Colorado in December: Celebrate the season with our daily guide
posted by: Mile High Mamas
From train rides to light shows to tons of tubas, there’s something going on every December day.
December 1 Sign-language Santa: Cherry Creek Shopping Center continues its annual tradition of providing hearing-impaired children with a special visit with Santa, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. 3000 E. First Ave., 303-388-3900
2 Christmas Sing-in: The Lutheran Chorale and Lakewood Symphony are joined by guest choirs in a program of holiday music including Handel’s “Messiah,” 7:30 p.m. Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway, Lakewood. $15, $12 students and seniors, $8 children. 303-987-7845
3 Parade of Lights: The 9News annual parade follows a 2-mile route in downtown Denver. 8 p.m. Friday (also on TV) and 6 p.m. Saturday. Free or purchase a grandstand seat. Go to denverparadeoflights.com.
4 Festival of Lights: The Colorado Hebrew Chorale presents a Hanukkah performance with candle lighting, music, food and instructional Israeli folk-dancing, 6:30 p.m. Guests are asked to bring their own candles and menorahs. $18, $15 students (with I.D.) and seniors, $12 members, children under 6 free. Four Mile Historic Park, 715 S. Forest St., 720-865-0815, fourmilehistoricpark.org
5 Community sing-along: Join in Loveland’s “‘Tis the Season Community Singalong” and stories led by local performer Sharon Sheets, 2 p.m. Free. Rialto Theater, 228 E. Fourth St., Loveland, 970-962-2120
6 The Gingerbread Man: Every Monday at 11 a.m., the Children’s Museum hosts ToddlerTime with the story of the adventuresome cookie. Included with admission. Children’s Museum of Denver, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive, 303-433-7444, mychildsmuseum.org
7 All Aboard the Polar Express! Families with children ages 4 and up are invited to this annual reading of “The Polar Express,” by Chris Van Allsburg, 7 p.m. Activities and refreshments included. Philip S. Miller Library, 100 S. Wilcox St., Castle Rock. Reservations required for the free program; call 303-791-7323 or visit douglascountylibraries.org.
8 Cultural concert series: The free series of monthly concerts continues with El Centro Su Teatro’s holiday show featuring spoken-word poet Adrian Molina. Begins at noon. The Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, 720-329-0869, colofolkarts.org
9 “A Christmas Story”: Longmont Theatre Company presents the story of Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. Show dates are Dec. 9-19. Dates and times vary; tickets start at $10. The play is “Rated PG for language and leggy lamps.” 513 Main St., Longmont, 303-772-5200, longmonttheatre.org. (Don’t forget the movie marathon on Christmas Day on cable’s TNT.)
10 Cherry Creek Chorale: Presents “The Star in the East,” two concerts of Christmas and Hanukkah songs and some audience-participation carols, with the Cherry Creek Chorale Chamber Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10-11. $15, $12 students and seniors, $5 children 12 and under. Bethany Lutheran Church, 4500 E. Hampden Ave., 303-789-5920, cherrycreekchorale.com
11 Stories on Stage: Professional actors reading holiday works, “Making Merry in Boulder” with Randy Moore, Candy Brown and others, is at 2 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut St. Tickets vary. 303-444-7328, thedairy.org. “Making Merry” is presented in Denver with shows at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 with Nick Sugar, Sam Gregory and others. Seawell Ballroom, Denver Performing Arts Complex. Tickets vary, 303-494-0523, storiesonstage .org
12 Tuba Christmas: Hundreds of tuba players perform at the 36th annual concert, 1 p.m. Free. Skyline Park, on Arapahoe Street between the 16th Street Mall and 17th Street. tubachristmas.com
13 Living Lights: “Illuminating Small Wonders,” an indoor and outdoor light show at the Butterfly Pavilion, with arts and crafts, storytelling and seasonal entertainment. 5:30-8 p.m. Dec. 11-19. Tickets are $4-$10, discounts for members, children under 12 months free. (No admission after 7:15 p.m.) 6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster, butterflies.org
14 A Jazz Christmas With Dianne Reeves: A limited number of tickets are left for this jazz-inspired holiday concert featuring the Denver-based singer and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $19. Boettcher Concert Hall at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Visit coloradosymphony.org for tickets and a schedule of other CSO holiday shows.
15 Denver Botanic Gardens: Visit both DBG locations and see the more than 1 million lights in various displays. “Blossoms of Light” is 5:30-9:30 p.m. nightly Friday-Jan. 2 at 1007 York St. Wind through the “Trail of Lights” at Chatfield, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, Friday-Jan. 2, 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton. Tickets vary, botanicgardens.org
16 Buell Children’s Museum: Head to Pueblo for holiday fun including visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18. The “Merry Quilted Christmas” exhibit features works by local quilters through Dec. 29. The World of Nutcracker Sweets has arts and crafts and a gift shop with prices ranging from 25 cents to $20. Museum hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $4; $3 children and military. Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, sangredecristoarts.org
17 Molly Brown House: A Charles Dickens Candlelight Christmas Tour at 6 and 7 p.m. Dec. 17, and at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. Dec. 18. Hear about Molly’s favorite Christmas and enjoy excerpts from “A Christmas Carol.” Tickets are $16, $13 for members, children and seniors, with refreshments. Reservations required. Molly Brown House Museum, 1340 Pennsylvania St., mollybrown.org
18 Winter Solabration: The 25th annual celebration of Christmas and solstice includes singing and dancing, wassail, a mummer’s play, and sword and Morris dance performances, 6 p.m., and Abbot’s Bromley Horn Dance at midnight. Tickets are $32 ($25 through Dec. 12), $18 students and teens, $8 children ages 6-12, free for children under 6. Highlands Masonic Center, 3550 Federal Blvd., 303-571-9112, wsolstice.org
19 Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble: Granny’s still got it as the Ensemble presents the 19th annual “Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum,” with music, dance and spoken word. Shows are Friday- Sunday, Dec. 4-19. Tickets are $20-$38. The Byron Theatre at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 E. Iliff Ave., 303-295-1759, ext. 13, cleoparkerdance.org
20 Santa Express Train: The Royal Gorge Route’s Santa Express Train invites children and their families on this 90-minute ride with cocoa, cookies and holiday stories from Santa’s elves. The train continues Friday and Saturday through Dec. 19, and nightly through Dec. 30. Tickets are $19-$44 and include refreshments, a gift for children and a visit with Santa. Reservations required, call 888-724-5748 or visit santa expresstrain.com.
21 Ice skating: The Belmar Rink in Lakewood, open daily through Jan. 2 and weekends through Feb. 27, belmarcolorado.com; Southwest Rink at Skyline Park, through Jan. 31, downtowndenver.com. Also, head to Fort Collins (downtownfort collins.com/dba.php/holiday), Estes Park (ymcarockies.org), Boulder (bouldericerink.com), Evergreen (720-880- 1391, evergreenrecreation.com) and Nederland (nedrink.com). Don’t forget your mittens!
22 The Denver Brass: “Hark! Brass & Angels Sing!” under the direction of conductor Warren Deck with the Colorado Chorale, 4 p.m. Dec. 19 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22. Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 Iliff Ave. Tickets vary. 303-832- HORN (832-4676). Visit denverbrass .org for tickets and a complete Denver Brass concert schedule.
23 Scuba-diving Santa Claus: The Downtown Aquarium hosts a holiday breakfast with Santa and his buddies Sharkey and Java (aquarium mascots) at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 4-5, 11 and 18-24. $15.95 adults, $9.95 children. Reservations required. 700 Water St., 303-561-4450, downtown aquarium.com
24 “A Christmas Carol”: The classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge at The Stage Theatre (show dates Nov. 26-Dec. 24). Tickets start at $18. Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets, 303-893-4100, denvercenter.org
25 Zoo Lights: “Wildlife meets wild lights” at the 20th annual celebration 5-9 p.m. nightly Dec. 10- Jan. 2. More than 150 animated animal sculptures and entertainment over 38 acres of lights. Zoo lights admission is $8 ages 12-64, $4 ages 3-11, $6 seniors 65-plus and free for children age 2 and under. Also, breakfasts and desserts with Santa on Dec. 11, 12 and 22, Wild Ice Dec. 17-21, a Kwanzaa celebration Dec. 26 and Zoo Year’s Eve Dec. 31. East 23rd Avenue between York Street and Colorado Boulevard, 303-376-4800, denverzoo.org
26 Vintage Theatre: “A Very Dark Holiday Playwright Festivus,” a playwright festival of original one-act plays by Colorado playwrights, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21-23 and Dec. 26-31 with an additional 2:30 p.m. matinee Dec. 26. Tickets are $15. 2119 E. 17th Ave., 303-839-1361, vintagetheatre.com
27 Holiday Lights & Wine Tour: The Dec. 1-30 tour starts with tastings at a local winery. Participants will then board a luxury bus, with wine and cookies, and tour Denver’s holiday lights. The tour departs each night at 6 and 8:30. $75. Reservations required. 5280winetoursco.com
28 Electric Safari: It’s the 20th anniversary of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s annual holiday lights display of almost 1 million lights and more than 40 animated light sculptures. 5:30-8:30 p.m. (last admission sold at 7:30 p.m.) Dec. 17-Jan. 2 (closed Dec. 24). Safari tickets are $8.25, $5.25 ages 3 to 11, free age 2 and under. Discount for military personnel and their families. 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs, 719- 633-9925, cmzoo.org. Brunch with Santa 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 18, reservations required.
29 Hudson Holiday: The Museum of Outdoor Arts presents lights and sounds covering more than 15 acres. Visitors will see a life-sized animal menagerie, a flock of electric sheep, winter garden railroad and more. 5-9 p.m. Nov. 19-Jan. 2. Tickets are $9, $8 seniors 60+, $6 ages 4-12, free age 3 and under. Hudson Gardens & Event Center, 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, hudsonholiday.com
30 “Schoolhouse Rock Live!”: Do the songs “Just a Bill,” “Interplanet Janet” or “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly” bring back memories? The Arvada Center presents this nostalgic play about a first-time schoolteacher who realizes he can win his students over with imagination and music. Shows continue through Dec. 30. 10 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday, with some additional dates. Recommended for ages 4 and older. Tickets are $10 for reserved seating, $8 general admission. Group rates available. 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org
31 Downtown Denver fireworks: Ring in 2011 and view the two identical shows (9 p.m. and midnight) from anywhere along the 16th Street Mall. downtowndenver .com
-Compiled by Vickie Heath. Photos: AP Manuel Balce Ceneta, Jupiter Images