Arts & Entertainment: Tacoma Holiday Calendar

  • SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE This year marks the 50th annual Singing Christmas Tree and Life Center is celebrating big with “A Golden Christmas. This dazzling show has become a treasured holiday event for many families throughout Western Washington. Known for being one of the largest and longest running productions in the country, Life Center's Singing Christmas Tree has enriched the lives of thousands of people throughout the years with its festival carols, dancers, singers, thousands of twinkling lights, elaborate sets, full orchestra, original music and an inspirational story that will make you laugh and may very well bring you to tears. Gather up your friends and family and enjoy a celebration unlike any other in the Northwest. Experience the awe-inspiring grandeur of the living Nativity an


Life Center invites one and all to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas at “Candlelight Experiences.” On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, the Center will hold three services: 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Life Center is located at 1717 S. Union Ave.


Dee-rect from the great state of Texas, Swampy Claus is comin’ to town! Also known as Tacoma’s beloved Swampy Draws, Swampy Claus will be giving a free show at the Top of Tacoma on Christmas night around 10 p.m. and also at The Eleven Eleven (date tba)! He's bringing gifts for all the folks on his naughty list, and the best way to get on this exclusive list is by donating to the Bringin’ Swampy Back fund so he can afford to get up to Tacoma. Donations are being accepted at the Top of Tacoma (3529 McKinley Ave.) and 1111 (1111 S. 11th St.). Be sure to write your name on the list when you donate or leave a picture of your butt in zebra print spandex so Swampy Claus will know whom to thank. $10 or more will get you a CD and a photo op! So far the album (“Swampy 2: Acoustic Boogaloo”) has seven stylish new tracks (including a rare bonus track) and he’s working his way up to ten. Be sure and “Like” Swampy Draws on Facebook!


Start your winter festivities off right with this free community festival on Dec. 9 at Tacoma Art Museum, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy dance performances by Metro Parks, musical performances from Grant Elementary School, and other great entertainment. Try your hand at printmaking and create a holiday card for family and friends. Get some of your holiday shopping done at the Craft Fair or in the Museum Store, take a break with some cocoa in Relish Café, or walk across the street to ice skate at Franciscan Polar Plaza. Sponsored by Columbia Bank. Info:


After 10 seasons, this timeless story of the Family Von Trapp returns to the TMP stage just in time for the holidays with a very special production to share with your friends and family. Plays through Dec. 16. Info: and (253) 565-6867.


Tacoma Little Theatre presents the favorite holiday film live and onstage. Kris Kringle is the personification of good will and holiday spirit. As Macy’s holiday Santa, he enchants children and shoppers so completely that he is deemed dangerous by fellow employees who question his competency and plot to ruin him. A small girl’s belief in Santa and the magic of the holiday is at stake in a climactic courtroom decision. Plays through Dec. 23. Info: and (253) 272-2281.


In this hilarious Christmas tale at Lakewood Playhouse, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids – probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won't believe the mayhem, and the fun, when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on!​ Plays Dec. 13-24 for 10 performances only, and tickets are just $15. Info: and (253) 588-0042.


Stay warm and bring your friends and neighbors to this annual holiday concert tradition as Seattle Men’s Chorus rings in the holidays with a unique blend of song, dance and campy comedy that is sure to bring the house down. In addition to traditional holiday tunes, the Chorus will heat it up with music from “south of the border” as well as holiday songs from Hawaii and other tropical locales. Dec. 13, 2 p.m. at Pantages Theater. Info:


For countless people, the holidays wouldn’t be the same with seeing a stage performance of “The Nutcracker.” In Tacoma, there are four dance companies presenting this timeless tale:

Tacoma City Ballet - In concert with The Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma City Ballet’s “Nutcracker” is performed in the tradition of the St. Petersburg Russian original first presented over 100 years ago. From choreography to scenery and costume design, this glorious production transports you to a land filled with music, magic and wonder. Plays Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 8-23, 3 p.m. at Pantages Theater. Info:

Washington Contemporary Ballet – Takes to the stage at Mount Tahoma High School on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. Info:

Dance Theatre Northwest – DTN’s performance is always presented as a bedtime story with a storyteller. The show is slightly abbreviated – a little bit shorter than the full length classic – especially suitable for children and families. Mount High School Auditorium, Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. Info:

Tacoma Performing Dance Company – Features new choreography and staging. Stadium High School Performing Arts Center at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 16. Info:


Tacoma Symphony Orchestra presents an all-star cast of vocal soloists - some new and some returning – for this most famous and beloved oratorio of all time. In the “new” category will be tenor Gregory Carroll, hailed by Opera News for his “sturdy, shining tenor voice.” Carroll recently made his European operatic debut in “Aida” at Den Norske Opera, on the heels of his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in the same role. He also covered Placido Domingo at the Met for the world premiere of Jeremy Sams’ “Enchanted Island.” Geoffrey Boers, conductor. Plays Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Church. Info:


Puget Sound Revels present The Christmas Revels set in a 12th century English manor house scheduled for demolition. Coming for a last visit to their abandoned ancestral home, the 10th Duke of Rutland and his family are startled to find it not as abandoned as they thought – it is filled with the family’s ancestors who are gathering for their annual celebration of the Winter Solstice. This Christmas Revels summons the ghosts of many Christmases past and draws on many centuries of English song, dance, foolery and drama. It’s a most amazing party, one at which the WHOLE family gathers! The Christmas Revels is a joyous, timeless celebration for all ages. It’s a high-spirited concoction of folk tradition and high art - hilarious street theater to glorious choral works. Come and enjoy whether it is your first time or your 20th and help drive winter’s darkness away. Dec. 15 (ASL interpreted), 16, 18 and 19 at Rialto Theater. Info:


Northwest jazz and blues singer Maia Santell and her backing band House Blend perform their annual holiday concert and dance at Jazzbones Restaurant and Nightclub on Dec. 12, 7:30-10 p.m. All Ages, $8 cover. (Children under 12 admitted free.) Reservations recommended. The band’s repertoire includes jazz, blues, swing, Latin, rhythm and blues and holiday favorites like “Merry Christmas Baby," “Please Come Home For Christmas,” “Santa Baby,” Nancy Wilson’s  “What Are you Doing New Year’s Eve?” and Mel Torme’s classic holiday standard “The Christmas Song,” to name a few. Info:


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