Best Bets

It’s A Wonderful Life

It’s easy to get bogged down in the mires of life around the holidays: the end-of-year deadlines, the money crunch, the burden of familial obligations. That’s why it’s always refreshing to take a little journey with George Bailey and his guardian angel, to be reminded about the good things for which we can all be thankful. This year, supplement your annual viewing of the Jimmy Stewart film classic with a trip to Davidson to see the story brought to life on stage by the Davidson Community Players. Dec. 3-20. See page 36 for details.

Holiday Lights at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

When twilight falls on Daniel Stowe’s sprawling Belmont acreage, holiday spirit comes to life in the form of 600,000 lights on display all over the property. The shimmering decorations start at the entrance to the property and wind around to the garden ponds to the Visitor Pavilion. Inside the pavilion stands the showstopping, sixteen-foot Orchid Tree, featuring more than 300 orchids. The twinkles continue outside, where lights are strung in all six of Daniel Stowe’s intricate gardens. When you’re done exploring the gardens on foot, take a carriage ride around the property, sip hot cocoa, and enjoy a serenade from singing carolers or live music from local performers. The guy in the big red suit makes a nightly appearance at 6:30 p.m. Through Dec. 31. See page 40 for details.

Magic of Christmas

Popular Pops conductor Albert-George Schram hoists the baton for this annual holiday concert. Even though Maestro Schram has long been a staple on the stand with the Charlotte Symphony, this is the first time he’s helmed this classic holiday show. Returning this year are the Oratorio Singers as well as the Noel Freidline Trio and the Charlotte Children’s Choir. Dec. 1-20. See page 33 for details.

First Night Charlotte

Forgo the traditional, boozy New Year’s celebration and spend your countdown to midnight enjoying live performances of music, dance, and theater in Charlotte’s center city. The event is alcohol free and family friendly, so you can save on a sitter and bring along the young ones for the fun. Kid-centric performances will be staged from 3 to 7 p.m. between ImaginOn and Discovery Place. More live music will take late-night revelers all the way into the new year. Dec. 31. See page 40 for details.

Sister Christmas Catechism

The one-woman show Late Nite Catechism takes a bit of a detour from its usual script at Christmastime and instead becomes a tale of manger mystery. Who stole the Magi’s gold? That is the caper that Sister will set out to solve in this three-act performance, which features quite a bit of audience participation. This wry performance is a little different from your typical holiday fare (less carol singing, more audience ribbing and ad-libbing), but that’s what makes it fun. Dec. 1-20. See page 35 for details.

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