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If you subscribe to the LNF Weekly Arts & Entertainment newsletter, you know that I do my best to keep up with things to do in the downtown San Antonio area. That weekly task is really fun this time of year, as I learn about all the holiday events that are coming up. And this year is no disappointment — the city will be teeming with the holiday spirit between now and the end of the year.

There are far too many events to list them all, but let me give you some highlights of the options you’ll have this year to enjoy the season.

Nutcracker performances

A season ‘must’ for many is to enjoy a ballet performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Ballet companies around the world stage performances of it every year, and you’ve got several opportunities to see it here in San Antonio by a variety of dance companies — most are local but there’s one that included San Antonio on its annual tour.

Ballerinas dancing the Nutcracker in a winter setting

Ballet Performance of 'The Nutcracker'

TubaMeister Christmas Concert: This fun, annual concert is a must for many San Antonians every holiday season. Tuba, euphonium, and baritone horn players (from beginners to very experienced) come together every year to entertain visitors to the Riverwalk. Before the concert, they meet up at St. Johns Lutheran Church and practice for an hour before heading over to the Arneson River Theatre for their performance. Enjoy this unique concert on December 17.

Holi-Dine on the River: This ‘Culinary Adventure Tour’ lets you experience the cuisine of a few River Walk spots in this progressive meal. Enjoy cocktails and appetizers at the Crockett Tavern, a main course at Boudro’s Texas Bistro, and dessert at Kilwins Chocolate Shop. Curated by Rio Magazine’s ‘Sip and Savor’ writer Kimberly Suta, Holi-Dine on the River takes place on December 15.

Bah Humbug! Scrooge on the River Walk is back. “Award winning actor J. Damian Gillen plays it all from Scrooge to Tiny Tim in this magical performance! Complete with numerous costume changes, special effects, and traditional Celtic Christmas tunes…” Enjoy this performance at the Arneson River Theatre on December 16.

At Villa Finale

Located in the heart of the historic King William district, Villa Finale is an idyllic setting to celebrate the season. It’s got a few holiday events coming up:

Dear Santa: A Musical Journey to Christmas Past on December 9

The popular Music For Your Eyes - Holiday! Concert on December 14

Holidays at Villa Finale - Open House on December 15

And a few more…

And here are a few more San Antonio favorites you might want to pencil in on your calendar:

Las Nuevas Tamaleras: "The charming Christmas play has entertained audiences in San Antonio for more than 26 years and is considered as much a tradition as ‘The Nutcracker’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, and ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ with many families making it part of their annual holiday ritual…” There are performances of this holiday favorite on December 8, 9, 10 & 11 at the Carver Community Cultural Center.

A Christmas Carol by Greg Bodine: “A one-actor retelling of the beloved Dickens classic in a unique and festive holiday setting… This one-man play is based on the condensed version Dickens himself used on his historic reading tours of the United States…” Enjoy A Christmas Carol produced by the Classic Theatre of San Antonio on December 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 & 18 at the Maverick Carter House.

The Velveteen Rabbit: Take the kids to this “delightful Magikal retelling of the classic children’s story of a child who receives a stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen as a present on Christmas Day. When another toy is lost, the Rabbit quickly becomes the Boy’s new favorite. As the Rabbit’s dapper appearance gets worn and shabby from play, a wonderful change begins to happen…” Enjoy performances at the Majik Theatre on December 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 & 24.

Christmas Pops: “Music from St. Mark’s presents its annual Christmas Pops celebration, with a brass and percussion ensemble conducted by Brett Richardson, and featuring Jon Johnson, organist. All are invited to journey to the lighter side of the Advent season with highlights for the whole family and an extra large dose of holiday joy.” Enjoy this free concert at St Mark’s Episcopal Church on December 11.

As mentioned earlier, there are far too many holiday events in the downtown area to mention them all here. Be sure to check the LNF Weekly Arts & Entertainment newsletter each week for a full listing of what’s coming up. You can see the latest edition of the newsletter on the LNF Weekly website. Click the “See the latest newsletter” button here on the events page.

Chanukah Menorah

Chanukah Menorah

Here are some upcoming performances:

The Children’s Ballet of San Antonio’s performances on December 9 & 10 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre

Ballet San Antonio’s performances on December 9, 10, & 11th at the Tobin Center

San Antonio Youth Ballet’s performances on December 10, 11, 16, 17 & 18 at the The Scottish Rite

San Antonio City Ballet and Cibolo City Ballet’s performances on December 22 and 23 at the Carver Community Cultural Center

Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet! featuring stars of Ukraine Ballet on December 29 at the Majestic Theatre

The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle, through December 31 at 221 Burleson

At the Tobin Center

In addition to the Nutcracker performances, the Tobin Center is offering many other holiday shows:

Christmas with C.S. Lewis: “In the early years of his young adult life, C S Lewis believed the story of Christ’s birth was nothing more than a feel-good myth. That all changed after a particular encounter with his great friend and fellow author, J R R Tolkien… From that point on Christmas, for Lewis, took on an entirely different meaning…” See this popular stage performance offering shows on December 8, 9, 10 & 11 at the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theatre.

Rick Cavender Glow of Christmas Cheer: “Rick Cavender may be a name and voice you know in our community as an auto dealer and caring business leader, but when his showroom lights come down, his stage lights come up! For over 3 decades, The Rick Cavender Band has entertained audiences for memorable events locally and worldwide…” See Rick perform with friends and other award winning artists on December 13 at the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theatre.

Doc Watkins and His Orchestra: The Music of a Charlie Brown Christmas: Enjoy an “unforgettable night at the Tobin Center. Doc will perform new arrangements of Holiday Big Band favorites, along with classic selections from A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Enjoy this performance on December 14 at the H-E-B Performance Hall.

Other holiday shows at the Tobin include An Army Band Holiday Special, The Illusionists - Magic of the Holidays, Jim Brickman - A Very Merry Christmas, and Home Free Family Christmas.

At the Majestic | Empire Theatres

Dean Z’s Rockin Christmas Show: “Award-winning and internationally acclaimed entertainer Dean Z, sings your favorite rockin’ holiday hits! Featuring his high-energy 12 piece band and the beautiful Deltatones…” Enjoy this performance on December 10 at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre.

Chris Isaak: Everybody Knows it’s Christmas Tour: “Over the course of his three-decade plus career, Platinum-selling and GRAMMY-nominated singer & actor Chris Isaak has performed to sold-out crowds across the globe with his longtime band Silvertone…” Enjoy this performance on December 22 at the Majestic Theatre.

A Magical Cirque Christmas: “The world’s greatest entertainers unite for a spellbinding and incredible holiday production… Experience the enchantment of Christmas as Magical Hostess Lucy Darling takes you through an evening of dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists, accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live…” There will be two performances of this show on December 27 at the Majestic Theatre.

On the River Walk & in La Villita

Spend an evening out this holiday season strolling along the River Walk, and perhaps stopping at an outdoor spot for dinner and/or drinks. You’ll be able to take in the spectacular holiday lights, listen to Christmas Carolers singing from barges drifting on the river, and on weekend nights, enjoy the thousands of glowing luminarias adorning the banks of the river. On select evenings, you can enjoy choir performances at the Arneson River Theatre.

And here are a few more River Walk/La Villita Holiday events you might not want to miss:

Chanukah on the River: “Experience and celebrate the 8 days of Chanukah in one evening… This free event explores the Jewish traditions with entertainment, food, and lighting of a menorah…” Enjoy this Chanukah on the River event in the Historic La Villita Arts Village on December 18.

Jane Gennarelli is co-editor of LNF Weekly. She also edits the Lavaca & Friends weekly arts and entertainment newsletter.

'Tis the season to enjoy

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