'Tis the season to be jolly—or at least it will be very soon—and, while any traditional Christmas will rightly include copious amounts of food and drink, we all need a blast of cultural nutrition to keep our souls satisfied, too.
Theatre, panto, music—whatever tickles your fancy—are all available in Vancouver to bolster your festivities, and we thought it would be helpful to provide a handy guide to what's on, so you can plan ahead and avoid disappointment.
The ever-popular Ronnie Burkett returns to pull his artful puppet strings at The Cultch with "The Daisy Theatre" from Nov. 26 - Dec 15, while over at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island, the very locally-titled "It's Snowing On Saltspring" runs Nov. 28 through Dec. 28.
The always-innovative Theatre Replacement company presents their twist on a timeless classic with "Jack And The Beanstalk: An East Van Panto", written by one of Vancouver's funniest scribes, Charles Demers, at York Theatre from Dec. 4-29.
Irreverence is to be anticipated over at the Firehall Arts Centre, where Drew McCreadie's "Hotel Bethlehem" takes an alternative look at what really happened on that most famous of starry nights from Dec. 10-22.
If you prefer your Christmas classics a little less shaken and stirred, SFU's "Bah! Humbug" may be just the tonic, as a reading of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is presented with live music. Starring local legend Jim Byrnes as Scrooge, this festive tale runs Dec. 12-14.
Serious thespians will want to head to the always excellent Blackbird Theatre's production of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya", Dec. 23 - Jan 18 at The Cultch.
Christmas is a great time to get the kids excited by live performance, and Carousel Theatre Company on Granville Island is a wonderful starting point for the youngest among us. This year, "Seussical" is back to enthrall all ages from three up, with this musical version featuring everyone's favourite Cat In The Hat, running from Dec. 6 - Jan. 5.
For the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in your life, grab your umbrella and head to "Mary Poppins" at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage running now through Jan. 5.
And, perhaps less polished, but boasting a fulsome heart, the annual panto performed by an amateur troupe at the Metro Theatre, will move even the most jaded out there to yell "You're a hot dog!" (Those in the know, know.) This year, it's "Jack And The Beanstalk", running from Dec .13 - Jan. 4.
There are not one, but two productions of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" in Vancouver this Christmas.
Local company Goh Ballet's production features principal dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet and music by members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra on various dates between Dec.14 and 22.
The VSO provide the live score for Alberta Ballet's acclaimed production at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from Dec. 28 - 31.
If music is the perfect soundtrack to your Christmas carol, your problem will be choosing between all the options this season.
"Christmas With The Bach Choir" on Dec. 1 at the Orpheum promises carols, modern seasonal works and even a whirl on the theatre's vintage Wurlitzer.
On Dec. 14, the choir returns to the Orpheum to present Handel's Messiah.
Vancouver's favourite male voice choir, Chor Leoni perform "Star Of Wonder" at St. Andrew-Wesley United Church Dec. 21 and 22.
"Light For The Child" is Musica Intima's festive offering and plays in various venues from Dec. 20.
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is busy in December, teaming up with Bard On The Beach director Christopher Gaze for "A Traditional Christmas", featuring carols and readings, and playing at various locations across the city and beyond from Dec. 12.
And what would New Year's Day be without a "Salute To Vienna"? Join the Strauss Symphony Of Canada and the VSO to ring in 2014.
If all that tradition sounds, well, a little too traditional, break out in a different direction with Mint Records' "Ridiculously Early Xmas Party", featuring Nardwuar and the Evaporators, Renny Wilson, Jay Amer and more, at the Ukranian Orthodox Hall, on Nov. 30.
The same venue hosts a fundraiser for the Vancouver Folk Festival with "Folk For The Holidays", featuring Pacifika, The Nautical Miles and Jenny Ritter, on Dec. 7.
Now a tradition in it's own right, "Jon And Roy's Holiday Special" plays The Vogue Dec. 13 and 13 and has Buck 65, Horse Feathers and Mother Mother's Ryan Guldemond joining the eponymous pair.
What's Christmas without a great movie? It's like Fred without Ginger, Tom minus Jerry or "Jurassic Park" with no T-Rex. Seriously, folks.
Cineastes will not be disappointed in the offerings presented by Vancouver's arthouses.
The truly sublime cinema of Japanese maestro Yasujiro Ozu is celebrated with a major retrospective at The Cinematheque from Dec. 12 - Jan. 4. All ages welcome, be sure to take the kids to "Good Morning" ("Ohayo").
Over at the Vancity, December's program features the wondrous romantic world of Jacques Demy, the first of four seasons of Woody Allen and a blast of the Coen Brothers, including an all-day marathon on Dec. 21 and "come as your favourite character" to a free New Year's Eve show of "The Big Lebowski", with White Russians at the bar. Dude!
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