Consider it our gift to you: an entertainment roundup what's happening over the holidays to simplify your search for something to do other than shopping, cooking, and rushing to pull it all together. We'll keep updating the list in CTNOW from week to week, as well as at ctnow.com/holidayevents2015.
Donny and Marie Osmond bring their holiday show to Foxwoods Resort Casino Dec. 3, 4 and 6. Performances are Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $50-$150. foxwoods.com and 800-200-2882.
Human Nature performs a new holiday show featuring Christmas classics and Motown hits Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Tickets are $45 and $60. foxwoods.com and 800-200-2882.
96.5 All Star Christmas 2015 is Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford. The lineup includes Rob Thomas, Nate Ruess, Charlie Puth, Rachel Platten and "American Idol" winner Nick Fradiani. Tickets are $75, $48, $38. livenation.com and ticketmaster.com.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's The Ghosts of Christmas Eve tour is at Mohegan Sun Arena Nov. 27 at 3 and 8 p.m. ($52.50 and $42.50), and at the XL Center in Hartford Nov. 29 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. (call 877-522-8499 for tickets). mohegansun.com and xlcenter.com.
Voce performs seasonal favorites Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Simsbury ($25, $40) and Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford ($10-$50). The concert will feature Primi Voci, the newest and most advanced choir for treble voices in the Connecticut Children's Chorus. voceinc.org.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra's 2015-16 Masterworks Series continues with Joyful Voices with the Hartford Chorale Dec. 3 through 6 in the Belding Theater at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford. The concerts will be conducted by HSO music director Carolyn Kuan, and will feature the Hartford Chorale led by Richard Coffey, as well as guest baritone Matthew Worth and guest soprano Melody Moore. The program includes Higdon's blue cathedral, Fauré's Requiem and excerpts from Handel's Messiah. Tickets start at $35; $10 for students with ID. 860-987-5900 and hartfordsymphony.org.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra will combine acrobatics and holiday music at Holiday Cirque Spectacular on Dec. 19 at 3 and 7:30 p.m. in Mortensen Hall at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford. Conducted by Carolyn Kuan, the concert will include "Deck the Halls," selections from "Frozen," "The Nutcracker" and "Sleigh Ride," and an audience sing-along. A visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus is also planned. Tickets begin at $23; student tickets are $10. 860-987-5900 and hartfordsymphony.org.
The Bad Santas ($12), an all-star group featuring members of Kung Fu, Deep Banana Blackout, the Revivalists and other area bands, plays the Acoustic in Bridgeport on Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. 203-335-3655 and theacoustic.rocks
The Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet celebrates the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. $20 and $35. 877-503-1286 and thekate.org.
Eileen Ivers performs her Christmas holiday show Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook The program includes American and Irish songs, original tunes and holiday favorites. $48. 877-503-1286 and thekate.org.
Christmas Cocktails, a musical evening of holiday cheer performed by Pantochino Productions company members, is Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Milford Center for the Arts. $25. 203-878-6647 or milfordarts.org.
The Hartford Gay Men's Chorus' annual holiday concert, Home for the Holidays, is at 8 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 5 at the Aetna Theater at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford. $30. 860-527-5151 and hartfordgaymenschorus.org.
Big Band Holidays: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with Wynton Marsalis and special guest Denzal Sinclaire, is Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Mortensen Hall, Hartford. $25 to $88. bushnell.org and 860-987-5900.
Jim Brickman performs Comfort and Joy Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Mortensen Hall, Hartford. $35 to $75. bushnell.org and 860-987-5900.
Kenny G performs Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. at the Ridgefield Playhouse in an intimate evening of his hits and holiday classics. The evening includes a complimentary wine tasting courtesy of 109 Cheese and Wine and an art exhibit by artists Gayle Gleckler and Tony Woolner in the lobby at 7:15 p.m. Gold circle tickets include a preshow holiday party from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. $95 to $155. 203-438-5795 and ridgefieldplayhouse.org.
The Middletown Symphonic Band, under the direction of conductor Marco Gaylord, performs its free annual winter holiday concert on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at South Church, 9 Pleasant St., Middletown. MSB's holiday concert schedule will also include a performance Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at Westbrook High School, 156 McVeigh Road. middletownsymphonicband.org.
The Middlesex Hospital Vocal Chords Winter Concert is Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at Portland High School. 860-347-2787 or 860-342-3120 and vocalchords20.org.
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra's brass quintet presents Holiday Brass, an evening of family-friendly music featuring vocals and organ Dec. 5 at Nelson Hall in Cheshire, and Dec. 19 at the First Congregational Church of Madison. Both shows start at 7:30 p.m. 203-865-0831, Ext. 20, and newhavensymphony.org.
The New Haven Symphony Orchestra plays its Holiday Extravaganza show at locations in Greater New Haven this December. The program features Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride," selections from Handel's Messiah and other holiday favorites. You can see it Dec. 12 at 2:30 p.m. at Hamden High School; Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. at Shelton Intermediate School; Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Yale University's Woolsey Hall in New Haven; and Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Middletown High School. 203-865-0831, Ext. 20, or newhavensymphony.org.
The West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Richard Chiarappa, performs a Holiday Concert at the West Hartford Town Hall on Dec. 13 at 3 p.m., featuring Tchaikovsky's waltz from "Sleeping Beauty," dances from "The Nutcracker" and Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride." 860-521-4362 or visit whso.org.
The New England Chamber Choir will be performing Part One of Handel's Messiah on Nov. 29 at 4 p.m. at the Congregational Church, East Hampton. On Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., the choir will present its Christmas Carol Sing at the Second Congregational Church of Middle Haddam. newenglandchamberchoir.org and 860-267-4959.
Stamford Symphony presents Handel's Messiah, featuring the Pro Arte Singers, on Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, Stamford. $25 to $55. stamfordsymphony.org and 203-325-4466.
Cappella Cantorum presents its Seventh Annual Messiah Sing Dec. 20 at 4 p.m., at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Art Center in Old Saybrook. $10. cappellacantorum.org and 877-503-1286.
The Greater Hartford Handel's Messiah Community will perform Handel's Messiah at Trinity United Methodist Church, Windsor, Jan. 3 at 4 p.m. tumcwindsor.org and 860-688-9245.
Center Stage Theatre in Shelton presents its holiday show, A Center Stage Christmas, a performance of traditional Christmas songs alongside classics from Broadway and Christmas films. Shows run Dec. 14 through 20, with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees on Dec. 6, 13 and 20 at 2 p.m., and a 7 p.m. show Dec. 17. 203-225-6079 and centerstageshelton.org.
Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury presents tenor Michéal Castaldo, who will perform holiday songs on Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $15. mattatuckmuseum.org.
A Holiday Festival with Chorus and Brass Concert is Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. at John Winthrop Middle School in Deep River, featuring Rutter's "Gloria," Poulenc's "Christmas Cantata" and "Hanerot Halalu," celebrating Hanukah, and carols with audience participation. $35 at the door. CappellaCantorum.org; 860-388-2871.
CitySingers of Hartford presents Noël! Noël! Dec. 12, 4 p.m., at South Congregational Church in East Hartford and Dec. 13 and 19, 4 p.m., at First Church of Christ in West Hartford. Tickets for the East Hartford performance are $10 general (free for children under 12). Donations will be accepted for the West Hartford performances. citysingers.org.
A Christmas Carol is at the Shubert Theater in New Haven Nov. 27 through 29. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Call for tickets. shubert.com.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical brings to life the animated holiday special that celebrates misfits on Dec. 11 through 14 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford. Performances are Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m., 1 and 4 p.m.; and Monday, 10 a.m. The Dec. 13 10 a.m. performance is a sensory-friendly performance. Call for tickets. 860-987-5900, bushnell.org.
Christmas On The Rocks at TheaterWorks in Hartford, which runs Nov. 27 through Dec. 23, has filled a stocking with several Christmas-themed one-act plays by playwrights widely known to Hartford theatergoers: John Cariani, Jeffrey Hatcher, Jacques Lamarre, Matthew Lombardo, Theresa Rebeck, Edwin Sanchez and Jonathan Tolins. The show was conceived and directed by TheaterWorks' artistic director Rob Ruggiero. 860-527-7838, theaterworkshartford.org.
A Christmas Carol returns to Hartford Stage for its 18th year Nov. 27 through Dec. 27. 860-527-5151 and hartfordstage.org.
I'll Be Home for Christmas, an original Christmas revue by David Edwards and Tony Javed, plays at the Ivoryton Playhouse Dec. 10 to 20. Call for tickets and performance times. 860-767-7318, ivorytonplayhouse.org.
It's A Wonderful Life is presented as old-time radio theater by Herstory Theater in partnership with The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford on Dec. 5 at 2 and 5 p.m. in the museum's Lincoln Financial Services Auditorium. $10. 860-247-0998 and marktwainhouse.org.
Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold returns to New Haven at Long Wharf Theatre, Stage II, from Dec. 8 through 20. Performances are Tuesdays at 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, 2 and 7 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 p.m. $35. longwharf.org.
Frosty the Snowman, a family-friendly show for all ages by Landmark Student Theatre, is performed Dec. 19 at 1 and 4 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Thomaston Opera House. $10. 860-283-6250 and landmarkcommunitytheatre.org.
Christmas Cookies! The Musical is presented by Pantochino Productions Inc. on Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m., at the Center for the Arts in downtown Milford. The show tells the story of an old-fashioned bakery facing hard times. Performances are Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 5:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. $18 online and $20 at the door. pantochino.com.
The Santaland Diaries, based on the solo show of David Sedaris, is presented by the Music Theatre of Connecticut in Norwalk from Dec. 11 to 20. Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. $35 to $55. musictheatreofct.com. The Castle Craig players also present the show Dec. 10 through 13 at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse, 59 W. Main St., Meriden. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. $15. CastleCraig.org and 800-838-3006.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze plays the Palace Theatre in Waterbury Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Broadway director Neil Goldberg stages the show with 300 costumes, 20 acts with 30 performers from 12 countries. Tickets are $47 to $62. palacetheaterct.org and 203-346-2000.
Twelfth Night will be presented with a holiday feel at Connecticut Repertory Theatre's Nafe Katter Theatre on the UConn campus at Storrs Dec. 3 to 13. email@example.com and 860-486-2113.
Home for the Holidays, a variety show for the whole family, is presented by Southington Community Theatre on Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Plantsville Congregational Church. $15. southingcommunitytheatre.org.
White Christmas is presented by the Connecticut Theatre Company, in residence at the Repertory Theatre in New Britain, Dec. 4 through 20. $25 adults; $23 seniors and students. connecticuttheatrecompany.org.
A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas' holiday classic, is presented by Connecticut Heritage Productions on Dec. 13 at 3 and 7 p.m. at the Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center in Middletown. Donation is by nonperishable food item for Amazing Grace Food Pantry. buttonwood.org or 860-347-4957.
A Christmas Carol is performed by the New Britain Youth Theater Dec. 4, 5 and 6 at Holmes Elementary School, 2150 Stanley St., New Britain. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. $13; $11 children, students and seniors. 860-515-8115 and nbyt.org.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a holiday musical comedy, is presented by Madhatters Theatre at Chester Meeting House, 4 Liberty St. Performances are Dec. 18 at 6 p.m.; Dec. 19 at 2 and 6 p.m.; and Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. $20; $12 children. To reserve tickets: firstname.lastname@example.org and 860-395-1861.
The HungUp Games: StockingDay! holiday show by Local United Network to Combat Hunger, or L.U.N.C.H., is Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Stonington Community Center. This show is a parody of the "Hunger Games," with Santa's helpers competing against one another to avoid being downsized. $10 in advance or $12 at the door for adults; $8 in advance or $10 at the door for children under 12. lunchensemble.com.
Joseph Albano Ballet's Nutcracker is at several Connecticut venues this holiday season: Nov. 28 at 3 p.m. at the Middletown Performing Arts Center; continuing Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. in Welte Theater at Central Connecticut State University; and finally Dec. 11 through 13 at Mohegan Sun's Cabaret Theater (Friday, 7 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. (a Player's Club Show) and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 1 and 6 p.m. Mohegan Sun tickets are $32 to $38. Call for tickets for Middletown and Welte performances. albanoballet.org and 860-232-8898, and mohegansun.com.
The Complex Performing Arts Centre's Dance Theatre Company presents Michael Bolger's boisterous Nutcracker Nov. 27 to 28 and Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. at STAGE 136, Putnam. Tickets are $20 adults, $15 students. 860-963-7170 and stage136.com.
The Hartt School Community Division's holiday production of The Nutcracker runs Dec. 11 through 20 at the University of Hartford in West Hartford. Performance times are Dec. 11 and 12, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 13, 2 p.m.; Dec. 18 and 19, 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 20, 2 p.m. 860-768-4228 and hartford.edu/hcd.
The Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance presents The Nutcracker at The Ridgefield Playhouse on Dec. 19 at 2 and 6 p.m., and on Dec. 20 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., under the direction of Ballet Master Alexander Glaz. $25 adults, and $20 seniors and children. ridgefieldplayhouse.org and 203-438-5795.
Danbury Music Centre's Nutcracker will take place at Danbury High School Dec. 11 through 13. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 11; 1:30 and 6 p.m. on Dec. 12; and 3 p.m. on Dec. 13. 203-748-1716 and email@example.com.
CONNetic Dance presents The Nutcracker Suite and Spicy, a fusion of athletic dance forms including tap, jazz, and hip-hop and a sense of humor, on Dec. 11 through 13, at Aetna Theatre at The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. $30. 860-251-9194, conneticdance.com.
Nutmeg Conservatory's Nutcracker is Dec. 12 and 13 at 12:30 and 4 p.m. at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Belding Theater, in Hartford; and Dec. 19, 2 and 7 p.m., and Dec. 20, 2 p.m., at the Warner Theatre in Torrington. Join Clara on a magical journey to the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets where nothing is impossible and little Clara's most whimsical dreams become reality. Meet a brave Nutcracker prince, fairies, kings and queens, and little toy soldiers who face an evil Mouse Queen. Call for tickets. nutmegconservatory.org or bushnell.org; 860-987-5900 (Bushnell) and 860-489-7180 (Warner).
Connecticut Ballet's The Nutcracker will be performed Dec. 19 at 2 and 6 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 1 and 5 p.m. at the Palace Theatre in Stamford. The show includes guest stars from American Ballet Theatre. $40 to $75. 203-325-4466.
Mystic Ballet's Nutcracker Spectacular, with flying Santas, waltzing snowflakes in a winter blizzard (yes, it really snows) and a magical mid-air 3D laser show, is Dec. 19 at 1 and 6 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. in Palmer Auditorium at Connecticut College in New London. Tickets $22-$48. mysticballet.org.
New Haven Ballet presents a full-length production of The Nutcracker Dec. 18 through 20 at the Shubert Theater in New Haven. Performances are Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 5 p.m. $21 to $62. shubert.com and 203-562-5666.
Ballet Theatre Company presents its production of The Nutcracker Dec. 17 through 20 at the University of St. Joseph's Hoffman Auditorium. Performances are Thursday at 6:30 p.m.; Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1 and 5 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 and 4:30 p.m. $20 to $30. dancebtc.org and 860-570-0440.
Connecticut Concert Ballet will bring its production of The Nutcracker to Manchester High School on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 19, 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. connecticutnutcracker.com and 860-418-7294.
Woodbury Ballet's The Nutcracker at The Palace is Dec. 20 at 4 p.m. at the Palace Theater in Waterbury. $28 to $48. woodburyballet.com.
Savion Glover brings his Dance Holiday Spectacular to the Quick Center at Fairfield University Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. $40-$55, or $5 for Fairfield University students. 203-254-4010 and quickcenter.com.
Burlesque-A-Pades by the Pontani Sisters comes to Bridge Street Live Dec. 19 for a Sleigh Ride show at 8 p.m. $30-$37. 860-693-9762 and bridgestreetlive.com.
The Friends of the Mark Twain House & Museum hosts its 35th Holiday House Tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 6 at the Hartford museum. There are tours of the house year-round, but this tour includes "several distinctive private homes in Hartford and Bloomfield," all spruced up for the holidays. $35, $30 in advance. 860-280-3130 and marktwainhouse.org.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford holds its annual Festival of Trees & Traditions, showing trees, wreaths and holiday decor, accompanied by live music and dance in the galleries, from Dec. 4 to 13. The kickoff party is on Dec. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. A $3 surcharge is added to museum admission during the event. (The museum is closed Dec. 7 and 8.) thewadsworth.org.
New Britain Museum of American Art shows off its miniature trees in guided tours on Dec. 5, 12, 19 and 26. A Holiday Party held in conjunction with Community Days on Dec. 13 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. will include performances of excerpts of The Nutcracker by members of Ballet Theatre Company. nbmaa.org.
Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme hosts its annual Miss Florence's Artist Trees celebration — with trees decorated with palettes painted by local artists — from Dec. 3 to Jan. 3. In the Griswold House, visitors can see Christmas decorations in the style of 1910. Christmastime tea parties will be held on weekdays from Dec. 4 to 23. Connecticut College's all-male a cappella group, the Co-Co Beaux, will perform a holiday concert on Dec. 13. florencegriswoldmuseum.org
Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London presents a holiday performance by the Pumpernickel Puppets on Dec. 5, Snowflake Family Teas on Dec. 6, 13 and 20, a holiday greenery workshop on Dec. 12 and a gingerbread house workshop on Dec. 19. lymanallyn.org.
Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington offers Hill-Stead for the Holidays Nov. 27 through Jan. 3, with the house decked for holiday celebrations with decorations from the early 20th century. Hill-Stead's Holiday Boutique, Dec. 5 and 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., offers gifts made by local artists and artisans. A Children's Holiday Tour is Dec. 5. Email Kate Ebner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-677-4787, Ext. 142, to reserve a place. The tour is open to children aged 6 through 12. hillstead.org.
The New Children's Museum's holiday planetarium show Let It Snow: A Christmas Musical Journey in the Planetarium plays Nov. 27 through Jan. 1. "Let It Snow" combines animated holiday images with classic Christmas music under the Travelers Science Dome Planetarium. $1.50 per ticket for museum members and $3 for nonmembers (plus admission). Visitors can receive a free ticket for a same day showing of "Let It Snow" when they donate an item to the Museum's Mitten Tree, Nov. 28 through Dec. 20 (all other Planetarium shows are free for museum members and $1.50 for nonmembers). Admission to the West Hartford museum is $13.75 and $14.75; under age 2 is free. TheChildrensMuseumCT.org.
Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethlehem will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. each Tuesday in December. Each open house will feature a different activity: visit Santa, caroling, cookie walk & a Festival of Trees Fundraiser. Donations appreciated. ctlandmarks.org.
The Polar Express is shown in the IMAX theater at Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk from Nov. 27 to Jan. 3. "'Polar Express' Pajama Parties" will be held on Dec. 19 and 20. Tickets for all afternoon and evening shows are $11.50 for adults; $10.50 for youths (aged 13-17) and seniors (65-plus); and $9.50 for children 3-12. Maritime Aquarium members save $1. Tickets for the "'Polar Express' Pajama Party" screenings are $17 adults and $15 for kids aged 3 through 12 ($15 and $13 for aquarium members). maritimeaquarium.org and 203-852-0700, Ext. 2206.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford offers a three-film lineup of classic holiday movies: White Christmas on Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. Admission is free with admission to First Thursday, which costs $5. Christmas in Connecticut, the 1945 comedy about a phoney-baloney food writer forced to show her skills, will be shown Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. Little Women, the 1933 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel starring Katharine Hepburn, will be shown Dec. 27 at 2 p.m. thewadsworth.org.
One Christmas will be shown Dec. 15 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook. The 1994 TV movie, based on an autobiographical short story by Truman Capote, stars Katharine Hepburn, Julie Harris, Henry Winkler and Swoosie Kurtz. thekate.org.
Cinestudio, on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, presents two traditional holiday entertainments and an untraditional alternative: Baraka, Ron Fricke's 1992 musing on the complexity of humanity and diversity of religion across the globe, will be shown Dec. 18 and 19. The Bolshoi Ballet's production of the classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker will be shown Dec. 20; and the 1946 Yuletide classic It's a Wonderful Life will be shown Dec. 20 to 24. cinestudio.org.
Fathom Events, which presents alternative programming in theaters nationwide: Nutcracker from NYC Ballet, with choreography by George Balanchine, will be presented by Fathom in collaboration with Lincoln Center at the Movies on Dec. 5 and 10. Fathom also will show a legendary Christmas film and a little-known, not-so-legendary Christmas film. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, a 1972 story about Santa getting stranded in Florida, will get the RiffTrax live-riffing treatment on Dec. 3 and 15. On Dec. 20 and 23, Miracle on 34th Street, the 1947 story about the real Santa showing up at Macy's, will be shown. Venues and tickets: fathomevents.com.
Criterion Cinemas in New Haven will fill its weekly "Movies & Mimosas" series of weekend morning movies, and its "Insomnia Theater" series of weekend midnight movies, with holiday films. The 1942 musical Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire will be shown Nov. 27, 28 and 29. White Christmas, from 1954, will be shown Dec. 4, 5 and 6. A Christmas Story, the 1983 comedy about a boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas, will be shown Dec. 11, 12 and 13. It's a Wonderful Life will be shown Dec. 18, 19 and 20. bowtiecinemas.com.
Avon Theater in Stamford is showing a film that is set during Christmastime but is not usually considered a Christmas movie. Gremlins, the 1984 family thriller about a man who gives his son a unique Christmas gift, will be shown Dec. 22. avontheatre.org.
Warner Theatre in Torrington will show The Year Without a Santa Claus, the 1974 animated family movie about Santa's deciding to skip Christmas, on Nov. 28. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be there to greet children. warnertheatre.org.
Wesleyan University in Middletown will show a double feature of kids' movies on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m.: The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child will be screened at the Center for Film Studies at 301 Washington Terrace. Admission is free.
HOLIDAY MARKETSAND CRAFT FAIRS
Wesleyan Potters' 60th Annual Exhibit & Sale in Middletown, one of the oldest juried craft shows in the country, opens Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 13. The show features pottery, jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, wood, paper crafts, photography, printmaking, toys and more. Hours are Saturday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 860-347-5925 or wesleyanpotters.com.
The Harugari German-American Society in West Haven hosts its annual Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) Dec. 6 at the society's hall at 66 Highland St., featuring vendors, crafters, a bake sale and more. Doors open at noon. Admission to the shop is free. A Rindsrouladen Dinner takes place at 2 p.m.; advance reservations required: $15 members, $20 nonmembers. 203-933-9930 or harugari.org.
John Macomber's 40th Holiday Open Pottery Studio at Greenleaf Pottery in South Windsor is Dec. 5 and 6 and 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A champagne reception will be held Dec. 4, 7 to 9 p.m., with music by Welling and Wallach. 860-528-6090, greenleafpottery.net.
The Hartford Saengerbund presents its biennial Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) Friday through Sunday, Nov. 27 through 29. Peruse imported and hand-crafted items for sale, traditional German music and pageantry and the daily lighting of the Christmas tree. Food and drink includes authentic German food and homemade desserts, imported German beer and Gluhwein (hot mulled wine). Market hours are Friday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. $2. hartfordsaengerbund.org or 860-953-8967.
Deck the Walls and Celebrating Lyme's Beauty, Lyme Art Association's annual holiday show and sale, features more than 200 works of art by member artists. The show opens Nov. 27, with an opening reception on Dec. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m.; the show closes on Jan 8. 860-434-7802 and LymeArtAssociation.org.
The Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate in Middletown hosts its annual Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors will be selling handcrafted gifts, baked goods, jewelry, wreaths and ornaments. $2 donation suggested. wadsworthmansion.com and 860-347-1064.
The BookCellar at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library is holding a Holiday Book Sale on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Old Lyme High School Select Singers will perform seasonal music at 2 p.m., complimentary refreshments will be served and there will be a children's craft activity area. A preview sale, which features a wine and cheese reception, will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4, $10. 860-434-1684 or visit oldlyme.lioninc.org.
The Shops at 485 New Park in West Hartford are hosting a Holiday Weekend Open House on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities include works by local artisans, crafts, gourmet food, gift items and art sale.
The Chester Holiday Festival begins at 5 p.m. Dec. 4 on Main Street. The art and photography galleries of Chester will host new exhibits and the shops will be festively decorated and full of holiday gift ideas. At 6 p.m., carolers stroll through Chester Center and gather around the town tree for the town's annual tree-lighting and community sing-along. Free parking at the Water Street and the Maple Street parking lots. FindItInChesterCT.wordpress.com.
VISITS WITH SANTA
The Santa Special at the Essex Steam Train offers a one-of-a-kind, daytime holiday train experience. Santa and Mrs. Claus visit each child aboard festive railway cars adorned with vintage decorations. Each child will receive a small holiday gift from Santa's elves. Tickets are available for Nov. 27, 1 and 2:30 p.m.; and Nov. 28 and 29, 11:30 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m. December dates and times are Dec. 6, 20 and 23 at 11:30 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m.; and Dec. 13, 26 and 27 at 1 and 2:30 p.m. First-class car tickets are $40 (32 individual plush swivel seats with cash beverage service) and coach tickets are $20 (padded bench seating). The Holiday Ride is one hour, with departures at 11:30 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m. As of press time, the North Pole Express is sold out for all dates and times. 860-767-0103 and essexsteamtrain.com.
The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks holds its Santa Visit & Behind the Scenes Tour on Nov. 27. Santa will pose for photos with children from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and have a gift for each child. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12.50 for ages 12 and up, $11.50 for seniors 65 and up and $7 for ages 4 to 11. Children under 3 are admitted free. neam.org or 860-623-3305.
Santa Arrives by Tugboat in Mystic on Nov. 28. Precisely at 2, Santa will arrive at the dock of the Mystic River Park, in Historic Downtown Mystic, where he will greet the crowds and listen to all the children's holiday wishes. 860-572-9578, mysticchamber.org.
The festively decorated Governor's Residence in Hartford is open for tours Dec. 4 through 6, when Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will greet children. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy, which will be collected by members of the U.S. Marine Corps for the Toys for Tots program. Live entertainment. 860-524-7355.
Santa's Train Workshop on the Northern Lights Limited runs Nov. 27 through Dec. 20. Trains depart from Thomaston Station, 242 E. Main St., at 2 p.m. for the Santa Express; and at 5 and 7 p.m. for the Northern Lights Limited. Fares for the Northern Lights Limited are $25; children under 3 ride for free. The Santa Express is a more economical service that is ideal for children with earlier bedtimes. Fares are $18 for adults and $16 for both children 3-12 and seniors. rmne.org or 860-283-7245.
Brunch With Santa at the Pond House Cafe in West Hartford is Nov. 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Nov. 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adults $23.98 and childen's buffet is $19.98 (aged 12 and under); includes gingerbread house and a picture with Santa. Santa visits open to the public; reservations required for brunch: 860-231-8823.
Santa Sunday and Winter Wonderland will kick off at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol on Nov. 29. Twinkling lights, miniature carousel pieces, a working carousel to ride and holiday decorations help create this festive Winter Wonderland setting for Santa's visit from 3 to 5 p.m. Free for kids; adults $6. Light refreshments. 860-585-5411 or thecarouselmuseum.org.
Breakfast with Santa at Stew Leonard's in Newington is Dec. 5 with seatings at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Children aged 11 and under pay $7.95 and ages 12 and older pay $9.95. A buffet style breakfast of scrambled eggs, French toast sticks, bacon, sausage, mini muffins, assorted bagels and fruit salad will be served. Sign up and prepay at customer service. 860-760-8100.
Breakfast with Santa at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford is Dec. 5. Take a photo with Santa and visit with Santa's elves and Mrs. Claus. Breakfast, carolers, crafts and more. $23, $25. Call for tickets. bushnell.org or 860-987-5900.
Breakfast with Santa at Mystic Aquarium is Dec. 12 and Dec. 20 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. $18.95 adult (aged 11 and older) and $14.95 aged 10 and under. mysticaquarium.org.
Santa will accept wish lists from children from a Neptune-themed throne at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk Dec. 6, 12 and 13, between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Santa visits are free with Maritime Aquarium admission: $19.95 adults; $17.95 ages 13-17) and seniors (65+); and $12.95 ages 3 through 12. Members and kids 2 & under, free. Each day, Santa will take breaks from the meet-and-greets to become "Shark-Diving Santa," joining the Aquarium scuba team in the "Ocean Beyond the Sound" exhibit at 12:15 and 2:15 p.m. maritimeaquarium.org.
The South Windsor Historical Society invites parents and their children to the Pleasant Valley Schoolhouse Museum for its annual Holiday Visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus Dec. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. Photos may be taken with the couple from the North Pole, and there will be gifts for the children and refreshments. 860-291-9958; southwindsorhistory.org.
Santa & Mrs. Claus invite children and their families to visit them in the festively decorated Lyman Homestead in Middlefield Dec. 6, 13 and 20 at 2:30 p.m. A buffet-style brunch will be prepared in the Homestead kitchen. $29.99; ages 7 through 12 are $15.99; ages 3 through 6 are $6.99. 860-349-6043 to reserve your seat. Prepaid reservations are required. Families not dining are welcome to stop by the Homestead to visit with Santa without reservations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. lymanorchards.com.
Pancake Breakfast with Santa at The Adams Mill Restaurant in Manchester is Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. to noon, and includes pancakes, sausage, bacon, home fries, coffee, milk and juice, plus coloring and crafts. $12; children (3-10) are $6.50 Please bring nonperishable food item for the local food bank. Reservations: 860-646-4039 and theadamsmill.com.
Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus on Dec. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Community Voice Channel in Bolton. Children are encouraged to bring their letters to Santa. Mrs. Claus is providing fresh baked cookies and will read a few classics; elves will hand out candy canes and other goodies. Free, and free digital photos with Santa will be provided by DLG Photography in Bolton. RSVP by Dec. 3: 860-645-1454 or email email@example.com.
HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOWS
The Holiday Lights Fantasia returns to Goodwin Park Nov. 26 through New Year's Day. Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. $15 per car; more for larger vehicles. Benefits the Channel 3 Kids Camp. holidaylightfantasia.org.
The Festival of Silver Lights features more than 200,000 white lights and 300 lighted characters winding through the trees, ponds and natural habitat of Meriden's Hubbard Park daily until just after New Year's Day, weather permitting. Open to the public 24 hours. Free. Christmas In the Park is Dec. 8 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is an evening of roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate, hot dogs, carol singing and a visit from Santa Claus. 203-603-4259.
Fantasy of Lights at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven features more than 60 attractions that include animated and LED light displays. It runs Nov. 20 through Jan. 6. Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. $10 vehicles; $25 mini-bus; $50 bus. 203-777-2000.
The First Night of Chanukah at Blue Back Square in West Hartford is hosted by Chabad of Greater Hartford. On Dec. 6 at 4 p.m., the celebration begins with the carving of a giant Menorah from a block of ice, to be lit later in the evening. Live Jewish music, construction of a huge LEGO dreidel, activities for the family, a heated tent and more round out the free family-friendly event. Food from Yosi's Kosher Catering will be available for purchase. 860-232-1116 and ChabadHartford.com.
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 E. Kings Highway, Chester, invites the public to celebrate Chanukah on Dec. 6. Beginning at 11 a.m., children can participate in craft-making activities such as designing a menorah out of clay as well as enjoy traditional foods such as jelly doughnuts and latkes and play various versions of spin the dreidel. Free. 860-526-8920; cbsrz.org.
The Chabad Jewish Center is marking the first night of Chanukah on the Tolland Town Green on Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. The event, which is free and open to all, includes the kindling of Tolland's Giant (9-foot-tall) Menorah, music, hot cider and warm potato latkes (pancakes). Several free raffles will be drawn, and participants will get to meet "Mr. Dreidle." 860-659-2422 or ChabadER.com.
The Mandell JCC is celebrating Chanukah with readings, candle lightings, tastings, and hands-on activities at various locations throughout Greater Hartford and at the Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus in West Hartford. Chanukah celebrations at the Mandell JCC begin Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. with DIY Chanukah with Rita Brownstein, a hands-on holiday workshop creating decorative paper dreidels. New this year is the Chanukah Fair: Eight Days of Fun Rolled into One on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. For a complete list of events: 860-236-4571; mandelljcc.org.
The 11th annual Shoreline Hanukkah Celebration of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven Shoreline Office and PJ Library of Greater New Haven is Dec. 7 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Guilford Free Library. Celebrate Hanukkah with a reading of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Rabbi Hesch Sommer and song stylist Julie Harris. Holiday treats and a PJ Library craft activity, and get a surprise gift to take home. Register at guilfordfreelibrary.org/hanukkah-fun/22263/.
The Stamford JCC, 1035 Newfield Ave., is hosting a Family Chanukah Party Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. Light the candles, crafts, music and Chanukah favorites. Cost is $10 for JCC members, $36 family maximum; $12 community, $42 family maximum. stamfordjcc.org; 203-487-0973.
The JCC of Greater New Haven is bringing Hands on Hanukkah, a free family-friendly winter wonderland of Hanukkah activities, to the Westfield Connecticut Post Mall in Milford Dec. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. The event is on the lower level outside Macy's. Activities and games include a dreidel spin-off, live music and performances by members of the community, Hanukkah food and crafts, photos with Dizzy the Dreidel, and many giveaways. Free. 203-387-2522, Ext. 317.
The Chabad Jewish Center will host a free holiday event on the third eve of Chanukah Dec. 8 at 6 p.m., at Sears Court in the Enfield Square Mall. A giant Menorah candelabra will be lit, hot cider and potato "latkes" (pancakes) will be served, participants can meet "Mr. Dreidle and face painting will be offered. Plus festive music, raffles. 860-659-2422; ChabadER.com.
Hartford's Ugly Sweater Run is Dec. 5 at 11 a.m., starting in Bushnell Park. Each Ugly Sweater runner receives a custom knit hat and unlimited hot chocolate, a Samuel Adams beverage (if 21 or older). Post-run contests include Best Ugly Sweater, Best Kids Sweater, Best Pet Attire and Best Real/Fake Beard/Mustache. Registration: theuglysweaterrun.com.
The Winterfest Hartford ice rink, on the east side of Bushnell Park in Hartford near the Pump House, offers free skating and skate rentals daily through Jan. 24 The rink is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, when rink hours are noon to 4 p.m. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. hartford.com.
Get HYPEd at Winterfest Hartford is Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m. at Bushnell Park. It's a casual event that offers an opportunity to network with other young professionals. Music, appetizers and beer and free ice skating are all part of the evening. Hooker Brewery will be cash only.
The Winterfest Ugly Sweater Stroll is Dec. 12 from noon to 4 p.m., starting at CitySteam in Hartford. Stroll, drink and be merry with some equally festively dressed friends. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. $25 plus fees. hartford.com.
Mystic Seaport's annual Lantern Light Tours are Nov. 27 and 28 and Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20. The 70-minute progressive play is set on Christmas Eve in 1876 and is staged in the buildings and vessels of the museum. The limit is 16 people per performance. Tours begin at 5 p.m. and leave every 15 minutes. mysticseaport.org/lanternlighttours.
The Connecticut River Museum's Holiday Train Show runs Nov. 19 through Feb. 15 in Essex. The family-friendly exhibit, created by train artist Steve Cryan, features more trains, new scenery, and lots of surprises to be found in the fully operational 26-foot model train layout. Visitors are challenged to find a scavenger list of various objects hidden within the settings while younger visitors can get hands-on at an American Flyer layout designed for toddler-size viewing. Included with museum admission. 860-767-8269 or ctrivermuseum.org.
A Winter Wonderland Family Fun Day at the Waterbury Palace Theater on Dec. 12 is an afternoon of holiday activities, including skating to holiday music, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. $12. palacetheaterct.org or 203-346-2000.
Max Downtown in Hartford hosts its annual Teddy Bear Tea on Dec. 5 at 11 a.m., featuring a cupcake and popcorn bar, candy buffet, bite-sized treats, a teddy bear and keepsake photo. Children are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Max's Tavern in Springfield hosts its Teddy Bear Tea Dec. 6, with seatings at 10 a.m. and noon. Children are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to Ronald McDonald House. Tickets to both events are $35 for adults, $30 for children 12 and younger (plus tax and gratuity). maxrestaurantgroup.com.
Deck the Walls runs Dec. 3 through 5 at the Captain Nathaniel Palmer House in Stonington. This event will feature handmade wreaths, tabletop decorations and other holiday decor donated by local merchants and residents. A preview party kicks off the festivities on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. $20 each (available at stoningtonhistory.org or 860-535-8445, Ext. 11). Deck the Walls Open House days are Dec. 4 and 5, with free admission to the Captain Palmer House and refreshments.
Christmas at the Ellsworth's, a Victorian Christmas at the historic Oliver Ellsworth Homestead in Windsor, is Dec. 5 and 6. Hot apple cider, punch and baked goods will be served in the old colonial kitchen, compliments of the ladies of the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution. Hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. $10 adults, $5 students; children under 5 are free.
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk runs its 14th annual Holiday Festival of Lighthouses Contest through Jan. 18. The display works like a juried art show, except that thousands of aquarium visitors vote for their favorites. The lighthouse that gets the most total votes wins $1,500. $19.95 adults, $17.95 aged 13-17 and seniors (65-plus) and $12.95 aged 3 through 12. maritimeaquarium.org.
Hamden's Silverbells Celebration on Dec. 5 includes an afternoon of caroling, a tree lighting, Santa's arrival by firetruck, carousel rides, hayrides, a puppet show, various holiday crafts and more. All events except for the puppet show are free. Rain date for outdoor activities is Dec. 6. Events begin at 1 p.m. in the Miller Cultural Center, with face painting in the library, followed by a puppet show at 2:30 in Thornton Wilder Auditorium ($2 children, $3 adults). Please bring an unwrapped toy for the Hamden Kids Holiday Toy Drive. hamdenartscommission.org and 203-287-2546.
Blue Back Square in West Hartford offers several holiday events: The Holiday Stroll is Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and features horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers, local bands and more. Hartford Area's Habitat for Humanity hosts the 5th Annual Gingerbread Build at Blue Back Square Dec. 3 through 6 across from The Cheesecake Factory. Guests can build gingerbread houses, enjoy a silent auction or participate in kids' crafts and decorating demonstrations. The Blue Back Mitten Run is Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. Donations of new mittens, scarves and hats will be accepted. The kids run starts at 10 a.m. and the 5K starts at 10:30 a.m. Refreshments available. bluebacksquare.com.
The Old Saybrook Holiday Stroll on Main Street is Dec. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. and features music and chorus singers, a visit with Santa, activities for kids and more. Stores all along Main Street will offer deals and promotions, free samples of holiday treats and drinks as well as entertainment. Gather at 5:30 p.m. for the lighting of the Heroes Tree at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. oldsaybrookchamber.com.
The WWE Holiday Tour makes its way to the XL Center in Hartford Dec. 27, 7:30 p.m., featuring John Cena vs. Alberrto Del Rio (United States Championship Match) and Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens (Intercontinental Championship Match). Other WWE superstars you might see include Big Show, The Dudley Boyz, Goldush, Mark Henry, Ryback and Rusev. Call for tickets. xlcenter.com.
The WAKA Santa Charity Bar Crawl is Dec. 12 at 6 p.m., starting in downtown Hartford. Dress up in a holiday-themed costume (Santa, an elf, a reindeer, a snowman, even an ugly sweater). When you arrive at the crawl, obtain a WAKA beaded necklace to act as your drink special pass (a donation of $5 to get one). The proceeds will go to the Kick-It charity (kick-it.org), a cause to help fight pediatric cancer and also a national partner with WAKA Kickball & Social Sports.
Old-fashioned holiday festivities on the Windsor Town Green are Dec. 12, starting with a traditional carol sing at 6 p.m. led by the Connecticut Yuletide Carolers. Sing along with provided songbooks. At about 6:30, the Torchlight Parade will step off from Remington Road and progress through the town center. Grab a spot near the street to watch the brightly decorated fire trucks parade by. Refreshments follow. 860-688-5715; firsttowndowntown.org.
The New Britain Museum of American Art Museum's New Year's Eve Ball is Dec. 31 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Event includes entrance to the galleries and special exhibits, music from Nekita Waller, dancing with DJ Cajar, open bar and a champagne toast at midnight. Cafe on the Park will be open from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with a special New Year's Eve menu. $55, VIP $100. 860-229-0257, nbmaa.org.