1. Wheeler School Concert Hand Bell Ringers
For a true ringing in of the holiday season, head to Aldrich Mansion on December 7 for the annual Christmas Open House with the Wheeler School Concert Hand Bell Ringers. The Handbell and Choirchime program at Wheeler begins in grades four and five; by Upper School, the best of the best audition to be part of The Concert Handbell Ringers division, dedicated to practice and performance. This selective and accomplished group of Ringers make each year’s Christmas Open House spectacular. The group has recorded with the Empire Brass Quintet and folk singer Ed Sweeney, performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and has made numerous television appearances.
For the low price of free, bring the whole family to hear the ringers ring, and to see the mansion decked-out with hundreds of festive lights and elaborate holiday finery. The event runs from 6-9pm and will include complimentary cookies, cider and cocoa to get your sweet tooth in the spirit. Free on-site parking is available. 739-6850. 836 Warwick Neck Avenue, Warwick
2. Lincoln School Lumina
Since the 1920s, Lincoln School has put on a glowing community celebration just before winter break. Over the decades, Lumina has flourished and evolved, crossing the threshold into community tradition. A thousand chairs in Lincoln School’s Boss-Mcloughlin Gymnasium will be filled with faculty, students, and community members on December 19 (snow date December 20 at 9am). The event begins at 1:30pm, when a candlelit procession of the high school’s seniors fill their seats, walking two-by-two, led by handbell ringers.
Lumina truly begins, however, when the entire community chimes in to sing “Mistresses and Masters” by candlelight. Holiday lighting twinkles from the ceiling to illuminate where the students, faculty, and staff are seated. Seniors will go on to recite poetry and sing, closing the ceremony with “Peace Round,” over and over rendering the last line of the song, “...lasting peace, lasting peace...” as they process out of the room. Juniors observe carefully as they imagine their own Lumina celebration next December. 301 Butler Avenue. 331-9696.
3. Getting Merry Like Christmas
This December, attend what is bound to become a new holiday tradition on the East Side. The Rhode Island Black Heritage Society presents Getting Merry Like Christmas, a mix of jazz, gospel and holiday spirit. This first-year event will be held at the RISD Museum, beginning at 1:30pm on December 6. While Robb Dimmick directs, Doreen Murray, a soloist known throughout New England will join talents such as Janell Brown, Drew Parker, Luna Abreu-Santana, and Jose Baez with jazz pianist Rod Luther at keyboard. The show promises to ring in the season with both traditional festive tunes, and not-so familiar takes on songs of the holidays. General admission tickets are $10, limited reserved seating tickets begin at $25. 20 North Main Street. 421-0606.
4. Rhode Island Historical Society’s Annual Holiday Open House
The Aldrich House will reverberate with both song and talk on December 6 during the Rhode Island Historical Society’s annual Holiday Open House. The event begins at 2pm when musical performers VoX (Voices of Christmas) take the stage, followed by the Ocean State Songbirds at 4pm. In between concerts, Elyssa Tardif, Director of the Goff Center at the RIHS will present a short talk (with samples) entitled, “‘Here We Come A-Wassailing!’: The ‘Rude Reveling’ and ‘Mad Mirth’ of Holidays Past.” Free admission. Contact email@example.com for more information. 110 Benevolent Street. 331-8575
5. A Christmas Carol
It’s that time of year again. You’re jonesing for some Tiny Tim, a bit of Ebenezer Scrooge, ghosts of various tenses. A Christmas Carol has returned to Trinity Rep.’s Chace Theater, running through December 31. Directed by Taibi Magar, adapted for the stage by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming, this timeless tale reminds us of the power of forgiveness and the magic that is Christmastime. With Fred Sullivan Jr. as Scrooge, all ages will find themselves lost in Dickens’ world: the darkness of winter, the hope of transformation, and the warmth of those famous words, “God Bless us, everyone!” Ticket prices range depending on show date and time. 201 Washington Street. 351-4242
6. The Nutcracker
If December had its own theme song, it would be “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” The Nutcracker is the quintessential holiday fantasy; first performed in 1892 based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” it has become more than a tradition, it is the embodiment of holiday divinity. From December 19-21, Festival Ballet Providence will run the timeless production, complete with elaborate set design (including a 25-foot tree and life-size dancing dolls), world class dancers, and breath-taking choreography. Fall into the fantasy of a Kingdom of Sweets and one girl’s nutcracker soldier who can’t help but turn into a handsome prince. Tickets are available at the PPAC Box Office or by calling 421-2787. 220 Weybosset Street. 353-1129
7. The Foundry Artists Holiday Show
If local art is your thing, and of course it is, The Foundry Artists Holiday Show is located in the adjacent Pawtucket Armory building and will hold its own opening reception on December 4 from 5-9pm. The show and sale runs December 5-7 and 12-14, from 10am-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays and 12-8pm on Fridays. 172 Exchange Street.
8. Mad Dog Artist Studios and Galley Holiday Sale
Instead of falling into a pit of retail uniformity this holiday season, give the gift of one of a kind art. Over 45 local artists will gather in the Pawtucket Armory Arts District for the Third Annual Holiday Sale at Mad Dog Artist Studios and Gallery, December 4-14. A kick-off evening reception on December 4 at 5pm promises light refreshments, wine, and jolliness. Locally produced items for sale include Pean Doubulyu glasswear, jewelry, industrial modern furniture, woven and knitted textiles, ceramics, prints, and various holiday items. For a quiet, intimate evening of shopping and mingling with the artists themselves, make reservations for the sale’s Private Shopping Event on December 11 from 6-8:30pm. Chef Kirby Dorius will prepare tapas, and wine and free gift wrapping will also be offered. Tickets for the event are $35. 65 Blackstone Avenue. 722-7800.
9. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and their wildly popular rock-operas blow back into town on December 19 at the Dunkin Donuts Center. In this winter’s tour, they perform their 1998’s album The Christmas Attic live for the first time. The narrative opens on Christmas Eve when a young girl’s curiosity commences an evening of holiday enchantment and mischief.
The group will perform just two shows, at 4pm and 8pm; tickets range from $32.50-62.50. One LaSalle Square. 331-6700
10. Providence Children’s Museum
The Providence Children’s Museum is getting hands-on this holiday season. From December 20-21, children can create festive holiday cards and collages with colorful fabrics, shiny papers, and other festive materials. Then on December 31, return to the museum for a New Year celebration where families can fashion their own noisemakers and countdown to a ball drop at noon and 2pm to ring in 2015. Activities are free with $9 museum admission. 100 South Street. 273-5437
11. Holiday Meal Drive Open House
In the midst of season brimming with merriment and abundance for many, it is vital to be mindful that within our community, there are those who need aid, especially during the holidays. The Rhode Island Community Food Bank will host a Holiday Meal Drive Open House on December 13 from 9am-12pm. Bring your non-perishable food for a morning of live music by the “Voices of Christmas,” the Wheeler School Jazz Ensemble, and teen singer/song writer Emeline Easton, help sort donations and tour the food bank, and enjoy hot chocolate, cider and cookies. 200 Niantic Avenue. 942-6325.
12. The Providence Ballet Theatre
It’s a classic. The Providence Ballet Theatre knows you can’t go wrong with ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. On December 19, the professional dancers as well as local children will perform an interpretation of Clement Clarke Moore’s time-honored poem, complete with sugar plum fairies, swirling snow, and old St. Nicholas himself. The show begins at 7:30pm at Rhode Island College’s Roberts Hall. General admission $30, seniors $20, students and children $15. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue. 456-8000
13. Brown’s Holiday Offerings
Celebrate with the Brown University Chorus as they perform Handel’s Messiah part 1 on December 5 at 8pm at Sayles Hall on the Main Green. Tickets are $15. Then the 98th Annual Service of Lessons and Carols at Brown University’s Sayles Hall will be held on December 7 from 4-5:30pm. The service will feature the Brown University Chorus, and the talented Mark Steinbach, University Organist. Directed by Frederick Jodry and the Brown Brass Quartet, Lessons and Carols is supported by the Brown Department of Music and the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life. All are welcome, admission is free. 81 Waterman Street. 863-2344