In the battle to stop Christmas’s relentless advance into November, it may be time to admit defeat. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is so late this year (November 28), or maybe it just comes down to folks wanting to maximize “the most wonderful time of the year,” but, whatever the reason, Christmas has indeed come early. Here is a sampling of the festivities you can enjoy before you’ve even cleared the last of the pumpkin pie.
>>TO JAN. 26, 2014: HOLIDAY SPRINGS & SPROCKETS
Exhibitions. Port Discovery, 35 Market Pl. Free-$13.95. Tues.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 12-5 p.m. 410-727-8120. portdiscovery.com. Celebrate Americana nostalgia and childhood whimsy with this exhibit of life-sized, kinesthetic sculptures and Rube Goldberg-esque installations. Perfect for little grabby hands.
>>NOV. 15-JAN. 2, 2014: ICE AGE: A MAMMOTH CHRISTMAS 4-D
Film. National Aquarium, 501 E. Pratt St. daily showtimes. $5, plus admission. 410-576-3800. aqua.org. The Aquarium’s 4-D Immersion Theater welcomes the Ice Age gang for a new adventure in which Sid lands on Santa’s “naughty list” and leads the crew to the North Pole in an effort to clear his name.
>>NOV. 19-DEC. 22: A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL CELEBRATION
Theater. Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. Times vary. 410-332-0033. centerstage.org. Travel back to Christmas Eve 1864, where, along the banks of the Potomac, Americans embroiled in the Civil War celebrate the season with carols, hymns, and folk songs in this tale of hope and forgiveness.
>>NOV. 22-24: ELF THE MUSICAL
Theater. Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave. Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 and 7:30 p.m., Sun. 1 and 6:30 p.m. $60.30-80.85. 410-547-SEAT. lyricoperahouse.com. Elf-like in demeanor, but very un-elf-like in size, Buddy the Elf leaves the only home he’s known——Santa’s workshop in the North Pole——and journeys to New York City to discover his true identity——and, of course, spread Christmas cheer.
>>NOV. 29-DEC. 1: FESTIVAL OF TREES
Festivals. Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Rd., Timonium. Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free-$13. 443-923-7300. festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org. Billed as the “East Coast’s largest holiday extravaganza,” this three-day festival is a veritable winter wonderland with a SantaLand area, live musical performances, “reindeer” pony rides, carousel rides, carnival games, train rides, more than 100 craft boutiques, and more than 600 decorated trees, wreaths, and gingerbread houses.
Let There Be Lights
There’s very little in this world that is prettier than twinkling lights illuminating a snowy landscape. To experience that winter glow, try these two annual mega-displays that go up in late November.
Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden has become a Baltimore holiday tradition. Residents of the block decorate their homes according to their own weird and wonderful whims, and then invite the public to gape in wonder. And no, BGE does not give them a break on their bills. The lights go up November 30 and stay up through January 1. christmasstreet.com.
Farther south, along the bay in Sandy Point State Park, Anne Arundel Medical Center will flip the switch on its Annual Lights on the Bay on November 23. The two-mile scenic drive-through exhibition of approximately 70 animated and stationary displays will remain open daily, from 5-10 p.m. through January 1. The $14 admission charged per car will benefit Anne Arundel Medical Center. 410-481-3161.