This wekend the holiday cheer continues! We’ve even got Winter Solstice to celebreate too with a fun afternoon filled with puppets and banjo music! Plus, two productions of The Nutcracker, a performance by Columbia Dance Company and the other from The Portland Festival Ballet. Head to the Whole Foods in the Pearl to make a gingerbread house, or The Toy Trains are playing at the Central Library if you’re in need for time to get the crazies out. There’s a sweet Irish play on Saturday and a puppet show about a shoemaker and the elves who help him, showing multiple times this weekend. Finally, the whimsical ZooZoo is back from its run in New York and young performers from The Elite Travel Troupe will be putting on their seasonal music show.

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Eastside

The Faerie’s Gift
A two-for-one in fun! First, the play: a heartwarming Irish tale of fairy ingenuity and human generosity. Second, the “play:” after the performance, each child is invited to play with the performers—to crawl, roll and tumble around in a safe, non-competitive way. Sat., 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Sun., 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Portland, $7, under 2 free. Event details.

ZooZoo
Word on the street is kids go wild for ZooZoo! Just back from Broadway, this family hit is a whimsical show of fantastical, indescribable creatures featuring frolicking rabbits, giant bug eyes, hungry anteaters, polar bears and other outrageously funny creatures. Fri., 7:00 p.m., Sat., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Sun., 2:00 p.m., Portland, $29 adults, $25 Senior/Students, $16 16 and under. Event details.

Solstice Party with Mudeye Puppets and Professor Banjo
Settle in at cozy Taborspace for an afternoon of puppets, music and dance! Enjoy pre-show coloring sheets, a puppet performance by the Mudeye Puppet Company, and interactive music and dance by Professor Banjo. Stick around afterwards to get to know Bruce’s puppets and Professor Banjo’s instruments up close and personal. Sat., 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Portland, $8 adults, $6 kids. Event details.

Westside

Make a Gingerbread House
A chance to get creative with your little love and you don’t even have to clean up afterwards! You’ll learn icing techniques and at the end of the class take home your own gingerbread house to display all season long. Sat., 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Portland, $25. Event details.

The Shoemaker and the Elves
This hilarious adaptation of the Brothers Grimm tale sparkles with wit and humor as two endearing elves come to the rescue of shoemaker Mel Footmeyer and his wife Tootsie. Enjoy swinging big-band music and special puppet guest appearances. Don’t be surprised if you leave the theater wanting a pair of shoes made by these elves! Fri., 7:30 p.m., Sat., 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Sun., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Portland, $18 adults, $15 children. Event details.

The Toy Trains
According to The Toy Trains, they “play music for kids that won’t make you sick!” Hear the music of Dan Zanes coupled with covers by Tom Waits, The Beatles, Jack Johnson, Lisa Loeb and REM. Sat., 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Portland, free. Event details.

Suburbs

A Krayon Christmas with Santa
Join The Elite Travel Troupe members of Krayon Kids Musical Theater Company as they present an original Christmas season musical extravaganza! Children will be invited to wander through a “Winter Wonderland” after the show where they can visit with many of the show’s colorful characters, have a yummy snack and make a craft. Sat., 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Oregon City, $12 11+, $20 3-10(includes tour). Event details.

The Nutcracker
Columbia Dance Company performs The Nutcracker. This is the Company’s 12th year for performing this traditional holiday classic. Enjoy a full-length production as these young, aspiring dancers dazzle you with their artistic skills! Fri., 7:00 p.m., Sat., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Sun., 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., Vancouver, $18 13+, $10 12 and under. Event details.

The Nutcracker
Yet another chance to experience this holiday favorite! The Portland Festival Ballet infuses the traditional production with their Artistic Director John Magnus’ own creative vision. Sat., 7:00 p.m., Sun., 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., Beaverton, $24 adults, $22 children. Event details.

—Holly Crisp