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The holiday season is upon us and whether you believe in Santa, hang a stocking or put out your shoes, spin the dreidel, light a Kinara or a Menorah, parade in Posadas, or ring in the New Year, there are festivities for everyone in the Queen City this December.

Musical Happenings:
Holiday Jazz Concert at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art on December 7th with the Ziad Jazz Quartet and guest pianist/vocalist Noel Freidline. The concert is from 6-8 p.m., and tickets are free for members and $12 for non-members. A cash bar will be available.

The Oratorio Singers and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will perform Handel’s “Messiah” December 12th at 7:30 p.m. at the Belk Theater. Tickets range from $25.50-$58.50. The concert will feature the Oratorio Singers, and Scott Allen Jarrett will conduct.

Carolina Pro Musica will perform at St. Mary’s on December 15 at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., featuring an 18th-century musical concert. Tickets are $7.50 for students and seniors and $15 for regular admission. The concert will feature readings and music from the 18th century, with performers in period attire playing recorders, harpsichords and violas.

John Tosco’s 3rd Annual New Year’s Eve Variety Show will be held on December 31st at 8 p.m.. Tickets are priced at $20.12, and the show will be performed at the Blumenthal Center. The variety show is family friendly.

Philanthropic Happenings:
The Giving Train at the Mint Museum Uptown Sunday December 9th from 3-5 p.m. $10 admission plus toy donation. This is the 2nd annual philanthropic “give-back” event, and it will showcase local youth and young adult talent in music, dance, and visual arts with a reception following. Valaida Fullwood, author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists,” will also share the impact of her book since it debuted one year ago. Registration required to communityrelationsrsvp@mintmuseum.org.

Music 4 Food Revue at CPCC’s Halton Theater benefitting the Second Harvest Food Bank will take place on December 16th at 2 p.m. The benefit will feature several popular Charlotte bands, including Tim Murray, Rock U, Chuck Johnson and many more; tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students, and $10 for faculty.

Kid-friendly Happenings:
Discovery Place Winter Break Camps are back this year with all-day sessions for elementary school students. Sessions will explore space exploration, marine biology, and even paleontolgy. Camps start at $45 and there is a special offer if you register before December 7th.

“Windblown Winter Trees” is a Saturday Art session at the Mint Museum Randolph on January 5th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kids will learn how to use unusual watercolor techniques to paint a frosty landscape inspired by Northern European genre paintings. Session is free with museum admission.

North Carolina Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker. Photo by Jeff Cravotta

Dance Happenings:
Caroline Calouche & Co. presents “Clara’s Trip: A Nutcracker Story” at the Booth Playhouse at Blumenthal Center December 7-8 with showings at 7 p.m. on Friday, and 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday.  Tickets are $20-$30 at the door.

North Carolina Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker December 8-9, 14-16, and 21-23 at the Belk Theater. Tickets are priced from $25-84. There are matinee performances on Saturday at 2 p.m., as well as an evening one at 7 p.m. Friday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday performances begin at 2 p.m., except for the last Sunday, which also has a 7 p.m. showing.

Theater Happenings:
“A Christmas Carol” performed by Theatre Charlotte from December 7-16. Tickets are $25. For showtimes and days, visit http://www.theatrecharlotte.org. This is Theatre Charlotte’s 6th consecutive performance of “A Christmas Carol.” The play begins with Dickens reading the book and the story unfolds on stage around him.

“Winter Wonderettes” at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte December 14 through January 5.  Written by Roger Bean, the Wonderettes are back for some Holiday cheer. Tickets start at $17.

Art Happenings:
First Friday Holiday Arts Market at Atherton Mill December 7th from 4-8 p.m.

All Arts Market 2 Day Event at Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa. December 7th from 6-11 p.m. and December 8 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. With more than 70 artists present, there will be a variety of craft, arts, gifts and unique finds. Live art will be created on site for silent auction. The market is free admission.

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