Rather than allow your family members to get caught up in the frenzy that can go hand in hand with the holidays, why not start some new traditions? Fortunately throughout the greater Charlotte area, there are a huge variety of activities for children of all ages. Better yet, many are free! If you need a few ideas, read on…
For the third year in a row, the folks at Pineville’s Adventure Landing are hosting Lunch with Santa. From 11 am until 2 pm, from Monday, December 16th through Friday the 19th, kids can enjoy lunch with everyone’s favorite holiday guy. Of course, Santa will be happy to pose for a photo keepsake on this memorable occasion! Adventure Landing is just a short drive from Charlotte in historic Pineville and located at 10400 Cadillac Street. Reservations are required and can be arranged by calling 704-552-7888. Please note there is a small fee to cover the price of lunch.
Many may say that the holidays are incomplete without a performance of Tchaikovsky’s magical ballet, The Nutcracker. Once again, the Queen City is fortunate to host the N.C. Dance Theatre for their version of this timeless classic at the Belk Theater. Accompanied by the Charlotte Symphony and over 100 performers, the ballet is always a feast for the senses. Considering the fast-paced action between the Nutcracker Prince and his adversary, the Mouse King, toys come to life, snowflake and sugar plum fantasies, plus a little romance, there is truly something here for everyone.
Remember, ballet is not just for girls! Young gentlemen will likely be amazed at the athletic prowess demonstrated by the company’s male dancers! Children who are old enough to sit through a movie should be comfortable with the length of the show, which runs about 2 hours and does have an intermission.
There are two shows daily, including an afternoon matinee, from Thursday, December 19th through Sunday, the 22nd.
If you’d like to introduce your children to the wonder of live ballet and are worried about their attention span – you’re in luck! The Charlotte City Ballet will be staging their Holiday Enchantment show, which features a few pieces from the Nutcracker and other seasonal favorites.
The show is at 3 pm and 7 pm on Saturday, December 21st at the Matthews Community Center in downtown Matthews.
Don’t forget your camera, because after the 3 pm show, the audience will have the chance to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and other members of the company. The Nutcracker café will also be open for refreshments. Group rates are available and reservations are encouraged.
Looking for a new holiday story, that’s a twist on a few old standards? Leave it to the cutting edge creativity of Caroline Calouche and Company to deliver. From Thursday, December 19th through Sunday the 22nd, their entertaining, edgy, and innovative group will stage, Clara’s Trip-A Nutcracker Story.
The fantastical tale follows Miss Clara LeBlanc to a holiday party, an accidental fall, subsequent trip to the hospital and the all too real dreams that follow. The aerial performances blended with wry humor are designed to coax a smile from even the most “fun resistant” members of the family!
During the holidays, it’s great to slow down and take time for a few hands-on activities. For those in search of a creative experience, Charlotte’s Reedy Creek Regional Park is sponsoring a Make a Wisteria Holiday Wreath workshop on Saturday, December 21st. This is an especially nice activity for older kids who’d like to make a little something for a relative or neighbor! Please call ahead to reserve your spot to 704-432-6460. The park is located at 2900 Rocky River Road.
There are so many worthwhile family-friendly events taking place this month that it is truly difficult to choose just one. For its 8th consecutive year, what is billed as Charlotte’s very own original Christmas experience – The Birth, is showing now through Saturday, December 21st. The collection of live music, stories and dance has received accolades and was twice nominated the “Theater Event of the Year.” Many agree that there is simply nothing that compares to this magical holiday happening.
Want to share some real Christmas nostalgia with the little ones? The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is putting on Miracle on 34th Street, which is an adaptation of the classic 1947 film. Remember the story? A dead ringer for Santa Claus, who calls himself Kris Kringle, appears out of nowhere to fill in for a deadbeat Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. He is so believable that he lands a position as a department store Santa. In the process, he convinces a single mother, her skeptical young daughter and the entire state of New York that Santa Claus is no myth. Don’t miss this classic, which will be presented through December 22nd at the theatre’s home stage, which is located at 300 East 7th Street.
For families interested in honoring the reason for the season, plan to attend the Billy Graham Library now through December 23rd for Christmas at the Library which combines a live nativity, caroling, holiday lights and a horse-drawn carriage ride through the grounds. Kids will have the opportunity to pet the nativity animals when they come early, between noon and 2 pm. Christmas at the Library was named one of the Top 100 Events in the U.S. by the American Bus Association and listed as a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the season, we here at Talk Charlotte, wish you and yours all the best!