- Veronica Yeager
Some years, it's harder to get into the holiday spirit. Maybe it's the political climate—all toxic sniping and depressing news. Maybe it's the actual climate—an absence of snow that makes Utah feel less than winter wonderland-ish. You need a dose of Christmas cheer, and you need it stat.
Friends, that's what art is here for. If you still need something to kick-start your sense of the season, here are 10 local events that just might be the perfect gift for your weary soul.
A Christmas Carol The Charles Dickens classic is a staple at many small theater companies, but the musical version at Hale Center Theater in Orem continues a long-standing Utah Valley holiday tradition. Join Ebenezer Scrooge on his journey through ghostly visitations to learn the true meaning of Christmas, and get your "God bless us, every one" on. Hale Center Theater, 225 W. 400 North, Orem, 801-226-8600, through Dec. 23, $20-$26, haletheater.org
Dickens Christmas Ball Get festive in the Victorian style with the ninth annual unique combination of dance, games and vintage treats. Old Glory Vintage Dancers lead attendees in learning the authentic steps of the era, plus the kind of parlor games you might play at a Christmas party in circa-1870s England. Period dress is recommended for those truly wanting to get into the spirit; otherwise, modern formal is requested. Viridian Center, 8030 S. 1825 West, Dec. 14, 7-10 p.m., $15, oldgloryvintagedancers.com
Odyssey Dance: ReduxNut-Cracker The dance company behind the Halloween favorite Thriller approaches the familiar holiday ballet in a similarly unorthodox manner. Modern technology and hip-hop movement give a contemporary spark to the story of Clara and Herr Drosselmeyer, reminding you that you've never heard Tchaikovsky until you've heard him with some sick beats. Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, through Dec. 23, $25.50-$45.50, tickets.utah.edu
Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Celebrate the Jewish holiday with a traditional ceremony in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. Bring your own menorah, or simply join in the sundown candle-lighting daily through the end of the eight-day celebration. Snowbird Resort, Highway 210, Snowbird, through Dec. 19, 5 p.m., snowbird.com
Miracle on 34th Street The 1947 film about a department-store Santa Claus trying to convince a cynical world that he's the real thing has become one of the most beloved holiday movie classics. Did you know there's a musical stage version, with songs by the legendary Meredith Wilson (The Music Man)? Enjoy the tale of Kris Kringle and his quest to establish his North Pole bona fides, while putting some merry tunes in your heart. SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State, Orem, 801-255-2787, through Dec. 16, $12-$14, scera.org
Art Access Gallery Holiday Show If you're still doing some Christmas shopping—or even if you just want a chance to see the wonderful things local artisans create—visit the gallery for its annual showcase of works by Utah artists. From jewelry and pottery to soaps and lotions, plus many more fun handcrafted items like crocheted critters by the Knot Kid (pictured left), it's a chance to get festive and shop local. Art Access Gallery, 230 S. 500 West, No. 125, 801-328-0703, through Dec. 15, accessart.org
Red Butte Garden Winter Solstice Celebration Bring the whole family to the Children's Garden for a morning of activities built on winter celebrations going back centuries. Learn about the winter solstice and listen to storytelling while participating in crafts like creating head wreaths and making winter candles. Then finish things off with a cup of hot chocolate and a new-year wish at the Yule Log. Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, 801-585-0556, Dec. 16, 9 a.m.-noon, regular admission plus $3, redbuttegarden.org
Utah Symphony: Here Comes Santa Claus! In this annual family-friendly event—under an hour in length, so no worries about kids getting squirmy, plus a very affordable price—the musicians of the Utah Symphony delight visitors with a program of seasonal favorites. There's even a chance for singing along with some beloved carols, before a certain jolly old elf visits for the finale. Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-355-2787, Dec. 16, 11 a.m. & 12:30 p.m., $8-$22, artsaltlake.org
A Drag Queen Christmas Contestants from the popular VH-1 series RuPaul's Drag Race—overseen by host Trinity Taylor—perform live on stage, bringing fabulousness to the catwalk and joy to your heart, including performances of favorite holiday songs. VIP meet-and-greet is available for those wanting an extra-special experience. Rose Wagner Center, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, Dec. 17, 8 p.m., $50-$150, dragfans.com
2017 Christmas Carole Sing-Along The Miller family—owners of the Utah Jazz—gives back to the community with this annual free event. The West Valley Symphony of Utah and One Voice Children's Choir lead the entertainment, but everyone is invited to sing along with the songs you know by heart. And every attendee gets a special treat and gift bag. Vivint SmartHome Arena, 301 S. Temple, Dec. 18, 7 p.m., free, vivintarena.com