2020 Holiday Events Guide: Take it outside. Or inside.

Santa & Albert
Santa & Albert, from Bachman’s holiday play at their Lyndale Avenue location

Bundle up. Grab a scarf. Or … stay home and log on. 2020 is anything but normal. The usual in-person concerts and elbow-to-elbow events aren’t happening in the same way, and things change every week (check your event before you go, just in case). But before you write off the season thinking there’s nothing going on, take a look at this list. It’s a grab bag of holiday or wintry activities held either outside or virtually. Whether you choose to put on your snowsuit or your slippers, or a little of each, here’s to your happiness and health this holiday season!



Browse the works of over 100 artists, and surprise someone on your gift list this year with a one-of-a-kind fiber art gift. Textile Center is dedicating its 2020 Holiday Gallery Shop to celebrating the richness and diversity of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) fiber artists in its expanded retail shop throughout November and December. While you’re there, view (virtually) the current “We Are the Story” exhibitions through Dec. 24. Purchases can be shipped or picked up curbside.

When: Nov. 5-Dec. 24
Where: Shop at textilecentermn.org/shop; optional curbside pickup at 3000 University Ave. SE. View virtual exhibitions at textilecentermn.org/ wearethestory
Info: textilecentermn.org, facebook.com/textilecentermn, 436-0464


Just in time for the holiday season, this silent auction features an assortment of unique items to bid on, with the feel-good vibes of helping some pups in need. All proceeds go to Safe Hands Animal Rescue, whose mission is to save and improve the lives of companion animals.

When: Monday-Sunday, Nov. 9-15
Where: Bid at safehandsrescue.org/event/fall-silent-auction
Info: safehandsrescue.org, facebook.com/safehandsrescue. Purchases will be picked up curbside on Saturday, Nov. 21; details given at time of purchase.


Shop outdoors in the parking lot on a one-way route through socially distanced vendors to stock up on produce, treats, crafts and gifts. Hosted by the St. Paul Farmers’ Market, this fresh-air shopping experience features the goods of local farmers, bakers and artisans. All food items are take-out only, and limited numbers of visitors are allowed into the market at one time.

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14
Where: Bachman’s, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S.
Info: tinyurl.com/bachmans-market, facebook.com/bachmanmn, 861-7600


It’s a nod to Sweden (where holiday markets happen outdoors) that this lively event at the American Swedish Institute will feature handcraft artists outside in the courtyard, as well as a full online experience. Explore the calendar of shopping options — each weekend features different outdoor artisans — and plot your holiday approach. Don’t miss the 30-plus artist vendors online or the unique livestreamed artist panels happening on Dec. 5.

When: Outdoor Julmarknad: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday- Sunday, Nov. 14-Dec. 20; online experience ongoing
Where: Browse at asimn.org or in person at the American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave.
Info: asimn.org, 612-871-4907. Admission: $6-12. Register at tinyurl.com/y5pm5582. Shopping is available with museum admission. Tickets available three weeks before the date listed.

Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Arts


Stumped on a gift idea? Consider colorful, handcrafted glass. Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Arts offers an online gallery of pieces designed and made by both staff and member artists. Selection includes housewares and gifts, functional items, sculptural objects and jewelry. Purchases can be shipped or picked up curbside.

When: Ongoing
Where: Shop at mnglassart.org/marketplace; optional curbside pickup at 2213 Snelling Ave.
Info: mnglassart.org, facebook.com/foci.mcga, 759-8476


Arc’s Value Village offers a complimentary shopping service where a style expert hears what you’re looking for, finds 50-60 items for you and then reviews the possibilities with you in a scheduled Zoom call. If you like something and want to purchase it, you can have it shipped to you (for a small fee) or pick it up curbside at one of their locations.

When: Ongoing; appointments arranged at sign-up
Where: Sign up at arcsvaluevillage.org/shop/personal-shopping-service; optional curbside pickup at any of their three locations
Info: arcsvaluevillage.org, facebook.com/arcsvaluevilage. Locations: 6528 Penn Ave., S., Richfield; 10546 France Ave. S., Bloomington; 2751 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope. Free. Small shipping fee. No minimum purchase required.


This online market features pots, ceramic jewelry and handmade clay tools from over 70 NCC gallery artists. Special 2020 holiday mugs include the artists’ favorite recipes. When you use curbside pickup on Sunday, Nov. 15, you get a free clay project; then bring it back to them for firing, and they’ll have it ready for you to pick up curbside by Friday, Dec. 11. All online purchases can be shipped or picked up curbside, too.

When: Nov. 15-Jan. 3
Where: Shop at nccshop.org; optional curbside pickup at 2424 Franklin Ave. E.
Info: northernclaycenter.org, facebook.com/northernclaycenter, 339-8007. Complimentary gift wrapping; donations accepted.


Is there someone on your list who likes locally designed and produced gifts? Browse online through the curated selection at this new-ish (opened June 2018) boutique. The Fitting Room is making things merry throughout November and December, offering free shipping with online purchases, complimentary gift wrapping when requested and a special extra: a gift with every purchase. Choose from clothing, jewelry, hats, leather handbags and bath and body treats like essential oils.

When: Ongoing; holiday extras throughout November and December
Where: Shop at thefittingroommpls.com/shop; optional curbside pickup at 316 W. 38th St.
Info: thefittingroommpls.com, facebook.com/thefittingroommpls, 345-7391.


An extension of the annual, in-person event of the same name, Craft Bash 2020 offers an online marketplace featuring the handmade goods of 70-100 diverse artists from across the country. Besides doing some serious holiday gift shopping, you can connect to workshops and studio tours being held by artists.

When: Nov. 16-Dec. 6. Early-access shopping for members: Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 16-17.
Where: Shop at shop.craftcouncil.org
Info: craftcouncil.org, facebook.com/craftcouncil. Shipping is offered directly to the consumer and included in the price for all items. For furniture or other large items, pallet shipping will be arranged with the artist.


An annual event that’s usually held in person, the Plymouth Arts Fair this year is showcasing original art online for purchase — just in time for the holiday gift- giving season. Peruse paintings, photography, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, clothing/accessories and household items made by local and regional artists. Plus, check out the schedule of livestreamed artist talks and demonstrations.

When: Nov. 20-Dec. 11
Where: Shop at plymouthmn.gov/artsfair
Info: 763-509-5225. Delivery or curbside pickup of purchased items varies by artist; further details on website.


That Christmas tree isn’t going to decorate itself. Search “ornaments” on the website of this light, bright home goods store, and you’ll discover little critters and colorful cuties for every branch. Explore more on the site, and you’ll find built- to-last pieces — both small and large — that blend beauty and function. Go with traditional online shopping or use their curbside pickup option through the holiday season.

When: Ongoing
Where: Shop at thefoundryhomegoods.com; optional curbside pickup at 322 W. 48th St.
Info: thefoundryhomegoods.com, facebook.com/thefoundryhomegoods. 333-8484. Orders may be placed by phone as well.


A fun and interesting way to see creations by local artists, the Holiday Shop is also a place to find a special gift for a loved one or buy something to freshen up your own home. Explore the works of hundreds of artists and up to 40 galleries. Best known for producing Art-A-Whirl, the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association has over 800 members and strives to connect art and artists to people, locally and beyond the Twin Cities.

When: Nov. 28-Dec. 31.
Where: Shop at nemaa.org
Info: nemaa.org, facebook.com/nemaamn, 788-1679. Delivery or curbside pickup of purchased items varies by artist; further details at time of purchase.

Womens Art Festival


And the show goes on! This yearly art festival is going virtual, showcasing and selling online the artwork of close to 50 women plus offering live-chats with artists, interviews and demonstrations. Each artist will have a virtual booth, and live music sets will be streamable throughout the day. Register ahead of the festival date as a guest to receive a reminder email so you don’t forget the date.

When: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12
Where: Shop at tinyurl.com/womens-art-fest
Info: womensartfestival.com, facebook.com/womensartfestival. Delivery of purchased items varies by artist.


Put on your winter gear (and maybe an extra scarf) and do some shopping outdoors. Support local vendors and artisans by buying household must-haves or gifts for the season from this market that has served the community for two decades.

When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5
Where: 629 2nd St. NE (St. Boniface Catholic Church parking lot)
Info: northeastmarket.org, facebook.com/northeastfarmersmarket, 406-8794


Browse online to view a kaleidoscope of art options at this Linden Hills gallery. From smaller pieces (jewelry, a pint glass or a miniature print) to larger art forms like paintings, mixed-media or a leather tote, you may find some “wow” gifts for those on your list this year. Call the gallery to inquire about specific pieces and to arrange payment and curbside pickup.

When: Ongoing
Where: Browse at instagram.com/everett.and.charlie; curbside pickup at 2720 W. 43rd St.
Info: everettandcharlie.com, facebook.com/everettandcharlie, 991-7228


Dream of sunny summer days and the Great Minnesota Get-Together when you shop the online marketplace featuring vendors from the Minnesota State Fair. Besides finding things for yourself or checking things off your gift list, you’ll also support a variety of sellers. Use the searchable hub to filter by category or keyword, or just relax and browse — just like you would at the fair.

When: Ongoing
Where: mnstatefair.org/fair-finder/shops
Info: mnstatefair.org, facebook.com/minnesotastatefair, 651-288-4400. Delivery of purchased items varies by artist.


Rustic bread, pastries and pies might be the extra comfort needed to make Turkey Day a little cozier this year. Plan to order about two weeks ahead for curbside pickup the day before Thanksgiving. Then take a look at the Holiday & Seasonal tab on the website to start dreaming about gingerbread, wild rice cranberry rolls, boxed cookie assortments and more. Purchases can be picked up curbside.

When: Ongoing. Hours: 6:30 a.m-2 p.m. Tuesday- Sunday, plus 5-8 p.m. Thursdays
Where: Sun Street Breads, 4600 Nicollet Ave. S.
Info: sunstreetbreads.com, facebook.com/sunstreetbreads, 354-3414


Browse online for colorful, quality toys and other fun stuff for kids at Kinoko. The online selection has easy categories like stocking stuffers for big kids, little ones or baby, and owners Erika and Tammy can tip you off to ideas based on age and other traits. For the holiday season, they’ll gift wrap any item for $1 (to cover the app they use) in a festive, peppy way. Purchases can be shipped or picked up curbside.

When: Ongoing
Where: Shop at kinokokids.com; optional curbside pickup at 3803 Grand Ave. S.
Info: kinokokids.com, facebook.com/kinokokids, 545- 5741. Free shipping with minimum order. Curbside pickup hours listed on website.



Wander through the online photos of this charming vintage and antiques store. A unique item of jewelry or home decor or a fascinating piece of history awaits as a gift for yourself or someone else. Orders may be placed over the phone and arranged for curbside pickup (limited delivery available within Southwest Minneapolis).

When: Ongoing, with more items shown online through Thursday, Dec. 31
Where: View at clarabelvintage.com; optional curbside pickup at 3018 W. 50th St.
Info: clarabelvintage.com, facebook.com/clarabelvintage, 203-8990. To purchase items: call, text or email [email protected] to arrange payment by phone, PayPal or Venmo.


Click “Christmas” on Ingebretsen’s online marketplace, and you’ll find cards, textiles, table decor, tree ornaments and lots of the cheery Swedish character called a tomte. Explore even more categories on the site, and you can probably check off your whole holiday gift list. Skål!

When: Ongoing
Where: Shop ingebretsens.com/shop/christmas; optional curbside pickup at 1601 E. Lake St. Curbside pickup varies by item
Info: ingebretsens.com, facebook.com/ingebretsens, 729-9333. Standard shipping rates apply to online purchases.


Shop ingredients from small, family-owned farms while staying safe by purchasing online. Have your goods delivered to your doorstep, shipped or brought to your car door for curbside pickup. Their multivendor marketplace continues through the winter, with hundreds of sellers and thousands of foods. Especially fun for the holidays? The cookie section of the website.

When: Ongoing
Where: Shop at frankandernestmarkets.com; optional curbside pickup at Settergren’s Ace Hardware, 2813 W. 43rd St.
Info: frankandernestmarkets.com, facebook.com/frankanderniempls.


Gift the music fan in your life a bundle put together by music buyer Jason — including three of his favorite Christmas albums — at 10% off plus complimentary gift wrap. Other great wish-list items from this artistic store include art goods, books, handcrafted jewelry, clothing and gifts — most made in the U.S.A. Rock Paper Scissors also offers private Zoom art classes, where they deliver or ship the material kits and can customize the class topics.

When: Ongoing
Where: Shop at rockpaperscissorsgoods.com/shop; optional curbside pickup at 2403 Lyndale Ave. S.
Info: rockpaperscissorsgoods.com, facebook.com/rockpaperscissorsgoods, 823-0269. Purchases can be shipped or picked up curbside. During the holiday season, free local delivery (within five miles) for purchases over $50. Music bundles should be ordered a week in advance.



Support the Minneapolis institute of Art while finding unique and chic gifts for the loved ones on your list. Peruse holiday merchandise and make purchases online for ease and safety. Find art tools, cards, activities, jewelry and a mouth-watering selection of cookbooks.

When: Ongoing
Where: Shop at shop.artsmia.org
Info: artsmia.org, facebook.com/artsmia, 2400 3rd Ave. S., 870-3000



Take a virtual tour to view handcrafted mannequin Christmas trees created by Alicia Smiley. Reflecting Black history, art and culture, these uniquely designed trees will later be auctioned online with proceeds going to support the museum. Mark your calendar, too, for a virtual children’s story time session with author Timi Bliss reading her book “In Search of the Gingerbread Man.” Extra fun: She follows the reading by baking gingerbread cookies with her granddaughter, an award-winning pastry chef.

When: Tree exhibit: Nov. 21-Dec. 5. Virtual book reading: viewable starting Dec. 1.
Where: Virtual at maahmg.org or on Facebook at tinyurl.com/y2baz2fe
Info: Questions: [email protected]


The sound of the hooves, the nostalgia of a slower time … a carriage ride along the cobblestones of Main Street lets you see the skyline of Minneapolis in a different way. Rides are 30 or 60 minutes and run along the river in the North Loop area.

When: Year-round
Where: All rides start and end at The Nicollet Island Inn, 96 Merriam St.
Info: thehitchingcompany.com, facebook.com/thehitchingcompany, 338-7777. Prices start at $72.


Pick an event that sounds parfait (perfect) to you in this monthlong series, the name of which means “Outdoors Before Winter.” The Alliance Française Mpls./St.Paul’s lineup includes a French breakfast (Nov. 14), a Marché de Noël for holiday shopping (Dec. 5), a wine tasting, a trivia night, an outdoor movie night with raclette (French cheese tradition), live music and more. The final event will be their annual Fête d’Hiver winter celebration (Dec. 12). Propane heaters and tents will offer coverage and warmth; all events are held outside. To get some shopping done in the meantime, browse their online boutique for French-themed gifts and more (curbside pickup available).

When: Nov. 14-Dec. 13: varying dates. Check Events tab on website for details. Social distancing and masks required.
Where: Alliance Française Mpls./St.Paul, 227 Colfax Ave. N.
Info: afmsp.org, facebook.com/afmsp, 332-0436. Tickets vary by event.


Dress warm for this outdoor experience — there’s lots to do! Stroll through 20 acres of illuminated grounds including an angel garden, a trellis trail of lights in the vineyard, a children’s maze with Frosty the Snowman, Nana’s Gingerbread House and a life-sized creche. Santa’s there most nights too, plus live llamas in a petting pen, tractor rides and s’mores by the campfire (s’mores kits available for purchase). The Angel Christmas Market has fire pits to take off the chill during holiday shopping, and an outdoor bar with a heated seating area lets you enjoy the star of the show: the wine.

When: Nov. 17-Jan. 2. 4:30-8 p.m Wednesday- Thursday; 4:30-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 4:30-8 p.m. Sunday. Tuesdays: Private groups only.
Where: The Winery at Sovereign Estate, 9950 North Shore Road, Waconia
Info: tinyurl.com/spirit-of-winter, 952-446-9957. Tickets: $7.50; free for kids 4 and under. All tickets must be pre-purchased online. Visit time limited to 2 hours.


Bring your own skis, fat-tire bike or snowshoes — or try skijoring or winter walking — to enjoy this multi-use recreational trail that meanders through Brookview Golf Course. Added in 2019 are cross-country ski grooves and solar LED lights along the trail to allow use past sunset. The trail is 6-8 feet wide, relies upon natural snow and is groomed 3-4 days per week.

When: Open for use when natural snow is present
Where: Brookview Golf & Lawn Bowling, 316 Brookview Pkwy. S., Golden Valley
Info: brookviewgolf.com/winter-recreation/trails, goldenvalleymn.gov/recreation, 763-512-2345. Free.


How to dress to keep warm but still be artistic … fingerless gloves, anyone? You’ll create a unique buckthorn wreath to decorate for the holidays, and also learn about buckthorn removal and management. A warm fire nearby, plus hot cocoa and tea, will keep things humming. Wreath-making materials provided. Class held outside, for ages 18 and up.

When: 5:30–6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20
Where: Richardson Nature Center, 8737 E. Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington
Info: threeriversparks.org, facebook.com/threeriversparkdistrict, 763-694-7676. Fee: $16. Register at tinyurl.com/y2nn68es. Reservations required one week prior. Participants ages 21-plus are welcome to bring their own wine or beer. Richardson Nature Center also hosts free Family Fun Days 1-3 p.m. Sundays (no registration needed).


This might be the season to try something new outside. Beginners or casual curlers are welcome to rent out one of four lanes available for outdoor pub curling — synthetic ice, no sweepers. Or try disc golf: It’s fully installed on the two 18-hole courses of Brookview’s golf course.

When: Disc golf course open 7 days/week; outdoor pub curling lanes available by rental
Where: Brookview Golf & Lawn Bowling, 316 Brookview Parkway S., Golden Valley
Info: brookviewgolf.com/winter-recreation, 763-512-2300. Disc golf: free. Fee for outdoor pub curling: $15/hour.


Bachman’s tradition of a holiday play at their Lyndale Avenue location continues this year, virtually. All ages are welcome to watch online as “Christmas Magic Mischief” unfolds live on Saturday mornings. Each week offers a new chapter of the story plus the chance to interact with Santa and Albert. Kids can also download an activity at bachmans.com/Santa, or email [email protected] to tell Santa, Albert and Sprinkles what they’re doing to help fill the Christmas Magic Tank. On Christmas Eve, visit Bachman’s’ Facebook and Instagram pages for a special surprise.

When: 10 a.m. Saturdays, Nov. 21-Dec. 19
Where: Virtual at Bachman’s North Pole Christmas Cam on Facebook Live: facebook.com/BachmansMN or IG TV: instagram.com/shopbachmans
Info: bachmans.com/workshops-and-events, 861-8818. Free.


Whether you have a beer before or after you ice skate is your call, but blending the two is bound to be fun. Schram Haus Brewery is turning their parking lot into an outdoor ice rink on the bluff overlooking downtown Chaska. Flagship beers include the Cane Fighter IPA, Brickyard Blonde and more. Stop by their sister location — Schram Vineyards and Brewery in Waconia — for a glass of wine by heaters and fire pits in their semi-enclosed outdoor pavilion.

When: Ongoing; check website to confirm
Where: Schram Haus Brewery, 3700 Chaska Blvd., Chaska
Info: schramhausbrewery.com, facebook.com/schramhaus, 952-500-8085


Hit the hills for some great coasts downward at Scheid or Wesley Park — sledding has a way of making everyone smile! Or, bring your skates and use the regular or hockey rinks. Outdoor benches available.

When: Ongoing, snow permitting
Where: Scheid Park, 1856 Toledo Ave. N.; Wesley Park, 8305 Wesley Drive, Golden Valley
Info: goldenvalleymn.gov/recreation, 763-512-2345. Free.

Reindeer Run


Challenge yourself to a holiday run and sign up for this annual tradition — this time, in virtual form. Pick where and when you run: Paths, treadmills and parkways are good bets. Register for the race length that’s right for you, and don’t forget to pick up your finisher medal and long-sleeve tee at the end.

When/where: Runners choose their own date and location
Info: reindeerrun.com, facebook.com/reindeerrun5k. Fee: $35. Registration open through Dec. 31.


Beginners or experienced birders — all are welcome to join this hike to spot migrating birds and those settling in for the winter. Learn how our feathered friends use strategies to make it through a Minnesota winter. Expect to see up to 20 species at this 150-acre natural area that will celebrate 50 years next year. And, for another day: Wood Lake Nature Center also offers cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals for a 1.8-mile trail loop.

When: 3-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22
Where: Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lake Shore Drive, Richfield
Info: woodlakenaturecenter.org, facebook.com/woodlakenaturecenter, 861-9365. Fee: $5; free for members. Register at tinyurl.com/y67wauzy. Binoculars (sanitized between each use) available for loan. Entire event is outside.

Campfire Cookout


Gather the hearty gang together for a unique dining experience in the outdoors. Cook and eat “traditional” Thanksgiving dishes over the fire during this wilderness feast.

When: 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22
Where: Baker Outdoor Learning Center, 4001 County Road 24, Maple Plain
Info: threeriversparks.org, facebook.com/threeriversparkdistrict, 763-694-7856. Fee: $12. Ages 3-15: $8. Children under 3: free. Register at tinyurl.com/y5wb8oh7. Reservations required two days prior. Participants 13 and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult from the same household.


Load up the vehicle and head south to this drive-through display of over 1 million lights synchronized to festive music. Partnering with Epic Light Shows, Sever’s Holiday Lights creates a merry and magical atmosphere with new additions this year including more static lights and a giant yeti.

When: Nov. 26-Jan. 3. Sunday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m; Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Open on holidays.
Where: 3121 150th St. W., Shakopee
Info: seversholidaylights.com, facebook.com/seversholidaylights, 952-270-6293. Tickets: $7/person or $25/vehicle. Vehicles with eight or more people: $40. Tickets may be purchased online or onsite. Toys for Tots donations accepted.


This annual, self-guided family event has a new twist for 2020: It’s being held in three locations. Stroll along the Ice Age Trail, mingle with a variety of ancient critters and use your own GPS or phone app to search for themed geocaches. Solve stories and riddles to find the Mighty Musk Ox, Mammoth or Mastodon — hidden somewhere in each park. Choose challenges based on age and experience level. Visit another day to enjoy the trails and rentals for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and kick sleds, plus a 12-mile trail for mountain biking.

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27. Riddles posted on the Dakota County Forever Wild Facebook page at noon daily, Nov. 25-27: facebook.com/dakotacountyparks
Where: Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan; Thompson County Park, 360 Butler Ave. E., West St. Paul; Whitetail Woods Regional Park, 17100 Station Trail, Farmington.
Info: co.dakota.mn.us/parks, facebook.com/dakotacountyparks, 651-554-6530. Free. Register at tinyurl.com/y5f9juwq.


Make a winter-themed clay project at home. Participants receive an instructional video link to guide them in using hand-building techniques to create and decorate a unique ceramic object. Choose from the textured mitten bowl (ages 3-10 with adult help) or the evergreen dessert tray (ages 11-plus). Works are returned to Silverwood Park for firing and will be ready for pickup in early January.

When: Register by Saturday, Nov. 28. Kits can be picked up starting Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Where: At-home project with virtual instruction
Info: threeriversparks.org, facebook.com/threeriversparkdistrict, 763-694-7707. Fee: $10. Kits include clay, underglazes and tools. Participants receive instructions on kit pickup, project drop-off and the final pickup date.


Bring a friend or meet new ones, and bring your mobile device. You’ll discover holiday traditions of the past and present as you navigate trails, exploring historic buildings using virtual tours and digital tools. Buildings at The Landing — representing 19th-century life in Minnesota — are laid out as a timeline from the pre-territorial era through the late 1800s. Class is for teens ages 13-19.

When: 3-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28
Where: The Landing, 2187 Hwy. 101 E., Shakopee
Info: threeriversparks.org, facebook.com/threeriversparkdistrict, 763-694-7784. Fee: $8. Register at tinyurl.com/y5f5enes.


Visits with the Holly Trolley Santa are still happening this year — virtually! Kids can chat with Santa (via Zoom call), who’ll be at his North Pole workshop, ready to hear their holiday wish lists or other secrets of the season. Snap a picture or screenshot of the Santa session for the memory books.

When: Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 28-29 and Dec. 5-6; sign up for time slots at registration
Where: Participate in Zoom call (link arranged when you register)
Info: Register at trolleyride.org. Free. Donations accepted to the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. For questions email [email protected]


Spend some time outside hiking with a naturalist at Eastman Nature Center, nestled in the sugar maple floodplain forest of Rush Creek. Test your skills at spotting turkey signs. Leave bird seed to see if any turkey comes. Eastman Nature Center has miles of hiking and snowshoeing trails and a newly constructed central building.

When: 2-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29
Where: Eastman Nature Center, 13351 Elm Creek Road, Dayton
Info: threeriversparks.org, facebook.com/threeriversparkdistrict, 763-694-7700. Free. Register at tinyurl.com/yxad9kqq.


Is a horse-drawn sleigh ride on your holiday checklist? Get your red scarf, bring your jingle bells and make it happen. Rides are 30-45 minutes on your choice of antique sleigh, red bench sleigh or flatbed. Pandemic alterations include limits on number of people, masks for ages 6 and up and no straw in sleighs. Cozy up before or after when you rent a fully tended bonfire pit with table for bring-your-own treats.

When: Ongoing, snow permitting
Where: 550 Bunker Lake Blvd., Andover
Info: bunkerparkstable.com, facebook.com/bunkerparkstable, 763-757-9445. Prices range, starting at $90. Fire pit 1-hour rental: $20.


You. Your ugly sweater. A rad selfie. Dig out that treasured sweater you made last year or create a new one to wear this year when you run your 5K dash in your favorite park. Take a picture of yourself in your ugly sweater and share it on the city’s social media. Don’t forget your goodie bag with a medal and swag — pick it up or have it mailed to you. Now that’s good clean fun.

When: Sunday, Dec. 6
Where: Virtual (run on your own)
Info: stlouispark.maxgalaxy.net, facebook.com/stlouispark, 952-924-2540. Fee: $25 with pickup option; $35 for mail option. Registration deadline: Dec. 5 or when full. Swag bag pickup Dec. 7-13 at The Rec Center, 3700 Monterey Drive, St. Louis Park.


Norway House’s annual holiday tradition returns in all of its cinnamon coziness, and for the first time ever, you can view it online. Keep your eyes out for Twin Cities landmarks as you take a virtual stroll through a village of candy-trimmed gingerbread buildings nestled in sparkly snow. Even sweeter: Pick your favorite and vote for the people’s choice on social media using #MyGingerbreadWonderland.

When: Online viewing: Nov. 6-Jan. 2
Where: View at norwayhouse.org/gbw2020.
Info: norwayhouse.org, facebook.com/norwayhouse, 913 E. Franklin Ave., 871-2211. Free. Donations accepted.


Keep safe and cozy in your car while you experience the Christmas story. Drive into the church parking lot and tune your car radio to hear the story of Christ’s birth and sing a carol. See the holy family, angels and magi … and maybe an animal or two! The church will also host an outdoor Christmas Eve service with a bonfire in their parking lot — all are welcome.

When: 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13
Where: Lake Harriet United Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Ave. S.
Info: lakeharrietumc.org, facebook.com/Lake-Harriet-United-Methodist-Church, 926-7645. Free. Register in advance at lakeharrietumc.org for one of the 15-minute slots. Donations accepted for the Joyce Uptown Food Shelf. Enter the parking lot from the Chowen Ave. entrance.


Embrace the winter solstice with art and nature activities inspired by the Swedish word “mysa,” meaning content and cozy. Pick up your at-home art kit — it includes all materials and instructions for completing an art project. Optional: Stay for the outdoor event, which includes a candlelit trail, bonfire and hot chocolate. Ages 21 plus.

When: 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18
Where: Silverwood Park, 2500 County Rd. E West, St. Anthony
Info: threeriversparks.org, facebook.com/threeriversparkdistrict, 763-694-7707. Fee: $15. Attendees may bring adult beverages.


Walk along a luminary-lit trail on the shortest night of
the year as a way to remember people in the community struggling with mental illness or difficult situations. Light a candle to brighten the night and leave a message on the “be the light” art board.

When: 6-9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21
Where: Westwood Hills Nature Center, 8300 W. Franklin Ave., St. Louis Park
Info: stlouispark.maxgalaxy.net, facebook.com/WestwoodHillsNatureCenter, 952-924-2544. Free. Advance registration required for choice of start times. Registration deadline: 5 p.m. the day of the event. No walk-ins permitted.



Prost! It’s the 15th year of this festival inspired by traditional German open-air Christmas markets. All outdoors, Christkindlsmarkt features live reindeer and llamas, Father and Mrs. Christmas, live music, magic shows and appearances by the “Christkind” (the golden angel). Food trucks include strudel, bratwursts and pierogis plus mini donuts, Wisconsin cheese, and good-as-gifts maple syrup and honey. Sip a mug of hot glühwein or enjoy a beer while the kids talk to Father Christmas through a microphone (snap their photo from a safe distance). Multi-task and get some holiday shopping done with artisans who make jewelry, handmade hats, knives, cutting boards, leather totes and more.

When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6. Final day hours are 10 a.m-3 p.m.
Where: Excelsior Commons, 135 Lake St., Excelsior
Info: excelsiorchristmas.com, facebook.com/excelsiorchristmas, 952-292-8898. Tickets: $5; free for ages 12 and under. Ticket prices reserve one hour of time. Reserve tickets at excelsiorchristmas.com/make-a-reservation.


Kick off New Year’s Eve with a daytime ice skating session at this multi-use outdoor recreational facility. DJ Bob will spin the tunes with mix of songs to put smiles on faces on this final day of the year.

When: 3:15-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31
Where: Recreation Outdoor Center, 3700 Monterey Drive, St. Louis Park
Info: stlouispark.org/parks-rec, 952-924-2540. Free. No registration required.


Glide into the new year! Bring your skates and stop by for outdoor ice skating on New Year’s Eve. Enjoy a free cookie and hot chocolate while quantities last.

When: 12-4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31
Where: Cornelia School Park outdoor ice rink, 7142 Cornelia Drive, Edina
Info: edinamn.gov/249/Parks-Recreation, 952-826- 0367. Free. Register at edinamn.maxgalaxy.net/BrowseActivities (search Hockey & Ice Skating).



Inspired by the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clarke Moore, this lively production brings holiday fun to the home front just when it’s needed! Designed as an interactive cinematic radio broadcast to be watched by the whole family at home, it includes a Holiday Gift Box with the original poem, cocoa, popcorn, crafts, activities, and some surprises too — plus, a chance to have live story time with Santa directly from the North Pole (via Zoom).

When: Nov. 20-Jan.1
Where: Virtual at stagestheatre.org/twas-the-night
Info: stagestheatre.org, facebook.com/stagestheatrecompany, 952-979-1111. Tickets $85 per experience (4 people); $10 extra child. Self-paced viewing; select a two-week range.


Take an evening break to understand some of the traditions of Nordic ancestors through stories, songs, recipes and crafts. Explore the Old Norse version of the Yuletide calendar and how it relates to the solstice. Each Wednesday’s session covers a different topic, led by Kari Tauring, a Nordic folk musician, cultural educator, staff carrier and horn player.

When: 7-8 p.m. Wednesdays Nov. 25-Dec. 23
Where: Virtual at needfirewellness.com
Info: karitauring.com/juletide-zooms-2020. Fee: $10 per session. Session descriptions list items needed if attendees plan to participate in making crafts alongside Tauring. More information: 289-0282.


The day after Thanksgiving is for a lot of things: shopping, running a 5K, eating leftovers … and music! Get that live- music vibe by joining fusion-sound band Frog Leg for their Black Friday livestream concert from The Hook and Ladder Theater and Lounge in Minneapolis.

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27
Where: Virtual at thehookmpls.com
Info: froglegmusic.com, thehookmpls.com, 345-7166. Tickets: $15; $5 off with code SWJHOLIDAY.

Trailer Trash


This was the year you were going to dress up (elf outfit and blinking hat) and join the jolly masses who love this show, wasn’t it? Well, you still can … just … from your living room! Hear the band perform their honky-tonk holiday tunes live from The Hook and Ladder Theater, while Trashy Santa reads clues for a downloadable, play-at-home bingo card. Their latest holiday CD, “Crazy For Xmas,” was brand spanking new last year and could make a good early gift for the friend you want to (virtually) party with for Trashy Little Xmas.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12
Where: Virtual at thehookmpls.com
Info: trailertrashmusic.com, thehookmpls.com, 345-7166. Tickets: $15; $5 off with code SWJHOLIDAY.


Tune in to The Hook and Ladder’s livestream show with singer-songwriter Sarah Morris and her “Sometimes Elves” (usually called “The Sometimes Guys”). Whether you put your feet up for the show, or make holiday cookies alongside the musical entertainment, it’s guaranteed feel-good vibes.

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4
Where: Virtual at thehookmpls.com
Info: facebook.com/sarahmorris10, thehookmpls.com, 345-7166. Tickets: $15; $5 off with code SWJHOLIDAY.


In the 41st year of this annual event, Augsburg University will present — this year, virtually — a holiday concert of music and liturgy, focusing on the theme of preparation and culminating in the joyful celebration of the Incarnation. A series of devotional and worship events online will happen throughout the week, leading up to the concert.

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4
Where: Virtual at augsburg.edu/music/vespers
Info: augsburg.edu/music/vespers, 330-1265. Free. Donations accepted.


Hear some deep-cover holiday tunes from this always- entertaining, vibrant group led by powerhouse Davina Sowers. Rolling Stone magazine says she “creates her own Americana mishmash — a little Amy Winehouse- worthy neo-soul here, a little Great American Songbook-influenced songcraft there.” Catch her group virtually from the Hook and Ladder Theater in Minneapolis, as part of their HookStreams online concerts.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5
Where: Virtual at thehookmpls.com
Info: davinaandthevagabonds.com, thehookmpls.com, 345-7166. Tickets: $15; $5 off with code SWJHOLIDAY.


Behold the wonder of Christmas … for more than five decades, VocalEssence has welcomed Christmas with songs from past and present. This year, dust off your singing voice and join them in beloved carols to bring you into the Christmas spirit. Performed by the VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers, it will be conducted by Philip Brunelle and G. Phillip Shoultz, III.

When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 or anytime afterward until June 30, 2021
Where: Virtual at vocalessence.org/event/concert-welcome-christmas-2020
Info: vocalessence.org, facebook.com/vocalessence, 547-1451. Tickets: $15 single streams. VocalEssence On Demand 2020–2021 subscriptions also available ($49/household).


Tune in for this never-before-seen holiday special featuring Tonic Sol Fa and Top 5 artist Shaun Johnson & the Big Band Experience. Johnson will host each airing, which will be catered to a particular city, theater and local charity for a 60-minute show with guests, an interactive Q&A, and new songs from an upcoming album.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10
Where: Virtual at tonicsolfa.com
Info: tonicsolfa.com, ames-center.com, 952-895-4685. Tickets: pay what you can. Limited to 200 tickets.



Weaving together poetry and song, this two- part program draws upon a British Christmas tradition started by the Choir of King’s College at the University of Cambridge. Enjoy classic carols such as “Silent Night” and “A La Nanita Nana,” as well as modern works. The concert will also feature Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria,” continuing a cherished holiday tradition.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11 and 18. Each concert is available on demand all weekend (for 48 hours).
Where: Website link sent to ticket holders after purchase at cantussings.org
Info: cantussings.org, facebook.com/cantussings, 435-0046. Tickets: $5 or pay what you can. The first weekend’s concert is part 1, lessons 1-5. The second weekend’s concert is part 2, lessons 6-9.


A portion of each ticket purchased for this concert will benefit Hennepin Theatre Trust’s nonprofit mission — a way to support local live entertainment venues in this challenging time. Enjoy a Christmas concert from home, from Grammy-nominated songwriter and pianist Jim Brickman. Ticket tiers offer the chance to have a virtual meet-and-greet, visit an interactive Zoom room and more.

When: 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11
Where: Virtual at hennepintheatretrust.org
Info: jimbrickman.com, hennepintheatretrust.org, 339-7007.


Join Kevin Kling, Dan Chouinard and Simone Perrin for an evening of music, stories and seasonal hilarity. Known for his popular commentaries on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” Kling delivers funny, heartfelt yarns of Midwestern family traditions. For this celebrated show, the wry tales take a holiday twist.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13
Where: Virtual at stjoan.com
Info: kevinkling.com, stjoan.com, 823-8205. Concert pre-recorded for this date and release.


Charles Dickens had a penchant for spreading holiday cheer by performing dramatic readings of his work “A Christmas Carol” to large crowds of devoted fans from London to Boston and beyond. In a year that would have brought this production to the stage for the 46th time, the Guthrie Theater is tipping its hat to Dickens by offering a virtual reading of this beloved ghost story by four local actors. Their hope: to make spirits bright while the stages are dark.

When: Dec. 19-31
Where: Virtual at tinyurl.com/guthrie-dickens
Info: guthrietheater.org, facebook.com/guthrietheater, 377-2224. Tickets: $10 and up. This is not a recording of the Guthrie Theater’s stage production of “A Christmas Carol”; it is a newly conceived offering. Ticket buyers may watch the pre-recorded program at their convenience Dec. 19-31.

Belfast Cowboys


Pour a Guinness or whiskey and kick back with this Twin Cities band that specializes in the music of Van Morrison. With a repertoire of at least 100 Van Morrison songs, plus holiday tunes, the Cowboys will make sure your December evening is on point.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19
Where: Virtual at thehookmpls.com
Info: belfastcowboys.com, thehookmpls.com, 345-7166. Tickets: $15; $5 off with code SWJHOLIDAY.


Hear the magical voices of the Minnesota Boychoir as they celebrate the season. They’ll blend elements of previous holiday concerts with pieces unique to this year. The
choir, through its 50-plus years, has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Prague Philharmonic and more.

When: 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20
Where: Virtual at boychoir.org
Info: boychoir.org, facebook.com/mnboychoir, 651-292-3219. Free.


Join Lumina Women’s Ensemble for an uplifting, hopeful respite on the darkest day of the year. The stunning setting of St. Catherine University’s Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel offers an acoustical platform for their radiant voices.

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20
Where: Virtual at wisdomwayscenter.org
Info: facebook.com/luminawomensensemble. Tickets: $15. For questions, email [email protected]