Deck the hulls! The lighted boat parade is Saturday, Dec. 3.

Deck the hulls! The lighted boat parade is Saturday, Dec. 3.

Santa Cruz is a awash in holiday cheer with the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker, the Lighted Boat Parade, Jingle Shells at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and much more.
Friday, Dec. 2 

Cabrillo Winter Dance Concert
The Cabrillo student dancers will stop, pop and lock it, performing new work by Bay Area- and Santa Cruz-based professional dance artists. Through Sunday, Dec. 4. Tickets $8-$12. Friday and Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 1pm at Cabrillo Crocker Theater, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos. 831.479.6464.

Music for the Feast of Christmas: Sun, Moon & Stars
The 29th annual iteration of the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus’ Feast of Christmas features an intergalactic theme. Through Sunday, Dec. 4. Tickets $18-$20. Friday and Saturday 8pm, Sunday 4pm at Holy Cross Church, 126 High Street, Santa Cruz. 831.479.6331 or

Suite Music
The UCSC Wind Ensemble performs Suite Francaise by Darius Milhaud, Second Suite in F for Military Band by Gustav Holst and Suite of Old American Dances by Robert Russell Bennett under the direction of Dr. Robert Klevan. Tickets $6-$10. 7:30pm at Music Center Recital Hall, UCSC, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz.

Watsonville Snow Day
One can of nonperishable food gains admission to the winter wonderland. 3pm at Peck St. at Union St., Watsonville. 831.768.3266 or Ci.Watsonville.Ca.US.
Saturday, Dec. 3

Downtown Santa Cruz Holiday Parade
Celebrating the season with a march down the city’s main drag featuring floats, marching bands, horses, classic cars and the man in red himself. Free. 10-11am, Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.429.8433 or

Lighted Boat Parade
A nautical celebration of the nativity and electricity featuring 50 power and sailboats strung up with lights parading through the Santa Cruz Harbor. Free. 5:30pm at the Santa Cruz Harbor.

Monarch Community School Holiday Craft Fair
Gingerbread house-building, ornament-making, gift-wrapping, elf hat- and stocking-making plus the sale of work by local artisans. Free, 11am-4pm at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

Scotts Valley Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Festivities include food, games, music and a visit from Santa. Free. 5pm at the Scotts Valley Community Center, 360 Kings Village Road. 831.438.1010
Sunday, Dec. 4 

Jingle Shells Arts & Crafts Festival
Shop for gifts inspired by the sea or just take in educational presentations, live music and, at dusk, the whale lighting ceremony (not as gruesome as it sounds). Free. Noon-5:30pm at the Seymour Center, 100 Shaffer Rd, Santa Cruz. 831.459.3800 or
Tuesday, Dec. 6

Winter Festival of Bands featuring the Cabrillo Symphonic Winds
Wind band music from the 20th and 21st centuries directed by Jon Nordgren. Tickets $6-$7. 7:30pm at Cabrillo Music Recital Hall, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos.
Thursday, Dec. 8

Hot Club of San Francisco: Cool Yule
The gypsy jazz collective plays holiday favorites with a Django Reinhardt-twist. Tickets $20 adv/$23 door. 7pm at Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. 831.427.2227 or

Santa Cruz Snow Night
Kids 12 and younger have the chance to build snowmen, make snow angels or toss a few snowballs around on a block of Pacific Avenue filled with the white stuff. A donation of nonperishable food required for entry. 5-8pm in downtown Santa Cruz. 831.429.8433
Friday, Dec. 9

Molly’s Revenge and Christa Burch
Molly’s Revenge and Christa Burch with the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers sing and dance to the Christmas songs from around the world played with a Celtic twist. Tickets $15. 7:30pm at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. 831.603.2294.
Saturday, Dec. 10

An Altared Christmas 2011
Rhan Wilson’s black and blue holiday spectacular puts classic seasonal tunes in minor key. This year’s show will feature performances from Tammi Brown, Ukulele Dick and Richard Stockton among many others. Tickets $25 adv/$28 door. 8pm, Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.423.8209 or

19th Annual Holiday Gift and Craft Faire
Hot beverages, baked goods, raffle prizes, holiday cheer and the sale of nature-themed gifts from local artisans. Proceeds benefit educational programs in local state parks. Through Sunday, Dec. 11. Free. 10am to 5pm at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, 101 Big Trees Park Rd, Felton. 831.335.0782.

Ranch Holiday Festival
Experience the winter holidays as folks did in the 19th and early 20th century with Victorian crafts, games and treats. Free. 11am-3pm at Wilder Ranch, Hwy 1, Santa Cruz. 831.426.0505
Sunday, Dec. 11 

An Acoustic Holiday Concert with Gypsy Soul
Canadian-Scottish duo Gypsy Soul plays holiday favorites. Tickets $14 adv/$16 door. 7pm at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. 831.603.2294.

A World of Many Colors
The Santa Cruz World Choir & Orchestra plays holiday music from India, Ireland, Mongolia, Republic of Georgia and Scandinavia as well as original compositions by Director Stephen Bigger. Tickets $15-$20. 7pm at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 831.521.3470.
Friday, Dec. 16

Cantiamo! Concert For A Winter’s Eve
Conductor Cheryl Anderson celebrates her 20th anniversary leading the choral group in a repertoire of a cappella and accompanied works of the past six centuries. Through Dec. 17. Tickets $18-$20. Friday, Dec. 16, 8pm. First Congregational Church, 900 High St., Santa Cruz. Saturday, Dec. 17, 8pm Carmel Mission Basilica, 3080 Rio Rd., Carmel. 831.479.6155 or

Christmas with the Chorale
The Santa Cruz Chorale performs two major works, Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland” and Claudio Monteverdi’s “Magnificat in D Major,” plus a selection of Renaissance motets. Through Sunday, Dec.  18. Tickets $19-$23. Friday, Dec. 16, 7pm at Our Lady Help of Christians, 2401 E Lake Ave., Watsonville. Saturday, Dec. 17, 8pm and Sunday, Dec. 18, 4pm at Holy Cross Church, 126 High St., Santa Cruz. 831.427.8023 or

The Nutcracker
Santa Cruz Ballet Theater Company is joined by alumni Melody Mennite of the Houston Ballet and Lucien Postlewaite of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and accompanied by a 55-piece orchestra in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet. Through Dec. 18. Tickets $15-$64. Friday, Dec. 16, 8pm, Saturday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 18 at 1pm and 4:30pm at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz. 831.420.5260 or

Plaid Tidings
All male acappella group The Plaids (of the Broadway musical “Forever Plaid”) return from the dead once more to sing holiday favorites in close harmony in Cabrillo Stage’s winter production. Through Dec. 30. Tickets $16-$38. 7:30pm and 2pm at Cabrillo Crocker Theater, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos. 831.479.6154 or
Tuesday, Dec. 20

Messiah Sing-A-Long
The Cabrillo Chorus and Ensemble Monterey Chamber Orchestra lead a community sing-a-long to Handel’s “Messiah.” Participants are welcome to bring their own score or rent one. Tickets $20. 7pm, First Congregational Church, 900 High St., Santa Cruz. 831.479.6155 or
Wednesday, Dec. 21 

Victorian Carriage Rides
Tour downtown in a horse-drawn carriage. Through Dec. 23. Tickets $5 at the Hat Shop. Downtown Santa Cruz. 831.429.8433.
Thursday, Dec. 22 

Santa is Real: A 1950’s Christmas Spectacular
Carolyn Sills and her band play pop and country hits from the ‘50s, plus classic holiday numbers made popular by Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley and Eartha Kitt. Tickets $10. 7:30pm at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. 831.603.2294.