Mon., Dec. 24
Life Center Christmas Eve
ETC - Life Center invites one and all to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas at “Candlelight Experiences.” On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, it will hold three services: 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Life Center is located at 1717 S. Union Ave.
Tue., Dec. 25
Music - 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 is 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 The Eleven Eleven (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, a Polaroid with His Swampyness and elves, and make you a member of his fan club, where all his new stuff can be downloaded! Be sure to “Like” Swampy Draws on Facebook!
Mon., Dec. 31
Happienings - Tacoma’s New Year’s Eve celebration is an alcohol-free, family friendly event that offers all kinds of fun things to do for the small price of a $10 First Night button, which are available at numerous Tacoma businesses and downtown museums. During the day, get free admission to two museums, free skate rental all day at Tollefson Plaza ice rink and free access to all First Night stages showcasing amazing performances throughout the night. Info: http://www.firstnightacoma.org.
New Year’s Eve Jazz
Music - If you are looking to take a drive north for some New Year’s Eve festivities, the Danny Quintero Quartet will be performing at Russell’s of Woodinville with special guest Lance Buller. A real crowd pleaser, Quintero’s voice is like Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin all rolled into one – and he is just as charming, too. $150 per person, includes gourmet four-course dinner and dessert, wine pairings, swinging live music and champagne at midnight. Info: http://www.RussellLowell.com.
Tues., Jan. 1
Polar Bear Plunge
HAPPENINGS – Kick off the New Year with a cool tradition – a refreshing plunge into invigorating Puget Sound! Jump into the water with other jubilant merrymakers at the Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1 at Point Defiance Marina. Trade your winter coat for a swimsuit and go knee high, waist deep or take the full plunge! The Cub Plunge, for youth under 10 years of age, begins at 11:30 a.m., followed by an Adult/Family Plunge at noon. Costumes are welcome but not required. The event is free and takes place rain or shine at the Point Defiance boat launch, located at 5912 N. Waterfront Drive in Point Defiance Park. Daring folks who jump in can warm up afterwards in front of heaters while sipping free hot drinks.
Happenings - Extend the fun and warm up before the Polar Bear Plunge by participating in First Run, a newly created fun run that features a flat, fast one-mile run/walk near Point Defiance Marina. First Run is free and begins at 11 a.m. on Jan. 1, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the Polar Bear Plunge afterward. No registration is necessary to participate. For more information visit http://www.PointDefianceMarina.com or call (253) 591-5325.
Singing Christmas Tree
Music - 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 larger and longer 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 and the birth of a baby born in a lowly manger surrounded by live animals, kings and angels. The tree has inspired, uplifted and created wonderful holiday memories that last a lifetime. Runs through Dec. 23. Get tickets early at http://www.singingtreetacoma.com before shows sell out.
Museum of Glass Holiday Events
ETC - Museum of Glass has scheduled a series of events to celebrate the holiday season. Designed for families, the events feature hands-on art activities to foster creativity and festive holiday music. Kids 12 and under will be admitted free on each of these days.
Illuminated Traditions: Christmas around the World, Dec. 22, 1-4 p.m. Grab your Sinterklaas sack and revisit some favorite Christmas tradition destinations from around the world. Take a virtual tour to Holland, Australia, Poland, Croatia and then back to Tacoma’s own Wright Park and create your own craft mementos along the way. Dean the Dreamweaver will also provide a tubular bell performance to ensure cheerful travels!
New Year’s Eve Cone Head Workshop, Dec. 31, 1-4 p.m. Ring in the New Year by making cone head party hats. Dean the Dream Weaver will provide musical entertainment. Free admission with First Night button.
‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’
Theater - 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 will believe the mayhem, and the fun, when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on! Plays through Dec. 24 for 10 performances and tickets are just $15. Info: http://www.lakewoodplayhouse.org and (253) 588-0042.
Franciscan Polar Plaza
HAPPENINGS – Visit downtown Tacoma’s Franciscan Polar Plaza for art, ice and everything nice this winter as the skating rink returns for its second year of holiday merry-making. Polar Plaza is a special place for people to come together and make memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy music, special events and more in partnership with Tacoma Art Museum. Franciscan Polar Plaza is open through Jan. 6
Rankos’ Health Fair
ETC – Visit Ranko’s Pharmacy and Gifts on Dec. 21-22 and Jan. 2-4 for a health fair and open house. Free health screenings will be offered, including bone density, blood glucose, blood pressure, foot exams and diabetic shoe fittings. Flu shots will be available for $26, and pneumonia and whooping cough vaccinations will also be available. Rankos will donate $3 to local schools for every student/alum/staff who receives a flu shot from Stadium, First Presbyterian and St. Pat’s. Prizes, giveaways and snacks will be available, as well as gift bags for the first 100 people. Rankos’ is located at 101 N. Tacoma Ave. Info: http://www.rankospharmacy.com.
Flowers for Tacoma
ART – “Andy Warhol’s Flowers for Tacoma” explores the context and development of flower imagery in Warhol’s career, focusing on his 1982 proposal for Tacoma Dome. Warhol’s extensive use of flowers throughout his career is represented by early illustrations from the 1950s, series of flower prints and numerous photographs made by Warhol and his circle that illustrate the artist’s fascination with the fragility and beauty of flowers. The exhibit runs through Feb. 10. Info: http://www.tacomaartmuseum.org.
ART – Venetian artists Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana have joined forces to create “Scapes,” a dynamic and entirely new body of work at Museum of Glass. The exhibition comprises four rooms based on the Hindu belief that the universe is divided into separate spheres of existence: Earth, Space, Sun, and Moon and Constellations. The de Santillanas have interpreted elements of the Hindu cosmology in glass, creating spaces in which forms and colors correspond to physical phenomena, or the visible universe, and evoke an atmosphere of cosmic vibration. Each installation is composed of a limited, but strikingly vibrant, color palette. The exhibit runs until January.
ART – “Best of the Northwest: Selected Paintings from the Collection” is on display at Tacoma Art Museum. The works on view are some of the best from its collection of paintings by Northwest artists. It runs until March.
Glass Art Master
ART – Museum of Glass is showcasing items created by a glass art master over the past 10 years in “Maestro: Recent Works by Lino Tagliapietra.” The Italian artist has invented numerous techniques and designs that are technically flawless and visually breathtaking, yet filled with complexity and difficulty. He is recognized around the world as the maestro of contemporary glass. The exhibition shows his evolution to larger works, bolder colors and patterns over his nearly 50 years as an artist. It runs through Jan. 6, 2013.
Hot Hula Fitness
ETC – Every Monday through Wednesday, Asia Pacific Cultural Center hosts hot hula fitness classes from 7-8 p.m. Inspired by the dances of the Pacific islands, hot hula fitness incorporates easy to perform dance moves set to the sounds of traditional Polynesian drum beats fused with funky reggae music, resulting in a modern, hip fitness workout. Hot hula fitness is a fun, new and exciting dance workout that isolates your larger muscle groups, quads and arms, providing a total body workout in 60 minutes. All ages and fitness levels will enjoy hot hula fitness. Admission: $6 (discount with APCC membership). APCC is located at 4851 South Tacoma Way.
MUSIC – Ted Brown Music Tacoma hosts a free, all-ages drum circle every Thursday from 6:30-8 p.m. You do not need to have a drum to participate. For more info contact Ted Brown Music at (253) 272-3211 or visit http://www.tedbrownmusic.com.
ETC – Suffering from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue? Attend this support group, which meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 4:15-5:15 p.m. at the Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities building, located at 6315 S. 19th St. The group’s mission is to improve the morale of people coping with these challenges. Its activities include face-to-face encouragement, networking, sharing of resources as well as individual discoveries.
Charity Boot Camp
ETC – Jeff Jowers, owner and founder of Tacoma’s Ultimate Fitness Boot Camps, is hosting charity fitness boot camps every Saturday benefiting Mary Bridge Tree House. People who sign up for Ultimate Fitness Boot Camp can now donate pieces of clothing, which earns them a spot in a fast-paced, interval-style class free of charge. Info: http://www.tacomabootcamps.com.
Free First Weekends
ETC – Bank of America bankcard holders and employees receive free admission to the Tacoma Art Museum the first weekend of every month as part of Bank of America’s national Museums on Us program. Info: http://museums.bankofamerica.com.
The Valley Chorale
ETC – The Valley Chorale, a soprano-alto-tenor-bass singing group, meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Lutheran Church of Christ the King, located at 1710 E. 85th St. in Tacoma. If you like singing, contact Joy Heidal at (253) 848-1134 or Dixie Byrne at (253) 677-5291 for more information and a personal invitation to join the group.
Memory loss support
ETC – Caring for someone with memory loss? Alzheimer’s Association caregiver support groups provide a consistent and caring place for people to learn, share and gain emotional support from others who are also on a unique journey of providing care to a person with dementia. A free information and support group for care partners, family members and friends of individuals with dementia will be held the second Monday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 7410 S. 12th St. Contact group facilitator Chuck Benefiel at (253) 584-3267.
MUSIC – Ted Brown Music Tacoma hosts a free, all-ages ukulele circle every Wednesday from 6:30-8 p.m. For more info contact Ted Brown Music at (253) 272-3211 or visit http://www.tedbrownmusic.com.