The Best Things to Do in St. Louis This Weekend, December 22 to December 24

Christmas pop-up bars, light displays, plant workshops and more

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click to enlarge Candy Cane Lane lights up south St. Louis over the holiday season.
REUBEN HEMMER
Candy Cane Lane lights up south St. Louis over the holiday season.

Make the holiday season even more special with some great events.

Thursday 12/22

Jazzed Up

Craving a jazzed-up twist on the Christmas classics? Jazz St. Louis has you covered. Celebrate the holidays with a special showcase of Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite performed by the Jazz St. Louis Big Band (3536 Washiangton Avenue, 314-571-6000). Arranged by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, these jazz interpretations of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. The performance will also include Ellington classics like "Take the A Train" and "Cottontail." Curtains rise at 7:30 p.m., and tickets start at $32. Grab yours at my.jazzstl.org/1350/1353.

Christmas in St. Louis

Yes, you live in St. Louis, but have you ever seen Meet Me in St. Louis? It's OK, we haven't either. But now we can all watch the film in the most St. Louis of ways during the Missouri History Museum's (5700 Lindell Boulevard, 314-746-4599, mohistory.org) Have Yourself a Merry Little Movie Night. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with a happy hour and appetizers for purchase from Sugarfire. You can also make a Sugar Plum ornament, watch Ballet 314 perform excerpts from the Nutcracker and get a tour of the museum. At 6:30 p.m., it's time for a singalong version of Meet Me in St. Louis. Don't worry, singing and costumes are not required, but both are encouraged. The event is free.

Last Chance to Get Lit

If you have not been to LIT: A Christmas Pop-Up Experience at Molly's in Soulard (816 Geyer Avenue, 314-241-6200, mollysinsoulard.com/lit), then this is your warning that its last days are this week (through Friday, December 23). So grab some friends and head down the gaudily decorated bar to try the 12 Drinks of Litmas, such as the Griswold Christmas Tree and Lit Reindeer, and small bites including Reindeer Balls (meatballs made with beef and bacon) and deep-fried ornaments (fried mozzarella). The event requires reservations, which are $10 per person. The bar is open till 1:30 a.m., but the kitchen is only open until 9 p.m.

Friday 12/23

Karaoke Christmas

There is no better time and place for karaoke than two days before Christmas at the City Museum (750 North 16th Street). Even if you're self-conscious about your singing, you'll be in a total fever dream of a setting so Yoko-Ono-esque that off-key wailing will fit in just fine. Also, two days before Christmas means there will be more than a touch of holiday magic in the air. The only question is what song you'll sing. Bruce's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is played out. There's absolutely nothing wrong with Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," but if you're inclined to go a little off the beaten path, we suggest Wham!'s "Last Christmas."

We Need to Talk about Kevin!

You have not seen Joe Pesci get his head lit on fire or Daniel Stern take an iron to the face until you've seen those ne'er-do-well home invaders get their comeuppance as John Williams' incredible score is performed live. Watch Macaulay Culkin carnage from the comfort of a plush seat at Powell Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard, 314-534-1700, slso.org) during Home Alone. The evening begins at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $50.

Plant Life

Sick of all the holiday hullabaloo or just need a last-minute gift idea? Well, get a break from Christmas everything and make something beautiful at Bowood Farms' (4605 Olive Street, 314-454-6868, bowoodfarms.com) Kusamono Workshop, which teaches the Japanese art of planting in shallow bowls. The arrangements usually consist of wild grasses or flowers that suggest a particular season. The workshop runs from 2 to 3 p.m. and costs $45.

Saturday 12/24

A Christmas Eve for the Rest of Us

There are some poor sods who are sitting in traffic at Way of Lights or Candy Cane Lane trying to get some last-minute Christmas cheer into their ungrateful kids. But not you. Instead, you can check out Christmas Eve for Heathens at Earthbound Beer (2724 Cherokee, 314-769-9576, earthboundbeer.com). The small-batch brewery is offering a gathering spot for non-conformists and will have plenty of seasonal releases on hand including the Krampus Gruit for the naughties and Winter Dream for the nice ones. The event is from 4 to 11 p.m. and is free.

All Is Bright

You want to visit the neighborhood Christmas light display Candy Cane Lane on Christmas Eve? You sick bastard. But we've got some tips to make this as enjoyable as possible. For starters, don't go down Chippewa; get out that Google map and chart a course down the back streets. Dress warmly. Park your car (otherwise, all the lights you'll see for two hours are tail lights) and then get out and walk. You won't be alone. Lots of folks abandon their cars. Bring a hot chocolate (schnapps optional) with you as you traipse along the lanes and get to see the lights up close. Candy Cane Lane is on the 6500 block of Murdoch, but the Christmas cheer has spread widely across St. Louis Hills, so it won't be hard to stumble upon some lights.

Alternalights

As Christmas approaches, the trees of Lost Hill Lake (2300 Mill Hill Road, St Clair; losthilllakeevents.com) will be transformed into a sea of holiday lights. Located 45 minutes from St. Louis, tucked away in the woods of Franklin County, Lost Hill Lake will show off thousands of lights during its second annual Grove of Lights event. There are plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy while they're exploring. The event will feature bonfires, hot cocoa, s'mores, kids games, a local vendor market and photo opportunities. There's even a private heated igloo that you can reserve. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $7 for kids.

Have an event you'd like considered for our calendar? Email [email protected].

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