1. Circus Chickendog’s “Mutt-cracker (Sweet!)”
Opens Dec. 20. 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. various dates through Jan. 6, with no 6:30 show Jan. 1 and 6. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org/30_mutt-1.
It’s not Christmastime without this kid-friendly, circus-themed version of “The Nutcracker,” as performed by Circus Chickendog. The production once again stars five talented rescue dogs (Mouse, Moose, Coyote, Squirrel and Skeeter) and a talking scarlet macaw named Lauren MaCaw. Their owner, Darren Peterson, brings his masterful juggling and unicycling skills to the stage, as well his gifted dog training. The Vortex's own Melissa Vogt wrote the script, and other Vortex artists have also participated.
2. A Festival of Carols
8:30 to 11 a.m. Dec. 16. Free. Hope Presbyterian Church, 11512 Olson Drive. 512-258-9117, hopeaustin.org.
There's nothing like listening to carols to feel the holiday spirit. Hear a 100-voice choir of both adults and children, accompanied by a full orchestra, perform a dozen carols that have been arranged beautifully by English composer John Rutter and American composers Mack Wilberg and Mark Hayes. The audience can sing along with the choir and orchestra on many of the pieces. The Festival of Carols is popular, so come early.
3. Make-A-Wish Monday at Blue Genie Art Bazaar
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 17. Free. 6100 Airport Blvd. bluegenieartbazaar.com.
Want to give something unique to your loved ones this year? Blue Genie, the annual four-week holiday art and shopping depot, features thousands of one-of-a-kind gifts by more than 200 artisans. Each year, the bazaar honors its commitment to giving back with Make-A-Wish Mondays, when 10 percent of that day’s profits are donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South Texas. The final philanthropic day is Christmas Eve.
4. Astronomy on Tap
7:30 to 10 p.m. Dec. 18. Free. The North Door, 502 Brushy St. astronomyontap.org/2018/11/astronomy-on-tap-atx-51-december-18-2018.
In the final installment of the year, three University of Texas professors will take you on a trip to the most incredible places in the universe, exploring the history of our home galaxy, how stars form and more. Astronomy on Tap also will have telescopes on hand so you can look for exciting objects in the night sky, weather permitting. The evening also features astronomy news and trivia and new Astronomy on Tap merchandise.
5. The Holiday Disco Bar & Lounge at Geraldine's Austin
7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 19. Free. 605 Davis St. facebook.com/events/203252647281252/.
For a few days before Christmas, the restaurant at Hotel Van Zandt will transform its fourth-floor pool deck into a life-size snow globe. Decked out with a snow machine, disco ball and festive decor, the tented rooftop will transport guests to a winter wonderland complete with marshmallows for roasting and holiday cocktails for toasting. To get that snow globe shaking, there will be curated selection of holiday favorites and forgotten classics on rotation by guest vinyl DJ Janice Bond.
6. Eden East's Winter Solstice Party, Pig Roast & Craft Market
7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 21. $89.84. 755 Springdale Road. eventbrite.com/e/eden-east-annual-solstice-festival-craft-market-tickets-52464706349.
Celebrate the longest night of the year with this picturesque local restaurant, including live music, a bonfire and many surprises. Eden East chefs will serve a seasonal family-style buffet. Plus, complimentary cocktails and beer from neighboring beverage purveyors such as Deep Eddy Vodka and Desert Door Sotol will keep you warm and toasty. Local artisans will help you get your last-minute holiday shopping done.
7. "La Bamba" at AFS Cinema
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 22. $9. 6406 N. Interstate 35, Ste. 3100. austinfilm.org/screening/la-bamba/.
The life of rock 'n' roll legend Ritchie Valens bursts across the screen in the celebrated music-filled biopic "La Bamba," starring Lou Diamond Phillips as the teenage sensation whose rise to fame was ended tragically at the age of 17. The film features music from Grammy Award-winning rock band Los Lobos. The screening is presented as a partnership with Frida Friday ATX and Cine Las Americas.