Holidays at the Markets. The local farmers market circuit provides plenty to celebrate all year 'round, but this week, they're all having special holiday-themed events. On Friday, Dec. 13, Udall Park Farmers Market (7202 E. Tanque Verde Road) has live music and vendor specials. On Saturday, Dec. 14, Steam Pump Ranch (10901 N. Oracle Road) will have live music, more than 50 food vendors and artisan goods. Also on Saturday, the Rincon Valley Farmers & Artisans Market (12500 E. Old Spanish Trail) will have holiday kids activities, live music and vendor deals. And on Saturday, Dec. 15, the Rillito Park market (4502 N. First Ave.) will have live music, vendor specials, a free holiday raffle and 80+ vendors. Hours for all are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
RAD Marketplace Winter Market. If you haven't started your Christmas shopping yet, don't panic! But do get started. You'll feel better once you do. And you'll feel doubly better if you support a local business while you're at it. RAD Marketplace, an artisan and vintage popup market in the Warehouse Arts District, is hosting plenty of vendors selling gift-worthy items, live music, DJs, and food trucks. Nothing like a high-calorie plate of food truck food and beats from local musicians to fuel you through a holiday shopping spree. Give YOURSELF the gift of a pleasant gift shopping experience. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. 439 N. Sixth Ave.
Holiday Card Writing Party. You know who could use a little bit of holiday cheer? Pretty much everyone. People incarcerated in Arizona's prisons are no exception. The American Friends Service Committee–Arizona, the ACLU and the Dunbar Pavilion are hosting this sixth annual event for you to experience some holiday cheer and then pass it on to someone who might need it even more. There's music! There's a holiday market! There's a lip sync battle! And there's FREE food, eggnog and hot cocoa! A good time for a good cause—isn't that what the holidays are all about? 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. The Dunbar Pavilion, 325 W. Second St. Free.
Marana Winter Waterland. You're probably familiar with the 5 C's of Arizona by now, but over in Marana this December, it's all about the 3 C's of the holiday season: crafts, cocoa and carols! The city got a new splash pad this year, so they're celebrating in their very own winter waterland. Don't worry—you won't need to suit up and go swimming or anything. But there will be a debut of a special, holiday-colored water show for you to ooh and ahh over. Live performers, vendors and kids activities round out the excitement. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. Crossroads at Silverbell District Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road. Free.
Art After Dark. Have you been to one of these late night events at the children's museum recently? It's a fun chance to explore the museum in a different setting than your usual daytime visit, and the first 400 attendees even get a pass to come back to the museum for free. This month, they're showing A Muppet Christmas Carol in the courtyard, which, like all Muppet movies, is truly a masterpiece. Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat narrate! Kermit as the cutest little Bob Cratchit! Bring a blanket and some chairs, and get some hot chocolate and snacks once you're there. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Children's Museum Tucson, 200 S. Sixth Ave. Free.
50th Annual Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair. Holy cow. As if this event could be any more of a big extravaganza (it brings in more than half a million people every year), this is the golden anniversary edition. Get on down there for a day full of holiday shopping, shopping for yourself, live & local entertainment, and so much delicious fun. It's one of those events that's wonderful to walk around just for the spectacle, even if you end up not buying anything at all. And funds raised will support the infrastructure, surrounding neighborhoods and fellow nonprofits of Fourth Avenue. See ya at the fair! 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, through Sunday, Dec. 15. Historic Fourth Avenue, 434 E. Ninth St.
Southern Arizona Women's Chorus Holiday Concert. Tucson's premier women's chorus has been around since 1981, and has grown to more than 70 members. Over the years, they've sung everything from music from the late Baroque period to Broadway medleys to jazzy sambas. Their holiday concert, A Spanish Allelu, is a program that will either have you wanting to sing, or being glad that there are people who can sing so you don't have to—depending on what kind of person you are. Either way, you're in for a night of beautiful music. 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. at Hope City Church, 5729 E. 22nd St. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Road. $20, or free for kids 10 and under.
Season's Greetings: Return to Sender. Tucson Desert Voices, Arizona's premier LGBTQ+ chorus, is all about understanding, cooperation and peaceful coexistence. In fact, their mission statement is "Fostering Community Through Song." Who could be better to perform during the holidays, a time that's supposed to be all about loving your neighbor and goodwill toward humanity and all that jazz? They'll be putting their own stamp on many of the messages of the season in this absolute romp of a show. 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
Lessons & Carols by Candlelight: Songs of the Magi. This year, True Concord's winter concert is inspired by the three wise men and the gifts they brought to the newborn baby Jesus. Spend an afternoon or evening in a church at one of five performances, for that candlelit church feeling that makes you feel cozy and safe, but absolutely tiny in the vast expanse of the universe all at once. 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 2800 W. Ina Road. 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church, 600 S. La Canada Drive. 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave. 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway Blvd. 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, 3738 N. Old Sabino Canyon Road. $25 GA, $40 premium.
Messiah & Bach. There are few holiday experiences more vast and all-encompassing than a performance of Handel's Messiah (or of highlights from it). Handel composed the music for this show in a frenzied 24 days, writing the letters "SDG" for Soli Deo Gloria ("To God alone the Glory") at the end. This led to the popular story that he was divinely inspired to write "Messiah" when he saw heaven open up before his eyes. Who knows? But if you've ever seen the piece performed live, you sort of get the same feeling. The Tucson Symphony Orchestra is bringing you this in addition to several other holiday pieces, including Corelli's Christmas Concerto, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Handel's Water Music, Suite No. 2. 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive. $46 to $86.
Lightwire Theater: A Very Electric Christmas. We try not to overuse words like "dazzling" here at the Weekly, but if ever there were a time to use it, it would be for this show, in which dancers and glow-in-the-dark puppets tell a story entirely through movement, set to holiday music by the likes of Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and Tchaikovsky. The gist of the plot is about a young family of birds flying south for the winter, when young Max gets blown off course and winds up at the North Pole, where he runs into dancing poinsettias, caroling worms, Nutcracker soldiers and an evil rat king. Your kids will love it. You will love it. It's lovable. 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13. Fox Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. $19.50 to $37.50.
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. There are lots of options for seeing The Nutcracker this holiday season, but this one is performed by dancers from the Moscow Ballet—only fitting, when you consider the show debuted in Russia in 1892. The troupe tours the U.S. annually, but the children's parts are danced by local youth. So this is pretty much a perfect chance to feel both like a world, sophisticated character in a Russian novel and like the type of person who supports local arts. 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, and Tuesday, Dec. 17. Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. $34 to $142.
Holiday Ornament Making. In case you haven't been to Mission Garden yet, it's a project led by Friends of Tucson's Birthplace, an organization dedicated to recreating and preserving the city's historic structures and landscapes. So, the garden is recreation of a Spanish Colonial fruit and veggie garden, complete with a native plant area and plenty of info on agricultural history. At this event, steep yourself in equal parts history, botany and holiday spirit by using items from the gardens, like gourds and okra pods, to make holiday decorations. 9 a.m. to noon. Saturday, Dec. 14. Mission Garden, 946 W. Mission Lane.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights Opening Night. Maybe you grew up in a town where there was always that one neighborhood that got particularly decked out for the holidays. You and your family would sip at hot chocolate and try to guess how many miniature light bulbs were on the roof of a local mansion. If you grew up in Tucson, you know that the Winterhaven Festival of Lights is on its own level. There are millions of lights on houses all through the neighborhood, with themes ranging from zoo animals to Frozen to classic Christmas movies. The streets are closed to cars so everyone can safely and freely take in the sights. And it's a holiday experience like no other. Be sure to bring a food donation for the Southern Arizona Community Food Banks. 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, to Sunday, Dec. 29. Winterhaven Neighborhood.
Queen Astara's Winter Fairy Lights. Magic happens all year long at Valley of the Moon Tucson, where fairies roam freely (or at least where the magic of kindness is celebrated). Join the fairy monarchs, Queen Astara and King Astar, for a night where the magic of the Valley of the Moon and the magic of the holidays come together for an extra special experience. The grounds will be decorated with festive lights and decorations, and you can stroll through and keep an eye out for fairies and other magical creatures. Just be sure to keep your voice down, so you don't spook them! You're welcome to dress up if you'd like as well! 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Valley of the Moon Tucson, 2544 E. Allen Road. $5, or free for members and kids 17 and under.
A Christmas Carol & Dickens Festival. Whether you watch the Muppets' artful take on it, enjoy Bill Murray's turn in Scrooged or just read the actual book, it's sort of a must to see A Christas Carol during the holiday season. This year, why not watch a cast of professional and aspiring Tucson actors perform the musical version, complete with a live orchestra? You can also enjoy a preshow where you can hear "firsthand" from an actor playing Charles Dickens about how he thought up the story, and check out the free Dickens festival, with vendors like Frog & Firkin, treats, and caroling. Preshow & show at 6:20/7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at 1:20/2 p.m. and 6:20/7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14 and at 1:20/2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. Dickens Festival opens two hours before each show. Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd. $15 to $29 in advance, with $5 added to prices at the door.