1. Luminations at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Opens Dec. 5. 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through Dec. 15. Free-$18. 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org/event/luminations/all.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is pretty magical enough on its own, but this holiday season, thousands of luminarias (small paper lanterns) will make the gardens truly sparkle. Plus, during Luminations each night, there will be aerial performances from Blue Lapis Light, live music, and food and drink from Royal Fig Catering and the North Door. Blue Lapis’ “Oneness of Being” was inspired by the Wildflower Center.
2. Penfold Theatre’s “It's a Wonderful Life: Classic Radiocast”
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 21, through Dec. 21. $16-$31. Old Settler's Hall, 3300 East Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. penfoldtheatre.org
Back by popular demand, the holiday show draws audience members back in time to 1946 as members of the KPNF radio station are assembling for a live radio performance of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Through dozens of characterizations and live foley sound effects, five actors tell the entire story, putting an imaginative twist on a cherished holiday tradition.
3. The Austin Trail of Lights’ 6th Annual Night Lights Preview Party
6 p.m. Dec. 6. Free-$85. Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road. austintrailoflights.org/specialty-nights/night-lights-preview-party
Before the annual Trail of Lights display opens to the public in Zilker Park, check out the sparkling scene with a smaller crowd. The Night Lights preview party will have live music from Jackie Venson and Mother Falcon, bites from local restaurants, a beer and wine open bar, cocktail tastings, and complimentary Ferris wheel and carousel rides. Ticket proceeds go toward the Trail of Lights Foundation.
4. KUT & KUTX Holiday sing-along at the Texas State Capitol
6 p.m. Dec. 7. Free. 1100 Congress Ave. kutx.org
In a time-honored holiday tradition, KUTX DJs John Aielli and Elizabeth McQueen lead Austin’s favorite large-scale caroling event from the steps of the Capitol building. The sing-along kicks off at 6 p.m. followed the lighting of the Capitol tree at 7 p.m. After the main event, merry-makers are invited to stroll Congress Avenue where they can visit with Santa, peruse the holiday market and take in free tunes from Max Frost, Mobley and Alesia Lani. — Deborah Sengupta Stith
5. Monthly Cider Pairing: Cookies at Texas Keeper Cider
1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 8. $15-$25. 12521 Twin Creeks Road. facebook.com/events/2514422352178533/
In celebration of the holiday season, far South Austin’s Texas Keeper Cider brings back this cookie pairing event. Texas Keeper will pour a flight of four different ciders and put out trays of five of the founders’ families’ favorite holiday cookies. The fun finishes up with a glass of house-made mulled cider. You'll also get to go home with recipes for all the cookies and a goodie bag if there are any leftovers.