10 things to do for $10 this weekend, December 16-18, 2011

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There's plenty to do this weekend to get in the holiday spirit, whether it's drinking free sake at Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast, constructing crappy gifts at the MCA, or counting birds with the Audubon Society. And for the Scrooges out there, not to worry: there are a few non-holiday related events, too. As always for this list, they're all less than $10. Check out our complete calender at westword.com/calendar. Zoo Lights at the Denver Zoo (Friday-Sunday, $9) Lions and Tigers and Bears and sparkly lights! There's no better way to get festive than to bundle up and wander around the zoo and look at animals surrounded by holiday lights. Bring your own mug of spiked eggnog to make those lights look extra pretty. Night With a Pirate Party at Pirate: Contemporary Art (Friday, free) Not many Denver galleries can boast 32 years of operation, but that's just what Pirate will celebrate tonight. The annual anniversary will benefit the institution as well: proceeds from an art auction will go to keeping the gallery afloat for hopefully another 32 years, and beyond. Cheap Christmas Crapfare at the MCA Denver (Friday, $5) If you're looking for inexpensive gifts to give to weird relatives and co-workers you don't like, look no further than the MCA's crappy crafting station. Drink eggnog and glue cotton balls into snowmen, clothespins into reindeer and macaroni into...something crappy. Silver and Gold: A Holiday Extravaganza at Naropa University (Friday, $10) Boulder theater troupe Band of Toughs will host this holiday bash and they're definitely going to make it worth your $10. The evening includes performances of dance and theater, installation art, a photo booth, and a screening of the Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation Christmas special.

Rad Dad: Dispatches From the Frontiers of Fatherhood at the Denver Zine Library (Saturday, Free) With so many books and communities out there for mothers to talk about parenting, where do the cool dads turn for guidance? The answer is Rad Dad, the zine, and now anthology, of essays about fatherhood from rad dads like Ian Mackaye and Keith Hennessy. Editor Tomas Moniz will be in town today to talk about the topics the anthology explores, and create a community for fellow rad dads.

Christmas Bird Count and Holiday Party at the Audubon Center at Chatfield (Saturday, free) Creeps in the 1900s used to hunt birds every Christmas and put them on top of women's hats. Luckily for our feathered friends (and our heads), the Audubon Society started the Holiday Bird Count to replace that bloody sport, and you can participate in it today. Count birds, learn to use binoculars, and sip hot chocolate to celebrate winged creatures everywhere. The Fine Gentleman's Club at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse (Saturday, $8-9) If you haven't gotten a chance to check out the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse yet, your time has come. Enjoy popcorn while you watch the talents of comedians Sam Tallent, Nathan Lund, Chris Charpentier, and Bobby Crane, who collectively make up the Fine Gentleman's Club. They're sure to make you laugh so hard you choke on that popcorn.

Sake Party and Festive Gathering at Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast in Mod Livin'(Saturday, free) For a holiday party that's a little different, Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast certainly has one of the best. Free sake, takoyaki, hot tea, and other goodies to nibble on are just part of the fun evening. The shop is also offering 20 percent discounts on everything in the store so you can shop for your favorite Japanophile while you sip Gaijin 24886 Brewery's sake.

The Polar Express at the Denver FilmCenter (Sunday, free) The children's Christmas book that inspired moms everywhere to cry every holiday season also inspired this computer-animated film starring Tom Hanks. Plus, there's hot cocoa, holiday cookies, and an appearance by Santa following the screening.

Watch holiday specials on the internet (free)

For those who'd rather stay in bed than go out and and do stuff this weekend, the Internet has all those weird holiday specials you remember from childhood for your enjoyment. From the classic (

Charlie Brown Christmas

, to the creepy (

Frosty the Snowman

, to the just plain bizarre (

1978 Star Wars Holiday Special

, complete with commercials), the Internet has you covered.

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