, one of the city's best known specialty shops. (800) HOTELS 1.

SEATTLE CELEBRATES THE HOLIDAYS WITH A VARIETY OF FAMILY ACTIVITIES.

1/2 "Festivals of Lights" at the Seattle Children's Museum at the Seattle Center shows off a variety of cultures including Thai, Swedish, Indian, Jewish, Filipino and African-American. (206) 441-1767.

1/2 "Northwest Holiday Traditions" at the Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave., will feature a toy train display with 480 feet of track and villages, bridges and homes. Antique bicycles, dolls, Lincoln logs, building blocks and tinker toys on display elsewhere at the museum. (206) 324-1125.

1/2 Hot spots for holiday lights include downtown and the waterfront, Queen Anne hill and Candy Cane Lane, off Ravena St. near the University District.

CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS LIKE THE RICH AND FAMOUS. At Luckham Park, a restored Georgian mansion near Bath, England, you'll spend Christmas Eve day with a full English Breakfast, a walking tour of Bath, Christmas carols and midnight mass with hot chocolate and mince pies afterwards. Father Christmas arrives in a Victorian horse-drawn carriage on Christmas day, followed by a luncheon, afternoon tea and a buffet supper. On Boxing Day you'll watch at hunt at Lacock and participate in a black tie dinner and dance. New Year's Eve guests will celebrate with a masked ball.