Got an itch to do something festive before the Christmas season is over? I have good news for you. Sacramento has a crazy number of things going on, from brightly lit shows to craft fairs and concerts to a multitude of events that can only be celebrated this time of year. We sifted through them all and gathered some of the city’s best holiday events.
Here is Sacramento’s top 25 things to before the season passes us by:
Enjoy a Holiday Concert
There’s something about the combination of music and the holidays that is as natural as the sun is to summer. Celebrate the season’s tunes at one of many holiday concerts playing throughout the month. Pick your musical niche with concerts that include the chance to experience angelic voices at Voices of Peace: A Vox Concert (Dec. 20, Beatnik Studios), local talent at Fulkerson and Clarke’s Holiday Show (Dec. 17, Shine), fun holiday-style ukulele plucking at The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain: Holiday Show (Dec. 13, Mondavi Center), or a swinging Christmas at The Rat Pack Christmas (Dec. 18, Harlow’s).
Willing to rethink “concert”? Be among those making the music at Unsilent Night Sacramento (Dec. 18, Fremont Park), an outdoor participatory, mobile device-playing musical experience. Sacramento is one of 30 cities worldwide making Unsilent Night happen this year.
For the Nutcracker that is. The Sacramento Ballet returns for their extravagant and beautiful production of Ron Cunningham’s The Nutcracker (through Dec. 23, Community Center Theater). There are nearly a dozen dates this month to chose from, including special behind-the-scenes pre-performances.
Looking for other Nutcracker productions? Folsom’s Harris Center is performing their own impressive production of The Nutcracker (Dec. 15-18), Tower Theatre is playing a film version by Bolshoi dancers (Dec. 13), and the Sacramento Ballet is bringing back by popular demand their humorous Nutcracker-with-a-twist The Nutty Nutcracker (Dec. 16, Community Center Theater).
Holiday markets start as early as November (as in pre-Thanksgiving November), but just because it’s mid-December doesn’t mean it’s too late to buy unique, locally produced goods. A couple of the best holiday markets left this season include the Winter Scout Market (Dec. 15, The Find/Studio 817) and the 8th Annual Handmade Holiday (Dec. 18, Beatnik Studios). The latter additionally includes live music, games, food, and drink.
Miss a market? Visit one of the hundreds of local small businesses selling unique gifts for all ages.
If the holidays bring out Pinterest-worthy creativity inside you, you’ll enjoy any of the fun crafting or cooking workshops and events going on in the city. A few of the ones to put at the top of your list include the Crocker Art Museum’s Holiday Craft & Cocktails (Dec. 15), Ana Apple’s Handmade Happy Hour: Soy Candle Making (Dec. 14), and the Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op’s cooking classes, which include the likes of ravioli making, holiday desserts, and tamales (Dec. 15-20).
Watch a Classic Holiday Film
There’s no better way to enjoy a classic holiday film than to relive what it was like to watch it for the first time on the big screen. Crest Theatre is playing two of the Christmas season’s favorite films, White Christmas on Dec. 19 and It’s a Wonderful Life on Dec. 21. Not to be discluded from the holiday favorite list, the Crest is also playing A Christmas Carol…Muppets-style. A Muppet’s Christmas Carol plays Dec. 20. Films begin at 7pm. More info at crestsacramento.com.
Be Dazzled by Lights
Sing it with me now: “City street lights, even stop lights, blinking red and green.” If one thing’s for sure, it’s that lights are everywhere this time of year. Get an overdose of bright bulbs and dazzling shows at two of the season’s biggest annual events, Macy’s Theatre of Lights (through Dec. 24) and Global Winter Wonderland (through Jan. 8). For those with little ones, Fairytale Town has transformed the park into their own Winter Wonderland (through Dec. 18), complete with lights at night and flurries of snow.
See a Live Show
What is it about familiar holiday stories that makes us want to watch them again and again…or put a new spin on them? Watch a live rendition of A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Roseville Theater Arts Academy (through Dec. 17) or enjoy some clever twists of a familiar tale at B Street Theatre’s A Christmas Carol (through Dec. 24) and Sutter Street Theatre’s A Seussified Christmas Carol (through Dec. 24).
Take in a Cultural Experience
Get a taste of the holidays from another cultural perspective. The Chabad Jewish Community Center is hosting the biggest Hanukkah event in town, a Chanukah Wonderland (Dec. 18, Folsom Community Center). The festival includes shows, games, crafts, hot latkes and donuts, and an authentic Israeli food court. Or enjoy a musical reenactment of Mexico’s traditional Christmas pageant at the bilingual La Pastorela de Sactown (Dec. 17-18, Crest Theatre), touted as “hilarious, satirical, poignant and romantic.”
Burn off those extra holiday calories by participating in a holiday 5k run/walk. Dust off the Santa suit you have hanging in your closet for the Sacramento Santa Run (Dec. 17, the Capitol – West Steps) or bring a toy to help the Salvation Army and Fleet Feet gives toys to kids at the free Holiday Classic Fun Run (Dec. 18, Sutter’s Landing Regional Park).
Photo courtesy of The Sacramento Ballet