Holiday events around WNC

A Charlie Brown Christmas, performed at Asheville Community Theatre. Photo courtesy of ACT

Looking to deck the halls, sing a carol, give a gift, take a stroll, see a play, make a craft or pass a wish list on to a man in a red suit? Here’s where to do all of those things. Find more ideas at the Community Calendar and mountainx.com.

Pan Harmonia holds A Chamber Music Messiah, in which the vocal parts of the famed George Frideric Handel composition are performed “with organ as orchestra.” The performance, which benefits homelessness agency Homeward Bound, features Kate Steinbeck on flute, Alicia Chapman on oboe and English horn, Rosalind Buda on bassoon, David Ginn on trumpet and Eric Wall directing on organ as orchestra. Held at the First Presbyterian Church, 40 Church St., on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. Suggested donation: $25 per person/$30 per family (no one will be turned away for lack of funds). pan-harmonia.org.

• There’s something so decadent about stepping out of the holiday bustle and busyness into the dark otherworldliness of the theater. Touring company Bright Star Theatre offers an opportunity to do just that with its production, The Gift of the Magi and Other Heartwarming Tales. “Bright Star scoured the globe for three short stories that celebrate the spirit of the holidays,” says a press release. The troupe settled on O. Henry’s story of generosity, along with Indian folktale “The Drum” and “Stone Soup,” an often-adapted European folk story. Known for creating theater for young audiences, Bright Star stages this holiday show at Asheville Community Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 10 a.m. $5. ashevilletheatre.org

• Visit artist studios and shop for unique gifts at Riverview Station’s inaugural Holiday Market. Located in Asheville’s River Arts District, the former Hans Rees Tannery building (at 191 Lyman St.) now houses art and craft studios and artist co-ops. More than 40 artists take part in the market, Santa has promised to visit and El Kimchi food truck will be serving at the building’s north entrance. Friday, Dec. 5, 4-8 p.m. riverviewstation.com

• Everyone knows: Shopping local is the new not-being-trampled-in-a-Black-Friday-stampede. The West Asheville Business Association offers even more local shopping opportunities with this year’s Shop and Dine West Asheville event, which runs from Saturday to Saturday, Dec. 6-13. Find participating businesses and details at avl.mx/0iz

• Black Mountain’s Monte Vista Hotel holds the inaugural party and first view of its annual Deck the Trees Christmas Holiday Celebration on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. The festivities second as a fundraiser for the Heating Fuel Fund of Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministries. While it’s free to look at the inn’s decorated trees, viewers can nominate their favorites with a monetary donation — it’s $1 per vote. The winners will be announced on Friday, Dec. 19, during a Christmas party from 6-8:30 p.m. themontevistahotel.net

• Love indie crafts? You’re in luck — The Big Crafty takes over the Asheville Art Museum on Sunday, Dec. 7. VIP shopping, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., $5. General admission, 1-6 p.m., free. thebigcrafty.com

Bright Star Theatre brings The Gift of the Magi and Other Heartwarming Tales to Asheville. Photo courtesy of the theater company
Bright Star Theatre brings The Gift of the Magi and Other Heartwarming Tales to Asheville. Photo courtesy of the theater company

• While The Nutcracker is a Christmas-season classic, sometimes it’s nice to see a new take on the familiar theme. The D.E.F.T. Theatre-Arts program, a theater group that includes people of all abilities and beliefs, offers its own NutCracker Sweeet. Expect highly trained ballet and modern dancers as well as “Southside drummers, rap, beach music, dancing owls, sign language and more,” according a press release. “D.E.F.T. creates opportunities to collaborate between youth with disabilities and their mainstream peers, while bringing a new twist to old stories and hoping to change stereotypes throughout the community.” Held at the Wesley Grant Southside Community Center, 285 Livingston St., on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. Bring a canned food donation. Info: 476-4231

• Horticultural education center Bullington Gardens (95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville) holds its 10th annual open house, holiday sale and Christmas mart. Shop for locally grown, freshly cut Fraser fir trees as well as wreaths, swag and crafts. Held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. bullingtongardens.org

Santa visits Riverview Station’s first-ever Holiday Market in the River Arts District. Photo courtesy of Riverview Station Potters
Santa visits Riverview Station’s inaugural Holiday Market in the River Arts District. Photo courtesy of Riverview Station Potters

• Revisit the original grinch — Ebenezer Scrooge — in the Montford Park Players’ 28th annual production of A Christmas Carol. Peter Brezny stars as Scrooge. The play opens on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Masonic Temple. Shows are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m., with additional performances on Dec. 21, 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. montfordparkplayers.org

• Charles Dickens — or at least his characters — also makes a showing at Biltmore Village’s An Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival. The lighting of the Christmas tree happens on Friday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m., along with a performance by the A.C. Reynolds Madrigal Choir and horse-drawn carriage rides. On Saturday, Dec. 6, carolers in period costume stroll through the village and the Montford Park Players perform. Festivities run 1-7 p.m. historicbiltmorevillage.com/events-2

• “Celebrate the meaning of Christmas with J.S. Bach’s glorious ‘Magnificat’ for choir and orchestra,” says a press release for The Carolina Concert Choir’s Christmas concert, held at the Bo Thomas Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. The concert also includes “carols and motets depicting the Christmas story, and a select small ensemble will perform Billings and Gabrieli.” $22 adults/$5 students. carolinaconcertchoir.org

• One of the season’s most-loved TV specials moves to the stage: Asheville Community Theatre offers its production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Faithfully adapted from the 1965 animated show, the play follows gloomy Charlie Brown as he attempts to direct a Christmas pageant and buy a Christmas tree. The production includes the songs “Christmas Time Is Here,” “Skating,” “Linus and Lucy” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” It runs Friday, Dec. 5-Sunday, Dec. 21. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. $22 adults/$19 seniors/$12 students. ashevilletheatre.org

• Billed as a “best bet for holiday shopping,” the Guild Artists’ Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center is “an excellent opportunity for the artist to liquidate overstocks and 2014 items, try out new techniques and sell studio seconds.” Nearly 70 artists take part in two events: Saturdays, Dec. 6 and 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. craftguild.org

• Black Mountain holds its annual Christmas parade with an It’s a Wonderful Life theme on Saturday, Dec. 6. The parade marches up State Street at 4 p.m. Santa visits the town square earlier in the day (3 p.m.), and post-parade Circle of Lights (with luminaries, music and another Santa sighting) takes place at Lake Tomahawk. exploreblackmountain.com

• “Enjoy some theatrical staging and lights that mimic an advent calendar of songs, counting down the days of the season,” says The Isis Restaurant & Music Hall about its event, a holiday concert with The Claire Lynch Band. Lynch, a two-time Grammy nominee and three-time recipient of The International Bluegrass Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year title, is a renowned acoustic and bluegrass musician.But she and her band will bush the boundaries of that genre, performing performing a jazz interpretation of a beloved carol, among other offerings. Thursday, Dec. 11, 9 p.m. $18 advance / $20 day of show. isisasheville.com

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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