Haul out the holly
Are you humming a tune after reading that line?
There’s no denying this season has its own soundtrack. Whether it’s a centuries-old carol, a ’50s swing ditty or a smooth soul groove, you know when you hear ’em that the holidays are here.
But how well do you know these songs of the season? As you check out this list of festive things to do, quiz yourself by reading (or singing) the line at the beginning of each event. It’s a lyric from a holiday song — can you guess which one?
The answer is at the bottom of each event. And whichever song gets stuck in your head, let’s hope it’s one of your favorites.
Enjoy the season!
MARKETS & SHOPPING
North Local Market
“Haul out the holly …”
In the heart of downtown Minneapolis off 7th & Nicollet, the North Local Market offers goods and gift options from 35 local vendors. Busy downtown workers, take note: It’s a chance to shop for holiday presents with ease while supporting local artists and business owners. And at least a dozen vendors will be food related, so you won’t go hungry while shopping.
When: Nov. 15–Dec. 24; 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday
Where: City Center, 33 S. 6th St.
“We Need a Little Christmas,” Jerry Herman
Knightsbridge Boutique event
“But you still catch my eye/ Tell me baby/ Do you recognize me?”
Inspired by London’s upscale retail district, this holiday gift hub features more than 65 boutique-style merchants showcasing on-trend jewelry, home goods, accessories, gourmet foods, unique clothing and more. (Free admission.)
When: Nov. 17, 10 a.m.–3 p.m
Where: Benilde-St. Margaret’s Haben Center, 2501 Hwy. 100, St. Louis Park
“Last Christmas,” George Michael
Christ Presbyterian Church holiday boutique
“While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains …”
What would it be like to have most of your gift list checked off early? Bring your Christmas list to this annual event where you can shop for unique items made by more than 100 artists. (Free admission. Cookie sale and soup lunch available for purchase.)
When: Nov. 17, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Christ Presbyterian Church, 6901 Normandale Road, Edina
“Joy to the World,” lyrics by Isaac Watts
Handmade for the Holidays
“I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas/ From the bottom of my heart …”
Fusing Latin culture and the North, new Minneapolis brewery La Doña Cervecería partners with Minneapolis Craft Market to host a holiday market of high-quality, artisan-made gifts. Linden Hills Farmers Market favorite Dulceria Bakery will be on hand serving desserts, plus Flagsmash food truck. And of course, there’s beer. (Free onsite parking or unmetered street parking.)
When: Nov. 18, noon–5 p.m.
Where: La Doña Cervecería, 241 Fremont Avenue North, Unit B
“Feliz Navidad,” José Feliciano
Minneapolis Northeast Farmers Market
“He never had a haircut/ He never took a shave …”
No need to stop your farmers market forays just because it’s cold. Take it inside at this monthly version, where there’s a Bloody Mary bar, prepared foods, kids activities and music on vinyl by The Ring Toss Twins. With all that going on, don’t forget to buy your vegetables.
When: Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Where: Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Ave. NE
“Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” Leon René
Small Business Saturday
“Voices singing, let’s be jolly/ Deck the halls with boughs of holly …”
Thanksgiving is for relaxing, but two days later is a great time to support local businesses on Small Business Saturday when many have good deals. Check out a more recent addition to the Minneapolis retail scene, like KISA in Gaviidae Common. It offers a unique array of Turkish apparel and jewelry. Then take time to shop at a local biz that’s part of the fabric of Minneapolis (i.e. you can’t imagine the city without it). A suggestion: The Electric Fetus, a record store with a huge selection of gifts that’s having its 50th anniversary this year. More cause for celebration: Most of the store will be 20 percent off that day.
When: Nov. 24
Where: Various businesses throughout Minneapolis
“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Johnny Marks
Betty Danger’s Bizarre Bazaar
“… ’54 convertible too, light blue …”
Nothing’s quite ordinary at Betty Danger’s, and neither is her holiday sale. Find a fantastic variety of locally made gifts, decide what to buy while sipping a cocktail or having brunch and then celebrate your purchase with a ride on the vertically revolving tables in the sky (aka the Ferris wheel). Quirky? Yes — and oh so fun. (Complete list of local artists and websites will be listed on Facebook event page on November 12.)
When: Dec. 1, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: Betty Danger’s Country Club, 2501 Marshall St. NE
“Santa Baby,” Joan Javits & Philip Springer
“If you want to be happy in a million ways …”
Stop in to see — and shop — the creations of more than 70 Minnesota makers whose work was curated by the American Craft Council, There There Collective and the Food Building. Sample artisanal food, see glass-blowing demonstrations and get hands-on with interactive projects. A ticketed preview party the night before promises first dibs on items, plus tarot readings, live painting, and music deejayed by Transmission. (Free admission. Preview party tickets are $20 or $15 for ACC members and are available at craftcouncil.org/event/decked-out.)
When: Dec. 1, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. (Preview party is 6:30 p.m.–10 p.m. Nov. 30.)
Where: Parallel and Hennepin Made, 145 Holden St. N.
“Home for the Holidays,” Robert Allen (music) and Al Stillman (lyrics)
Elliot Park Art Walk: Holiday Market
“In the lane, snow is glistening/ A beautiful sight …”
Take a walk and so much more. The Elliot Park Art Walk lets you view art exhibits, partake of food truck fare, catch performances and do some needed holiday shopping in a craft marketplace. Start with a happy hour at Finnegans and let the narrator from The Theater of Public Policy take it from there.
When: Dec. 6, 4 p.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Starts at Finnegans Brew Co., 817 5th Ave. S.
“Winter Wonderland,” Felix Bernard (music) and Richard Smith (lyrics)
North Loop Holiday Bazaar
“Vixen and Blitzen and all his reindeer, pullin’ on the reins …”
A festive one-stop shop for picking up all kinds of artisan-made gifts, this Minneapolis Craft Market event is one of the biggest indoor holiday markets of the season. Modist Brewing’s taps will keep things jolly as beer-loving shoppers peruse the works of 35 vendors throughout the tap room and warehouse space. (Free admission. Metered street parking available; ramp across the street.)
When: Dec. 9, noon–5 p.m.
Where: Modist Brewing, 505 N. 3rd St.
“Here Comes Santa Claus,” Oakley Haldeman (music) and Gene Autry (lyrics)
A Very Vintage Holiday Market
“Off with my overcoat, off with my glove …”
Shop top vintage vendors while sipping beer in the spacious-yet-cozy Lakes & Legends, where the holiday season brings a Christmas tree into the tap room. This monthly mobile market focuses on premium vintage and one-of-a-kind treasures.
When: Dec. 16, noon–5 p.m.
Where: Lakes & Legends Brewing, 1368 LaSalle Ave.
“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” Irving Berlin
The Artful Present: Holiday Art & Gifting Event
“Oh what joy, what surprise/ When I open up my eyes …”
Find a unique gift for a favorite person by stopping in to this fun event featuring jewelry, silk scarves and mini-canvases that the artist will personalize on-site. Saturday night includes live jazz at Spring Finn & Co., plus a cooking demonstration at neighbor boutique Ūmei.
When: Nov. 16–17, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (Cooking demonstration is 6 p.m. Saturday.)
Where: Veronique Wantz Gallery, 901 N. 5th St.
“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” John Rox
ACTIVITIES & DISPLAYS
Wells Fargo WinterSkate
“Say lend me a coat (it’s up to your knees out there) …”
Join the Holidazzle fun by iceskating! Bring your own skates or borrow a complimentary pair located in the warming house courtesy of CenterPoint Energy. Skate sizes vary and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. (Free.)
When: Open daily throughout the winter skating season including all Holidazzle hours.
Where: Loring Park, 1382 Willow St.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside,” Frank Loesser
Bachman’s holiday open house
“May the calendar keep bringing/ Happy holidays to you …”
December schedule looking jam-packed? Get your jingle jangling early with this Christmas kickoff. Santa and Albert the Elf arrive at 9:30 a.m. in their reindeer-drawn sleigh. Bring a camera to snap a pic with Santa and meet the reindeer. Enjoy live Christmas music, crafts for kids, North Pole cookies and take in the holiday play “Who Wants to Be a Toymaker?” (Free.)
When: Nov. 17, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (Holiday play at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.)
Where: 6010 Lyndale Ave. S.
“Happy Holiday,” Irving Berlin
“It’s a yum yummy world made for sweethearts/ Take a walk with your favorite girl …”
Invite some sweet (or spicy) loved ones to view a whole neighborhood of gingerbread houses, known as “pepperkake” in Norwegian. Some structures mimic local buildings — a previous year included rock club First Avenue — and this year’s display will have a Ferris wheel, train and photo booth. Cap off your tour with a stop at the new Kaffebar, now serving lefsedogs, soup, wine and beer and more. (Admission is $5. Free for Norway House members and children 12 and under. Group tours may be scheduled and are eligible for a discount on admission.)
When: Nov. 17–Jan. 6; 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Norway House, 913 E. Franklin Ave.
“A Marshmallow World,” Carl Sigman (lyrics) and Peter DeRose (music)
Holidazzle: A Little North Country … In The Heart Of The City
“Through the frosty air they’ll go/ They are not just plain deer …”
Bundle up and head on down to beautiful Loring Park in the heart of the city for this wintry get-together. With a kids zone, games, the Fulton beer garden, musical performances, fireworks, the chance to meet Santa and more, you’ll have to come more than once to take it all in. Explore the website to plan your trip! (Free admission.)
When: Nov. 23–Dec. 23, Thursdays–Sundays. Check website for hours.
Where: Loring Park, 1382 Willow Street
“Jingle Jingle Jingle,” Johnny Marks
“The bench in the park is all alone in the dark …”
Step back in time and experience a streetcar. It’s decked out for the holidays, complete with seasonal greens and Santa on board. After the ride, have a toasted marshmallow by a friendly fire. On Dec. 1, you can also ride in the evening and take in hundreds of luminaries lighting the right-of-way. The ride lasts approximately 20 minutes. (Tickets are $4. Evening ride is $5. No reservation necessary.)
When: Nov. 24–25 and Dec. 1–2, 12:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Evening rides 6 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Dec. 1.
Where: Lake Harriet Trolley Depot, 4200 Queen Ave. S.
“Little Jack Frost Get Lost,” Sefer Ellis (music) and Al Stillman (lyrics)
Capella Tower holiday music series
“There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well …”
Hurrying through the skyways (to get your lunch or run an errand) is commonplace during the cold months, but here’s a reason to slow down. For an entire month, Capella Tower welcomes everyone to enjoy holiday music from a variety of local musicians including choirs, vocal duos, harp, viola and more, both secular and non-secular. Now that’s the giving spirit! (Free. Signs posted in the building will list the full performance schedule.)
When: Weekdays Nov. 26–Dec. 24, twice a day at 7:30 a.m.–9 a.m., 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. or 4 p.m.–5:30 p.m.
Where: Capella Tower Skyway, 225 S. 6th St.
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” Meredith Wilson
Talk of the Stacks: Holiday Cookie Traditions
“There’ll be parties for hosting/ Marshmallows for toasting …”
Star Tribune staff writers Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson will talk cookies with food writer Beth Dooley as they share best-loved recipes and baking lore from the newspaper’s popular holiday cookie contest. Dean and Nelson’s brand new volume of “The Great Minnesota Cookie Book” covers 15 yummy years of the cookie competition. Enjoy a complimentary selection of award-winning cookies from this year’s cookie contest following the talk — while supplies last. (Free.)
When: Nov. 29, 7 p.m. (Doors are 6:15 p.m. for general admission seating.)
Where: Hennepin Country Library – Minneapolis Central, 300 Nicollet Mall
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” George Wyle and Edward Pola
“Out jumps good old Santa Claus/ Down through the chimney with lots of toys …”
Kick off December with a visit with Santa himself! This family-friendly day of holiday traditions also includes real live reindeer, carolers strolling the village and a fire pit for roasting marshmallows. Shoppers can check out the special in-store events hosted by merchants at 43rd & Upton and use the free trolley running continuously from there to 44th & France. (Free.)
When: Dec. 1, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Where: 43rd & Upton and 44th & France
“Up on the Housetop,” Benjamin Hanby
Winter Craft Market + Beer Choir
“Roll out the Yuletide barrels and sing out the carols …”
Browse (and purchase) high-quality, artisan-made gifts while tasting brews from this Community Supported Brewery in Northeast. Take part in the beer exchange where you bring one kind and take another one home. And don’t be thrown off at 5 p.m. when a boisterous, beer-loving gang starts singing; that’s just the Twin Cities Beer Choir doing their thing.
When: Dec. 1, 1 p.m.–6 p.m. (Beer exchange is 3 p.m.–8 p.m. and Beer Choir performs 5 p.m.–8 p.m.)
Where: 56 Brewing, 3055 Columbia Ave. NE
“The Merry Christmas Polka,” Paul Francis Webster (lyrics) and Sonny Burke (music)
Bars of Christmas Crawl
“Maybe I’ll hit the bars/ Maybe I’ll count the stars until dawn …”
Put on your holiday onesie (you have one, right?), Santa suit or elf costume and get ready to move bar to bar with a mass of festive folk dressed in outrageous holiday garb. For this third-annual event, the mega-merry group will visit Cowboy Jacks, The 508, The Pourhouse and more. (Tickets start at $16 and include a 16-ounce Santa Stadium Cup, Santa hat — for online orders, while supplies last — and wristband. No cover at bars with ticket purchase.)
When: Dec. 8, noon–8 p.m.
Where: Various locations in downtown Minneapolis
“Hard Candy Christmas,” Carol Hall
‘An “Eventually” Christmas: Holidays at the Mill’
“Olden times and ancient rhymes/ Of love and dreams to share …”
It’s the Washburn Crosby 1920 holiday party, and you’re there. Set in the museum’s Flour Tower elevator ride, this heartwarming play has scenes unfolding on different floors as the audience meets characters drawn from the real pages of the company’s employee newspaper, the Eventually News. Recommended for ages 8 and older. (Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $16 for children 8–17. Minnesota Historical Society members save 20 percent. Admission is $2 off with a Fringe Festival button. Tickets include museum admission and refreshments following the play.)
When: Dec. 13–16; weekdays at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. and weekends at 5 p.m. 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St.
“Christmas Time Is Here,” Vince Guaraldi (music) and Lee Mendelson (lyrics)
‘A Christmas Story’ outdoors
“Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun …”
Bundle up to root for Ralphie Parker for this outdoor showing of the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story.” Moviegoers get free hot chocolate and popcorn for their heartiness. Bring a lawn chair, blanket and hand warmers, and get ready to do wintry posts using the hashtag #onlyinminnesota. (Free.)
When: Dec. 15, 3 p.m.
Where: Target Field Station, 335 N. 5th St.
“Jingle Bell Rock,” James Boothe and Joseph Beal
Winter Solstice celebration
“All is calm, all is bright …”
Enjoy an evening of celestial fun! Gather at a bonfire and have hot cider while learning why the amount of light changes throughout the year. Make a luminary and get a winter phenology bingo card to play in coming weeks then bring back to the Nature Center for a prize. ($5; free for kids under 13. Pre-registration is optional.)
When: Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Where: Carl Kroening Interpretive Center at North Mississippi Regional Park, 4900 N. Mississippi Court
“Silent Night,” Franz Gruber (music) and Joseph Mohr (lyrics)
Create an ugly sweater
“But if you really hold me tight/ All the way home I’ll be warm …”
Bring a sweater (maybe one you don’t like too much), and get ready to have goofy, creative fun making your own ugly sweater. Materials are provided. And your outfit for the next day is all set. (Free.)
When: Dec. 22, 1:30 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Where: Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave. NE
“Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” Jule Styne (music) and Sammy Cahn (lyrics)
‘Holiday Inn’ on the big screen
“Yuletide carols being sung by a choir/ Folks dressed up like Eskimos …”
A New Year’s Day tradition that sells out every year, the Heights Theater presents “Holiday Inn” on the big screen. It’s full of fancy costumes, likable characters and Irving Berlin’s songs, including “White Christmas.” This special screening also features Edward Copeland at the Mighty Wurlitzer. (Tickets are $10.)
When: Jan. 1, 1 p.m.
Where: The Heights Theatre, 3951 Central Ave. NE
“The Christmas Song,” Mel Torme and Robert Wells
‘A Christmas Carol’
“You’re as cuddly as a cactus …”
Charles Dickens must have been able to imagine the future. His classic Christmas tale about slowing down to consider life — past, present and what may come — still works today. At approximately a two-hour runtime, it’s the perfect way to take a break from holiday frenzy and enjoy a Minneapolis theater gem. (Tickets from $29. Preview performances are $15. Senior, student and youth discounts available. Recommended for ages 8 and up.)
When: Nov. 13–Dec. 29, various times. Relaxed performance, modified to accommodate patrons with sensory and vestibular sensitivities, is 6 p.m. Nov. 18.
Where: Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St.
“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” Albert Hague (music) and Theodor Geisel (lyrics)
The Brian Setzer Orchestra: Christmas Rocks!
“Please make these reindeer hurry/ Well their time is drawing near …”
Whether you were a Stray Cats fan or not, no matter. Brian Setzer’s Christmas show is named right: It rocks! Setzer starts his tour in Minneapolis, so just put aside the fact that turkey day hasn’t arrived yet and grab yourself a seat for this guitar-and-horns extravaganza.(Tickets from $53.50.)
When: Nov. 16, 8 p.m.
Where: State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave.
“Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me,” Aaron Schroeder and Claude Demetrius
Moore by Four: The Holiday Show
“And I’m just gonna keep on waiting/ Underneath the mistletoe …”
Treat yourself to a night with Twin Cities vocal legends Moore by Four. They’ve sung for the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Super Bowl and at concert halls around the world. Kick back and hear them add seasonal flair to their tight vocal ensembles and innovative arrangements — right in your own backyard. (Tickets from $20.)
When: Nov. 23, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Where: Dakota Jazz Club, 1010 Nicollet Mall
“All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff
Holidays Under Glass concert series
“City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style …”
Pause as you’re walking by this airy, welcoming crossroads of downtown Minneapolis — you’ll get to hear different groups and artists performing over the lunch hour all month long. Santa makes the scene, too: He’s there after every Saturday show. (Free.)
When: Nov. 23–Dec. 24 (excluding Sundays), noon–1 p.m. Santa visits 1 p.m.–3 p.m. Saturdays.
Where: IDS Center Crystal Court, 80 S. 8th St.
“Silver Bells,” Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Jennifer Grimm: A Christmas with Family and Friends
“Sing we joyous, all together/ … Heedless of the wind and weather …”
Jennifer Grimm brings together her local musical family — plus members of her family-family — for a lovely and lively evening of holiday music, ranging from classics to new seasonal tunes. Music styles range from Gypsy Kings to Nat King Cole, with killer talent (Kenni Holmen, American Idol finalist Reed Grimm and more) doing everything from solos to Andrews Sisters-style group numbers. (Tickets are $25.)
When: Nov. 26–27, 7 p.m.
Where: Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, 6161 Highway 65 Northeast
“Deck the Halls,” traditional melody with lyrics by Thomas Oliphant
City Center concert series
“And when you walk down the street/ Say hello to friends you know …”
A great way to fit in holiday entertainment when your schedule (or budget) is tight? Enjoy it for free on your lunch hour when you’re already downtown. Stop by the City Center atrium to be entertained by an array of talented solo performers, bands and choirs — including some well-known Twin Cities artists. (Free.)
When: Nov. 26–Dec. 19, 11:30 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays
Where: City Center Atrium, 33 S. 6th St.
Info: Look for signs inside City Center
“A Holly Jolly Christmas,” Johnny Marks
Brian Wilson presents The Christmas Album Live
“He’s gotta wear his goggles ‘cause the snow really flies …”
A Beach Boys founding member and inductee in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Brian Wilson and his stellar band are on tour to perform “The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album” live in its entirety for the first time. Longtime band mates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin will join the legendary artist-producer as they re-create this 1964 album and perform songs from Wilson’s critically acclaimed solo album, “What I Really Want for Christmas.” (Tickets from $63.)
When: Nov. 28, 8 p.m.
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave.
“Little Saint Nick,” Brian Wilson and Mike Love
“The stars in the sky looked down where he lay …”
A Twin Cities tradition that families continue to introduce to new generations, Black Nativity returns with the Kingdom of Life Church Choir and choreography from Uri Sands of TU Dance. Lou Bellamy directs this retelling of the traditional nativity story, with musical direction by Sanford Moore. (Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors 62 and older and $15 for students with a valid ID.)
When: Nov. 29–Dec. 23, various dates and times
Where: Penumbra Theatre, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul
“Away in a Manger,” Martin Luther
‘Magic and Merry’: A Holiday Album Release Cabaret
“She didn’t see me creep/ Down the stairs to have a peep …”
Join Nichole Carey in the cozy Bryant-Lake Bowl theater for a night of cabaret Christmas songs — her favorite! With a nod to old-time variety shows (a hint of naughty, mostly nice), she’ll have the stage set as an inviting living room. She’ll host special guests, have fun surprises and sing holiday tunes from her brand-new Christmas album, “Magic and Merry.” (Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 at the door.)
When: Nov. 30, 7 p.m.
Where: Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, 810 West Lake Street
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” Tommie Connor
‘The Great Russian Nutcracker’
“Ever green have its branches been/ It is king of all the woodland scene …”
As a gift to yourself or an invitation to make someone else very happy, consider putting Moscow Ballet’s production on your list this holiday. It’s a break from the hustle-bustle as you take in hand-painted sets, detailed costumes, powerful dancers and the emotion of the story set to Tchaikovsky’s music. (Tickets from $32.)
When: Nov. 30, 7 p.m. and Dec. 1, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Where: Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave.
“Gather Around the Christmas Tree,” John Hopkins
Trashy Little Xmas Show
“I got a string of pretty Christmas lights a hangin’ from the cab of my truck …”
Join the ranks who mark their calendar for the night they’ll attend Trailer Trash’s Trashy Little Xmas Show. A tradition for families and friends for over 20 years, it’s filled with rocking irreverence and contagious fun helmed by this country-rockabilly band. And dancing with your fellow Twin Citians to a raucous version of “Joy to the World”? It’s a Christmas gift in and of itself. (Tickets are $20–$22 in advance or $25 at the door.)
When: Friday and Saturday nights in December, various times. The family show is noon Dec. 2.
Where: Eagles Club (Dec. 1), 2507 E. 25th St.; Lee’s Liquor Lounge (Dec. 8 and 22), 101 Glenwood Avenue. Check site for more locations.
“Truckin’ Trees for Christmas,” Red Simpson
‘The Chanukah Guest’
“Doorbells and sleigh bells/ And schnitzel with noodles …”
Previously a sold-out hit, this Jenna Zark play is based on the award-winning book by Eric A. Kimmel. Interactive and fun for the whole family, it tells the story of latke-making Bubba Brayna — and how the smells from her kitchen draw in an unexpected (and very hungry) visitor. Craig Johnson directs. (Tickets are $20.)
When: December 2 and 9, 1 p.m. (Additional shows for school groups Dec. 4–18; call for info.)
Where: Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul
“My Favorite Things,” Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) and Richard Rodgers (music)
VocalEssence: Star of Wonder
“And the children say he could laugh and play …”
Teddy bears, pillows and even baby bottles are welcome at this relaxed holiday concert where kids can clap, dance and sing along! For the 50th anniversary of VocalEssence, the focus turns to the wee ones — and the fun they have when they get to sing around others. Kids can make a holiday craft to take home as a souvenir, and families can explore the Minneapolis Institute of Art post-concert. (Tickets are $15 for adults, free for children and youth up to 17 years old.)
When: Dec. 8, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Where: Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 3rd Ave. S.
“Frosty the Snowman,” Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins
Lucia celebration concert
“Hearts filled with music and cheeks aglow …”
Experience children singing in honor of St. Lucia Day, a Swedish celebration of goodness and bringing light into the dark winter. The American Swedish Institute’s Lucia choir performs traditional music in this one-hour concert set in Larson Hall. (Tickets are $20; $15 for ASI members.)
When: Dec. 8, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Where: American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave.
“A Caroling We Go,” Johnny Marks
Melissa Etheridge: The Holiday Show
“I hear the sound of Christmas in your song …”
An Oscar and Grammy winner with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Melissa Etheridge is a powerhouse rocker who also made her Broadway debut in 2011 in Green Day’s rock opera, “American Idiot.” She’ll show her festive side for this show, performing songs from her 2008 holiday album, “A New Thought for Christmas.” Fan favorites include “Merry Christmas Baby” and “O Night Divine.” (Tickets from $66.)
When: Dec. 9, 8 p.m.
Where: Pantages Theater, 710 Hennepin Ave.
“You Make It Feel Like Christmas,” Neil Diamond
Christmas with Cantus
“Mark ye well the song we sing/ Gladsome tidings now we bring …”
This collaborative men’s vocal ensemble presents a concert around the theme of the Lessons and Carols service, which was created in the 1880s as a way to keep men out of pubs on Christmas Eve. Join them as they honor the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols tradition and reimagine it for our world today. (Tickets $10–$32.)
When: Dec. 13, 11 a.m. (See cantussings.org for other dates and locations.)
Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave.
“Caroling, Caroling,” Wihla Hutson (lyrics) and Alfred Burt (music)
Home for the Holidays with the Minnesota Orchestra
“I’m dreaming of a place I love/ Even more than I usually do …”
Conductor Sarah Hicks collaborated with writer Kevin Kling and director/co-writer Peter Rothstein to create this uniquely Minnesotan holiday show. With quirky storytelling about Christmas and family traditions, plus the talent of the Minnesota Orchestra, it sounds like the perfect mix. You betcha. (Tickets from $30. Reduced rates for under 40, students and children.)
When: Dec. 14, 16 and 20, 8 p.m., 2 p.m. and 11 a.m.
Where: Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Kim Gannon and Walter Kent
Messiah Christmas concert
“The world in solemn stillness lay/ To hear the angels sing …”
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah in the stunning Basilica of Saint Mary. Experience the “Hallelujah Chorus” in the ornate atmosphere of this 1914 structure in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. (Tickets from $12.)
When: Dec. 21, 8 p.m.
Where: The Basilica of Saint Mary, 1600 Hennepin Ave.
“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” Richard W. Willis
Lumina: Beauty in the Darkness
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…
Be lifted up on one of the darkest nights of the year by Lumina, four radiant female voices who explore mystery, beauty and hope in music. Spanning medieval carols to pieces by living and local composers, this concert in the majestic 1910 cathedral includes music for solstice, Christmas and Advent. (Tickets are $10 at the Cathedral Book Shop or at door.)
When: Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, 519 Oak Grove St.
“O Holy Night,” Adolphe Adam
‘The Night Before Christmas – A Musical Fantasy’
“And as we trim the tree/ How much fun it’s gonna be together …”
Fun for the entire family, this modern version of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Sounds of Blackness is in its 40th year of energizing (and sometimes hilarious) songs and scenes that reveal the true meaning of Christmas. Blending R&B, hip-hop, jazz, blues and gospel, the three-time Grammy Award–winning performers introduce you to Rudolph the Rappin’ Reindeer, James Brown Mice and more. (Tickets from $28.50.)
When: Dec. 22, 8 p.m.
Where: Pantages Theatre, 710 Hennepin Ave.
“This Christmas,” Nadine McKinnor and Donny Hathaway
CORRECTION: The original version of this story included an incorrect date for The Artful Present: Holiday Art & Gifting Event. The event took place Nov. 16–17.