8th Annual Polar Express Pajama Party- Join us for holiday crafts, songs, stories, cookies, hot chocolate, a special guest and a bedtime reading of The Polar Express! Wear your best pajamas and bring your family, your teddy and your pillow for the movie. FREE!! Friday, 6:00pm. Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr.
Gingerbread House Workshops- Fun for the entire family! Experience the thrill of making a mess in someone else’s kitchen! Kids and parents will love covering themselves in sugar icing while building a gingerbread house with real, soft gingerbread baked right here in Austin! Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For times and open spots, check website. Must register. $30 member/ $35 non-member. Austin Children’s Museum, 201 Colorado Ave.
The Nutcracker- If the music sounds sweeter than sugarplums, the dancers seem lighter than air, and the snowflakes sparkle more brightly than ever before, you’re not dreaming. After all, experiencing the 47th annual production of Austin’s holiday tradition is sure to be an exceptionally festive feast for the senses. Ballet Austin’s production of The Nutcracker is Texas’ longest running production of this classic and with a different “celebrity” playing the role of Mother Ginger in each performance, every show guarantees an extra bit of memory-making merriment. Saturday, 7:30pm and Sunday, 2:00pm. The Long Center for Performing Arts, 701 West Riverside Dr.
Skating on the Plaza- Join us for our most exciting holiday attraction, Austin’s first and only outdoor ice skating rink on our rooftop plaza! Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am- 10:00pm with the last skating session beginning at 9:00pm. Tickets, $10 per person for one hour, includes skate rental. Whole Foods, 525 N. Lamar Blvd.
Zilker Trail of Lights- Enjoy a 1/2 mile of holiday lights, visit Santa’s House and a post office, food, beverages, arts and crafts and the Zilker Tree! Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 6:00- 10:00pm. FREE!! Parking, $10 per car. Zilker Park.
Central Market Music on the Patio- Gather your friends and family for FREE live music, enjoy a drink and some food on the patio while the kids play on the playscape. Friday and Saturday from 6:30- 9:00pm and Sunday from 12:30- 3:00pm. Central Market, 4001 N. Lamar Blvd.
Keep Austin Bizarre- Enjoy shopping under a huge heated circus tent for all of those last minute gifts. 100 artisans will be selling local handmade arts and crafts, jewelry and more. Performances to keep you entertained while you shop include: live music, fire spinners, circus acts, and tribal dancing. Enjoy local food, get your picture taken with Santa and a take advantage of full bar for the grown-ups! FREE!! Friday and Saturday from 11:00am- midnight; Sunday, 11:00am- 10:00pm.
A Christmas Carol- With a few twists on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, Scottish Rite Children’s Theatre presents A Christmas Carol. Written for young audiences with original music and songs by Michael McKelvey, the interactive play teaches the values of kindness and sharing. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge sits alone counting his cash and is visited by friendlier, funnier versions of the ghosts of Christmas Present, Past and Future. The ghosts show Scrooge the errors of his crotchety ways and help him make an overnight transformation from grouchy to grateful! A perfect holiday treat for children ages 2- adult. Saturday, 10:00am (sold out) and Sunday at 2:00pm. Tickets, $10 adults, $7 children. Scottish Rite Children’s Theatre, 207 W. 18th Street.
Holiday Lights Spectacular- Light shows begin on the hour beginning at 6:00pm Friday and Saturday night. Entertainment is at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30pm. FREE!! Southpark Meadows, 9300 IH-35 South.
BookKids Storytime: YogaKids- Come bend and stretch and waaake up with certified yoga instructor Krista Phillips. She’ll be reading us some stories and then leading us all in a little yoga lesson. A perfect way to start the day with your young ones. FREE!! Saturday, 11:30am. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
Lowe’s Build and Grow- A hands-on clinic that is for kids of all ages. This month’s project will be to build a Pet Treat Keeper! FREE!! Register online to reserve a spot. Saturday, 10:00- 11:00am. All participating Lowe’s locations.
Living Nativity – Be a part of the Christmas story as it unfolds: rub elbows with the Wise Men, get up close and personal with real animals in the manger, and share some hot chocolate with the community. It all takes place outdoors, so dress appropriately. Saturday, 6:00-8:00pm. FREE!! Abiding Love Lutheran Church, 7210 Brush Country Dr.
Stitch and Kitsch: Intergenerational Stitch Party- In celebration of our Hotsy-Totsy exhibit A Legacy of Quilts: The Briscoe Center’s Joyce Gross Collection, join us for an afternoon of 1930s-style celebration. Bring your craft project and spend the afternoon sizzlin’ to the hot tunes of Aunt Ruby’s Sweet Jazz Babies. Tour the exhibit with expert quilters or sit and stitch with other kindred crafters. We’ll have some slick birds on hand to show you the latest fads, get you started on new crafts, or to give you a hand with unfinished projects. Knitting lessons for lads and lasses. Special prizes for dressing the bee’s knees. It’ll be a real hootenanny! Saturday, 1:00- 3:00pm. FREE with museum admission. The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.
Cinemagic- Enjoy a FREE viewing of Transformers! Popcorn and lemonade are provided. Saturday, 1:00pm. Southeast Austin Community Branch Library, 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd.
Hollie Day’s Wonder Winterland- Bring the whole family to meet our fabulous hostess, Hollie Day, as she entertains another unusual cast of party guests. Filled with surprises, Hollie Day’s Wonder Winterland is an over-the-top audience participation event filled with laughter and fun for the entire family. Everyone gets to make a fabulous party hat for the occasion. Tickets are available on a sliding scale from $5-$30. Saturday, 4:00pm. The Vortex Repertory Company, 2307 Manor Rd.
Crafts for Kids- Brings the kids, ages 3 and up, to make a Holiday Card Holder! FREE!! Saturday between 11:00am- 3:00pm. Lakeshore Learning Store, 9828 Great Hills Trail.
Alamo Kids Club: Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas- Christmas is approaching in Frogtown Hollow, and Emmet Otter and his Ma hope to buy gifts for each other. Unfortunately, Emmet doesn’t make enough from the odd jobs he does, and Ma doesn’t make enough as a laundress. They decide to compete in the Frog Town Hollow Talent Contest in order to win money, but Ma will have to hock Emmet’s tool chest to buy a costume, and Emmet will have to put a hole in Ma’s washtub for his band! Kermit the Frog hosts this classic Muppet musical Christmas tale, based on the book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, with original songs from master tunesmith Paul Williams. FREE!! Saturday, 11:45am. Ages 3 and up. Film courtesy of the Jim Henson Legacy & The Jim Henson Company. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 1120 South Lamar.
Sunday Morning Kid’s Show- Enjoy a FREE show featuring Penelope Foolish. Sunday, 10:30am. Ruta Maya Coffee Shop, 3601 S. Congress Avenue.
Candlelight Lessons and Carols: A Holiday Performance to Spread Good Cheer- Warm candlelight and an eclectic mix of prose and angelic carols will warm hearts in the midst of the cold winter at Austin Children’s Choir holiday benefit performance of “Candlelight Lessons and Carols”. Kathleen Turner and the Austin Children’s Choir will continue their 24th season with a production that will include an assortment of holiday readings from Michael Meigs, AustinLiveTheater.com executive editor, and music including carols from the choir accompanied by the sounds of oboe and piano, played by Artistic Director of the Austin Children’s Choir, and classical guitar played by Tony Morris, producer of Classical Guitar Alive! radio program which is broadcast each week on over 200 radio stations. A wine and cheese reception will follow each performance to celebrate the holidays and togetherness. Sunday, 3:00, 5:00 and 7:00pm. Tickets, $20. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2128 Barton Hills Dr.