If you listen closely, you’ll hear the jingle sleigh bells in the distance. Yes, Christmas weekend is upon us. But there is still plenty of time to revel in the season, make your list, and check it twice. All the holiday shows are in full swing—at least through Christmas Eve. Christmas brunch tables are laden with goodies. Santa is ready and waiting to hear your little one’s wishes. And holiday lights are still blazing. Let it snow? We can only dream. (Or, the more industrious of us can pack the family into the car and head for Mt. Hood.)

West side

The Nutcracker (pictured)
A must see show of the season and Christmas Eve tradition for many families! Each year, Oregon Ballet Theater presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and is the only company west of the Mississippi licensed to perform Balanchine’s original choreography. The premier production with its elaborate set, costumes, and dancing will transport children into a dreamy wonderland. Fri-Sat. Several showings. Keller auditorium. Tickets begin at $21. Best for ages 4+ (or parent’s discretion). Event details.

Santa at Pioneer Courthouse Square
It’s not too late to tell Santa what you’d like for Christmas this year. Santa will be appropriately located next to Portland’s lighted Christmas tree, and in addition to meeting him, kids and families may enjoy chestnuts on the fire, hot cocoa, hot cider and candy canes. December 23rd 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (except for the 24th, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm). Photo packages available. All. Event details.

Festival of the Last Minute
There is no better place to go shopping for those last minute gifts. The festival is a guaranteed source of 200+ artists, holiday tunes and tasty treats. You’ll find the Dickens Carolers, Sugarplum Elves and the Cinnamon Bear roving the Market, too. Even in the cold of winter there is a place to find warm cheer. Dec 19-23: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, Dec 24: 10:00 am – 3:30 pm. Waterfront and Ankeny Plaza. Free. All. Event details.

East side

Make Magic Reindeer Food
Come make a “recipe” to ensure that, along with cookies for Santa, your family will also have a little something tasty to leave for his hard-working reindeer. Fri. 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Warehouse Cafe. $5. Ages 1-6. Event details.

Tyleena the Fairy Funkmother at Mississippi Treehouse
Wrap up some last minute shopping while your kids enjoy a musical sing a-long and story time with the fantastic Tyleena (also known as the Fairy Funk Mother). Sing along to your favorite songs and books. Pick up a tambourine, drum or shaker and jam with us while learning some basic rhythm skills. Fri. 10:00 am. $3 donation. All. Event details.

Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway
Enjoy a sensational display of lights and animation spanning the track at Portland International Raceway. It’s even open on Christmas Day. Friday & Saturday, 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sun, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. $16 per car. All. Event details.

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— Cheyenne Terbrueggen