Northgate Elf on the Shelf – Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9am – Join in on this fun social media game for a reward! Elves Ginger and Spice will be hanging around Northgate Mall waiting for you to guess their location on Instagram to earn prizes and gift cards.
TROSA Tree Lots – Thursday, 10am-8pm; Friday, 10am-9:30pm; Saturday, 8am-9:30pm; Sunday 8am-9pm – Make your Christmas tree, wreath and/or garland purchase count this year! Pick up an N.C. Fraser fir – and maybe an adorable wooden reindeer – from one of TROSA’s six Durham lots and support the treatment, education and training of recovering substance abuse sufferers. TROSA residents will fit your tree to a stand, and also trim, bag, and load your tree onto your car.
40th Annual Santa Train – Thursday through Sunday, 5-9pm – Take the family to experience a moonlit ride to the North Pole by way of the Ellerbe Creek Railway! Skate in your socks on a synthetic ice rink, create Christmas crafts, sip on hot chocolate and transform yourself with Paint Savvy face painting at the Museum of Life + Science. Don’t miss out on making your own snow polymer with the “Science of Santa” events!
Noir at the Bar – Durham: War on Christmas Edition –Thursday, 7-9pm – Local crime fiction authors will gather at 106 Main to read their crime stories written with a hint of Christmas cheer. After the reading, stick around for drinks, mingling and book signings.
JACK Quartet American Music No. 1 – Thursday, 8pm – The JACK Quartet premieres its two-year residency at Duke Performances with American music for string quartet. Performing works by a combination of 20th century composers as well as contemporary ones, the JACK Quartet offers an expanded classical offering for your enjoyment.
Special Dress for Success Triangle BOGO Holiday Excess Inventory Sale – Friday, 11am-7pm; Saturday, 10am-5pm – Get your shopping done while supporting a good cause – Dress for Success of the Triangle is moving to a new location and needs to clear the sales floor. In addition the to buy-one-get-one free deal, there will also be an early-bird special and guest vendor Lula Roe to round out your shopping experience.
Santa Paws – Friday, 6-8:30pm – Leash your furry friends and bring them out to the Durham Armory for a picture with Santa. While you’re there, grab something to eat and browse the vendors for the perfect gift for a fellow pet lover.
Connie McCoy & Mo’ Jazz – Friday, 7-10pm – Settle in for an evening of jazz at Beyu Caffe performed by some of the area’s top musicians. Offering a blend of pop, jazz, R&B and gospel, this group is sure to keep toes tapping all night.
Stephen Hough, Piano – Friday, 8pm – Come out to hear the beautiful notes of Debussy and Beethoven played by Stephen Hough in Baldwin Auditorium. Established as one of the world’s great pianists, Stephen Hough is sure to impress with this emotion-laden performance.
Snakes and Scales: Durham Medical Orchestra – Saturday, 10-10:30am – Join the Durham Medical Orchestra as they host author Johanna Wright at the Museum of Life + Science, where she will read her children’s book, “The Orchestra Pit,” about a snake who falls into an orchestra pit. Following the reading, museum educators will give a presentation about snakes.
The Nutcracker – Triangle Youth Ballet – Saturday, 11am and 3:30pm – Catch one of the two performances of The Nutcracker by the Triangle Youth Ballet held at The Carolina Theatre. The holiday classic will be performed with live music by the Tchaikovsky Virtuosi Orchestra.
The Durham Bazaar Holiday Market at The Pinhook – Saturday, noon-5pm – Find the perfect unique gift for someone on your list at this holiday market featuring vintage, salvaged or homemade goods sold by people from the community. While you shop, enjoy cocktails, pizza and music offered as well.
Christmas on the Farm – Saturday, 1-4pm – Bring the kids to Blue Whistler Farm for s’mores, hot chocolate, a bonfire and Christmas carols, and stick around for farm animal cuddles. Bunnies, chickens and pigs will be eager for treats, and parents can check out the last farm market of the year.
The Nutcracker – Presented by Carolina Ballet – Saturday, 2pm and 7pm; Sunday 2pm – You’ll be dazzled by a unique version of this classic holiday show performed by the Carolina Ballet. Illusions created by magician Rick Thomas are sure to wow in this performance at the Durham Performing Arts Center.
Holiday Cookie Swap – Saturday, 3-6pm – Buy a ticket to this event offering cookies from several Durham favorites, including Nana’s, Lucky’s Deli, East Durham Pie Company and more. Accompanied by a party, this event benefits the Durham Crisis Response Center and domestic violence survivors.
The Old Ceremony – Saturday, 6:30 -9:30pm – The Chapel Hill group performs their last residency show of the year at Arcana featuring a style of pop-noir.
Christmas by Candlelight (Sold Out) – Saturday, 6:45-9:15pm – Visit Christmases past at Duke Homestead where you can travel back in time to Christmas in the 1870s, and enjoy a candlelit tour of the historic area where Washington Duke first grew tobacco. Expect plenty of period decorations, costumed interpreters, traditional storytelling, hot cider, cookies and dancing!
Escher String Quartet featuring Jason Vieaux – Saturday, 8pm – Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux joins the Escher String Quartet in this Duke Performances concert at Baldwin Auditorium, offering an energetic performance of works by various artists including Duke Ellington and Bach.
Choral Society of Durham Holiday Concert – Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 4pm – Catch one of the two concerts of the Choral Society of Durham at the beautiful Duke University Chapel, where they will perform Chilcott’s Advent Antiphons and Wachner’s The Snow Lay on the Ground. The choir and brass will also perform advent and Christmas carols.
Amythyst Kiah and Her Chest of Glass – Saturday, 8:30-11pm – Enjoy live music and drinks at The Bullpen where $1 from each pint will benefit the Music Maker Relief Foundation. Rising singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah and Her Chest of Glass will be performing a refreshing mix of alt-country and blues.
Hour of Code Week – Sunday, 10:30am-4:30pm – The Museum of Life + Science celebrates an Hour of Code week with two events designed to get people coding. The first event of the day offers a chance to experiment with holiday lights and to create your own circuit, and the second event is designed to test your coding skills in several fun ways.
Durham Craft Market Annual Holiday Show – Sunday, 11am-4pm – Browse the work of more than 120 artists at the Durham Convention Center to find the perfect gift for the people left on your list. With free entry, this event promises fine crafts and a healthy dose of holiday cheer.
Holiday Patchwork Market – Sunday, noon-5pm – This event, held at the Durham Armory in coordination with the Durham Craft Market Annual Holiday Show listed above, offers one-of-a-kind gifts, made locally, and plenty of items at various price points to ensure that there is something for everyone.
Bull City Holiday Food & Wine Soiree – Sunday, 1-5pm – Head over to The Rickhouse to browse the food and wine market featuring North Carolina-based producers. This free event for those 21 and older will feature samples of the products available to buy.
Hanukkah Festival – Sunday, 2-5pm – Celebrate Hanukkah at this day-long festival with the Jewish Federation at the Levin Jewish Community Center. Load up on latkes and spin the dreidel with your kids! Expect family-friendly games, activities, and crafts; food like knishes and sufganiyot; music; dancing; opportunities to cycle on a stationary bike to raise funds for Farmer Foodshare; and a quiet area for folks with sensory-related disabilities.
APS Cat Adoption Event – Sunday, 2pm – The Animal Protection Society of Durham holds its monthly cat adoption event at The Regulator Bookshop. Come hang out with all these furry felines and hopefully find a forever friend to adopt.
North Carolina Jazz Ensemble Holiday Concert – Sunday, 4pm – Relax and enjoy the big band sounds of the saxophone, trombone, trumpet and rhythm sections at the Hayti Heritage Center. Under the direction of Mozell Long and featuring vocalist Denise Barnes, “Joyful Jazz” with the North Carolina Jazz Ensemble will be presented in the performance hall.