'Tis the season: A guide to some holiday highlights


Though winter doesn't officially arrive until the solstice on Dec. 21, the holiday season has begun. With it comes plenty of arts-and-entertainment events to help you warm up in cool weather, deck the halls or make merry (and who knew there were so many local productions of "The Nutcracker"?). Avert your eyes, Grinches and Scrooges: Some local suggestions are listed below (for the most up-to-date listings, or to submit your own, check out the Community Calendar).


'Twas the Night Before Christmas'

Dancers Repertory Theatre presents its 12th annual performance of the classic Christmas poem, including 150 dance students and dancers from the professional company.

Where: Woodside Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside

When: Dec. 4, 10 and 11 at 1 and 4 p.m.

Cost: $15-$25

Info: twasthenight.org/


Christmas Creche Exhibit

The 29th Annual Christmas Creche Exhibit returns, featuring more than 350 nativity scenes from around the world, a community-service project, children's crafts and live music.

Where: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3865 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

When: Dec. 3-7, noon-9 p.m.

Cost: Free; canned-food donation suggested

Info: christmascreche.org


'Celtic Rose: Rare Holiday Gems'

Celtic Rose (the musical duo of Caroline Garbarino and Doris Williams) will perform lesser-known holiday songs from a variety of cultural traditions on lute, drum, recorder and guitar.

Where: Mountain View Library, 585 Franklin St.

When: Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

Info: tinyurl.com/jakosg6


Mountain View Breakfast with Santa

Families are invited to a catered breakfast with Santa, plus live entertainment, holiday stories, photos and crafts.

Where: Mountain View Senior Center, 266 Escuela Ave., Mountain View

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Cost: $15-$20

Info: mountainview.gov/events/


'Gamble Garden Grinch-mas'

Gamble Garden hosts a Dr. Suess-themed day of holiday fun, including face painting, treats and, of course, reading from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Where: Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to noon

Cost: $25-$40

Info: gamblegarden.org/event/grinch-mas-gamble-garden/


'Holiday Musicale'

Stanford's Early Music Singers, members of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and harpist Selina Her will perform a program of seasonal works and carols, sponsored by the Friends of Music at Stanford and the university's music department.

Where: Memorial Church, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m.

Cost: $10-$15

Info: events.stanford.edu/events/618/61859/


Palo Alto Ballet School's 'Nutcracker'

Palo Alto Ballet School will perform its abbreviated version of "The Nutcracker Suite" with guest artist Francisco Preciado.

Where: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 and 6 p.m.

Cost: $10-$25

Info: paloaltoballet.com


'The Christmas Ballet'

Smuin, the Bay Area-based contemporary ballet company, presents its annual "Christmas Ballet," this year featuring three world premieres. The show's highlight may be its beloved "Santa Baby" number, which this year stars Redwood City native Erica Felsch (along with Erin Yarbrough-Powell and Nicole Haskins) dancing with the "world's longest feather boa" to the sultry Eartha Kitt song.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

When: Dec. 7-11 at 8 p.m. (plus weekend matinees at 2 p.m.)

Cost: $56-$72

Info: smuinballet.org


Ragazzi Continuo

Ragazzi Continuo, the men's spinoff of Ragazzi Boys Chorus, will perform its own holiday concert, "Christmastime is Here," at performances in Redwood City and Palo Alto.

Where: St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 178 Clinton St., Redwood City and Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto

When: Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. (Redwood City) and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 5 p.m. (Palo Alto)

Cost: $15-$25

Info: ragazzicontinuo.org/tickets.php



Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, which is inspired by traditional vocal techniques and songs from Eastern Europe, will perform its annual concert of holiday music ranging from Slavic folk carols to Eastern Orthodox sacred music, Muslim hymns, pagan Baltic incantations and Yiddish Hanukkah songs.

Where: St. Bede's Episcopal Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park

When: Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m.

Cost: $15-40

Info: kitka.org/events/


Y-Studs a cappella group

The Y-Studs, or "Yeshiva Students," an a cappella group from Yeshiva University, will perform a Hanukkah concert alongside beatbox duo Ilan and Josh (seen on "America's Got Talent").

Where: Oshman JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto

When: Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4:30 p.m.

Cost: $18-$25

Info: paloaltojcc.org/Events/y-studs-a-cappella-group


'It's a Wonderful Nutcracker'

Menlowe Ballet combines two Christmas classics into one: "It's a Wonderful Nutcracker" blends the beloved Frank Capra film with the magical Tchaikovsky ballet.

Where: Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

When: Dec. 9-11 and 16-18 at 7 p.m. (plus weekend matinees at 2 p.m.)

Cost: $35-$65

Info: menloweballet.org


'From Us to You: A Musical Celebration of the Holidays'

Local youth performers join adult actors for Los Altos Stage Company's holiday musical, which features a visit from Father Christmas himself (including a sing-along, photos with Santa and holiday treats).

Where: Bus Barn Theatre, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos

When: Dec. 16-18, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Cost: $15-$20

Info: losaltosstage.org


'A Certain Slant of Light'

The Peninsula Women's Chorus will perform works by Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds, Ernst Bacon, Joseph Haydn and Ron Jeffers, among others, and conclude with a holiday sing-along.

Where: Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto

When: Saturday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 p.m.

Cost: $10-$35

Info: pwchorus.org


'Winter's Gifts'

The Choral Project and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra join forces to present "Winter's Gifts," a concert of live holiday music that honors winter traditions from around the world.

Where: First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St.

When: Saturday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m.

Cost: $10-$35

Info: choralproject.org


Holiday Ukulele Jam

Uke-lovers (or the uke-curious) are invited to bring a ukulele or borrow one from the library and strum some holiday songs while sipping cider. All levels and abilities welcome.

Where: Mountain View Library, 585 Franklin St.

When: Saturday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Info: mountainview.gov/depts/library/default.asp


'Christmas Angels' and 'Messiah Sing'

Hallelujah! Schola Cantorum is celebrating its 50th year of offering a sing-along performance of Handel's triumphant "Messiah." (A preparatory workshop, going over some of the piece's lesser-known sections, will be held Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. at Shoup Park Garden House, 400 University Ave, in Los Altos). And on Dec. 18, the choir is also performing a family-friendly show, "Christmas Angels," featuring lullabies and carols with special guest harpist Dan Levitan.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

When: Sunday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. ("Christmas Angels") and Monday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. ("Messiah").

Cost: $16-30 ("Angels"), $23-$41("Messiah")

Info: scholacantorum.org


Hanukkah lunch and concert

Pianist and award-winning Broadway expert Richard Glazier will provide entertainment at a luncheon featuring traditional Hanukkah foods and blessings.

Where: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto

When: Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $20

Info: paloaltojcc.org/Events/jewish-holiday-lunch-celebrations-hanukkah-3


'An Irish Christmas'

Irish music, song and dance are brought to life in "An Irish Christmas" (the show's also been broadcast on PBS).

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

When: Wed., Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $35-$60

Info: mountainview.gov/events/


'Oy, Humbug!'

Curtains Cabaret is back at Dragon Theatre, this time with a holiday treat. "Oy, Humbug!" is billed as a "variety show for the rest of us" that will "celebrate the winter holidays that Christmas forgot" and will give locals a non-traditional option for Christmas Eve. Expect a blend of striptease, songs, dance, comedy and more.

Where: Dragon Theatre, 2120 Broadway St., Redwood City

When: Saturday, Dec. 24, at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10-$20

Info: oyhumbug.bpt.me/


'It's a Wonderful Life'

"Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings." Admit it; you know it, you love it, you're crying just thinking about it. The tear-jerking Frank Capra film "It's a Wonderful Life" screens as usual on Christmas Eve at the Stanford Theatre.

Where: 221 University Ave., Palo Alto

When: Dec. 24 at 9 p.m.

Cost: $5-$7

Info: stanfordtheatre.org/

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