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Twin Cities’ Christmas events

Long-time traditions and new experiences

The Twin Cities’ Christmas spirit comes alive with many activities and performances. Remembering the true beauty of the season in the gift of the newborn King, these events can enhance your merriment.

NOV 15-JAN 11

The American Swedish Institute gears up for Christmas every year with one of the most beautifully decorated sights around the Twin Cities. Winter Wonderland: A Nordic Christmas is this year’s theme of the season. The Turnblad Mansion is filled to the brim with Christmas spirit. Christmas rooms designed by Nordic designers, family gingerbread house decorating (Nov. 30), guided tours throughout the mansion, and live performances throughout the season encourage us to enjoy the holidays. Nov. 15 kicks off the holiday fun with Family Day: live music, Christmas ornament-making, and food. The most unique Christmas tradition the American Swedish Institute celebrates involves a little fellow by the name of Tomte. Tomtes are a delightful Scandinavian custom celebrated most often at Christmas. Resembling a garden gnome, the tomte’s role is to guard its home. On Christmas Eve children leave a bowl of porridge overnight for Tomte. The American Swedish Institute took the love of Tomte and created an annual tradition of searching for him throughout the castle: The Great Tomte Hunt. Learn more at www.asimn.org.

NOV 28-DEC 24

Holidazzle Village and the Minneapolis Christmas Market, Nicollet Mall between 10th Street and 12th Street, Minneapolis. Designed to feel like an open-air German Christmas market and located on Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Christmas Market invites families to stroll through the marketplace looking for the most festive holiday gifts from one of the more than 30 huts. A one-time fee of $3-$6 is good for the whole season. The Minneapolis Christmas Market opens daily Nov 28 to Dec 24 from 11:00 a.m.-9pm. As the sun fades away on the weekends, enjoy the twinkle of the season as the Holidazzle Village comes to life at 3pm-8pm This new festivity in Minneapolis replaces the Holidazzle Parade and provides us the same glittery holiday sparkle. The strains of live choir and band performances will float over you while you meet Holidazzle characters, stroke live reindeer and enjoy a Christmas storytime. Learn more at www.holidazzle.com.

Sacred Christmas Musical Performances

The birth of the Son of God is celebrated on Christmas day—even if Dec. 25 is not technically the date—and it is only right to welcome Him in songs of praise and adoration. Whether you enjoy choral harmonies and the sound of deep devotion or want to kick up your heels to an energizing rhythm, there are plenty of performances from which to choose.

Bethel University’s 58th Annual Festival of Christmas, Our Sacrifice of Thanksgiving: A Service of Lessons & Carols. Usher in the season with the student musicians and Bethel Choir alums in the stunning Benson Great Hall • www.bethel.edu/events


Christmas at Northwestern: Out of Darkness Into Light. Joining together the Northwestern Choir, Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Women’s Chorale and Varsity Men’s Chorus Christmas at Northwestern has been a tradition since 1982. Maranatha Hall, University of Northwestern – St. Paul • www.unwsp.edu/web/events


Candlelight Christmas Concert. The intimate setting of this performance will quiet your heart as the powerful message of Christmas is presented by the Women’s Choir and the String Orchestra. Our Lady of Victory Chapel, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul • www2.stkate.edu/arts/home


A St. Thomas Christmas: Light of Light. Performing in this showcase of the season are the University of St. Thomas Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Liturgical Choir, Women’s Choir, Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Brass Ensemble. Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis • www.stthomas.edu/music

DEC 12-13 • FRI-SAT

Messiah: Hallelujah! If you want to experience God’s majesty, you won’t go wrong with Handel’s Messiah presented by the Minnesota Orchestra. Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis • www.minnesotaorchestra.org

Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Christmas Concert, featuring Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave. One of the season’s most worshipful concerts. This choir is comprised of individuals who are humbled by the glory and grace of our almighty Savior since their lives have been redeemed out of the pit of addiction. This is not a professional choir, but it is the most beautiful. Grace Church, Eden Prairie • www.mntc.org


Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith Christmas Concert. Two of the biggest Christian music stars are together to celebrate the season with you. Target Center, Minneapolis • www.myktis.com

DEC 13-14 • SAT-SUN

Denver & the Mile High Orchestra. Wanna rock around the Christmas tree? This band celebrates with exuberant joy and a swinging beat. North Heights Lutheran Church, Arden Hills • www.nhlc.org


Canadian Brass: Christmas Time is Here. The sound of triumphant celebration comes from this superb brass quintet. Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis • www.minnesotaorchestra.org

DEC-18-20 • THU-SAT

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra plays Handel’s Messiah. Just days before Christmas, remind yourself of the true gift of the season and worship the Lord as you have a second chance to journey through Handel’s Messiah. The Basilica, Minneapolis • www.thespco.org

Theatrical Christmas Performances
You will not find the typical Christmas drama with these two productions, but you will walk away with a renewed love for the season.

NOV 13-DEC 28

A Christmas Carol. No holiday season is complete without a performance of this Charles Dickens’ traditional classic. This year marks the 40th anniversary production at Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis • www.guthrietheater.org.


Opera: Menotti Amahl and the Night Visitors. Join the three wise men as they journey to visit the Christ-child. On the way, they come upon another mother and child in need. Watch their lives transform as they receive forgiveness, faith, hope and love. Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. Young people’s concerts, Wed-Fri, 10am & 11:35am. All tickets $5. Must have a child with you. Family concert, Sat, 2pm, $15 adults, children free (2 per adult) • www.minnesotaorchestra.org

DEC 5-30

Christmas in Niatirb. Based on a Christmas essay by C.S. Lewis, theater-goers discover the lives of the inhabitants of the island of Niatirb—Britain spelled backwards—and their traditions of Exmas and Christmas. A lighter side of the season is presented while asking probing questions.
Open Window Theatre, Minneapolis • openwindowtheatre.org

There are many more holiday festivities in the Twin Cities from which to choose including a free Santa Claus play at Bachman’s on Lyndale in Minneapolis or various Minnesota Sinfonia concerts. Throughout Dec, local churches celebrate together whether by a live nativity or a choir concert. If you join together in celebration this Advent season, Christmas will be a profound and holy holiday.

Gianna Kordatzky is the co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities, LLC—a company dedicated to celebrating families and the Twin Cities. She has been married to her college sweetheart for 15 years and is the mom of four rambunctiously fantastic kids: 2 girls and 2 boys ranging in age from 4 to 9. You can find Gianna (and her partners in crime—Anne Kingston and Joy Peters) at http://familyfuntwincities.com.