Food & Culture

All the Holiday Events in Seattle You Can Handle

The ultimate holiday events guide.

By Seattle Magazine Staff December 1, 2017


This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Nutcracker, From Naughty to Nice
The Nutcracker is 125 years old as of December 18. Luckily there’s an interpretation for every age and taste.

For the naughty…

Buttcracker III
Promising “even more crack!”, this ’80s-themed takeoff combines modern dance and hair metal. 7:30 p.m. Prices vary. Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, Capitol Hill, 1524 Harvard Ave.; 206.329.1050

Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker
Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann keep the traditional sparkle but spice up the sugarplums in this elegantly sexy retelling. Times and prices vary. The Triple Door, downtown, 216 Union St.; 206.838.4333

For the nice…

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet
Through 12/28 This is the most lavish local presentation, with Ian Falconer’s elegant storybook sets and costumes, and a charming video prologue to set the scene. Times and prices vary. McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 321 Mercer St.; 206.441.2424

International Ballet Theatre
This production follows the traditional Russian choreography by Vera Altunina, a custom going back to Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa, the choreographers of the 1892 premiere. Times and prices vary. Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, 11100 NE Sixth St.; 425.637.1020

Emerald Ballet Theatre
12/2–12/3; 12/9–12/10
Guest artists from Pacific Northwest Ballet and beyond enhance the cast of this Nutcracker, in addition, of course, to a bevy of Emerald Ballet Academy students. 2 p.m. Prices vary. Northshore Performing Arts Center, Bothell, 18125 92nd Ave. NE; 425.298.3449

Evergreen City Ballet
Through 12/17
This production is presented in two formats: the full two-hour version and a special one-hour for the youngest audiences—which includes photo ops with the cast! Times, prices and venues vary. 800.514.3849

Olympic Ballet Theatre
To mark the ballet’s anniversary, this company has new sets by Seattle Opera set designer Phillip Lienau, which it’s taking on the road to two venues. Times, prices and venues vary. 425.774.7570

Tacoma City Ballet
The Nutcracker & The Tale of the Hard Nut adds some backstory to the traditional plot: How did the Prince become a nutcracker in the first place? Times and prices vary. Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center, Federal Way, 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S; 253.835.7016

Keep it nice with PNB’s traditional “The Nutcracker.” Photo by Angela Sterling.

Can’t-Miss Classics
A short list of the season’s perennial hits

Snowflake Lane
Through 12/24
“The Most Festive Street in America” hosts a glittering nightly parade of ladies dancing, drummers drumming and who knows how many of the rest from The 12 Days of Christmas. Be there on opening night for Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting at Bellevue Place. 7 p.m. Free. Bellevue, Bellevue Way between NE Eighth and NE Fourth streets; 425.454.8096 

Jose Gonzales Trio performs A Charlie Brown Christmas
One reason A Charlie Brown Christmas is the greatest of all holiday specials is Vince Guaraldi’s score. There’s nothing saccharine or sparkly about it; it’s sophisticated, cool jazz that matches and enhances Charles Schulz’s wry, dry tone. This music is the backdrop for two holiday parties—afternoon for family, evening for grown-ups—to benefit Strawberry Theatre Workshop. Times and prices vary. Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St.; 206.427.5207 

A Christmas Carol
Through 12/28
Seattle’s premier stage version of the timeless classic will charm the Dickens out of you—and probably take on new resonance now that we have an administration seemingly trying to outdo itself in Scrooginess with each passing day. Timothy Piggee and Peter Crook share the lead role. Times and prices vary. ACT – A Contemporary Theatre, downtown, 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676

Elf the Musical
Boost your elf-esteem with this musical version of the 2003 cult movie, in which a human baby, accidentally raised as one of Santa’s helpers, returns to New York City as a grown-up to spread holiday cheer throughout a cynical town that sorely needs some. Times and prices vary. Paramount Theatre, downtown, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414

Community-Wide Hanukkah Pajama Jam
Food vendors, games, crafts and live music mark this festive, family-friendly annual holiday celebration. 5:30–7:30 p.m. Free, with donation of pajamas (for Amara foster child services). Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island, 3801 E Mercer Way; 206.232.7115

Seattle Symphony performs Handel’s Messiah
Originally composed in late summer and intended for an Eastertide performance—basically, it’s an obituary recounting Christ’s life—Handel’s 1742 oratorio eventually became the preeminent Christmas work in the classical canon. Ruth Reinhardt conducts. Times and prices vary. Benaroya Hall, downtown, 200 University St.; 206.215.4747 

First Night Tacoma
Performers of every stripe grace multiple stages in this family-friendly, arts-oriented, alcohol-free celebration. Games, s’mores, music and “the world’s shortest parade” precede a fire spectacular just before midnight. 6 p.m. Prices vary. Tacoma, 900 block of Broadway

Holiday Spice
Kick it up a notch with these offbeat productions

The View from Santa’s Lap
The Café Nordo production, from the macabre mind of Scot Augustson, sets “whimsical, heartwarming murders” among the holiday shoppers in a department store. Times vary. Prices TBD. Café Nordo’s Culinarium, Pioneer Square, 109 S Main St.; 206.579.6215 

Homo for the Holidays
The yuletide is indeed bright and gay in this riotous burlesque romp celebrating 10 years this season. The show features Waxie Moon, Cherdonna and many of the city’s brightest acts of the cabaret stage. Times and prices vary. Oddfellows Building, Capitol Hill, 915 E Pine St. 

Dina Martina
Through 12/31
To her usual stage shows—promising “ludicrous song, horrifying stories and overburdened costumes”— this entertaineress’s Christmas wingding adds audience gifts, holiday pathos and award-winning composer Chris Jeffries at the keyboard. Times and prices vary. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St.; 800.838.3006

Ham for the Holidays: The Hamchurian Candidate
Through 12/17
The Hamchurian Candidate, Peggy Platt and Lisa Koch’s 17th annual seasonal sendup, brings back their favorite recurring sketch-comedy characters (see what the Sequim Gay Men’s Chorus has been up to lately) with a dash of trash and a big ol’ holiday helping of camp. Times and prices vary. ACT – A Contemporary Theatre, downtown, 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676 

Cirque Dreams Holidaze
Put some Vegas glitz into your holiday with this music and circus spectacular for the whole family. Times and prices vary. Paramount Theatre, downtown, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414

Handel’s Messiah: Sing- and Play-along
The time to sit around and let other people entertain you is over, slackers. Bring your instrument or your voice and let conductor Karen P. Thomas guide you through the whole oratorio. 7 p.m. Prices vary. University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Ave. NE

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