I can't imagine a better way to lose yourself in winter merriment than to stuff the kids into the car and haul over to the Springs First Church of the Nazarene (4120 E. Fountain Blvd.) for the Many Lights of Christmas Drive-Thru. The attraction offers a Santa's workshop, a candy cane forest, puppets, a live nativity, a gingerbread house, a living Christmas tree, a holiday train and 400,000 lights blink-blink-blinkin' to help facilitate some jolly Christmas seizures. Things are taking place through Sunday the 21st from 6:30 until 9 p.m. Call 596-5119 for more.
Tonight, witness some raw vocal power with the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, who'll be performing Wintersong: A Celebration of the Season. This ain't your mama's holiday choral program the Vocal Ensemble will pepper their performance with medieval carols, Giovanni Gabrieli and Francis Poulenc, and will be stuffed into every nook and cranny of Shove Chapel on the Colorado College campus (1010 N. Nevada Ave.) for some sincerely surround-sound seasonal singing. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. and is wonderfully, fantastically free. Call 577-4192 for more.
It's your last weekend to see the wonderfully live musical version of It's A Wonderful Life at the Fine Arts Center. It's playing tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $21 for FAC Members, $23 for the public, and $25 at the door. Call the FAC box office at 634-5583 or go online at www.csfineartscenter.org to reserve your seats.
It's a fine day to road-trip on down to Pueblo for the Buell Children's Museum seasonal exhibition Everything Nutcracker. This nutty (ha!) exhibit features a humbling variety of holiday pastimes, such as a Land of the Sweets replete with tea-sniffing and candy-identifying activities, a curiously adult-sounding activity called the Closet of the Sugar Plum Fairy, a Kingdom of Snow, an Enchanted Frosty Forest, and a display of nutcrackers from the Erzgebirge region of Germany. Finally, if you get down there today, you can hand your list to Ms. Claus, who'll personally spirit it away to the north for evaluation. The exhibit is taking place through Jan. 3 at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center (210 N. Santa Fe Ave. in Pueblo), and will run nonmembers $4 for adults and $3 for kids (members' admission is free). Call 719/295-7200 for more information.
Make haste out of the house tonight to take in world-class mandolinists Chris Thile and Mike Marshall at the Benet Hill Center Auditorium (2577 Chelton Road) for a night of fast pickin'. (For more, see page 43.)
The Colorado Festival of World Theatre presents Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" today at the Broadmoor Hotel in the Broadmoor Little Theatre. Local celeb and Hollywood actress Linda Purl directs a reading of Capote's classic piece by actors Susan Clark, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Geoffrey Lind Jr. A 1:30 p.m. pre-show discussion with the director is free; 2 p.m. matinee reading is $25; and the 4 p.m. reading followed by High Tea in the main ballroom with a performance by members of the Woodland Park High School Madrigal Singers is $50 per ticket. Call 475-1737, ext. 13 for reservations and info.
Have yourself a deep rock li'l Christmas today at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry (1025North Gate Road), where you can put aside your pickax and engage in some holiday comfort. Browse for some last-minute gifts in the museum store, snap a couple photos of the kids with some donkeys (kids-with-donkeys pictures make a great gift for everyone on your list, I've found) and view the museum's Colorado Treasure Hunters exhibit, which will be in place until January 3. Tickets and tours are $3-7, and you can find out more by hitting up
www.wmmi.org or by calling 488-0880.
-- Aaron Retka