Make your December merry and bright with these 10 holiday celebrations

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Photo by Elizabeth Delgado
Get visits from St. Nicholas throughout December at the Theatre of Lights in Old Sacramento.

Santa Claus may not be coming to town for a few weeks, but the Sacramento region is getting good and ready for Ol' Saint Nick with plenty of holiday hoopla. From a Victorian-themed Christmas to a Yuletide concert by five-time Grammy winners, here are 10 area events that will keep things festive all season long. 

Theatre of Lights

Through Dec. 24 Celebrate the nights before Christmas at this 11th annual reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” cleverly staged in Old Sacramento. As voice actors—including Bill Farmer, who serves as the voice of Goofy and Pluto—weave the Yuletide tale, look to the balconies, where stage performers and colorful projections will bring the 19th-century poem to life. Free. Thurs.-Sun. 6 & 7:30 p.m. (Dec. 23 at 6 & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.) K Street between Front and Second streets. Old Sacramento Waterfront. 916- 970-5226.

Holiday in the Hills

Dec. 7-29 Travel back to the early days of Folsom and celebrate the holidays 1800s style with a cabaret show that is refreshed annually by Sutter Street Theatre owners Mike Jimena and Connie Mockenhaupt. This 14th iteration of the beloved production draws scenes from the lives of historic Folsom residents like the notorious bandit Tom Bell, with proceedings emceed by a fictionalized version of former Folsom Telegraph editor Peter J. Hopper. $15-$24. Times vary by day. Sutter Street Theatre. 717 Sutter St. Folsom. 916-353-1001.

A Christmas with C.S. Lewis

Dec. 8 This one-man show stars David Payne, who has been portraying the titular British author and theologian for more than two decades. The play finds C.S. Lewis in his twilight years reflecting on his books (including the enduring Chronicles of Narnia series), the people in his life and the meaning of Christmas. $38-$62. 7 p.m. Harris Center. 10 College Pkwy. Folsom. 916-608-6888.

The Sacramento Ballet will mount artistic director Amy Seiwert's interpretation of "The Nutcracker" for the second year. (Photo by Keith Sutter)

Victorian Christmas

Dec. 8-22 Downtown Nevada City plays host to its 42nd annual holiday night market, where merry gentlefolk can meander through twinkle-lit streets in search of eats and other treats. Visitors can taste period-appropriate snacks like meat pies, listen to costumed carolers and snap selfies with the Walking Christmas Tree and Toy Soldier. Free. Wed. 5-9 p.m. Sun. 1:30-6 p.m. Historic Downtown Nevada City. 530-265-2692.

The Nutcracker

Dec. 12-22 Sacramento Ballet artistic director Amy Seiwert’s feminist, contemporary spin on the holiday favorite returns for its sophomore year after making its debut last winter. Watch as 15-year-old Marie and the Nutcracker battle the Mouse King and twirl into the Land of Sweets, all to that familiar, rapturous Tchaikovsky score. $25-$93. Times vary by day. Memorial Auditorium. 1515 J St. 916-552-5810.

Raise a glass to Pink Martini, who returns to the Mondavi Center with jazzy renditions of holiday favorites. (Photo by Chris Hornbecker)

Winter Wonderland

Dec. 14-22 Dressed in tinsel and strung with lights, Fairytale Town turns the holiday cheer up to 11, with Victorian carolers, local makers and Santa himself making appearances at this weekend extravaganza. And every night, at the strike of 7 p.m., snow will fall in Sacramento—or at least near the Mother Goose stage. $7 (free for ages 1 and under). Sat. & Sun. 1-7 p.m. Fairytale Town. 3901 Land Park Dr. 916-808-5233.

Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail

Dec. 14-29 The beloved characters of A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh bound off the page and onto the stage for this romp of a holiday musical. Christopher Robin and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are on a quest to retrieve Eeyore’s missing tail before the big Christmas party begins, singing songs like “What Tiggers Do Best” along the way. $13-$18. Times vary by day. Sutter Street Theatre. 717 Sutter Street. Folsom. 916-353-1001.

Pink Martini

Dec. 17 Cocktail culture will never go out of style so long as this retro-chic, Portland-based orchestra is shaking and stirring. Pink Martini’s repertoire spans multiple languages, so when you catch this swinging, jazzy holiday cabaret show, don’t be surprised if you hear eclectic crowd-pleasers like a Ukrainian version of “Carol of the Bells” or a cover of “Silent Night” sung in German. Tickets start at $35. 7 p.m. Mondavi Center. Mrak Hall Dr. and Old Davis Rd. Davis. 530-754-2787.

Go tell it on the mountain: The Blind Boys of Alabama are bringing their annual holiday concert to the Crest. (Photo by Jim Herrington)

The Blind Boys of Alabama

Dec. 18 The roster of this five-time Grammy-winning group, established in 1948, may have changed over the past eight decades, but the soulful sound remains the same on both soaring interpretations of classics like “There Will Be a Light” and covers of contemporary songs like Prince’s “The Cross.” For this Crest concert, which is part of the troupe’s annual holiday tour, the Gospel Music Hall of Famers are expected to perform tunes from their two Christmas albums, including original compositions like “Talkin’ Christmas” and carols like “Silent Night” and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” as well as an uptempo “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and a bluesy rendition of “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” $40-$75. 7:30 p.m. Crest Theatre. 1013 K St. 916-476-3356.

Pajama Party Christmas Eve

Dec. 24 Rub your eyes, get out of bed, and—still wearing your PJs—head to the Sacramento Zoo on Christmas Eve, the park’s only free-admission day of the year. Watch as zookeepers gift animals with holiday-themed treats and check out the new Discover the Dinosaurs exhibit featuring a dozen animatronic dinos. Free. 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sacramento Zoo. 3930 W. Land Park Dr. 916-808-5888.

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