Winter Wonders at American Tobacco – Thursday-Sunday – Bring the whole family to the American Tobacco Campus this season for a host of holiday-themed activities. Pick out your tree, wreaths and garland (and those cute wooden reindeer!) at the TROSA tree lot, and get a selfie with Santa. Come see the Tree of Bikes before those bikes are gifted to deserving Durham children for the holidays, and vote for your favorite tree decorated by a local nonprofit or business during the Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge. (Vote through Dec. 16.)
Free Cider and Cookies – Through Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday, 1-5pm – Sip warm cider while nibbling on homemade cookies for the month of December, while exploring the history of the Bull City at the Museum of Durham History.
Santa Train – Thursday-Sunday, 5-9pm – Climb aboard the Ellerbe Creek Railway for a journey to the North Pole at the Museum of Life and Science. Take a ride through thousands of to meet Santa and his elves before returning to the station to take part in face-painting; holiday crafts; “Science of Santa” activities including hands-on snow polymer, simple circuits and more; “skate in your socks” synthetic ice rink; complimentary hot chocolate; and more.
2016 Bull City Holiday Food & Wine Soirée – Thursday, 5-8pm – The second annual holiday food and wine market at The Rickhouse features unique tastes and treats from more than 30 local food and beverage producers for gifts, parties, Secret Santa or any of your holiday needs.
Holly Rogers – Thursday, 7pm – The author reads from and signs copies of her new book, “The Mindful Twenty-Something: Life Skills to Handle Stress & Everything Else …” at The Regulator Bookshop. This guide, based on the popular Koru mindfulness program, offers a unique approach for navigating your twenties with clarity and confidence.
A Trailer Park Christmas – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 7:30pm; and Sunday, 2pm – Back for its 9th year, Durham’s very own production at the Common Ground Theatre follows the Dodson/Hussey family at their Christmas Eve holiday party. Audience members are treated as guests and encounter ghosts, fruitcakes and a holiday tornado. Come see why all your friends and family have made this their holiday tradition!
W H A T W A S F I L M – Thursday, 8pm, and Friday, 8pm – In the digital era images have become, paradoxically, somewhat less tangible. This exhibition at The Carrack by Tom Whiteside, a filmmaker and film historian who has been showing films as Durham Cinematheque since 1991, puts 16mm motion picture film on display for close viewing. Come out Thursday for a screening of “FILMISTORY.3” and then on Friday for an artist talk and screening. The exhibition is on view till Dec. 17.
2nd Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour – Friday, 6-9pm – Take a tour by candlelight around the farm at Bennett Place to meet soldiers and civilians and watch how they celebrate the holiday. Tickets will be required. Complimentary hot apple cider and cookies will be available.
Merge Under the Mistletoe – Friday, 6pm – A holiday dance party to benefit Habitat for Humanity and Food Bank CENC at Parts & Labor. Bring canned goods or monetary donations to win door prizes. Featuring DJ Bug Spray (Mac McCaughan), DJ twinjet (Laura Ballance) and other Merge Records staff. Photo booth provided by ZimZoom.
Christmas by Candlelight – Friday, 6:45-9:15pm – Take a journey to Christmases past – those of the 1870s, to be exact – with this celebration chock-full of cookies, cider, storytelling, singing and dancing at the Duke Homestead State Historic Site.
Jean Bolduc – Friday, 7pm – The Chapel Hill writer will be at The Regulator Bookshop for a reading and book signing of “African Americans of Durham & Orange Counties: An Oral History.”
Carolina Ballet’s The Nutcracker – Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 2pm and 7pm; and Sunday, 2pm – The Triangle area’s only professional ballet company performs Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Led by Artistic Director Robert Weiss, the performance features the entire Carolina Ballet company plus more than 100 local children cast in the show. The performances feature elaborate scenery, a live orchestra and magical illusions.
The Stray Birds – Friday, 9pm – Formed in friendship and honed on the road, The Stray Birds’ sound is spun with wood, strings, and three voices raised in harmony, showcasing the richness of American folk music traditions. Come out for their show with Miss Tess and the Talkbacks at Motorco Music Hall.
Holiday Half Marathon/10 and 5K – Saturday, 7am – Northgate Mall hosts the holiday-themed Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Race 13.1 half-marathon, 10K and 5K. Presented by Race 13.1, the premier half-marathon series, it will begin and finish at the Sears lot on Guess Road and feature plenty of holiday cheer including jingle bells, drumlines and festive music. A free Holiday Kids Fun Run takes place at 6:30am before the race with a suggested donation of $5 to Race 13.1’s charity partner, Heart 2 Heart Collaborative, or an unused toy to be donated to Duke Children’s Hospital.
Holiday Parade – Saturday, 10am – The holiday tradition returns this year! Watch dynamic floats and cheer on hometown bands, drill teams, schools, community groups and more as they make their way through downtown.
Nifty Gifty: Handmade Holiday Gifts Workshop – Saturday, 10am-2pm – Participants of all ages and skill levels can make a variety of handmade gifts for family and friends with the assistance of The Scrap Exchange‘s crafty staff. Participants can complete prepared projects or their own original projects. The projects with instruction are: mini yarn wreaths, felt koozies, braided fabric necklaces and button napkin holders. All tools and materials are provided!
Christmas in the Piedmont during the Civil War – Saturday, 10am-4pm – Visit Bennett Place during the Christmas season and witness how this occasion was celebrated in the Piedmont Carolinas during the Civil War. Living historians will decorate the farm in a typical modest fashion of the time. There will be cooking demonstrations in the kitchen house, Christmas decorations and packages in the main house, soldiers will be on hand to demonstrate Christmas in the field and, of course, a visit from Santa. Complimentary hot apple cider and cookies will be available.
Christmas on the Farm – Saturday, 11am-3pm – Enjoy amazing food, Regulator Brewing Co. beer, Common Kin Bakery pastries and warm drinks around the fire as you listen to Christmas music, pet the farm animals, take photos in the photo booth, make Christmas ornaments with the kids, and enjoy our community around Christmas time at Blue Whistler Farm. Wear your ugliest Christmas sweaters!
The Nutcracker – Saturday, 11am and 3:30pm – The Triangle Youth Ballet of Chapel Hill presents the 123-year-old Russian ballet with live music performed by the Tchaikovsky Virtuosi at The Carolina Theatre.
Holiday Celebration at the Gardens – Saturday, noon-4pm – Learn about winter celebrations from different cultures and traditions from around the world at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and then create winter crafts such as snowflake making, pine cone bird feeders (no peanuts) and colorful paper chains. This is a free drop-in event for all ages.
Marilyn Markel and Chris Holady – Saturday, 1pm – Southern culinary instructor Markel and Southern history author Holaday have combined their talents in their new book, “Southern Breads: Recipes, Stories and Traditions.” Join them at an in-store book signing at The Regulator Bookshop.
Meet the Maker of Lo & Behold – Saturday, 1-3pm – Meet Elisabeth Chadbourne, maker of the Lo & Behold line of skincare products made right here in Durham, at Be Pure Beauty.
Pet Photos with Santa – Saturday, 1-4pm – Dress your pet in creative holiday attire to have their photo taken with Santa at the Renaissance Parkway Petco to support Independent Animal Rescue‘s programs.
Sad13 – Saturday, 6:30pm – Aka Sadie Dupuis of grunge-pop band Speedy Ortiz released her empowering and insanely fun debut solo album “Slugger” on November 11. To celebrate, she is hitting the road for the first-ever Sad13 tour with a full band and makes a stop tonight at The Pinhook.
2016 Day With(out) Art: COMPULSIVE PRACTICE – Saturday, 7pm – At The Carrack, Visual AIDS presents a video compilation of compulsive, daily and habitual practices by nine artists and activists who live with their cameras as one way to manage, reflect upon and change how they are deeply affected by HIV/AIDS.
Jeremy Denk – Saturday, 8pm – This Durham-born artist visits his hometown for a Duke Performances concert at Baldwin Auditorium featuring three showpieces for solo piano: Beethoven’s Seventeenth Sonata; Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy; and Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata.
The Choral Society of Durham presents Britten’s Saint Nicolas and Carols – Saturday, 8pm, and Sunday, 4pm – The Choral Society of Durham, conducted by Rodney Wynkoop, presents Britten’s Saint Nicolas and Carols with the Durham Children’s Choir, conducted by Dena Byers.
Durham Craft Market Annual Holiday Show – Sunday, 11am-4pm – This local handmade pop-up shopping experience features 45 local artisans at the Durham Convention Center. This is a great way to find a gift for everyone on your list in one convenient location.
Hanukkah Festival – Sunday, 11am-2pm – Celebrate Hanukkah with stories, food and fun at The Levin JCC! Features a PJ Library Storywalk, live music from The Lost Nomads, handmade gifts, latkes and other holiday foods, a bounce house, demonstrations and more! Storytime for young children begins at 11.
Holiday Pop-Up Workshop – Sunday, 11am-3pm – The Durham Hotel partners with Spoonflower and TangleWild Designs for a hands-on crafting event in addition to the Patchwork Holiday Market at the Durham Armory. Market shoppers are invited to stop in the mezzanine for a 20 minute embroidery workshop with Fiona Podes of TangleWild Designs, where they will learn the basics and have the chance to get started on an ornament design. Spoonflower, which prints the patterns on the embroidery kits, will be hosting a custom gift tag station where crafters can create their own tags using pieces of Spoonflower wallpaper designed by artists from all over the world.
Woodlake Handmade Holiday Craft Show – Sunday, 11am-4pm – Do some holiday shopping with 12 local South Durham artists whose handmade work ranges from woodworking, jewelry, ornaments, glasswork, fiber arts, claywork, baked goods and everything in between! The craft show will be held in Woodlake Clubhouse, about two miles from Southpoint Mall. Come have some hot apple cider and finish up your holiday shopping by supporting small local artisan businesses.
Durham Patchwork Holiday Market – Sunday, noon-5pm – Featuring more than 60 local makers and vintage vendors at the Durham Armory, this handmade market is the perfect opportunity to find amazing holiday gifts for everyone on your list – all in one convenient location.
APS Cat Adoption Event – Sunday, 2pm – Durham’s Animal Protection Society will hold its monthly cat adoption event at The Regulator Bookshop.
Durham Medical Orchestra – Sunday, 5pm – Formerly the Duke Medicine Orchestra, the group performs their winter concert in Baldwin Auditorium on Duke’s East Campus. Featured soloists on soprano sax will be Branford Marsalis and Susan Fancher playing a new orchestration of Bach’s Double Concerto in D Minor. Also on the program will be Bryant’s In This Broad Earth, Brahms’ Tragic Overture and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
CUT&PASTE: DRAFT 1 – Sunday, 7pm – An evening of dance at The Carrack featuring small group and solo work by five local artists: Elise Dorsett, Marco Levati, Renee Ohe, Robin Spohr and Anna M. Maynard. There will be a Q&A directly following the show and later open discussion with the artists at Ponysaurus.
Film Screening: Ghost of Yesterday – Sunday, 7pm – An hour-long screening of nine short films at UNEXPOSED Microcinema.