The holiday season is here, and we've reached into Santa's grab bag for dozens of events in and around Denver that offer family-friendly fun (and a few more adult options as well). From a bowlful of Nutcracker productions to light shows and markets galore, the Mile High City will glow through the end of 2018. Here's just a hint of what's happening, in chronological order.
Now through December 16: Denver Flea: This flea market isn't just a market (though it has a wealth of local and artisan makers). There's also a bar, food trucks and music setting up shop every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through December 16. $5, Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop Street, denverflea.com.
Now through December 23: A Christmas Carol: The Musical: Toes will tap and hearts will swell during this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's holiday heart-warmer. Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 West Main Street, Littleton, 303-794-2787, townhallartscenter.org.
Now through December 30: Brewery Lights: The Anheuser-Busch brewery lights up for the holidays with crafts for kids and theme nights including ’80s Ski Night, Speakeasy Night and a masquerade ball. Thursdays through Sundays, 5-9 p.m., free admission, paid packages $10-$250, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 2351 Busch Drive, Fort Collins, budweisertours.com.
Now through December 31: Holiday Lights Mini Golf: Enjoy some winter miniature golf on a seasonally decorated course. The 54 holes will be open Fridays through Sundays through December 16 and daily from December 21-31. 5:30-9 p.m., $8-$10, Adventure Golf & Raceway, 9650 Sheridan Boulevard, Westminster, 303-650-7587, adventuregolfandraceway.com.
Now through December 23: Denver Christkindl Market: Skyline Park transforms into a traditional German holiday market with cozy beverages, holiday treats and charming gifts every holiday season. Free admission, Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe streets, christkindlmarketdenver.com.
Now through December 26: Holiday Show and Gift Shop: This holiday pop-up shop takes over an Evergreen gallery space. Free admission, Center for the Arts Evergreen, 31880 Rocky Village Drive, Evergreen, 303-674-0056, evergreenarts.org.
Now through December 30: Holiday Market: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., free admission, Commonwheel Artists Gallery, 102 Canon Avenue, Manitou Springs, 719-685-1005, commonwheel.com.
Now through January 1: Winter Wonderlights: A walkable holiday light display with a myriad of illuminated attractions and special weekend programming throughout the display's run. Free (donations of canned food or unwrapped toys welcome); Chapungu Sculpture Park, behind the Promenade Shops at Centerra, 5971 Sky Pond Drive, Loveland, winterwonderlightsloveland.com.November 20-December 23: Elf: The Musical: Buddy the Elf rides (and sings and dances) again in a musical adaptation of the beloved 2003 film. Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org.
Now through December 23: A Christmas Carol: Whose cockles aren't warmed by the timeless tale of the miser Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim? Only people who were born without cockles. This is a comedic version of Dickens's seasonal tale. $22 and up, Miner's Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, 303-935-3044, minersalley.com.
Now through December 23: Santa's Village at Chatfield Farms: Kris Kringle and his reindeer visit on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to wish kids of all ages a merry Christmas. 4:30-8:30 p.m., $20, Denver Botanic Gardens, 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, 720-865-3500, botanicgardens.org.
Now through December 24: The SantaLand Diaries: A modern holiday classic from David Sedaris recounting a stint as one of Santa's elves at Macy's. $25 and up, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 13th and Arapahoe streets, 303-893-4100, denvercenter.org.
Now through December 31: A Hudson Christmas: Wander the grounds and take in the holiday lights on select dates through New Year's Eve. 5-9 p.m., $8-$10.50, Hudson Gardens & Event Center, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, 303-797-8565, hudsongardens.org.
Now through December 31: Scrooge!: The tale of a man who learns the true meaning of goodwill toward men, now with songs like "I Hate People." $29.95 and up, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, 4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown, 970-744-3747, coloradocandlelight.com.
Now through January 1: Blossoms of Light: The Denver Botanic Gardens gets tricked out in colored lights in this winter tradition that's been going on for over thirty years. 5-9 p.m., $13-$16, Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, 720-865-3500, botanicgardens.org.
Now through December 22: The Christmas Spirit: What would you do if the Grim Reaper showed up right before your Christmas party? Julie invites him to stay for the fun in this comedic production. $18-$23, John Hand Theater, 7653 East 1st Place, 303-562-3232, firehousetheatercompany.com.
Now through December 22: The Story of the Nutcracker: The story of Clara and the Nutcracker is introduced to children in this adaptation of the ballet. $12, Miner's Alley Playhouse, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, 303-935-3044, minersalley.com.
Now through December 23: Santa on the Square: Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the Mile High City every weekend through December to ensure that their list is up to date. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Saturdays) and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (Sundays), Larimer Square, 1430 Larimer Street, larimersquare.com.
Now through December 24: A Christmas Carol: Does watching the miserable Scrooge get the pants scared off of him ever get old ? It does not. $30 and up, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 13th and Arapahoe streets, 303-893-4100, denvercenter.org.
Now through December 24: The Nutcracker: The Colorado Ballet's annual production is a holiday classic entering its 58th year, and for good reason — performances still sell out. $30 and up, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 303-893-4100, coloradoballet.org.
Now through December 21: Holiday Fine Arts Festival: Opening party on November 29, 5-8 p.m.; closing party December 20, 5-8 p.m. Free admission, Art Gym, 1460 Leyden Street, 303-320-8347, artgymdenver.com.
Now through December 23: A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show: With the talent snowed in and unable to make it to WXMS's studio for the annual Christmas Eve show, a hapless sound-effects technician takes it upon himself to ensure that the show goes on in this rollicking comedy. $19-$38, Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton Street, Aurora, 303-856-7830, vintagetheatre.com.
Now through December 24: Santa's Big Red Sack: This NSFW sketch comedy is entering its final run this holiday season. $25, Avenue Theater, 417 East 17th Avenue, 303-321-5925, avenuetheater.com.
Now through January 6: Zoo Lights: Over two million lights illuminate the zoo with animal light sculptures around the grounds; nightly entertainment, the Festival of Lanterns and Santa's workshop round out the evening. 5:30-9 p.m., $10-$20, Denver Zoo, 2900 East 23rd Avenue, 720-337-1400, denverzoo.org.
Now through December 16: Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum: The blend of dance, live music, spoken word and celebrations from around the world returns for its 48th year. $30-$40, Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, 119 Park Avenue West, 303-295-1759, cleoparkerdance.org.
Now through December 15: Irving Berlin's White Christmas: There's nothing that can't be solved by a song-and-dance number in this feel-good holiday musical. $30 and up, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 13th and Arapahoe streets, 303-893-4100, denvercenter.org.
December 14-16: Governor's Residence Tours: Tour the residence, which is open to the public and decorated to reflect retro design trends from the 1910s through 1980s. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., free, 400 East 8th Avenue, 303-837-8350, coloradoshome.org.
Now through December 24: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley: Mary Bennet, the forgotten younger sister of Elizabeth, longs for a holiday romance — but she has to make it through Christmas with her sisters first in this Pride and Prejudice spin-off. Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder, 303-444-7328, betc.org.
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December 14-23 and December 25-January 1: Electric Safari: Enjoy over eighty light sculptures around the zoo grounds; Santa Claus himself will be in attendance through December 23. 5:30-8:30 p.m., $12.75-$14.75, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road, Colorado Springs, 719-633-9925, cmzoo.org.
December 15: Olde Golden Christmas Parades: Bundle up to watch cowboys on horseback, Santa Claus and even the Grinch take over downtown Golden. 10:30 a.m., free, Washington Avenue between 11th and 13th streets, Golden, visitgolden.com.
December 10-15: The Action Center's Holiday Gift Shop: Instead of contributing to the clutter of people who already have too much, volunteer at this nonprofit's annual gift event for children in need. Call for volunteer info. The Action Center, 8755 West 14th Avenue, Lakewood, 303-237-7704, theactioncenterco.org.
December 14-22: The Nutcracker of Parker: The Sugar Plum Fairy is just one of the classic characters in the Colorado School of Dance's production of the holiday ballet. $26-$32, PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue, Parker, 303-805-6800, parkerarts.org.
December 15: Denver Beer Festivus: The Airing of Grievances is so much better when it's fueled by alcohol; a wealth of Denver breweries will come together for this epic celebration for the rest of us. 3-6 p.m., $40-$65, Sports Castle, 1000 Broadway, denverbeerfestivus.com.
December 15-16: Last Chance Gift Fest: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., free admission, Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont, 720-272-7467, coloradoevents.org.
December 15-26: The Nutcracker: Clara and the Nutcracker Prince dance the night away in Ballet Arial's production. $38, Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 South Allison Parkway, Lakewood, 303-987-7845, balletariel.org.
Denver 15-January 2: Holiday Carousel: Proceeds from rides on this old-fashioned candy-colored carousel benefit Food Bank of the Rockies. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Denver Pavilions, 500 16th Street, denverpavilions.com.
December 21: The Celtic Gift: The Irish Dance Theatre returns to Colorado for this holiday show with original music and plenty of high-energy dance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20-$50, Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place, 303-405-6066, paramountdenver.com.
December 21: Black Sheep Friday: XXX-mas Craft Fair: Fancy Tiger Crafts and the Ladies Fancywork Society will be on hand to help you craft your own NSFW holiday decorations. 5-9 p.m., $5, MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany Street, 303-298-7554, mcadenver.org.
December 21-22: Scenes of the Season: Holiday songs, stories and a performance of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory take the stage at this seasonal performance. 7:30 p.m., $15-$25, Center Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, Evergreen, 303-674-4934, evergreenplayers.org.
December 21-23: The Nutcracker Circus: A Winter's Dream: The Nutcracker gets a multimedia, circus-centric makeover in this re-envisioning of the classical ballet. Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, 303-871-7720, contemporarycircuscenter.com.
December 24: Jewbilee Bash: All are welcome at this party for anyone who wants to dance the night of December 24 away. Discounted admission ($20) with donation of three non-perishable food items. $25, Club Vinyl, 1082 Broadway, 303-393-7358, bnaibrithdenver.org.
December 24: Las Posadas: This traditional Mexican celebration commemorates Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and their search for shelter. Hot chocolate, cider and biscochitos will be served. 4-5:30 p.m., free, The Fort Restaurant, 19192 Highway 8, Morrison, 303-839-1671, tesoroculturalcenter.org.
December 26: A Magical Cirque Christmas: The variety Christmas show has magic, circus acts, elaborate costumes and music for all ages. 7:30 p.m., $35-$65, Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place, 303-623-0106, paramountdenver.com.
December 31: New Year's Eve Fireworks: The Mile High skyline will light up with a pyrotechnic show that can be viewed anywhere along the 16th Street Mall. 9 p.m. and midnight, free, 16th Street Mall, downtowndenver.com.
December 31: Noon Year's Eve: NYC's Times Square will be re-created for kids well before bedtime at the Children's Museum. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., $12-$14, 2121 Children's Museum Drive, mychildsmuseum.org.
December 31: White Rose Gala: Don your fringe and grab your cigarette holders for this dress-to-impress 1920s-themed New Year's Eve party. 9 p.m., $79-$129, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 14th and Champa streets, newyearspartydenver.com.
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