Lights, music, celebrations offer chance to make holiday memories

COURTESY: THE GROTTO - Featuring choirs and more, the Christmas Festival of Lights at The Grotto is one of many attractions to enjoy before and after Christmas.Thursday, Friday and Saturday — the days leading up to Christmas Day, Sunday, Dec. 25 — will surely be busy days for shoppers.

But, they could also be days to take in the sights and sounds of the season.

Here’s a rundown of what is still happening for holiday revelry, before Christmas Day and leading up to New Year’s Eve:

Lights galore

There’ll be lights, lights and more lights on display for the next several days.

• The walking tour of Peacock Lane, just off Southeast Cesar Chavez Boulevard, features 31 decorated English cottages from 6 to 11 p.m. each night (till midnight Dec. 24 and 31) through Dec. 31. Neighbors are trying to raise money to make the area a National Historic District. See its page on

• The Miracle of a Million Lights at the Victorian Belle house, 1441 McClellan St., highlights the house and 2 1/2 acres of property, including 10 Christmas trees. It’ll be open Thursday and Friday evenings, Dec. 22-23.

• Stay in your warm car and drive around Portland International Raceway during the evening through Christmas night for Winter Wonderland.

• It doesn’t get any more spiritual or beautiful than the Christmas Festival of Lights at The Grotto through Dec. 30 at The Grotto, 8840 N.E. Skidmore St. The Grotto, along with its lights and choruses, has a new attraction this year — Storm the camel. Yes, a live camel. Food and beverages are available.

• The ZooLights, the adornment of the colors of the season at the Oregon Zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, continues through Jan. 1.

• If you’re driving on Highway 26 West, you’ll see the some 100,000 Shilo Inns headquarters festive lights through Dec. 31.

Stagings and music

Celebrate the holidays with plays and music.

• Continuing 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Dec. 22-23, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway, “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” is a re-imagined holiday acrobatics show with a cast of 30 costumed artists — gingerbread men flipping in air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires, snowmen daringly balancing, icemen powerfully sculpting, penguins spinnings, puppets dancing and reindeer soaring high above.

• The Oregon Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker,” which shows through Dec. 26 at Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St., always proves to be very popular. Check for ticket availability.

• Oregon Repertory Theatre’s “A Tuna Christmas” is a sequel to “Greater Tuna,” and it’s about the favorite citizens of Tuna, Texas, as comedians portray all 22 citizens of the state’s third-smallest town, 24 hours before Christmas. There’ll be two shows before Christmas — Thursday and Friday, Dec. 22-23 — at Winningstad Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway.

• Portland Center Stage puts on David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries,” starring Darius Pierce as a disgruntled department store elf, Crumpet, through Christmas Eve at the Gerding Theater, 128 N.W. 11th Ave.

• “Plaid Tidings,” by Stumptown Stages, is about four men — Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky — singing nostalgic holiday songs in harmony, it continues at the Brunish Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway, through Dec. 24.

• Portland Playhouse’s “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens’ enduring tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s painful past, cruel present and redemptive future, features Jen Rowe in the lead role through Dec. 30 at Portland Playhouse, 602 N.E. Prescott St.

• Christmas at the Old Church, Michael Allen Harrison’s annual series, features Harrison, Julianne Johnson and many more performers. It continues through Dec. 26 at The Old Church, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave.

Santa’s last ride

Visit Santa Claus for the final time at the Macy’s Santaland through Dec. 24 at the downtown store, 621 S.W. Fifth Ave. The department store will be closing. Also, Macy’s celebrates the season with its tradition of window displays, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. through Christmas — animatronic windows, showcasing Portland holiday traditions including the tree lighting at Pioneer Courthouse Square, a lighted ship parade, carolers and “The Nutcracker.”

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