- Arianna Auber American-Statesman Staff
1. Circus Chickendog’s “Mutt-cracker (Sweet!)”
Opens Dec. 21. 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. on various dates through Jan. 6. $15-$35. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org.
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. Joining Darren with the magic of diabolo is Etienne Chauzy. Buy tickets as soon as possible, as the shows tend to sell out.
2. Sundayfundaymas at the ABGB
2 p.m. Dec. 17. Free. 1305 Oltorf St. theabgb.com.
It’s the last Sunday before Christmas, and the South Austin brewpub wants to celebrate the season with you. The afternoon includes reindeer games with Wild Bill and the Lost Knobs, the ABGB’s weekly Sunday Best dance party with Roger Wallace and friends, and a holiday pop-up market featuring merchandise from local musicians. Some of them will be selling their wares in person, whether that’s CDs, posters, shirts, koozies and more for all the music lovers on your holiday shopping list.
3. Jimmy LaFave Tribute at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
7 p.m. Dec. 18. $8. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. armadillobazaar.com.
Eliza Gilkyson has played the annual holiday shopping event many times, but this year is different: She’ll lead a cast of locals paying tribute to LaFave, who died of cancer in May. LaFave’s Night Tribe bandmates John Inmon, Glenn Schuetz and Bobby Kallus will take part along with fiddler Warren Hood, with singers including Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves and more. The show begins at 7 p.m., following sets earlier in the day by MilkDrive at 3 p.m. and Warren Hood at noon. A ticket is good for all day. — Peter Blackstock
4. Movie night at the Austin Trail of Lights
7:30 p.m. Dec. 19. Free. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road. austintrailoflights.org.
Not sure what night you should explore one of Austin’s most beloved holiday extravaganzas? The Tuesday before Christmas is a good bet: Austin Parks Foundation is screening the Will Ferrell film “Elf” as part of the organization’s regular Movies in the Park series. Although the movie starts at 8 p.m., arrive a little early with your blankets and maple syrup to enjoy the short film “Prep & Landing” beforehand. “Elf” is about Buddy the Elf, who travels to New York from the North Pole to meet his dad.
5. St. Elmo Brewing’s Holiday Sing-A-Long
8 p.m. Dec. 20. Free. 440 E. St. Elmo Road. facebook.com/events/201246920441539.
The South Austin brewery is hosting this second annual holiday jam session. Local band Murphy’s InLaws will be taking the outdoor stage as visitors to St. Elmo rock out to some of the season’s finest tunes. Plus, it’s a good night for a new beer: the Mary Christmas Ale. St. Elmo Brewing made a small batch of this beer with employee Mary Agnew. Sweet and balanced, it was created with orange peel, cinnamon and Amarillo hops. Ugly sweaters and other holiday garb is highly encouraged.
6. River City Pops’ “’Tis the Season”
8 p.m. Dec. 22, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 23. $20-$40. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 512-474-5664, thelongcenter.org.
Austin’s exuberant show choir is hoping to make a new holiday tradition out of this upcoming show. “’Tis the Season” is a fun and festive collection of your favorite holiday songs, showcased through River City Pops’ joyous vocals, sparkling choreography and hilarious takes on the best and worst things about the holiday season. Thirty voices will perform everything from “Carol of the Bells” to more contemporary Christmas pop tunes while a live band plays onstage.
7. “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley”
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 23. $16-$36. 6001 Airport Blvd. austinplayhouse.ticketleap.com/miss-bennet/.
It’s the final week to enjoy a Jane Austen Christmas. The Austin Playhouse takes on a charmingly imagined sequel to Austen’s beloved literary romance “Pride and Prejudice” to tell the story of the oft-overlooked, bookish middle sister Mary. She has come into her own as a confident woman — ready for love at last when the family reunites for Christmas at Pemberley. Thankfully, Mr. Darcy’s aristocratic but socially bumbling bookworm cousin turns up, sparking her hopes.