The Big Day is a week away. Does that mean there’s a slowdown in holiday events? Nah! For one thing, there’s a huge new ice show from Cirque du Soleil opening Wednesday at the Amalie, and the fun just keeps on coming all week long.
TUES. DEC. 18
St. Petersburg Opera: Seasonal Sparkle 2018. A holiday hit parade starring SPO’s Sparkle Chorus, orchestra, and soloists, featuring excerpts from “The Nutcracker,” a tribute to classic Christmas pop songs and a special operatic set inspired by the stars, the moon, and the heavens. 7:30 p.m., The Palladium, stpeteopera.org.
WED. DEC. 19
Cirque du Soleil: Crystal. Cirque’s first show on ice combines breathtaking acrobatics with the thrills and chills of professional ice-skating to tell the story of a young writer’s search for her true voice. Watch for Sarasota-based skating stars Robin Johnstone and Andy Buchanan, profiled recently in dRTB. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, Tampa, cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
Every Christmas Story Ever Told. When an actor cringes at the thought of doing yet another production of A Christmas Carol, he pairs up with two pals to create a mishmash of every Christmas story ever told, tapping into holiday traditions, seasonal icons, pop culture and every carol ever sung. 7 p.m., freeFall Theatre Company, St. Petersburg, freefalltheatre.com.
St. Petersburg Opera: Seasonal Sparkle 2018 (see Dec. 18 for description). 7:30 p.m., The Palladium, stpeteopera.org.
Santa Paws: Movies in the Park. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs to settle in for a free holiday movie. 7 p.m. Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg.
Stay Tuned. The a cappella group is back at The Mall at Sundial by popular demand. Shop, dine and unwind while enjoying their peppy take on all your favorite Christmas tunes. 5:30-6:30 p.m., sundialstpete.com.
THURS. DEC. 20
A Christmas Carol. The celebrated Charles Jones adaptation of Charles Dickens’s evergreen parable uses a 23-member cast, live musicians, color and movement to retell the beloved story. Included are new arrangements of holiday songs such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Away in a Manger,” “Greensleeves” and many more. 7 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, rutheckerdhall.com.
Cirque du Soleil: Crystal (see Dec. 19 for description). 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, Tampa, cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
Deck the Halls at Ca’ d’Zan. All decked out for the holidays, Ca’ d’Zan (aka the Ringling mansion) will be open during special extended hours for a self-guided walk-through of the first floor. 5-8 p.m. Ca’ d’Zan, Ringling Museum, ringling.org.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (see Dec. 19 for description). 7 p.m., freeFall Theatre Company.
Florida Orchestra Coffee Concert: Orchestra à la Carte. It’s your turn to choose what the orchestra performs. Will it be Barber of Seville or Orpheus in the Underworld? Swan Lake or The Nutcracker March? Audience choice. Stuart Malina conducts. Free coffee and doughnuts. 11 a.m., The Mahaffey, themahaffey.com.
FRI. DEC. 21
Cirque du Soleil: Crystal (see Dec. 19 for description). 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, Tampa, cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (see Dec. 19 for description). 8 p.m., freeFall Theatre Company.
Florida Orchestra: Home Alone In Concert. Immortal mischief by Macaulay Culkin on screen as The Florida Orchestra plays John Williams’s charming score live. 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, floridaorchestra.org.
Next Generation Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, staged by the world-renowned ballet school at the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory. The cast of rising-star student dancers is joined by accomplished professionals in the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier: Miami City Ballet principals Katia Carranza and Renan Cerdeiro tonight, and New York City Ballet superstars Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle on Saturday and Sunday. 7 p.m., Morsani Hall, Straz Center, Tampa, strazcenter.org.
Rockapella Christmas. The pop vocal phenoms return with a completely original take on the holidays. 7:30 p.m., 12/21, Capitol Theatre.
The Santa Clause. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs to settle in for a free holiday movie in Downtown St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park. 7 p.m.
The Winter Wonderettes. Those tuneful gals who crooned tunes from the ’50s and ’60s in last year’s Stageworks hit, The Marvelous Wonderettes, return for Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party — but where’s Santa? The girls sing holiday pop classics such as “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Winter Wonderland” on the way to solving the mystery and saving the party. 8 p.m., Stageworks Theatre, Tampa, stageworkstheatre.org.
SAT. DEC. 22
Cirque du Soleil: Crystal (see Dec. 19 for description). 4 & 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, Tampa, cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
Dixie Hollins High School’s The Rebel Clefs. Fresh from a string of performances at Disney, , the award-winning eight-member a cappella group will entertain shoppers with their spirited renditions of holiday favorites. 1 p.m., Sundial courtyard, sundialstpete.com.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (see Dec. 19 for description). 2 & 8 p.m., freeFall Theatre Company.
Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley. Delightfully idiosyncratic performances by Jenny Lester and Josh Odess-Rubin as well-matched oddballs — plus gorgeous period sets, costumes and lighting — distinguish this comic “sequel” to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. 8 p.m., American Stage, St. Petersburg, americanstage.com.
Next Generation Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, staged by the world-renowned ballet school at the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory. The cast of rising-star student dancers is joined by New York City Ballet superstars Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. 2 & 7 p.m., Morsani Hall, Straz Center, Tampa, strazcenter.org.
The Sound of Music. A brand new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical about Maria and the von Trapp Family. 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, rutheckerdhall.com.
The Winter Wonderettes (see Dec. 21 for description). 3 & 8 p.m., Stageworks Theatre, Tampa, stageworkstheatre.org.
SUN. DEC. 23
Cirque du Soleil: Crystal (see Dec. 19 for description). 1:30 & 5 p.m., Amalie Arena, Tampa, cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (see Dec. 19 for description). 2 p.m., freeFall Theatre Company.
Next Generation Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, staged by the world-renowned ballet school at the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory. The cast of rising-star student dancers is joined by New York City Ballet superstars Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. 1 & 6 p.m., Morsani Hall, Straz Center, Tampa, strazcenter.org.
The Sound of Music. A brand new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical about Maria and the von Trapp Family. 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, rutheckerdhall.com.
The Winter Wonderettes (see Dec. 21 for description). 3 p.m., Stageworks Theatre, stageworkstheatre.org.
MON. DEC. 24: Christmas Eve
Last chance: Free Photos with Santa at Sundial. Bring the little ones, friends, and family to The Mall at Sundial, and don’t forget your camera/cell phone so you can capture a fun holiday memory worth sharing with your loved ones. 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., sundialstpete.com.
Stay Tuned. Finish up your Christmas shopping at The Mall at Sundial on Christmas Eve and enjoy one last set of performances by the audience favorite, Stay Tuned. 1 & 2 p.m., sundialstpete.com.
TUES. DEC. 25: MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Through December: The Mall (and the Money Machine) at Sundial. Downtown St. Pete’s multi-faceted shopping mecca is more intimate and certainly more elegant than your average mall, and this season it’s not only offering a plethora of good deals and great restaurants, it’s got holiday doings daily: snow every half hour from 6-9:30 p.m.; photo ops with Santa; holiday concerts by the likes of Black Honkeys and the Florida Orchestra; and — best of all — a Money Machine! Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sundial will select one person every hour (5-8 p.m. Fridays, 4-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays) to get inside the Machine and grab as much cash as they can in 30 seconds. Once the 30 secs are up, Sundial will count the cash and issue a Sun Dollar gift card for the amount collected, valid at participating Sundial shops and restaurants. You have to be 18 or older and register during promotional hours to participate. Free money — how can you resist? Check out this video to see it in action.
Largo: Holiday Lights in the Garden. Over 1 million LED lights shine throughout the Florida Botanical Gardens in nature- or holiday-themed light displays. $4 suggested donation. Through 12/30, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Christmas in the Wild. ZooTampa comes alive with holiday lights, seasonal treats, enchanting entertainment and a 50-foot animated Christmas tree. Visit Santa in his Tree Top Lodge and marvel at the magic of wildlife at night. ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Tampa. Select nights through 12/30, zootampa.org.
Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. The theme park is transformed into a holiday wonderland with more than a million twinkling lights. Santa will be available to take photos and the park will be open until 10 p.m. Through 12/31, Busch Gardens, buschgardens.com.
River of Lights. Cruise through downtown Tampa aboard the Pirate Water Taxi for a unique view of the beautiful sights of the holiday season, passing beneath the lighted bridges over Hillsborough River. Entertaining narration and Christmas carolers, plus hot chocolate and a holiday cookie. Weekends through 12/30.
Tampa Theatre Holiday Classics Series. Hollywood holiday cheer at Tampa’s iconic movie palace. 12/14-20: It’s A Wonderful Life, various times. tampatheatre.org.
Victorian Christmas Stroll. Experience the extravagance of a Victorian Christmas at the Henry B. Plant Museum, the former 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel. Plant Museum, University of Tampa, through 12/23, plantmuseum.com.
Florida CraftArt Holiday Boutique. Florida CraftArt in St. Pete converts its two gallery spaces into an artful shopping experience featuring fine jewelry, clay, glass, ornaments and more handcrafted by Florida’s most talented artists. Through 12/31, floridacraftart.org.
Starry, Starry Delights. Artist-made sensations celebrating the season! Dunedin Fine Art Center’s annual national invitational of fine art, craft + design offers a fusion of gallery elegance with a marketplace of cool, affordable hand-made goods. Through 12/23, Dunedin Fine Art Center, dfac.org.
Dunedin Fine Art Center. Through 12/23: Botanamoeba: Anne Byal Felshue + Candace Knappand Insatiable. dfac.org.
Florida Holocaust Museum. Through 2/10/19: Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution: A critically acclaimed exhibition about the legendary rock impresario and humanitarian, who was brought to the United States as an 11-year-old Jewish refugee fleeing the Nazis. flholocaustmuseum.org.
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. Through 1/11: North and South: Berenice Abbott’s U.S. Route 1. A visual record of everyday life along the historic East Coast in the summer of 1954 in photos by the great American photographer Berenice Abbott. fmopa.org.
Galleria Misto @ The Mahaffey. Inception of Creation: The inaugural showing at the Mahaffey of a selection of artworks from Galleria Misto Fine Art Gallery of Belleair Bluffs. galleriamisto.com.
Imagine Museum. Through 1/13: Paul Stankard: Unseen Worlds. A mind-blowing exhibition of paperweights by Paul Stankard, each one a tiny “unseen world” containing extraordinarily realistic flora and fauna made of glass. imaginemuseum.com.
James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.Through 3/3: James Michaels: An American Pop Life. A special exhibition devoted to the vibrant pop expressionism and painterly realism of the unique Palm Harbor-based artist. thejamesmuseum.org.
Morean Arts Center. Through 12/28: Justin Wagher: Where I Come From. Photo-inspired paintings by a St. Pete native exploring the connection between home and place. moreanartscenter.org.
Museum of Fine Arts. Jewels of the Imagination: Radiant Masterworks by Jean Schlumberger from the Mellon Collection. Extraordinary works by the master mid-century Tiffany & Co. jeweler whose innovative designs graced the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. Through 3/31. Complementary exhibition: Drawn to Beauty: The Art and Atelier of Jean Schlumberger. Tracing the evolution of the Schlumberger style through jewelry and objets d’art as well as personal items, photographs, and ephemera. Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, mfastpete.org. Through 12/30: Recent Acquisitions. Pablo Picasso, Martin Puryear and Reginald Burton Barber are among the artists showcased in this exhibition of artworks recently donated to the museum’s collections. mfastpete.org.
Tampa Museum of Art. Through 1/6:Patricia Cronin Responds to Classical Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection.A profoundly beautiful meditation on classical imagery as viewed through a 21st-century sensibility via sculpture, photography and layered, evocative paintings. Through 2/14: Yayoi Kusama: LOVE IS CALLING. You’ll only have a few moments inside Kusama’s mind-blowing Infinity Mirror Room installation, but you likely won’t forget it. Through 3/17:Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective.He’s most famous, of course, for his bold, graphic LOVE sculptures, but this retrospective reveals much more about this seminal artist’s wide-ranging oeuvre over his five-decade career. tampamuseum.org.
The Dali. Through 5/19: Magritte & Dali. A first-of-its-kind special exhibition dedicated to the world’s two most celebrated surrealists, Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali, Magritte & Dali pushes back the curtain to reveal what lies beyond the simple appearance of painted images. In addition to viewing the 30+ works on display in the special exhibit, visitors are invited to contemplate (and photograph) an interactive “cloud room” and to capture images of themselves intermingled with surrealist icons & symbols. the dali.org.