When it comes to getting into the mood for the holidays, there’s nothing like the sweet, merry sounds of carols to elevate everyone’s spirits. If you’re looking to spark your family’s joy with an uplifting musical performance this season, we’ve rounded up the best concerts in town to tune-up those holiday vibes. From traditional choral ensembles to shows that will have you rockin’ around the Christmas tree (or Menorah if you will), here’s where to fill your cup with cheer this year.

USACE via Flicrphoto: USACE via flickr

The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition
Without a doubt, one of our most treasured holiday traditions (now celebrating its 29th year!) is the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition at Westlake Park. Each year approximately 40 caroling teams take their places along the streets of downtown to sing their hearts out as a fundraiser for the Pike Market Senior Center and Downtown Food Bank. Everyone can get figgy with it to their favorite holiday anthems, plus enjoy a bonus performance by the 5th Avenue Theatre. For the grand finale, the top teams will be escorted by the booming Blue Thunder drumline to the Figgy Main Stage, where they will compete for the top prize in a sing-off.

Where: Westlake Park & Pine St.
Date: Dec. 4, 2015, 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (donations are welcome)
Online: pikemarketseniorcenter.org/figgy-pudding

Westlake Park Latifa S. via Yelpphoto: Latifa S. via Yelp

A Festival of Lessons & Carols
Another great local tradition now in its 37th year, is the annual A Festival of Lessons & Carols presented by the Northwest Boychoir. Their classical holiday performance is patterned after the King’s College in Cambridge, England’s Christmas Eve celebration; a compilation of nine holiday readings, each followed by a gorgeous traditional carol. In eight evening concerts held all around town, the 90 member choir often draws sell-out crowds. Psst! Be sure to make plans ahead of time to ensure seating is available.

Performance Schedule
Plymouth Church, Dec. 11, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran Church, Dec. 12, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Dec. 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
Holy Rosary Church, Dec. 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Dec. 19 & Mon., Dec. 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
St. Alphonsus Church, Dec. 20, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Benaroya Hall, Dec. 22, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20-$80 for Benaroya Hall performance; $11-$28 for all others
Online: nwchoirs.org/northwest-boychoir

northwest-boychoir-creditben-vanhoutenphoto: Ben VanHouten

Seattle Symphony Holiday Pops
We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the season than with an ever-popular Seattle Symphony Holiday Pops concert. Kids from one to ninety-two will love hearing their favorite holiday jingles sung by the University of Washington Chorale, Broadway singer Capathia Jenkins, jazz vocalist and pianist Tony DeSare and more. To top it off, Blue Thunder will perform a special rendition of The Little Drummer Boy and we hear the big guy himself will be making a cameo appearance the Littles won’t want to miss.

Where: Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Dates: Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Dec. 13, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Cost: $35-$95
Online: seattlesymphony.org/holiday-pops

seattle symphony holiday kick off

photo: Seattle Symphony

Holiday Hooray!
This special holiday performance is part of the Tiny Tots Music Series at Benaroya Hall and is sure to be a hit with your mini music lover. A toddler sized program (just 35 minutes) introduces the youngest of concert-goers to the sounds of the season with a brass trio, featuring tunes from Let Your Music Shine with Lisa and Linda. Specifically designed for the 0-5 year-old set, kids are encouraged to move and sing-along during this all interactive program.

Concert Bonus: Be sure to arrive early for the pre-concert activities happening 30 minutes before the show in the Grand Lobby. Double Bonus: Your concert ticket also gets you into the Soundbridge for even more music exploration and activities.

Where: Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Dates: Dec. 11 at 10:30 a.m.; Dec. 12, 2015 at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.
Cost: $12
Online: seattlesymphony.org/holiday-hooray

The Snowman
Who doesn’t love a snowman? This not-to-miss performance of Raymond Briggs’ classic winter tale and Academy Award nominee; The Snowman tells a story of a boy who builds a frosty friend that comes to life and their extraordinary adventure together. This 60-minute performance of Howard Blake’s score by the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera Youth Chorus is designed specially for youngsters ages 6 to 11 as part of the KING FM Family Concert Series. Psst! This is a one-time only showing, so be sure to book your tickets now!

Where: Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Date: Dec. 5, 2015 at 11 a.m.
Cost: $15-$20
Online: seattlesymphony.org/the-snowman

seattle symphony Chris H. via yelpphoto: Chris H. via Yelp


Yule Fest 2015
This family-friendly holiday event will showcase all performing levels of the internationally award-winning Columbia Children’s Choir singing traditional carols and music from around the world. Joining the ensemble will be a special regional honor choir, including 50 kids from six area schools singing everyone’s favorite songs of the season.

Where: Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave., Seattle, Wa 98101
Date: Dec 5, 2015 at 1 p.m.
Cost: $15/Adults; $10/Kids and Seniors
Online: townhallseattle.org/event/columbia-choirs

Columbia Choir via Lars Myrenphoto: Lars Myren

Hanukkah Under the Stars
This is not your grandma’s Hanukkah party! Enjoy a musical performance from Jewish Rock Band, Shul of Rock during this festive and fun celebration of the seventh night of Hanukkah. Food trucks will be on hand to keep everyone fueled for all that singing, dancing and air guitar playing, plus there will be tons of activities that the whole crew will love. See an acrobatic performance from SANCA circus and science experiment demonstrations from the Pacific Science Center. The wee ones will be entertained with games, crafts and face painting while older kids will have a blast with a planetarium experience hosted by The Museum of Flight.

Where: Stroum Jewish Community Center, 3801 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Date: Dec. 12 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free with donation of a new pair of socks
Online: sjcc.org/kids-adults-families/community-celebrations

Hanukkah Under the Stars from SJCC Staffphoto: SJCC Staff

Carmina Angelorum
Strike the harp and join the chorus! Celebrate the season with Seattle Girls’ Choir for a magical holiday concert featuring the angelic voices (the concert name translated literally means songs of angels – we knew you’d ask) of their top two choirs, Prime Voci and Cantamus. Harpist Juliet Stratton will combine her masterful talents with the young vocalists, performing works from Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols in a gorgeous set of songs for harp and treble voices.

Performance Schedule
Chapel of Saint Ignatius Seattle University, Dec. 13, 2015 at 3 p.m.
First United Methodist Church of Seattle, Dec. 19, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
Holy Rosary Church, West Seattle, Dec. 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $12/Adults; $8/Students & Seniors
Online: seattlegirlschoir.org

Sounds of the Season
South Sound families will love this annual holiday concert in their area of town, performed at Tacoma’s renowned Pantages Theater. Enjoy a Christmas sing-along plus familiar holiday tunes including Winter Wonderland and Joy to the World, performed by the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra combined with the concert, chamber and chorale ensembles of the Tacoma Youth Chorus.

Where: Pantages Theater,
Date: Dec. 6, 2015 at 2:30 p.m.
Cost: $12-$80
Online: tacomasymphony.org/concerts/sounds-of-the-season

photo from Tacoma Youth Chorusphoto: Tacoma Youth Chorus

Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship Festival
Nothing says holidays in the Pacific Northwest like the sights and sounds of the Christmas Ship Festival. Each year, the Argosy cruise ship sets sail to beach parks and communities throughout the Puget Sound region, sharing their festive light display and enchanting holiday music on board. Local coral groups including The Dickens Carolers, Seattle Girls’ Choir, Emerald City Voices and many more give 20-minute performances for spectators who gather along the shores. This year, the festival will visit 45 different locations from Thanksgiving thru December 23, offering plenty of opportunities to dodge the rain and make it to a serenade. So get those kiddos bundled up, grab some hot cocoa to go and cozy down by a bonfire to enjoy this wonderful holiday tradition.

Where: Shores of Lake Washington, Lake Union, Elliot Bay & Puget Sound Parks
Dates: Nov. 28 – Dec. 23, 2015. See schedule for times.
Cost: Free to watch from the shore or book a cruise with Argosy and set sail with the chorus
Online: argosycruises.com/theme-cruises/christmas-ship-festival

Argosy Christmas ship -- Prayitno via flicrphoto: Prayitno via flickr

Pacific Place Holiday Entertainment Stage
For families who would like to take their concert performance this season with a side or holiday shopping, and maybe a little snow flurry for dessert; look no further than Pacific Place to give you it all in one location, and for free! See traditional choral groups, jazz ensembles and world music performances in two-hour sets, held twice a day on weekends and daily the week leading up to Christmas. Psst! You’ll want to be sure to catch that nightly, 6 p.m. snowfall in the atrium during evening concert performances.

Where: 1st Level Atrium, Pacific Place, 600 Pine St., Seattle, Wa 98101
Date: Nov. 27-Dec. 13; Daily, Dec. 18-24, 2015. Times vary. See schedule for details.
Cost: Free
Online: pacificplaceseattle.com/holidays/entertainment

snow showers-pacific placephoto: Pacific Place

Does your family have a favorite holiday concert? Tell us which one in the Comments below.

— Rachael Brandon