Celebrate the season with holiday-inspired light shows, performances, food, drink and music throughout the weekend!
Compiled by Sarah Rollins
A Christmas Carol – Through Dec. 31 – Theatre in the Park’s annual performance of “A Christmas Carol” will be streamed virtually this year due to COVID-19. Ira David Wood III’s musical comedy adaptation of the Dickens classic has been performed since 1974; though the format may be different this year, “the meaning is still the same,” as the Lamplighter in the product says.
Holidays in the Park – Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 5:15-9:30pm – Walk through festively lit pathways along some of the Museum of Life and Science’s outdoor and indoor spaces on evenings in December. Visit the garden, Farmyard, Dinosaur Trail and Magic Wings Butterfly House, or stop by Sprout Café for a nighttime snack. Pass colorful lights displays during a train ride on the Ellerbe Creek Railway for the complete celebratory, seasonal and safe experience.
Black Nativity – Through Dec. 31 – Triangle Performance Ensemble goes virtual with its 14th annual gospel performance celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Ticket buyers can rent a video of the production, which features 100 singers, dancers and musicians, for 48 hours.
Bar Virgile Holiday Market – Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 5-9pm – Stop by Bar Virgile’s weekend-long Bavarian Market-inspired setting to indulge in mulled wine, bratwurst music, movies and warmth, and purchase some goods for sale.
‘The Nutcracker’ – Friday, 6:30pm and 8pm; Saturday and Sunday, 5:30pm and 7:30pm – Barriskill Dance Theatre School presents a filmed adaptation of the classic holiday tale with a reduced cast and newly choreographed scenes for camera. This year’s version follows a slight twist to the original: The famed Nutcracker doll is a begrudgingly accepted “white elephant” gift for Clara at a holiday sleepover party. Storytelling and imagination intertwine Clara’s reality and dreams such that her friends morph from sleepover buddies to magical fairytale creatures with a turn of her head. The Nutcracker becomes a life-sized critical presence and friend who guides Clara through a fractal and enchanting Land of Sweets. Friday’s premiere at at Mystic Distillery and Farm will feature a local food truck on site for bites and those 21 years or older will be able to order themed cocktails at the Distillery. Viewing will take place from (distanced) picnic tables and chairs on the farm. Saturday and Sunday events take place at Jordan High School: Drive In. Pre-order your Mad Popper popcorn and enjoy hot chocolate on site! Keep warm in your car at the drive-in movie venue, or bring chairs to set up in front of your car.
11th Annual Newtonanny – Saturday, noon-2pm – The Newton family puts on their annual holiday program of Christmas sweater contests, festive costumes, children singing on stage and good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll at The Blue Note Grill.
Gingerbread Cookies and Cocktails – Saturday, noon-3pm – Celebrate the holiday season with a complimentary ginger specialty cocktail when you sign up to decorate a gingerbread man cookie at Unscripted Durham. Reserve tickets online in advance.
Social Distanced Pig Pickin’ – Saturday, 1-4pm – Picnic co-owner Wyatt Dickson hosts a socially distanced pig pickin’ for customers to meet Chris McLaurin, the new executive chef of Picnic and Wyatt’s Barbecue, opening in Raleigh in 2021. Guests are invited to order some of Chris’ new dishes, Wyatt’s barbecue and local beer specials.
Laser Light Show – Saturday, 5:30pm, 7:30pm and 9:30pm – Durham Parks & Recreation hosts a festive, holiday-themed show during this free drive-in event at Durham County Memorial Stadium. Tune your car radio to hear music that is matched to the light show during one of three spectacles.
A (Virtual) Christmas with the Griswolds – Saturday, 8pm – DPAC invites guests to join Christmas’ favorite couple, Ellen and Clark Griswold, for a virtual salute to “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Original cast members Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo will lead audiences through this live event as they share fan-favorite clips from the movie, reveal their favorite memories and answer questions in a live audience Q&A. Purchase tickets online.
Pajama Jam Brunch! – Sunday, all day – Unscripted Durham hosts a holiday pajama brunch party at its rooftop Winter Wonderland, featuring mimosas, Bellinis and bloody mary specials, plus music by DJ Trellz. Reserve tickets online in advance.
Music in the Beer Garden: Bluesy Brunch Christmas Show with Jim Watson – Sunday, noon-2pm – The Blue Note Grill hosts Jim Watson, founding member of the Red Clay Ramblers, in its beer garden to perform old and new favorites as well as a selection of Christmas carols.
‘A Crisis of Moments’ – Sunday, 3pm – North Carolina Central University in partnership with Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute host its second ethnodrama production year streamed via Vimeo. The first-of-its-kind ethnodrama theater play is designed to raise awareness and understanding to the serious health risks minorities and Black communities face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Entering their second year of programming, NCCU and Duke CTSI’s goal is to provide as much influential information as possible to help people in these high risk communities make informed, responsible health decisions surrounding health disparities that are consuming their population at alarming rates. Note that this play is for mature audiences only, ages older than 16 are advised with parental guidance.