1. The Slutcracker
A parody on Tschaikovsky’s holiday ballet, this raunchy show is not family friendly. Ballet dancers, burlesque performers, belly dancers, and a wide variety of other dance forms keep audience members highly entertained, and unlike the traditional ballet, you are bound to stay awake throughout the entire show.
2. Ice Skating at the Frog Pond
This versatile pond (it becomes a spray pool in the summer) is a scenic place to lace up your skates in Boston Common. For the city’s co-eds to blow off steam, Tuesday nights are half off with a college ID. Best of all there is a fully stocked snack bar with hot chocolate and grilled cheese — the perfect post-ice skating fuel.
3. Santa Speedo Run
Bostonians never think twice when they see a bunch of guys in speedos and Santa hats every December in Back Bay. Starting in 2000 with only 5 guys, the group has grown to hundreds of men and women willing to brave the elements in next to nothing. The course is a mile and goes from Boylston to Berkeley Street and then down through picturesque Newbury Street. The money raised goes to the Play Ball! Foundation.
4. #mfaNOW Overnight: Last Call
For local night owls that are art enthusiasts, this overnight event at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is a match made in heaven. This all-night fiesta takes place in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, and best of all, it’s completely free. Food trucks, live music, performance art, and artistic demonstrations are all components of one of the city’s coolest holiday parties. It starts at 9 p.m. and goes until 9 a.m.
5. The Great Scott Holiday Party
There is nothing better than The Scrooges (guys dressed in Santa suits performing Stooges tunes) in Allston’s The Great Scott bar to spread holiday cheer. Entrance to the event is free, but as locals know it is best to come armed with an unwrapped toy for the Department of Children and Familiesannual toy drive.
6. Kendall Square Holiday on Ice
Bostonians flock to this one-day ice-skating extravaganza, where there is a free skating show put on by professional skaters, and plenty of time to do your own lap or two. There is free admission to the rink, where you can rent skates (at regular prices), and do triple axels to your heart’s content.
7. Holiday Pops
For festive tunes, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Boston Pops does not disappoint with its holiday concert that includes sing-a-longs and a visit from Old Saint Nick himself. The entire family can enjoy a magical night when the Boston Symphony Hall is transformed into a musical winter wonderland.
8. North End Holiday Stroll
It is hard to resist the picturesque North End year round, but it has an extra magical touch during the holidays. Every December for one day the stores and boutiques in this historical Italian neighborhood stay open late for some prime holiday shopping. Many venues offer complimentary refreshments and discounts. Definitely beats braving the crowds at Copley.
9. The Nutcracker
For those who cherish holiday traditions, this classic ballet is often on their holiday to-do list. The Boston Ballet puts on a stunning rendition at the Boston Symphony Hall that is excellently choreographed by Mikko Nissinen, the Artistic Director of the Boston Ballet. This show instills holiday cheer in everyone — whether you are young or young at heart.
10. Black Nativity
An emotional retelling of the Christmas story that highlights a blend of gospel songs and traditional holiday carols, Boston boasts the longest-running version, which is based off of poet Langston Hughes’song-play. Housed in downtown Boston’s historic Paramount Theater, this performance has become a great alternative holiday show for many Bostonians.
11. A Christmas Celtic Sojourn
Boston is known for celebrating strong Irish traditions, and this uplifting performance of Celtic music, song and dance is easily a family favorite. From lively fiddle music to festive dancers dressed in their holiday best, it is hard to leave Emerson College’s Cutler Majestic without a smile on your face, and a skip in your step.