Let’s face it — the holiday season isn’t always fun.
There are presents to buy, trips to plan, trees to trim. In the midst of all the shopping, party-prepping and cookie-baking, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Fortunately, The Tribune has the perfect anecdote for your holiday blues: a list of holly, jolly events sure to lift your spirits. In celebration of the season, here are 12 ways to put a jingle in your step.
Celebrate a Central Coast tradition
The holidays simply aren’t complete without “The Holiday Extravaganza,” running through Dec. 31 at the Great American Melodrama & Vaudeville in Oceano.
This festive, family-friendly production starts with a one-act adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” followed by the fractured fairy tale opera “Snow White and the Four (Don’t Ask) Dwarves” and a holiday-themed vaudeville revue.
Tickets for “The Holiday Extravaganza” cost $22 to $25, with discounts for seniors, students, active military and children 12 and younger; call
805-489-2499 or visit www.americanmelodrama.com for information.
Sample some ‘Holiday Delights’
The San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble kicks off its 40th anniversary season with three concerts that combine traditional Christmas carols, cathedral songs and contemporary classical music.
The group performs this Thursday at Trilogy at Monarch Dunes in Nipomo, Saturday at San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church and Sunday at Mission San Luis Obispo. Tickets are $30 to $40, or $20 for students; for information, call 805-541-6797 or visit www.vocalarts.org.
Take a musical trip to the tropics
Already tired of wet, chilly weather? Put yourself in an island frame of mind at this concert featuring Hawaii’s Kupaoa.
Husband-and-wife duo Kellen and Lihau Paik, who hail from Kauai, will perform original Hawaiian music as well as holiday favorites.
Discover ‘A Christmas Story’
This season, San Luis Obispo Little Theatre offers two takes on the holidays: one nice, one naughty.
“A Christmas Story,” playing Saturday through Dec. 23, follows young Ralphie Parker in his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. Like the movie of the same title, the play combines nostalgia and warm humor.
For folks who prefer dry martinis to hot cocoa, there’s “The Santaland Diaries,” running Dec. 9 through 17. The acerbic one-man show charts the experiences of a Christmas elf working at a New York City department store.
Tickets for “A Christmas Story” cost $15 to $35, while admission to “The Santaland Diaries” is $15 to $20. Call 805-786-2440 or visit www.slolittletheatre.org for details.
Find cheer in the air
Suspended Motion Aerial Arts celebrates the season with a high-flying Winter Showcase.
Aerialists will soar through the air on silk, lyra, rope and other cirque-style apparatuses, dancing to classic holiday songs as well as winter-inspired tunes such as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
The Winter Showcase takes place Friday and Saturday at Suspended Motion’s San Luis Obispo studio. Tickets cost $15, or $10 for students, seniors and children; kids younger than 3 are free. Call 805-549-6417 or visit www.suspendedmotion.net for information.
Get in step with the season
Adore dance? Here are three festive productions perfect for ballet fans.
Coastal Chamber Youth Ballet presents the fairy tale favorite “Babes in Toyland” on Saturday and Sunday at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande. Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors and $18 for kids.
Civic Ballet San Luis Obispo teams up with conductor Brian Asher Alhadeff and the Opera San Luis Obispo orchestra for “The Nutcracker,” featuring Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky’s magical score. It plays Dec. 10 and 11 at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo; tickets are $18 to $55.
On Dec. 16, 17 and 18, Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo’s production of “A Christmas Carol” comes to the PAC. Admission is $20 to $44.
See ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ live
What would Bedford Falls be like without businessman George Bailey? Find out when classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” is re-imagined as a 1940s radio broadcast.
Central Coast Theater Works presents the radio play live Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Nipomo High School. Tickets are $15, or $10 for children 12 and younger; call 805-574-4281 or visit www.cctw.brownpapertix.com.
A free production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” plays Dec. 17 and 18 at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre. For information, call 805-927-8190 or visit www.cambriacenterforthearts.org.
Have a Celtic Christmas
Celebrate Celtic culture this season.
Go on a journey to the Emerald Isle with “An Irish Christmas,” featuring traditional folk music, dance, song and storytelling from Ireland.
Tickets for the concert, which will be held at South Bay Community Center in Los Osos, are $20 to $25, or $10 for children 12 and younger; call 805-215-0306 or visit www.mollysrevenge.com for details.
Catch a ride on ‘The Polar Express’
Santa will also stop by the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum on Dec. 10 and 11 for live readings of “The Polar Express,” held four times each day.
Get a Handel on the holidays
Audience members are invited to join the chorus as the chorale, soloists and orchestra perform George Frideric Handel’s famous English-language oratorio. Conductor Thomas Davies will make sure this “Messiah” is truly magical.
Admission is $10. For information, visit www.pacslo.org.
Go caroling indoors
In the mood for more musical merriment? On Dec. 18, there are two holiday sing-alongs to choose from.
At the Forbes Pipe Organ Holiday Concert & Sing-Along, held at the Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo, audience members can join two community choirs in song as they perform holiday carols accompanied by a pipe organ.
At the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande, community members can participate in the Christmas and Holiday Sing-Along. Performers include bell ringers from First United Methodist Church of Arroyo Grande and choirs from Nipomo, Arroyo Grande and Righetti high schools, as well as dancers from Everybody Can Dance in Santa Maria.
Tickets for the PAC event cost $18, or $12 for students. For information, visit www.pacslo.org.
Admission to the Clark Center sing-along is $12, or $6 for students and children. More details are at www.clarkcenter.org.
Have a cool Yule
The former Wings lead guitarist will join upright bassist Domenic Genova and drummer Michael Jochum in concert Dec. 8 at The Siren bar in Morro Bay. The trio, which blends blues, folk, jazz and rock, will perform seasonal selections from its latest album, “Holidays & Hollynights.”
Tickets are $30 to $45; call 888-285-5893 or visit www.infinitemusicfoundation.org for details.