Breakfast with Santa at Dutch Eatery.
For the holiday season, The Dutch Eatery & Refuge is hosting a special meal with THE Santa himself. At the special stop, you can enjoy caramelized French toast, chile eggs, chia pudding and eggs Benedict. They’re even bringing out the
big guns, and serving traditional Dutch oliebollen, which are fried dough balls sprinkled with powdered sugar. 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. 943 E. University Blvd. $17.50. Reservations are required, call 520-792-6684
Gingerbread House Decorating Class.
Catalyst Arts & Maker Space is hosting a sweet hands-on experience for the holiday season. Tickets include your gingerbread house and all its decorations, plus you get to enjoy cocoa and cookies while you design. Hosted by Tamara, former proprietor of the Chantilly Tea Room & Gift Boutique. There are two classes, at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. At Catalyst Arts & Maker Space in the Tucson Mall. 4500 N. Oracle Road, Suite 110. $60 admission for two.
Southern Arizona Women’s Chorus Holiday Concert.
Tucson’s premier women’s chorus has been around since 1981, and has grown to more than 70 members. Over the years, they’ve sung everything from music from the late Baroque period to Broadway medleys to jazzy sambas. Their holiday concert, A Spanish Allelu, is a program that will either have you wanting to sing, or being glad that there are people who can sing so you don’t have to—depending on what kind of person you are. Either way, you’re in for a night of beautiful music. 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. at Hope City Church, 5729 E. 22nd St. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Road. $20, or free for kids 10 and under.
Season’s Greetings: Return to Sender.
Tucson Desert Voices, Arizona’s premier LGBTQ+ chorus, is all about understanding, cooperation and peaceful coexistence. In fact, their mission statement is “Fostering Community Through Song.” Who could be better to perform during the holidays, a time that’s supposed to be all about loving your neighbor and goodwill toward humanity and all that jazz? They’ll be putting their own stamp on many of the messages of the season in this absolute romp of a show. 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
Messiah & Bach.
There are few holiday experiences more vast and all-encompassing than a performance of Handel’s Messiah (or of highlights from it). Handel composed the music for this show in a frenzied 24 days, writing the letters “SDG” for Soli Deo Gloria (“To God alone the Glory”) at the end. This led to the popular story that he was divinely inspired to write “Messiah” when he saw heaven open up before his eyes. Who knows? But if you’ve ever seen the piece performed live, you sort of get the same feeling. The Tucson Symphony Orchestra is bringing you this in addition to several other holiday pieces, including Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Handel’s Water Music, Suite No. 2. 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive. $46 to $86.
Art After Dark.
Have you been to one of these late night events at the children’s museum recently? It’s a fun chance to explore the museum in a different setting than your usual daytime visit, and the first 400 attendees even get a pass to come back to the museum for free. This month, they’re showing A Muppet Christmas Carol in the courtyard, which, like all Muppet movies, is truly a masterpiece. Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat narrate! Kermit as the cutest little Bob Cratchit! Bring a blanket and some chairs, and get some hot chocolate and snacks once you’re there. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Children’s Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave. Free.
Holiday Ornament Making.
In case you haven’t been to Mission Garden yet, it’s a project led by Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace, an organization dedicated to recreating and preserving the city’s historic structures and landscapes. So, the garden is recreation of a Spanish Colonial fruit and veggie garden, complete with a native plant area and plenty of info on agricultural history. At this event, steep yourself in equal parts history, botany and holiday spirit by using items from the gardens, like gourds and okra pods, to make holiday decorations. 9 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Dec. 14. Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights Opening Night.
Maybe you grew up in a town where there was always that one neighborhood that got particularly decked out for the holidays. You and your family would sip at hot chocolate and try to guess how many miniature light bulbs were on the roof of a local mansion. If you grew up in Tucson, you know that the Winterhaven Festival of Lights is on its own level. There are millions of lights on houses all through the neighborhood, with themes ranging from zoo animals to Frozen to classic Christmas movies. The streets are closed to cars so everyone can safely and freely take in the sights. And it’s a holiday experience like no other. Be sure to bring a food donation for the Southern Arizona Community Food Banks. 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, to Sunday, Dec. 29. Winterhaven Neighborhood.
Queen Astara’s Winter Fairy Lights.
Magic happens all year long at Valley of the Moon Tucson, where fairies roam freely (or at least where the magic of kindness is celebrated). Join the fairy monarchs, Queen Astara and King Astar, for a night where the magic of the Valley of the Moon and the magic of the holidays come together for an extra special experience. The grounds will be decorated with festive lights and decorations, and you can stroll through and keep an eye out for fairies and other magical creatures. Just be sure to keep your voice down, so you don’t spook them! You’re welcome to dress up if you’d like as well! 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Valley of the Moon Tucson, 2544 E. Allen Road. $5, or free for members and kids 17 and under.
A Christmas Carol & Dickens Festival.
Whether you watch the Muppets’ artful take on it, enjoy Bill Murray’s turn in Scrooged or just read the actual book, it’s sort of a must to see A Christas Carol during the holiday season. This year, why not watch a cast of professional and aspiring Tucson actors perform the musical version, complete with a live orchestra? You can also enjoy a preshow where you can hear “firsthand” from an actor playing Charles Dickens about how he thought up the story, and check out the free Dickens festival, with vendors like Frog & Firkin, treats, and caroling. Preshow & show at 6:20/7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at 1:20/2 p.m. and 6:20/7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14 and at 1:20/2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. Dickens Festival opens two hours before each show. Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. $15 to $29 in advance, with $5 added to prices at the door.
Holidays at the Markets.
The local farmers market circuit provides plenty to celebrate all year ’round, but this week, they’re all having special holiday-themed events. On Friday, Dec. 13, Udall Park Farmers Market (7202 E. Tanque Verde Road) has live music and vendor specials. On Saturday, Dec. 14, Steam Pump Ranch (10901 N. Oracle Road) will have live music, more than 50 food vendors and artisan goods. Also on Saturday, the Rincon Valley Farmers & Artisans Market (12500 E. Old Spanish Trail) will have holiday kids activities, live music and vendor deals. And on Saturday, Dec. 15, the Rillito Park market (4502 N. First Ave.) will have live music, vendor specials, a free holiday raffle and 80+ vendors. Hours for all are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
RAD Marketplace Winter Market
. If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, don’t panic! But do get started. You’ll feel better once you do. And you’ll feel doubly better if you support a local business while you’re at it. RAD Marketplace, an artisan and vintage popup market in the Warehouse Arts District, is hosting plenty of vendors selling gift-worthy items, live music, DJs, and food trucks. Nothing like a high-calorie plate of food truck food and beats from local musicians to fuel you through a holiday shopping spree. Give YOURSELF the gift of a pleasant gift shopping experience. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. 439 N. Sixth Ave.
The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Muppets were merry to begin with, so combining them with Dickens’ classic only sweetened the deal. This free screening, presented by the Children’s Museum Tucson, will be held outdoors in the December air. We all know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, but when it’s combined with world of Jim Henson, it gains a new (not to mention colorful) life. However, one of the best aspects of the film doesn’t have to do with Muppets at all: Academy Award-winner Michael Caine’s fantastically dour performance. 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. 200 S. Sixth Ave. Free. Please bring your own seating and dress warmly.