The holidays bring special events and activities that only happen one time of year. Here's a breakdown of 10 can't-miss festivities—consider it your 2015 holiday bucket list:
1. Choose from several opportunities to see productions of The Nutcracker in Durham:
• Carolina Ballet at DPAC (Dec. 12 & 13)
• Barriskill Dance Theatre at Reynolds Theater (Dec. 12 & 13)
• Triangle Youth Ballet at Carolina Theatre (Dec. 12)
• Royal Opera House Live Cinema at Carolina Theatre (Dec. 16)
2. Enjoy the lights at American Tobacco Campus, then check out the Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge display (up through Jan. 3) and vote for your favorite. Also, don't miss the Tree of Bikes glowing on Burt's Bees Patio (on display through Dec. 17).
3. Listen to a live performance of your favorite holiday carols at the Choral Society of Durham Christmas Concert at Page Auditorium (Dec. 12 & 13).
5. Raise a glass to holiday cheer at several holiday parties: A Very Merry Durham! at Fullsteam (Dec. 20), an Ugly Sweater Party at Bull McCabe's (Dec. 12), and Naughty or Nice Drag Bingo (Dec. 12) at the Durham Armory.
6. Learn about holiday traditions at Durham's state historic sites - check out Christmas by Candlelight at Duke Homestead (Dec. 11), Christmas in the Carolinas During the Civil War (Dec. 12), and Victorian Family Christmas at Duke Homestead (Dec. 13). Also enjoy Cider & Cookies at The Durham History Hub (through Dec. 31) as you check out the latest exhibit.
7. Visit Old Saint Nick at Northgate Mall (Dec. 12 & 19) or The Streets at Southpoint (daily until Christmas). Your canine friend can also get a picture with Santa at the Santa Paws (Dec. 11) event or Petco Durham South Square (Dec. 12).
8. Shop for last minute gifts at the Durham Craft Market Holiday Show (Dec. 13), German Christmas Market at Guglhupf Bakery (Dec. 12), or Red Dot Community Art Exhibit at The Carrack Modern Art (Dec. 12).
9. Fight the seasonal weight gain by running the holiday-themed Race 13.1 (Dec. 12). Choose the half marathon, 10k, 5k, or Kids Fun Run.
To browse all upcoming events, check out the Official Durham Event Calendar.
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Photo credits: Brightleaf Square - Sean Patti Photography/DCVB; Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge - DCVB; Kwanzaa - DCVB; Christmas by Candlelight - Duke Homestead State Historic Site; Guglhupf Bakery - DCVB; Durham Farmers' Market - DCVB