Compiled by Toni Anderson
Christmas Tree Garden – Through Dec. 30 – Take the family out for a stroll through American Tobacco Campus‘ Diamond View Park to enjoy about 20 lighted Christmas trees, which will be illuminated from 5:30-11pm nightly and have been decorated by American Tobacco tenants and community partners.
‘Great Russian Nutcracker’ – Thursday, 3pm and 7pm – Moscow Ballet brings Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas story to life at The Carolina Theatre. The company is on a tour across 39 states and, it says, “combines the highest-caliber ballet with historic Russian theatrical traditions; 10-foot-tall playful puppets; 9 colorful and hand-painted backdrops created with a 3D effect; and hundreds of exquisite costumes.”
Holiday Pop-Up Bar – Thursday and Sunday, 5-10pm, Friday and Saturday, 5pm-midnight – Visit Jack Tar and the Colonel’s Daughter through December 31 for a special drink menu with options like Warm Whiskey Cider as well as snacks like latkes and Christmas cookies. The restaurant is decorated with a ’50s winter wonderland flair.
Santa Train – Thursday through Sunday, 5:20-8:20pm – Hop aboard the Santa Train at the Museum of Life and Science for a nighttime ride on the Ellerbe Creek Railway to the North Pole, where you’ll be greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their elves. The event includes hot chocolate, snacks at Sprout Cafe and crafts with the kiddos. This is a ticketed event.
Sounds of the Studio – Thursday and Saturday, 6-8pm – Unscripted Durham features jazz performers, offering drinks and half-off small plates during the performances.
‘A Christmas Carol’ – Thursday, 7pm; Friday, 7pm; Saturday, 2pm and 7pm; Sunday, 2pm – Ira David Wood III’s musical comedy adaptation of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece returns to the Durham Performing Arts Center. A cast of almost 100 actors perform classic Christmas tunes with biting humor and tremendous heart in this 45th year of the production.
Al Strong Presents: Tamisha Waden on the Roof – Thursday, 7-9:30pm – Swing by The Durham Hotel for a drink and a performance from Al Strong and Tamisha Waden as they perform a variety of musical selections including original songs, holiday favorites and popular music.
Eighth Annual Drag Show – Thursday, 7-8:30pm – Come out to the Durham Arts Council for an entertaining night with local performers, hosted by the Durham Library Foundation and Vivica C. Coxx.
‘50 Over’ – Thursday, 7pm – The Carolina Theatre screens this documentary about four friends who travel to every state in 50 days and play golf at every stop. Seeking to make golfing more widely accessible, the friends take in the country by visiting inexpensive, public courses in each state.
Honeygirl Holiday Party – Friday, 4-8pm – Join Honeygirl Meadery for festive cocktails, ornament making and cookie decorating.
Happy Hour Speaker Series – Friday, 5:30-6:30pm – Stop by Vert & Vogue for cocktails and to hear “rockstar chef” Cheetie Kumar discuss her journey to being a business owner and chef.
Third Friday at the Durham Arts Council – Friday, 6-8pm – Bring the family to the arts nonprofit for caroling by the Durham Children’s Choir, cookie decorating, live music from The Forryst Bruthers and art exhibits.
Holiday Open House and Cookie Swap – Friday, 6-9pm – Bring three or four dozen cookies for a cookie exchange at Freeman’s Creative craft supply store and participate in an “Iron Crafter” competition with The Scrap Exchange.
Third Friday – Friday, 6-9pm – Museum of Durham History hosts its monthly after-hours event with live entertainment as part of Third Friday Durham.
O Holy Night – Friday, 8pm – The Vocal Arts Ensemble of Durham fills the Duke Chapel with carols and seasonal choral music during its annual Christmas concert.
Durham’s ‘Black Nativity’ – Friday, 8pm, Saturday, 3pm and 8pm, Sunday, 3pm – Hillside High School hosts the Triangle Performance Ensemble for a night of gospel music and exploring Mary and Joseph’s journey to delivering their baby.
Eric Roberson 10th Anniversary Tour – Friday, 9pm – Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Roberson’s album “Music Fan First” by enjoying a performance from him and his band at Motorco Music Hall.
Fresh Fruit: Ugly Christmas Sweater Edition – Friday, 10pm-2am – Put on your best ugly sweater and head to The Fruit for a dance party with DJ HALO and Speakeasy Syndicate.
Weekend Holiday Brunch – Saturday and Sunday, 10:30am-2pm – Get brunch with family and friends in the Fairview Dining Room at the Washington Duke Inn and take advantage of a limited-time seasonal menu.
Winter Solstice Gathering – Saturday, 5-8pm – Slow things down and reflect on the past year with Piedmont Wildlife Center. Bring some labeled bagged or loose-leaf tea to share and a mug to drink from around a fire. Common tea add-ins like honey, cream, cinnamon sticks, as well as pots and a few strainers for loose-leaf tea will be provided. Everyone is welcome, and attendance is free, but a small donation of $5 is suggested.
The Wusses featuring Beauty Operators – Saturday, 8pm – Playing multi-dimensional rock music, Motorco Music Hall welcomes The Wusses with Durham-based band, The Beauty Operators.
Bull City Word Clash Poetry Slam – Saturday, 8-11pm – At the Hayti Heritage Center, see the area’s longest-running poetry event featuring teams of North Carolina poets. Greensboro-based poet D. Noble is this month’s featured poet.
End of the Year Migrant Root Media Dance Party – Saturday, 10pm – Dance to music by DJ Rox at The Pinhook for an evening benefiting Migrant Roots Media, a nonprofit addressing issues and social concerns surrounding immigration.
Shipshowz Presents: HOLIGAYS – Saturday, 10pm – The Mothership hosts a holiday-themed drag show featuring local performers.
Triangle Vegfest – Sunday, 11am-3pm – If you’re vegetarian, vegan or anything in between (or have friends and family who are!) mark your calendar for the annual Triangle Vegfest Holiday Market at the Durham Armory.
Wrapping for a Cause – Sunday, 2-5pm – Bring your unwrapped gifts to Boxcar Bar + Arcade, and they’ll wrap them for you in exchange for a donation to the Regal Stars of Hope Foundation. The movie theater’s nonprofit supports many philanthropic groups including The American Red Cross and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Sundays. Featuring Wonderpuff – Sunday, 5-9pm – Kingfisher hosts local cotton candy business Wonderpuff as part of its weekly Sunday evening parties.
Chanukah Party – Sunday, 7pm – Carolina Jews for Justice Durham-Orange Chapter (CJJ) celebrates the Festival of Lights at The Pinhook with music, socializing and sharing how to get involved with CJJ.