Jolly? Jot it down

The Southwest Journal’s 2017 Holiday Events Guide

SWJ_111617_JollyCardweb

Check your calendar.

Does it include tasting a new holiday food, bundling up to go ice skating or going to see a jazz show with a festive twist? If not, read on: It’s a merry ol’ list of things to do, including markets, activities and on-stage events. We’ve even sprinkled in some trivia to some of the listings.

And the JOLLY card? Share it with your family, roommate or friends. Check off when you’ve done something, and see who gets a row first. The prize is yours to decide. (But cookies, mulled wine or a light-up hat reading “I’m fun” never hurt.)


MARKETS & SHOPPING

Minneapolis Craft’za

New for 2017, Craft’za will feature 60 different artists each day of this two-day juried-market event. With the wide range of products and price points, it’ll probably be the most productive shopping you’ve ever done in a building once devoted to beer. Keep your energy up with Butcher Salt and Gastrotruck food trucks (Saturday) and Simply Steve’s and Potter’s Pasties (Sunday). Bonus: live music on Sunday afternoon.

When: Nov. 18 and 19, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where: Grain Belt Bottling House, 71 13th Ave. NE

Info: craftza.com. Free. Parking lot plus street parking.

Did you know: The Grain Belt Bottling House was designed by Boehme and Cordella, the same Minneapolis firm who designed the Turnblad Mansion, now the American Swedish Institute.

 

Ingebretsen’s book signings and trunk show

Pop in and pay homage to a Lake Street institution that has stood by its neighborhood through thick and thin. For nearly a century Ingebretsen’s has offered customers ways to stay connected to their Norwegian heritage, whether through food, decor or classes you can take in-store. This holiday season, they’ll have two book signings and a Legends in Wool Trunk Show. Be sure to explore their meat market while you’re there — you’ll learn why there are lines out the door as Christmas gets closer.

When: Nov. 18 book signing (Patrice Johnson, author of “Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions”); Nov. 24 trunk show (lauriejacobi.com); Nov. 24 and 25 book signings (Anne Gillespie Lewis, author of “A Perfect Tree for Christmas” and “Merry Nordic Christmas”)

Where: Ingebretsen’s Market, 1601 E. Lake St.

Info: ingebretsens.com, 729-9333. Free.

 

Capella Tower holiday markets

Take a walk midday downtown to the gleaming, spacious Capella Tower Atrium. It plays host to interesting events regularly, and their holiday markets (one each in November and December) are a savvy downtowner’s way to shop for gifts that are local and handmade. Be a crowd pleaser even more when you bring home the take-and-bake food options.

When: Nov. 21 and Dec. 21, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Where: Capella Tower Atrium, 225 S. 6th St.

Info: facebook.com/capellatower. Free. For questions or more info: communitymanager@capellatowerat225.com.

 

Minneapolis Craft Market outdoor winter market

Don your plaid (or not—your call) for Plaid Friday or Small Business Saturday. Shop for handcrafted and gourmet holiday goods (a different lineup each day) while you enjoy hot mulled cider and eats from food vendors. On Friday, it’s the fourth anniversary of Sociable Cider Werks, so there will be no shortage of merriment, including new cider releases every hour, plus live music.

When: Nov. 24 and 25, noon–5 p.m.

Where: Sociable Cider Werks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE

Info: sociablecider.com, 758-0105

Did you know: Minneapolis Craft Market was established in 2015 based on the London street market concept. They host holiday markets in many locations (see “Events” on mplscraftmarket.com).

 

Shop Small Holiday Market

Midwest Pantry’s mission is to unify Minnesota’s local food creators to make the state the no. 1 place to start and grow a food business. Their 5th-annual holiday market will feature locally made artisan and organic foods, to be sure. But there will also be custom art pieces, health and beauty products, jewelry, pet treats and more. Free childcare on site provided by Fitness Crossroads will make shopping a bit easier.

When: Nov. 25, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Where: St. Anthony Community Center, 3301 Silver Lake Road, St. Anthony

Info: midwestpantry.com. Free parking.

 

39th-annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Bazaar

Browsing for holiday gifts in this stately building is bound to have you humming “It’s Christmastime in the city….” Quality handcrafted items by area artists include wearable art, handmade lotions, paintings, jewelry and more. Shoppers will have a chance to win one or more of 75 items, donated by each of the exhibitors. Treats and festive music will be on hand too.

When: Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Dec. 2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: Landmark Center, 75 5th St. W., St. Paul

Info: landmarkcenter.org, 651-292-4375. Admission $5; free for under 12.

Did you know: The interior of the Landmark Center, completed in 1902, features a five-story courtyard with skylight.

 

Holiday No Coast Craft-o-Rama

There’s food there (lots). Plus entertainment in the plaza both days. And you can get all your holiday shopping done in one place. Yep, that sounds efficient. And fun! Held annually since 2005, this urban, indie-style arts and crafts show will feature everything from woodworking to ceramics to fashion accessories (and a lot more).

When: Dec. 1, 3 p.m.–8 p.m. and Dec. 2, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: Midtown Global Market, 920 East Lake Street

Info: nocoastcraft.com, midtownglobalmarket.org. On-street parking and parking garage available.

 

Horse Crazy Holiday Market

A family-friendly event in its fifth year, this holiday market for horse lovers will have you rethinking your backyard. (Could we fit a horse back there?) Over 100 vendors, artisans and exhibitors will offer their wares, but more than that, there’s the feeling of community. The founder of HCM partners with non-profit organizations like This Old Horse (a rescue sanctuary) and strives to show people how they can have horses in their lives even if they’re not a rider. And dog lovers? You’ll want to stop by too.

When: Dec. 2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Dec. 3, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where: Warner Coliseum, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave., St. Paul

Info: facebook.com/horsecrazymarket. Admission $5; free for 12 and under. Go to “General Information / Get to the Fair” on mnstatefair.org for maps and directions. Free parking.

 

Paws for the Holidays

All proceeds from this holiday boutique benefit Leech Lake Legacy, an animal welfare organization that empowers Native American communities to enrich the lives of animals by providing resources and sharing information. Stock up on holiday wreaths, decor, accessories, pet items and more.

When: Dec. 2, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where: Hughes Pavilion, 7499 France Ave. S., Edina

Info: leechlakelegacy.org. Venue is on the lower level between Chuck E. Cheese and Q Cumbers.

 

Oh Joy Holiday Pop-Up

Pop over to this holiday market to find unique goods from Universal Pants (women’s clothing meant to fit all sizes, using repurposed fabric), Studio CYRK (bags with vintage MN postcards printed on fabric), Dulceria Bakery (artisanal Mexican pastries) and more. A hot cocoa bar will keep everyone buzzing, and for just $1 donated to the Angel Foundation, your gifts will be wrapped for you. Plus, nearby businesses (and co-sponsors) Urban Cottage and CAKE will be open during the same hours. Oh, (shopping) joy!

When: Dec. 8, 5 p.m.–8 p.m. and Dec. 9, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where: Rachel Greenhouse Agency, 5163 Bloomington Ave. S.

Info: rachelgreenhouse.com, 501-5565.

Did you know: The Angel Foundation’s mission is to help families struggling with an adult cancer diagnosis so that they don’t have to choose between paying their bills and paying for their treatment.

 

Black Forest Inn Christmas Market

Can’t make it to Germany this year? Step into the beer garden and experience a model Christmas Market before you hit the real thing inside this cozy restaurant and bar. You’ll find local artists’ works, handmade crafts, jewelry, cookies, bread and more. And to take the chill off? Every Sunday there’s a fire pit (plus treats!) in the beer garden, 1 p.m.–6 p.m.

When: Dec. 9 and 10, noon–6 p.m.

Where: Black Forest Inn, 1 E. 26th St.

Info: blackforestinnmpls.com, 872-0812.

Did you know: Every Friday in December, the Black Forest Inn donates 20 percent of their food sales to causes and organizations that work with immigrants in their community.


ACTIVITIES & DISPLAYS

 

612 Sauna Society

There’s nothing like a steamy sauna session to clear the head — or de-stress during the holiday season. Members get first dibs on “bench time,” but for an entire month, 612 Sauna Society is offering reservations to the public. What’s it all about? A chance to honor the Finnish ritual of getting very hot and then cooling off at a rinse station. Bonus: having a really cool answer at work on Monday when someone asks, “Do anything interesting over the weekend?”

When: Nov. 13–Dec. 17

Where: Landscape Love (landscapelovegardens.com), 4355 Nicollet Ave.

Info: 612saunasociety.com. Tickets $20. For questions or more info: volunteer@612saunasociety.com

Did you know: Originally planning to create a tiny house, the founder of 612 Sauna Society shifted gears and decided to create a traveling sauna in 2014. By winter of 2015–2016, it had had over 2,000 participants.

 

‘Sound of Music’ sing-along

Big-screen Technicolor and an entire audience queued up to sing along with Julie Andrews: Now that’s a unique way to spend Thanksgiving weekend. The evening’s host preps the audience with vocal warm-ups and walks them through their complimentary “magic moments fun pack” containing props to be used throughout the film. Attendees are encouraged to dress up for the fancy-dress competition, and everyone in costume is invited onto the stage. How do you say “Wow!” in German?

When: Nov. 24–26, 3 p.m.

Where: Riverview Theater, 3800 42nd Ave. S.

Info: riverviewtheater.com, 729-7369. Tickets $12; $7.50 children and seniors.

Did you know: While many similar theaters of this era have closed, the Riverview — which opened in 1948 — has survived and looks much the same, including mod couches and chairs to relax in before the show.

 

Holidazzle

Gather up the whole gang and head to beautiful Loring Park in the heart of Minneapolis for holiday shopping, ice-skating, movie nights and a Kids Zone. Meet Santa Claus and take in evening fireworks, plus check out the interactive illuminated art “Wolf and Moose” installations. Food and drink options — Kramarczuk’s sausages and Fulton beer, to name two — will keep everyone jolly and energized.

When: Nov. 24–Dec. 23 (go to holidazzle.com for hours and events by day)

Where: Loring Park, 1382 Willow St.

Info: holidazzle.com. Free. For questions or more info: holidazzle@mplsdowntown.com or help line at 376-SNOW.

 

Christmas Saturdays at James J. Hill House

Slow down and take a step back in time. (Maybe put the cell phones away? Just saying.) Explore all three floors of the James J. Hill House — helpful staff will be stationed throughout the home to answer questions. Kids can collect special items in each room that they’ll use to make a Victorian cornucopia in the parlor.

When: Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 16 and Dec. 23, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave.

Info: mnhs.org, 651-297-2555. Admission $10 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $6 ages 5–17, free ages 4 and under; $2 discount for MNHS members. Art activity ends at 4 p.m. Approximate visit time: 1.5 hours.

Did you know: Completed in 1891, the mansion was the largest and most expensive home in Minnesota, containing 36,500 square feet on five floors.

 

Gingerbread house making

Have you been thinking, “I could make a pretty good gingerbread house?” Here’s your chance, and don’t wait to register because this event sells out quickly. A premade house is supplied, and you (and your decorating team) get to deck it out with frosting and a variety of candy. Worst-case scenario: It doesn’t meet your expectations… and you eat it instead.

When: Dec. 2, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Where: Linden Hills Park, 3100 W. 43rd St.

Info: minneapolisparks.org/events, 370-4913. Admission $11 resident ($15 nonresident).

Did you know: Gingerbread being made into houses originated in Germany during the 16th century.

 

Star Tribune holiday cookie contest winners

Go somewhere and sample winning recipes from a cookie contest? Yes, that sounds just fine, thank you. Rick Nelson from the Star Tribune will talk about the contest and what makes a great holiday cookie. Enjoy hot cider and coffee too — then vote for your favorite cookie for the visitor’s choice award. And don’t forget to spread the holiday love by sharing a favorite recipe.

When: Dec. 2, 12:30 p.m.–4 p.m.

Where: Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St.

Info: mnhs.org, 341-7582. Admission $12 (event is included with museum admission); $10 seniors, veterans/active military, college students; $6 ages 5–17; free ages 4 and under, plus MNHS members.

 

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Submitted photo

Julmarknad at the American Swedish Institute

This stunning locale is hopping all year long, and Julmarknad is their liveliest weekend of the holiday season. Bring your gift list and shop more than 40 local artists with unique offerings. (Check out ASI’s Museum Store for even more.) Sip a glass of glögg while you bask in live music, dance and storytelling. Kids can do handcraft projects and look for Santa (or tomte).

When: Dec. 2, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Dec. 3, noon–5 p.m.

Where: American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave.

Info: asimn.org, 871-4907. Tickets $10 adults, $7 seniors, $5 children 6–18; free for children 5 and under and for ASI members.

Did you know: Make Merry: Spirited Glögg Tours let you sip this warm wine while you tour the decorated holiday rooms from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Romania — plus enjoy light bites from ASI’s restaurant, FIKA.

 

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Submitted photo

The Volk Presents: A December to Remember

An annual holiday fashion show, December to Remember will raise money for Allina Mental Health’s Mercy Hospital. The entertainment kicks off early with a social hour featuring a live fashion gallery from La ChouChou Productions plus a chance to do holiday gift buying from a selection of fashion-forward small businesses (local, of course). A high-energy fashion show follows, displaying the collections of over ten local designers.

When: Dec. 3, 6 p.m.

Where: Cedars Hall, 602 University Ave.

Info: eventbrite.com (search event name). Tickets from $25. VIP seating available at two levels: front row ($55) and second row ($35).

 

Senior snowflake tea

A holiday gathering for merrymakers age 55 and up, this afternoon soiree will feature tea and refreshments in a relaxed atmosphere. The seasonally decorated space offers the chance to slow down and have a conversation with friends old and new.

When: Dec. 8, 1 p.m.–2 p.m.

Where: Lyndale Farmstead Recreation Center, 3900 Bryant Ave. S.

Info: minneapolisparks.org, 370-4948. Tickets $8.

 

A ‘Little Women’ Christmas

Close your eyes and imagine it’s the 1860s at Christmastime. Are you coming up blank because you’re not sure what that was like? This special holiday tour will capture what the holidays were like for Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” characters. Take a peek into their world as they played Victorian parlor games, learned about the fashion of the era and ate freshly baked gingerbread cake. End with a visit to the museum shop for vintage-inspired gifts and ornaments.

When: Dec. 8, 6 p.m.–7 p.m. and 7 p.m.–8 p.m.; Dec. 15, 6 p.m.–7 p.m. (SOLD OUT) and 7 p.m.–8 p.m

Where: Alexander Ramsey House, 265 S. Exchange St., St. Paul

Info: mnhs.org, 651-296-8760.

 

Julefrokost Christmas luncheon

Scandinavian hospitality! You don’t have to be Danish American — or a member of the Danish American Center — to take part in this decidedly Danish holiday luncheon. Practice your pronunciation as you enjoy gravlaks, frikadeller, medisterpolse, risalamande and more. Easier said, it’s a delightful meal of pickled herring, seafood, salmon, meatballs, sausage, salad, almond dessert, cookies and more. No surprise, this popular event sells out quickly.

When: Dec. 9, 11 a.m. social hour, noon lunch

Where: Danish American Center, 3030 W. River Parkway S.

Info: dac.mn, 729-3800. Tickets $32 members, $40 nonmembers.

 

Plymouth Christian Youth Center annual children’s Christmas gift sale

Help children in North Minneapolis experience the joy of giving. This event lets kids pay $1 to pick out 5 new gifts for their loved ones. A caring volunteer guides them through the process. If you’d like to help, you can donate money, donate gifts or re-gifted new items or volunteer your time setting up the week of Dec. 4 or working the day of the sale on Dec. 9. Over 300 volunteers are needed, and groups are welcome.

When: Dec. 9, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.

Where: Plymouth Christian Youth Center, 2210 Oliver Ave. N.

Info: pcyc-mpls.org. For questions or more info: Call Catrice at 643-2026 or write to giftsale@pcyc-mpls.org. Click Donate Online at pcyc-mpls.org/gift-sale/ or mail donations to PCYC Children’s Christmas Gift Sale, 2210 Oliver Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55411.

Did you know: This is the 52nd year of this event, and it is funded and run entirely through the donations of volunteers.

 

Santa Brunch

Kids can get their picture taken with Santa (and whisper wishes in his ear) at this midmorning meal that includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee and juice. Attendees can take part in an art project they create and take home.

When: Dec. 16, 10 a.m.–noon

Where: McRae Recreation Center, 906 E. 47th St.

Info: minneapolisparks.org, 370-4909. Tickets $4 children 12 and under; $6 participants 13 and over.

 

Frosty Fiesta

A chilly Saturday: What to do, what to do? Head over to this holiday-themed party where kids can romp in a bounce house, do crafts or play family bingo. Expending pre-Christmas energy: always a good idea. Popcorn and more will be for sale, for sustenance.

When: Dec. 16, 1 p.m.–4 p.m.

Where: Powderhorn Recreation Center, 3400 15th Ave. S.

Info: minneapolisparks.org, 370-4960.

 

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Energy: Made Here launch event

Stroll through the sleek space at this downtown locale and view the work of more than 30 Minnesota artists. Every piece explores the theme of energy (something we all need during the holidays). This Made Here experience also includes a walking tour of 20 window displays in the West Downtown Minneapolis Cultural District — aka WeDo — plus live music, performance artists and a holiday artist market. Refreshments available from Mercy bar and dining room.

When: Dec. 19, 5 p.m.–8 p.m.

Where: ART Gallery at Le Méridien Chambers Hotel, 901 Hennepin Ave.

Info: lemeridienchambers.com, 767-6900. Also wedompls.org and hennepintheatretrust.org.

 

Cabaret Dinner: Home for the Holidays

Slow down and take an evening to remember (or discover) what “dinner and a show” can mean. Part of their Cabaret Dinner Series, this holiday-themed evening at the historic Nicollet Island Inn features classic cocktails, award-winning cuisine and holiday music from some of the Twin Cities’ best musicians. The beautiful greenery and twinkling lights are on the house.

When: Dec. 21 and 22, 6 p.m. cocktail reception, 6:30 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. entertainment

Where: Nicollet Island Inn, 95 Merriam St.

Info: nicolletislandinn.com, 331-1800. Tickets $89 including tax and gratuity. Price includes appetizers (cash bar), 4-course dinner and entertainment.

Did you know: The bar at the Nicollet Island Inn — including its original stained glass — is over 150 years old and came from a drugstore in a small New Hampshire seaport town.


 

ON STAGE

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‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas ‘

An all-time audience favorite musical at the Children’s Theatre Company, the tale of Whooville lets kids boo the most loathed Christmas villain. Songs and rhymes frame this fantastic story — guaranteed to grow anyone’s heart three sizes.

When: Opened Nov. 7; runs through Jan. 7, 2018

Where: Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave. S.

Info: childrenstheatre.org, 874-0400. Tickets from $15. Group ticket prices available. ASL-interpreted, audio-described and sensory-friendly performances are available.

 

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Submitted image

‘The Polarizing Express: Dysfunction Junction’

Funny’s their specialty, so kick back and forget about holiday stressors for the night (or at least two hours). This troupe promises laughs, adult beverages of your choice and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” thrown into the mix. Directed by Caleb McEwen.

When: Opened Nov. 10; runs through Jan. 27, 2018

Where: 824 Hennepin Ave.

Info: bravenewworkshop.com, 332-6620. Tickets from $38.

Did you know: In addition to their own theatrical productions, the Brave New Workshop has a Creative Outreach division that offers speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies.

 

‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly’

“Pride and Prejudice” fans will delight in the chance to join the Bennet sisters at the Darcy home for Christmas. This story is set a few years after Austen left off, showcasing middle sister Mary. As she analyzes her place in society as an unmarried woman, she finds herself drawn to shy bookworm Arthur de Bourgh, who has more than one admirer. This charming holiday romance resonates with themes and humor that are thoroughly modern.

When: Nov. 18–Dec. 30: Tues.–Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Where: Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave.

Info: jungletheater.com, 822-7063. Tickets from $35. A variety of ticket discount options can be found under “Tickets” on the website.

 

‘The Hip Hop Nutcracker’

Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, artistic director of the Brooklyn-based theatrical hip-hop dance company Decadancetheatre, this modern twist on a classic is an energetic experience for the whole family. A supercharged cast of all-star dancers, a DJ and a violinist retell E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, this time set in 1980s Brooklyn. One of hip-hop’s founding fathers, MC Kurtis Blow, will appear as the special guest MC.

When: Nov. 21 and 22, 7:30 p.m.

Where: State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave.

Info: hennepintheatretrust.org, 339-7007. Tickets from $28.50.

 

Merry & Bright: A Big Brassy Christmas with Charles Lazarus

Latin to lounge, groove to gospel: Trumpet-player Charles Lazarus and friends fill Orchestra Hall with the sounds of the season, from holiday favorites to their brand new renditions. He’s joined by a talented quintet, vocal powerhouses Tonia Hughes and Bruce Henry and the Lazarus Brass, who are also members of the Minnesota Orchestra.

When: Dec. 1, 8 p.m.

Where: Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall

Info: minnesotaorchestra.org, 371-5656. Tickets from $20.

Did you know: The Charles Lazarus 2016 Valentine’s Day concert, Fly Me to the Moon, sold out Orchestra Hall.

 

The New Standards Holiday Show

The holidays hold surprises, right? This trio of talented Twin Cities musicians ensures the audience gets just that as they welcome an all-star lineup of surprise special guests. Chan Poling (The Suburbs), John Munson (Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic) and Steve Roehm have created a festive tradition — over ten years running — that many people consider a must-do this time of year.

When: Dec. 1, 8 p.m. and Dec. 2, 2 p.m. (family friendly) and 8 p.m.

Where: State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave.

Info: hennepintheatretrust.org, 339-7007. Tickets from $25.

 

Advent vespers

One of the largest holiday music events in the Twin Cities, with over 10,000 worshipers participating annually, this program celebrates the beginning of the Christmas season with traditional and contemporary hymns, anthems and carols. A moving experience of music and liturgy, it’s set in the majestic sanctuary of Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis.

When: Dec. 1, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Dec. 2, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Where: Central Lutheran Church, 333 S. 12th St.

Info: augsburg.edu/music/vespers, 330-1265. Suggested donation $25.

Did you know: The current Central Lutheran Church building dates to 1928 and is an example of the neo-Gothic style of architecture, with a ceiling height of 65 feet.

 

The OK Factor Christmas CD release

Cellist Olivia Diercks and violinist Karla Dietmeyer are releasing their holiday album, “Have Yourself an OK Christmas.” The evening will feature special guests and other festive surprises as this classical-crossover duo shares all 13 tracks of the album at The Warming House, a cozy 40-person venue in south Minneapolis.

When: Dec. 1, 9 p.m. (doors at 8:30 p.m.)

Where: The Warming House, 4001 Bryant Ave. S.

Info: thewarminghouse.net, 824-4906. Tickets $10. Pre-purchase CD with admission: $20. Sodas and snacks are available for purchase. This venue does not allow alcohol. It is ADA compliant but not wheelchair accessible.

Did you know: The Warming House opened in 2016 as a nonprofit organization and true “listening room.”

 

Will Downing: Soulful Sounds of Christmas

Sit back and let the smooth voice of this R&B singer ease you into the holiday season. Having sold more than 4 million albums in a career that spans decades, Downing’s baritone voice strikes a chord as he offers signature interpretations of classics as well as original hits.

When: Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ordway Theater, 345 Washington St., St. Paul

Info: ordway.org, 651-224-4222. Tickets from $37.

 

Hard Candy Christmas

Venture into one of the Twin Cities long-running music venues for a country-tinged holiday show. Hard Candy Christmas features experienced songwriter musicians Sunny Sweeney, Jamie Lin Wilson, Brennen Leigh and Courtney Patton. Their blend of country, folk and Americana music fits the venue name to a T (or horseshoe).

When: Dec. 7, 7 p.m.

Where: Turf Club, 1601 University Ave., St. Paul

Info: turfclub.net, 651-647-0486. Tickets $15 adv., $20 door.

Did you know: The Turf Club’s name is thought to have come from a stables and racetrack built nearby in 1881.

 

Welcome Christmas, Minneapolis

Hear the warm sounds of the VocalEssence a cappella chorus as they salute many of the composers that call Minnesota home. Offering a blend of the most beloved music of the season, they’ll also present new carols as a nod to the 20th year of their national carol competition.

When: Dec. 9 and 10, 4 p.m.

Where: Plymouth Congregational Church, 1919 LaSalle Ave.

Info: vocalessence.org, 871-7400. Tickets from $20. Star of Wonder family concerts will also be held on Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

 

King of Kings

Lorie Line brings her traditional holiday show to St. Paul for the first time. Celebrating the magnificent story of Christmas, Line’s show includes her world-class Pop Chamber Orchestra along with a featured guest vocalist. Kids are invited to the stage for “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and Santa makes an appearance, too.

When: Dec. 10, 3 p.m.

Where: Fitzgerald Theater, 10 Exchange St. E., St. Paul

Info: fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org, 651-290-1200 (Minnesota Public Radio members only); 800-514-3849 (non-MPR ticket sales). Tickets $54 ($49 for groups of 10 or more). Tickets are also available at etix.com or in person at the Fitzgerald Theater Box Office Tuesday–Friday, noon–5pm.

 

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Submitted photo

‘Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins’

An interactive adventure for the whole family, this Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company play tells the story of a weary traveler’s growing anticipation of the Hanukkah holiday. As he reaches his destination, he learns goblins have been preventing the celebration for years. Urged by the townspeople, he’ll spend eight nights in the synagogue helping to bring Hanukkah back.

When: Dec. 10 and 17, 1 p.m. (Additional shows for school groups on different dates; call for info.)

Where: Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul

Info: mnjewishtheatre.org, 651-647-4315. Tickets $20. Enter through the doors facing Ford Parkway; proceed up the ramp toward the theater. Fully accessible (wheelchairs included). Parking on site.

Did you know: Chris Griffith received an Ivey Award in 2009 for his puppet design for Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. He’s designing all new puppets for this production.

 

Holiday in Harmony

Three experienced jazz vocalists — Vicky Mountain, Dorothy Doring and Connie Dussl of SongSister— bring the holidays to you in a very swinging way. Their joy of harmonies is infectious, and it’s framed by clever arrangements and a sassy stage presence. Well-known instrumentalists Phil Aaron (piano) and Jim Chenoweth (bass) will join the fun.

When: Dec. 14, 8 p.m.

Where: Jazz Central Studios, 407 Central Ave. SE

Info: jazzcentralstudios.org, 520-1066. Tickets $10. Jazz Central Studios is a lower-level venue with a street-level entry (door is marked 407); it is not handicap accessible. This is an all-ages venue; no alcohol is allowed. Guests may purchase soda, and there will be food for purchase at this event (main dish, dessert) for $3–$5.

 

Christmas Together

Minnesota-based pianist and composer Steven C. Anderson recorded his latest CD, “Emotive,” in the round under the stained-glass dome of the Cathedral of St. Paul, encircled by 18 string players and singers. He’ll play songs from that album as well as “Christmas Beyond,” plus traditional Christmas favorites. This third-annual free concert will also feature Saint Cecilia and Saint Gregory Choristers and Lawrence Lawyer, director of sacred music for the Cathedral.

When: Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. (doors 6:30 p.m.)

Where: Cathedral of St. Paul, 239 Selby Ave., St. Paul

Info: stevencmusic.com, eventbrite.com (search Steven C—Christmas Together). Free.

Did you know: Steven C has sold more than 2 million records and has performed with Mannheim Steamroller and the London Symphony Strings.

 

Love for the Holidays

Her career spans more than 50 years, from the ’60s girl-group era to singing backup for Aretha Franklin, Cher and Elvis Presley. She sang “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” annually for nearly 30 years on the Late Show with David Letterman. She’s a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer who has also acted in movies and lit up Broadway. Darlene Love will bring holiday classics and more for a one-night-only show. You can bet it’ll be merry — and rockin’.

When: Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ordway Theater, 345 Washington St., St. Paul

Info: ordway.org, 651-224-4222. Tickets from $47.

 

’Twas the Jam Before Christmas

Feel some local love for the incredible music community ‘round these parts. Join The Peterson Family for their jam before Christmas: a mix of traditional, soulful and always festive songs. Linda, Billy, Ricky, Patty, Paul and Jason will be joined by first cousin Russ as well as some very talented third-generation (Tracy, Taylor) and fourth-generation (Olivia, Clara) performers.

When: Dec. 17, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Where: Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall

Info: dakotacooks.com, 332-5299. Tickets $25.

Did you know: The Peterson Family is known as Minnesota’s First Family of Music.

 

Dan Rodriguez Holiday Show

Grab a chance to hit a cool Minneapolis music venue at a decent hour (read: you work the next day) and with your kids, even. This all-ages, fully seated show lets you enjoy dinner while taking in a mix of holiday tunes and originals from this talented local songwriter and performer.

When: Dec. 17, 5 p.m. (4:30 p.m. doors)

Where: Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave. S.

Info: icehousempls.com, 276-6523. Tickets $15 advance, $20 door.

 

‘A Christmas Carol’ performed by Gerald Dickens

Join in for this unique opportunity to see the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens give a one-man portrayal of A Christmas Carol. Playing Scrooge, Marley and the Ghosts, Dickens breathes vibrant energy and drama into every role. Guests are encouraged to don costumes. Period punches and concoctions will be available.

When: December 17, 7:30 p.m.(6 p.m. doors)

Where: Aster Cafe River Room, 125 Main St. SE

Info: astercafe.com, 379-3138. Tickets $25 advance, $30 door. This is an open-seating event; no assigned seats.

Did you know: The historic River Room at the Aster Cafe features a handmade copper-topped bar.

 

City Center atrium: Keri Noble

Take a musical lunch break in downtown Minneapolis and hear this talented Twin Cities musician perform holiday songs and more. A Cities 97 radio personality, Noble is also an accomplished songwriter who recently came out with a new CD, “Find My Way Home.”

When: Dec. 20, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Where: City Center, 33 S. 6th St.

Info: kerinoble.com. Free.

Did you know: Keri Noble’s song “If No One Will Listen” was recorded by Kelly Clarkson and included on her Grammy-nominated album “All I Ever Wanted.”

 

Submitted photo
Submitted photo

Katie McMahon’s Celtic Christmas

This family-friendly program has become a beloved O’Shaughnessy tradition at the holidays. McMahon’s soprano voice leads a program of traditional Christmas songs, along with stories and lively Irish dance.

When: Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Where: O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul

Info: oshag.stkate.edu, 690-6700. Tickets $28.

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