Miracle on Congress St. So, no, we may not have a 34th Street in town, but miracles can kinda happen anywhere, right? This event, happening Friday through Sunday, is a perfect way to spend some of the last few days before Christmas. Bring your kids to visit Santa, then enjoy some holiday treats and crafts and cuddle with a crew of adoptable puppies. And, while they enjoy hot cocoa and cookies, you can take some of that holiday edge off over at the bar with a holiday-themed cocktail. Ho ho ho! 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, Dec. 21 and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. Santa's hours are shorter. 300 E. Congress St. Free.
A CosmoChristmas Celebration. The Sea of Glass Center for the Arts is really bringing the festivity this year, with this show featuring several different forms of holiday cheer. First, the TaliasVan's CosmoYouth Choir, a professional performing and recording group for teens, is performing. Then, TaliasVan's Bright & Morning Star Choir and Orchestra, a 50-piece ensemble, will perform a selection of both traditional pieces and CosmoChristmas originals in their traditional otherworldly style. Closing out the evening is a one-hour Christmas musical play called The God Child Came, performed by the Global Change Theater Company and played here on DVD. Come early to enjoy the beer and wine garden. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20. Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, 330 E. Seventh St. Adults are $25 in advance and $20 day-of, teens 12 to 15 are $12 in advance and $17 day-of, and kids 11 and under are $4.
15th Annual Holiday Express. Is it because of the Polar Express? Is it because they remind us of the past? Whatever the reason, it's true that we somehow seem to associate trains with the holiday season. So where better to celebrate this Saturday than the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum? Write a letter to Santa, sing some holiday music, enjoy the museum's exhibits and check out the gift shop. Plus, listen to a reading of the Polar Express, enjoy the arts and crafts show and sit on Santa's lap to put in your last-minute Christmas orders. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Historic AMTRACK Tucson Train Depot, 400 N. Toole. Free.
MOCA Third Thursday: Campfire and Holiday Sale. Wow, can you believe we're already closing in on the end of 2019? Bid this year—and this decade—adieu at this cozy evening at the Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art. They'll have a campfire, hot beverages and a Celtic harp player making music in the courtyard. And you can go around to get all of your last-minute holiday shopping done in one place. Local vendors like Tucson Candle Co., Buteos and Bones, Desert Provisions, Beanie Sunshine and Fae and Friends will all be there, and proceeds support both local makers and MOCA's community programs. 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. Tucson MOCA, 365 S. Church Ave. Free.
Holiday Party at the Wilde Meyer Gallery. There are many different kinds of holiday parties, from formal galas to drunken office ones to the ones you threw in your college apartment. But a holiday party in a local art gallery is the sort of thing that strikes the perfect balance between cozy, classy and festive. At the Wilde Meyer Gallery this Friday, enjoy a painting demonstration by Sarah Webber, a performance by acoustic harpist Vanessa Myers and a selection of light refreshments. Paintings, sculptures, ceramic pieces and jewelry by gallery artists will all be on display, so you can celebrate the holidays in the midst of beautiful things. 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20. Wilde Meyer Gallery, 2890 E. Skyline Drive. Free.
Shows and Performances
Flandrau Holiday Shows. We'll be honest: A visit to the planetarium pretty much always feels like a holiday spectacular. What's more festive and twinkly than the night sky? But this time of year, Flandrau has got three holiday-themed shows that are fun for the whole family. Season of Light, set to popular holiday music, celebrates the many holidays that take place around the winter solstice. Laser Holidays is a laser light show set to classic bops like "The Christmas Song" and "All I Want for Christmas is You." And Holiday Magic is another laser show set to classic Christmas songs. Holiday shows this week take place at various times on Friday, Dec. 20, through Monday, Dec. 23, this week. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd. $16 GA, $12 for kids4 to 17, senior/military/college students with ID. Free for kids 3 and under.
In the Christmas Mood: A Holiday Christmas Spectacular. We're talking classic Christmas carols and new holiday hits! We're talking a six-piece band! We're talking singing, dancing and lots of laughing! This show at the Fox Theatre, starring Katherine Byrnes, Brian Levario, Chach Snook and Crystal Stark, has become something of a holiday tradition here in the Old Pueblo. If you haven't gotten into the spirit of the season yet, this show might be just what you need to do the trick. Proceeds support the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona as well! 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20. The Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $25 to $35.
Mercado Holiday Bazaar. If you're anything like me, you're pretty much always looking for an excuse to go down to the Mercado District, just to take in the pleasant atmosphere. Here's a perfect excuse that lasts for three full days! Support a group of local makers, artists and collectors at this family-friendly outdoor holiday shopping event, while also breathing a sigh of relief as you finish up the rest of your holiday shopping. Bring the kids! Bring your friends! At this point, maybe just have them pick out their own gifts, so you can know for sure they'll like 'em. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 21. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. Mercado San Agustin, 100 S. Avenida del Convento.
Saint Charles Tavern Holiday Spectacular. This Sunday, Saint Charles Tavern is your one-stop shop/drink/listen location for all of your holiday needs. Local vendors will be selling goods, and then you can get your gift wrapped for free (with a suggested donation to the Sister Jose Women's Center). And once you've got your presents wrapped, you can kick back with an eggnog drink special and some cookies. The Diatones, Just Najima, the Silver Cloud Express, Keli Carpenter and Miss Olivia and the Interlopers will all be performing live music. Head to the tavern to shop local, finish up your gift-buying and squeeze in some relaxation. 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22. Saint Charles Tavern, 1632 S. Fourth Ave.
Princesses at Winterhaven. A trip to Winterhaven on any night is a treat, but if you're into Disney princesses, or you have kids who are, then you're definitely going to want to go this Saturday. A crew of fairy tale characters and princesses (they can't guarantee exactly who is in the lineup, but odds are at least one of two of your favorites) will be there, singing carols in a magical display at the Disney-themed house in Winterhaven. Come ready to sing along, and please do bring a donation for the Community Food Bank, because the princesses are helping collect cans (charity work is always a good way to boost a royal's public image). 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. 2818 E. Farr St. Free.
Friday Food, Fun and Flix at Jacome Plaza. Watching classic movies is one time-honored holiday tradition, and heading downtown to look at twinkly lights and take in the spectacle is another. Imagine how much holiday cheer you could fit into one night by combining these two traditions! Just think of the efficiency! Bring blankets or chairs and jackets, pick up some hot cocoa and popcorn and settle in to enjoy Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In this out-of-control sequel, Kevin's parents don't learn their lesson about keeping track of their kid, the current president of the United States makes a cameo, and Kevin tries to kill Harry and Marv for real. 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20. Jacome Plaza Downtown, 101 N. Stone Ave.
Holiday Parade at Tanque Verde Swap Meet. You can never have too many holiday parades, right? And the Tanque Verde Swap Meet likes to do theirs right. They've got decorated floats, lots of elves, and the big man in red himself. Plus, there's the obvious appeal of the swap meet itself. Few things are more magical than strolling through the rows of a swap meet. And not to mention that they just opened up the new Freddie's Fun Zone, which features amusement park rides like the Scrambler and the Dragon Wagon. Ho ho do-n't miss it. 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Tanque Verde Swap Meet, 4100 S. Palo Verde Road. Free.
Christkindlmarket Booth. So, Chistkindlesmarkt is a Christmas market held every year in Nuremberg, Germany, which attracts about two million visitors. The "Christkind" or "Christ Child" is traditionally played by a teenage girl, who dresses in white and gold and has curly blonde hair—like an angelic Christ child. But, anyway, the Pusch Family is German, so this celebration at Steam Pump Ranch is meant to be an example of one of their homestyle Christmases. The ranch house will be decorated, and you can pick up holiday treats and décor at the market booth. Schöne ferien! 9 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Dec. 21. Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road. Free.
Fun in General
Gingerbread Workshop. You've probably made a gingerbread house before, right? And if you've made a gingerbread house, you've probably also experienced the frustration of having it turn out a little bit less than picture perfect. Why not call in an award winning pastry team for help? The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is inviting folks to come on out and do just that. With the guidance of these chefs, you'll make a gingerbread house so devastatingly lovely that you'll wish you could move into it yourself. You'll be ready for your own show on HGTV! You'll be a gingerbread genius! 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24. The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, 15000 N. Secret Springs Drive. $50 plus tax and 20 percent gratuity. Call 530-572-3401 to make reservations.
Thirsty Thursdays Social Run. With Fleet Feet + Westbound. Surviving the holiday season with your physique relatively intact is all about balance, right? That's what makes this recurring Thursday evening event so nice. You head over to the MSA Annex to do a 3-5 mile fun run or walk on the Loop. Then, you end up back at the Westbound, where you can get a buck off of your first beer or cocktail. Whether you're a hardcore runner or someone just dipping your toes into the world of cardio, it's difficult to go wrong with a free event and discounted alcohol. Come make some new running friends and earn yourself a drink. 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento Free.
Downtown Radio Holiday Fiesta. Who doesn't love a chance to support local radio? And who doesn't love pizza? This event has both at the same time, and therefore should absolutely not be missed. Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria is open late tonight for a chance to meet your favorite Downtown Radio DJs, including DoctorSlow, who will be spinning tunes through the night. Your tickets get you through the door and a raffle ticket to win prizes like gift cards to Zia and Bookmans, free passes to Mister Car Wash, free tuneups from Tucson Bicycle Service and a new vinyl reissue of the Pixies' Doolittle from Desert Island Records. 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria, 2707 E. Broadway Blvd. $5 donation.
The Historic Y Gathering of Friends. In true Tucson fashion, this event is one that's full of local food, drinks and music, put on to celebrate the tenants of The Historic Y and their work in the arts, education, human rights and environmental justice sectors. Chow down on bison dogs, veggie tamales, calabacitas, wine, scratch margaritas and beer from Borderlands Brewery. Plus, feel free to bring a desert or side dish of your own if you'd like. Live music will be provided by artists including Cadillac Mountain Bluegrass, Just Najima, Emilie Marchand and Gabriel Naïm Amor, Church Pants, DJ Roberto Lopez and DJ Luis. 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. The Historic Y, 738 N. Fifth Ave.
Winter Solstice Celebration at Crooked Tooth. Well, here we are, in the deep, dark, depths of winter. Join this local brewery in a celebration of the shortest day of the year. View the night sky with astronomer Jana Becker, enjoy lectures on astrology and attend a workshop on the essentials of self care by herbalist Sarah Karp of Sol Flora Botanicals. The class includes an in-depth conversation on self care, a herbal sugar scrub, a herbal face steam and a bone broth packet. Of course, you can also practice self care by visiting the Substance Coffee Co. food truck on site and trying the six Full Moon Brews Crooked Tooth has in their taproom. 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.