Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Christmas celebration: Sweet Tea Shakespeare invites all fans to their Christmas cantata, Today and Friday, 7 p.m., at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Behold will feature Sweet Tea Shakespeare musicians and actors with music from Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God and the Oh Hellos, along with readings and good cheer. Behold is a musical take on the Christmas Story. Part gospel, part Sweet Tea magic, this is a reflective evening meant to warm your hearts and focus your minds on Advent and Christmas. Details available at www.sweetteashakespeare.com.
Holiday Lights in the Garden: Cape Fear Botanical Garden celebrates its sixth Holiday Lights in the Garden, Friday through Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 to 30, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The garden will be transformed into a sparkling wonderland with thousands of lights illuminating plants, trees, and new exhibits. Enjoy holiday music, photos with Santa, seasonal treats, s’mores roasting and much more. Tuesday and Thursdays are military nights with special rates for service members and their Families.
Christmas in the park: Today through Dec. 21, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Arnette Park, Fayetteville. Enjoy a leisurely stroll on a half-mile, paved walking trail while taking in the sights and sounds of the Christmas season. And don’t forget to stop by and visit with Santa. Admission is $10 per Family vehicle, $30 per commercial vehicle, $75 per motorcoach/bus and $5 for a photo with Santa.
The Nutcracker: Performed by the North Carolina Ballet, The Nutcracker will be presented at the Crown Theatre, Saturday and Sunday, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 adults, $18 military, and $7 kids, 12 and younger. Visit www.crowncomplexnc.com/events/detail/nc-state-ballet-the-nutcracker for more information.
WALTZING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND: Fayetteville Symphony presents its December concert, Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., Huff Concert Hall at Methodist University. Celebrate the holiday season with the Fayetteville Symphony and guest conductor Aram Demirjian, music director of the Knoxville Symphony, for an evening of traditional holiday music that will have you feeling like you’re waltzing in a winter wonderland.
Candlelight Loft Tours: Visit downtown Fayetteville on Sunday, from 5 to 8 p.m., for one of the area’s signature events. From century-old, walk-up loft apartments above downtown shops to the newer construction of Parkview, visitors will find gorgeous, inviting homes decorated to welcome holiday guests. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com/events/candlelight-loft-tours.
Wreaths across America: Wreaths Across America allows sponsorship of wreaths to be placed on veteran’s grave during Christmas time. Rolling Thunder NC1 is hosting the ceremony for the 2016 WAA event at Sandhills Veteran Cemetery, Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All are invited to be a part of the ceremony and help place wreaths on veteran’s graves this Christmas season.
Christmas Movie and Snow Spectacular: The 5th Annual Christmas Movie and Snow Spectacular will feature a festive atmosphere with carol singing and a visit from Santa, Dec. 17, starting at 11 a.m., in the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Following Santa’s visit, the Christmas classic Family movie, “Elf” will be shown. After the movie, the greenspace adjacent to the theater will be transformed to a winter wonderland with snow and sledding for the children. There will also be a bouncy house, face painting, hot chocolate with cookies and other family friendly activities. Food trucks will be on-site to provide lunch. Admission is $10 and includes entry to the movie, refreshments and festivities.
Love was Born: Wood Memorial Chapel Gospel Congregation presents Love was Born, Dec. 18, at the Methodist University Theater. Come out and laugh, cry and, more importantly, understand the real reason for the season. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and play starts at 5 p.m.
New Year’s Eve Glow Party: Come light up the night at Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s 2016 New Year’s Eve Glow party, Dec. 31, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The event will feature neon lights, a live DJ, dessert, entertainment and a toast. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door, and includes a dessert bar, champagne toast, one free drink, music and more. Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/new-years-eve-glow-party-at-the-garden-tickets-29604824828 to purchase tickets and for more information.
Governor’s mansion open house: North Carolina’s Executive Mansion — the “people’s house” — will open its doors for the annual Holiday Open House, today through Sunday. Visitors are invited to tour the home, take in the decorations, and enjoy seasonal musical entertainment by local performing groups. The hours of the open house are: Today, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 2 to 8 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free and reservations are not needed or accepted. The mansion is located at 200 North Blount St., Raleigh, North Carolina. Visitors should enter at the main gates on Blount Street.
62nd Annual Singing Christmas Tree: Carolina Voices present a winter wonderland of holiday entertainment at the 62nd Annual Singing Christmas Tree in Charlotte, North Carolina. The warm sounds of the season will fill the Knight Theater as the soaring voices of the MainStage Choir (in a 32-foot, specially-designed tree) perform all your favorite Christmas music — from the inspirational and sacred to the traditional pop and Family classics. The stage will sparkle with whimsical dance, puppetry and special friends who will warm your heart at this special time of the year. Guests include: Hardin Minor, Grey Seal Puppets, Miller Street Dance Academy, Young Voices of the Carolinas, and Impromptu. There will be three performances: Saturday, at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, at 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.carolinavoices.org.
Old Fashioned Christmas: Come enjoy an old fashioned Christmas at Malcolm Blue Farm in Aberdeen, North Carolina, Saturday, from 1 to 5 p.m. The farmhouse will be open and decorated in the fashion of the period. Music and light refreshments will be provided. The pack house will be open with children’s activities such as letters to Santa with feather pens and making bird feeders. This event is free and open to the public.
House in the Horseshoe: The House in the Horseshoe State Historic Site in Sanford, North Carolina, hosts its annual Colonial Christmas Open House, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come and tour this historic gem, decorated for the holidays. Re-enactors in colonial attire will conduct trade demonstrations and weapons firings throughout the day. Light refreshments will be served on a first-come, first-serve basis. Join in celebrating the holiday season by taking a festive step back in time at the free program. The House in the Horseshoe interprets the Revolutionary War period and a skirmish in July 1781, between the forces of patriot Philip Alston and loyalist David Fanning. It shares the history of the house and its colorful inhabitants. For more information, visit www.nchistoricsites.org/horsesho/.
Oak Grove Christmas Open House: The historic plantation in Godwin, North Carolina opens to the public Dec. 16 to 18, for daytime and evening candlelight tours, horse-and-carriage rides, Brunswick stew and visits with Santa. For more information, call 323-1903.
Ugly Sweater Party: Dust off those “lovely” Christmas sweaters for Deep River Brewing Company’s annual Ugly Sweater Party, Dec. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m., at the brewery in Clayton, North Carolina. Heads Up Penny Band will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. and Mama’s Hot Chicken food truck will be there from 3 to 9 p.m. The brewery will award prizes for ugliest sweater for humans and dogs around 8 p.m.
Polar Express Day: Children are invited to wear their favorite pajamas and be whisked away to the North Pole on Polar Express Day at the Children’s Museum of Wilmington, North Carolina, Dec. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. Visitors can ride the train around the block, drink hot chocolate, create holiday crafts and get their lists ready to tell Santa himself about a Christmas wish.
Durham Kwanzaa Celebration: The annual Durham Kwanzaa Celebration at the Holton Career and Resource Center in Durham, North Carolina, spotlights the seven principles of peace and progress in the community and celebrates those exemplifying it. The celebration will be held on the fifth day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 30, from 6 to 9 p.m., and will focus on the principle of Nia (purpose). The one-day event features hands-on activities that are fun for the whole Family, educational speakers and live performances of African and jazz music.