Nothing makes this season as magical as a trip to the theater with the family. From must-see Christmas classics to stunning Portland traditions — these shows make the holidays something special that you’ll remember for years to come. Read on to find out what our top pics are.

photo: Yi Yin via Oregon Ballet Theater fb

The Nutcracker
There’s no better place to start than the beloved, traditional The Nutcracker. Performed by the professionals of the Oregon Ballet Theater, this show is a guaranteed hit. Little ones will love that these sugar-plums don’t dance in their heads, but before their eyes. All ages will delight in the grandness of the Keller, the magical costumes, and mystical world created by George Balanchine. Check the schedule for the shows that feature the OBT live orchestra. Keep in mind that this production runs two hours, so plan accordingly for busy little elves.

Dec. 8-26
2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances (dependent on date)
Tickets: $29-$146
Keller Auditorium
222 SW Clay Ave.

Nutcracker Tea
This family-friendly adaptation is 90 minutes of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince’s magical Christmas adventure. Choreographed by June Taylor-Dixon as a perfect holiday tradition and first-time ballet experience, this shorter, kid-friendly version of the classic is a must-see. The show, offered by Northwest Dance Theater, a non-profit pre-professional company, generally sells out so get your tickets asap!

Dec. 15-23
2 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. performances (dependent on date)
Tickets: $35-$39
PCC Sylvania Performing Arts Center
12000 SW 49th Ave.


photo: efs green via Flickr

Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree
“Where Christmas comes alive.” This Portland holiday staple at the Keller hosts 300 choir members of all ages, an orchestra, and local actors for a show that includes both contemporary and traditional Christmas music. Because of the long running time – 2 hours plus intermission – this one might be best for kids six and up. If you take little ones note that all kids over the age of one require a ticket.

Nov. 23-Dec. 2
Noon, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances (dependent on date)
Keller Auditorium
222 SW Clay Ave.

Pioneer Courthouse Square Tree Lighting Ceremony
This holiday experience is a must-do for every Portland family. Don’t miss the annual tree lighting ceremony, which brings thousands of Portlanders together to kick off the holiday season. Watch the lighting of the City’s spectacular 75ft Douglas-fir while joining in a sing-a-long with Thomas Lauderdale and members of Pink Martini, the NW Community Gospel Choir and friends. It does get crowded quickly so grab your spot (and hand warmers) and snacks early.

Nov. 23rd
5:30p.m. – 6:30p.m.
Pioneer Square
701 SW 6th Ave.

photo: Patrick M via flickr

Jingle Bear
This group includes over 135 girls between the ages of 5 and 18. Their “Jingle Bear” concert features the choir’s youngest singers and includes a sing-along to get everyone in the festive spirit. Later in the month, the choir’s Holiday Concert takes a more sophisticated repertoire for the season. Whichever concert you attend, they will have you humming your holiday favorites for the rest of December.

Jingle Bear: Dec. 1, 3 p.m.
Holiday Concert: Dec. 16, 3 p.m.
Tickets: or 503-226-6162

Zion Lutheran Church
1015 SW 18th


If your family is a little Christmased out but still want to treat yourselves to a show head to this Imago Theatre production. FROGZ said to have put Imago on the international map, has a Broadway style production meshed with a simplicity and charm all ages will love.” This one is recommended for audience members aged 3 and up.

Dec. 8- Jan. 7
Tickets: $17.50-$37.50
Imago Theatre
17 SE 8 Ave.

The Christmas Revels
Take a trip across the pond to Iceland, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark all without leaving the comfort of your seat with Portland Revels. We love this show for its mix of comedy, dance, music, and drama perfect for the kid in you (and your kids!). Break away from the mainstream traditions and fill your holiday with sword dances, clowns, and elaborate costumes. Back again this year too is Little Lights, 60 minutes filled with a mini Christmas performance created for kids 2 to 7.

Tickets: $12.00 – $85.00
Dec. 14-22
1:00 PM and 7:30 PM performances (dependent on date)
Portland Revels
1515 SW Morrison St.

—Annette Benedetti

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