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The Weekender

Reduced Shakespeare Company brings its holiday follies to Yardley Hall on the JCCC campus Saturday night. (Credit: Meghan Moore)
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It’s full-on Christmas season. You can try it to fight it or embrace it. No matter which camp you choose, Flatland has your weekend on lock.

BUYING

For unique gifts, don’t forget that this weekend is a First Friday. Buying local art from local galleries is always a smart and thoughtful way to shop. You could also check out Hello Art’s Annual Small Works Show and Holiday SaleSunday, from 10am-5pm, you’ll find works by 45 local artists and makers covering four floors at the Phillips Hotel. In midtown, the Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair offers work from more than 75 makers, along with food trucks and live music. That’s on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-6pm. Admission is free, and the first 100 guests who bring a new children’s book or monetary donation will get a swag bag.

TIDING

New sets, new choreography, new wonder — it's "The Nutcracker" season. (Credit: Kansas City Ballet)

New sets, new choreography, new wonder — it’s “The Nutcracker” season. (Credit: Kansas City Ballet)

There’s more to the holiday than shopping, and you’ll find plenty of seasonal entertainment at the Kauffman Center. The Kansas City Ballet’s all-new, much hyped version of The Nutcracker premiers on Friday night. The KC symphony is presenting Handel’s Messiah every weekend, all month. There’s TUBACHRISTMAS, a participatory event for anyone who loves low end brass, and the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra performs A Swinging Kansas City Christmas, along with special guest vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway.

Stay downtown for two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel on Saturday night. The legendary Australian guitarist is a household name Down Under, famed for his innovative “finger style.” Friday night, don your gay apparel for The Heartland Men’s Chorus. They’re presenting a Kansas City Christmas at The Folly Theater. The wonderful Paul Mesner Puppets performs a holiday show at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral. Or, especially if you are in a charitable mood, check out Songs of Good Cheer on Friday at Unity Temple on the Plaza, a benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association. Reduced Shakespeare Company, a globe-trotting comedy theater troupe, is heard frequently on NPR. Saturday night, they’ll bring a zany Christmas revue to Yardley Hall on the JCCC campus.

GAWKING

There are also, of course, innumerable holiday displays around town. To see lights beyond the Plaza, venture to Candy Cane Lane in Prairie Village. See the Holiday Lights at Deanna Rose farm or Overland Park’s Holiday Luminary Walk. There’s more, too. Check out this list of holiday light displays all over the Kansas side. In Missouri, Christmas in the Park at Longview Lake is always a big one, a drive-though display featuring more than 300,000 lights and 175 animated figures.

FEMINISTING

Believe it or not, there are non-Yuletide related events around town. If you need a break from all the seasonal cheer, there’s a lot of strong women visiting KC this weekend. Check out Heart, headlining Rock the Ribbon 2015 at The Midland, a benefit for Susan G. Komen of Greater Kansas City. Or check out raucous, rowdy Bridget Everett, performing at recordBar. Her bawdy comedy and cabaret is definitely not for kids. Neither is the stand-up of April Macie, appearing at Standford’s Comedy Club.

BALLING

Maybe you would rather see men perform. Then get to Lawrence on Saturday afternoon. Kansas Men’s Basketball welcomes Harvard (yes, Harvard), the five-time defending Ivy League champs, to glorious Allen Field House.

LIGHTING

Finally, if you truly need a break from Christmas, get to any local synagogue. And bring the kids. Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, begins on Sunday night.

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