’Tis the season for holiday affairs and full social calendars. From office parties to Christmas parades, there will be plenty for people to do to ring in the holiday season.

There are the tried and true events, like the over-the-top light display that is the Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden, various performances of The Nutcracker and hot chocolate with Santa. But there are also plenty of opportunities to go off the beaten path.

Need some tips on what to do? Here are some picks from The Baltimore Banner arts and culture staff.

Polar Express at the B&O
Polar Express at the B&O (Courtesy photo)

The Polar Express train ride at the B&O Railroad Museum

Bring your whole family for a ride on The Polar Express at the B&O Museum. The museum hosts the ride every year to recreate the journey from the popular movie and book. While onboard one of the many trains in the B&O’s collection, families will see dancing chefs and professional Santas to put everyone in the holiday spirit. Tickets start at $47 and include a special gift from Santa. They can be purchased at TicketWeb.

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A 30-foot tall traditional Christmas pyramid in the center of a German-style Christmas market.
The 30-foot-tall Christmas pyramid in the center of the Christmas Village in Baltimore. (Courtesy: Christmas Village in Baltimore)

Baltimore’s Christmas Village

Inspired by the famous Christmas Villages in Germany, Christmas Village in Baltimore features a heated tent and vendor booths for eating and shopping. The village features a large German Christmas tower called the “pyramid” that guides visitors to the village. The free event is held in the Inner Harbor’s West Shore Park.

The Nutcracker from Ballet Nouveau
“The Nutcracker” from Ballet Nouveau (Courtesy photo)

“A Nutcracker Suite” from Ballet Nouveau

Ballet Nouveau, a ballet-based conservatory in Essex, will perform “A Nutcracker Suite” this year on Dec. 17. The show will include excerpts from ”The Nutcracker” as well as classic holiday tunes. Typically, ”The Nutcracker Suite” is performed by seasoned professionals, but this performance brings pre-professional Black dancers to the spotlight. Support future dancers by purchasing a tickets for the family. Performances are at Morgan State University’s Murphy Fine Arts Center at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster for $60 r a pair.

A Very Messy Xmas (Courtesy photo)

“A Very Messy Xmas”

Brought to you by Baltimore Beat newspaper, Eze Jackson and Emily Rabbit, “A Very Messy Xmas” is a concert for all ages at Metro Gallery. Some of Baltimore’s household names, including Rod Lee, Miss Kam and Mowder Oyal, will perform some of their most popular songs. Tickets can be purchased for $20.

Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia (Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for BET)

Fantasia at MGM National Harbor

Grammy-award winning artist Fantasia will perform at MGM National Harbor Dec. 23. Fans can attend and watch as Fantasia sings some of her greatest hits, including tracks off her “Christmas After Midnight” album. Tickets can be purchased here.

Remember, it’s only Champagne if it’s from the Champagne region in France. Taste some of the best at this event in Baltimore.

POP Champagne Tasting

For those of us with Champagne tastes and caviar dreams, there’s a Champagne tasting Dec. 28 at Taps Fill Station in the Mount Vernon Marketplace. The event highlights the Champagne region’s “Club Trésors,” or a special club of wine growers that includes some of the best of the best. Guests take home a flute, wine glass and reusable wine bag. VIP tickets are $60.

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Watch Frank Capra’s 1946 classic at the Senator Theater Christmas Eve.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Senator

It’s just not Christmas without a viewing of Frank Capra’s bittersweet holiday classic. What better place to view it than Baltimore’s art deco Senator Theater on Christmas Eve? Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5 in nonperishable food items.

The Union Square Cookie Tour of Historic Homes began in 1985. (Roger Miller (Handout))

37th Annual Union Square Cookie Tour of Historic Homes

If you think scrolling through Baltimore rowhomes on Zillow is fun, well, it’s even better with cookies. The Union Square Cookie Tour of Historic Homes, which started in 1985, happens Dec. 11 at noon. Visit beautiful homes and get free holiday cookies. Tickets are $20. Check in at Union Square Park.

Meet Santa at Beau & Tinsel’s Winter Wonderland at Padonia Park Club in Cockeysville. (Handout)

Beau & Tinsel’s Winter Wonderland

Baltimore kids’ Christmas dreams come true at Padonia Park Club in Cockeysville as it is transformed into a holiday wonderland. The event is named after the talking reindeer of Hutzler’s Department Store fame. Meet Santa, walk a half-mile trail with characters and lights, take a wagon ride around the park’s 30 acres, and ride a tube down the hill or inflatable mountain. Also, check out the life-sized gingerbread castle made with hundreds of pounds of honey and flour. Food, drinks and sweet treats will be available for purchase. Tickets are $28. Event runs most weekends in December.

A Not So Silent Night (Courtesy photo)

“A Not So Silent Night”

There will be plenty of holiday-themed dance parties to attend around town as we inch closer to Christmas. The Crown, located in Station North, has a solid reputation for being one of the Baltimore venues where you can go and really dance, instead of trying to play it cool. On Dec. 22, they’ll host the perfectly titled, “A Not So Silent Night,” featuring DJs Shrub Squad, TrillaKay, and DJerz. The shows starts at 9 p.m. with a sliding scale cover of $10-$20.

Annual Kwanzaa celebration at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis.
Annual Kwanzaa celebration at the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis. (Courtesy photo)

Annual Kwanzaa Celebration in Annapolis

The Banneker-Douglass Museum in the state capital will host its annual Kwanzaa celebration and this year’s focus is the African Diaspora’s gift of creativity. The event will take place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10.

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(Courtesy photo)

Pennsylvania Avenue Merchants Association’s Holiday on Main Street

On Tuesday, Dec. 20 from 2:30-4:30 p.m., the Pennsylvania Avenue Merchants Association will host a number of holiday-themed festivities, which will include caroling, trolley rides and magic shows.

Holly Jolly Trolley Tours
Holly Jolly Trolley Tours (Courtesy photo)

Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley Tours

Throughout December, people can take a tour to see holiday decorations and light displays around Baltimore. The trolley will leave from Royal Sonesta Harbor Court’s Espresso Café, located at 550 Light St.

lawrence.burney@thebaltimorebanner.com, imani.spence@thebaltimorebanner.com, taji.burress@thebaltimorebanner.com, christina.tkacik@thebaltimorebanner.com

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