Family-Friendly Holiday Shows for Every Age & Stage

The 1964 stop-motion TV version of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” will never lose its charm. (Never!) But seeing a play, ballet, or choir in person instead of the small screen is an enchanting experience for kids. And it makes for a great family tradition. Here, a few of this season’s family-friendly favorites to buy tickets to.


John Clifford’s The Enchanted Toyshop with Firebird
Talk about your two-for-one: a whimsical story about toys come to life partnered with a fairytale based on Russian folklore/ (Expect lots of good vs. evil.) Both are performed by The Portland Ballet’s Academy and Youth Company, a training ground for professional ballet artists. A bonus: the full PSU orchestra will play at every performance.

Ticket & Show Info.: Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. Tickets: $35/adult, $15/youth. (A $90 Family Pack includes tickets for two adults and two kids.) Tickets for the Nov. 29 preview are “Pay what you will:” $5 + any size donation. Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
What’s Christmas without Clara fighting off the Mouse King? (Or hearing preschoolers try to pronounce “Polichinelle?”) This exquisite Oregon Ballet Theater production runs two hours, so plan accordingly for small children.

Ticket & Show Info.: Dec. 14-24, Tickets: $25-$142. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Ave.

Nutcracker Tea
Not convinced your kiddo has the attention span for the full version of Nutcracker? Start with this abridged family-friendly production offered by Northwest Dance Theater, a non-profit pre-professional company whose alumni have garnered attention around the world. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

Ticket & Show Info.: Dec. 14-15, 20-22, Tickets: 14-$30. PCC Sylvania Performing Arts Center, 12000 SW 49th Ave.


Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree
For over 50 years, Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree has brought together voices from across the city. This year, over 300 adult and youth choir members, an orchestra, and local actors have put together a show that includes everything from Santa and Rudolph to shepherds and kings. Because of the long running time – 2 hours plus intermission – this one might be best for kids six and up.

Ticket & Show Info.: Nov. 30 through Dec. 8, Tickets $17-$62. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay Ave.


Portland Symphonic GirlChoir’s Jingle Bear Family Concert
This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Portland’s GirlChoir, an award-winning choir featuring 135 girls between the ages of 5 and 18. This year’s Jingle Bear concert, which showcases the choir’s youngest artists, will feature holiday favorites from the movies “Elf” and “Grinch,” plus plenty of cheery carols.

Ticket & Show Info.: Dec. 14, Tickets: $17-$21. Zion Lutheran Church, 1015 SW 18th


Pioneer Courthouse Square Concerts
Yes, Pioneer Courthouse Square is your kids’ last chance to run amok before you tether them to your side and brave the mall for holiday shopping. But! It’s also a phenomenal place to see (free!) holiday shows. Throughout December, catch acapella groups, the 22nd Annual Tuba Christmas Concert (featuring over 200 tubas), a performance by DanceFusion NW, and choirs and bands from schools throughout the city. Most performances run an hour, and no worries if your offspring’s more interested in running the stairs.

Ticket & Show Info.: Dec. 7 –22. Free. Pioneer Square, 701 SW 6th Ave. Check the website for scheduled performances.

It’s a Wonderful Life
You know the story: An angel helps a deeply unhappy businessman see what life would be like if he had never been born. Now share it with your kids through Stumptown Stages’ musical adaptation of the Capra classic film. There are few better ways to help your loved ones remember the true meaning of holiday spirit.

Ticket & Show Info: Nov. 21-Dec. 22, Tickets: $35.25-$46.25. Antoinette Hatfield Hall, 1111 SW Broadway

If you like your holidays with less jingle and waaaay more bells (and whistles), don’t miss Imago Theatre’s FROGZ. A mesmerizing production that mixes Mummenschanz-like mime and acrobatics with breathtakingly weird costumes and masks, it’s truly got to be seen to be believed.

Ticket & Show Info.: Dec. 12- January 5. Tickets: $16/kids, $27/youth and senior, $31/adults. Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8 Ave.

What holiday show will you attend with your kids this year? Tell us your picks below!

–Stephanie Booth

Photo Credits: The Portland Ballet, Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree, Portland Symphonic GirlChoir, Pioneer Courthouse Square.