1. Ballet Austin's "The Nutcracker"
7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, 2 p.m. Dec. 23. $15-$99. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. balletaustin.org.
Tchaikovsky's most famous work comes to life from Ballet Austin for the 56th year, featuring choreography by artistic director Stephen Mills and live accompaniment by the Austin Symphony Orchestra. In this traditional take, young heroine Clara faces her fears, rescues her prince and dreams big on a magical wintry adventure. There's a different local famous face playing Mother Ginger in each performance, including for this final weekend University of Texas president Greg Fenves.
2. Battle of the Rockies at Banger's
6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 20. Free. 79 Rainey St. facebook.com/events/1935561799853397/.
Banger's second annual Battle of the Rockies features five Colorado breweries facing off, with two primarily seasonal beers from each one on tap. Featured beers include Left Hand Chai Milk Stout, Odell Barrel-Aged Lugene, Avery Brewing Sandy Claus, Oskar Blues Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy and Great Divide Barrel-Aged Yeti. Leave a score on your comment card, and the winning brewery will win a trophy.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas Gothic Ball & Bazaar
9 p.m. Dec. 22. $14. Elysium Austin, 705 Red River St. eventbrite.com/e/the-nightmare-before-christmas-gothic-ball-bazaar-2018-tickets-52652142977.
For a different sort of holiday celebration, Elysium is transforming into Halloweentown and will have DJ music, sing-a-longs with shadow casting, a photo booth, holiday shopping bazaar and themed drinks such as the Jack with coffee liqueur, chocolate vodka and cream. Additional performers at Elysium, playing the roles of the Pumpkin King, Sally, Sandy Claws and more, will no doubt remind you of the animated movie by which the event was inspired.
4. Freedonia at Parker Jazz Club
8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Dec. 22. $20. 117 W. Fourth St. parkerjazzclub.com.
New to downtown this year, Parker Jazz Club has helped give local jazz players another steady venue outside the long-standing Elephant Room. Also new to the city’s scene is Freedonia, but everyone will certainly recognize at least one member: Grammy-winning singer and guitarist Christopher Cross. The group’s eight-piece lineup also includes saxophonists Russell Haight, Seth Carper and Justin Vasquez, plus pianist Jeff Hellmer, bassist John Fremgen, percussionist James Fenner and drummer Scott Laningham. — Peter Blackstock
5. SundayFundayMas with the Austin Flea
12 to 6 p.m. Dec. 23. Free. The ABGB, 1305 Oltorf St. theabgb.com.
Here's one of your last chances to shop for one-of-a-kind holiday gifts. The Austin Flea, setting up for a final time before Christmas, features entirely local handmade items and vintage wares from talented vendors. Items include jewelry, bath and body products, vintage pieces, original artwork, paper goods, textiles and so much more. There will be on-site caroling throughout the day, and Sunday Best music goes on at 4 p.m.