Our Christmas Weekend Picks: December 23–26

Make this Christmas magical with these weekend events happening in Greater Cincinnati (and a bonus list of our favorite light shows).

See a zany take on your favorite holiday shows, watch a classic Christmas ballet at Music Hall, enjoy a winter festival of lights, watch holiday trains roll through yuletide scenes, relax with some Christmas Eve jazz, and cheer on the Bengals at PBS at these weekend events happening in Greater Cincinnati.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)

It’s your last weekend to catch this offbeat annual Cincinnati Shakespeare Company holiday performance. What starts as a production of A Christmas Carol quickly devolves into hilarious (and slightly irreverent) retellings of Christmas classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Charlie Brown, and other holiday favorites. (Parents be warned: this show is not recommended for theatergoers who still believe in Santa.)

Dec 23 & 26, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine

Cincinnati Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Take the family to see this beloved Tchaikovsky ballet and Cincinnati Christmas tradition at Music Hall. A young girl’s Christmas dream comes to life on the Springer Auditorium stage, featuring the Snow Queen and King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King, and a cast of mice, toy soldiers, bumblebees, chicks, Minnie the Poodle, and the heroic Nutcracker, of course. Find tickets and showtimes here.

Dec 23, 24 & 26, Springer Auditorium, Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine

Winterfest at Kings Island

Step into a winter wonderland at Kings Island this holiday. Catch the Winterfest Wonderland Parade and stage shows and meet holiday characters around the park. You can ice skate on Snow Flake Lake, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus, and get your picture with Santa. Find tickets and times here.

Dec 23 & 26–31, Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Dr., Mason

Holiday Trains at The Behringer-Crawford Museum

For 30 years, the holiday trains at BCM have delighted children of all ages with miniature engines chugging through Christmastime scenes and interactive displays. You’ll see Lionel model trains and LEGO engines whizz through recreations of famous movie scenes (see if you can spot Baby Yoda and Harry Potter). Visitors can even create their own masterpieces at the LEGO Maker’s Space.

Dec 23–Jan 9, Behringer-Crawford Museum, 1600 Montague Rd., Devou Park, Covington

Christmas Eve Jazz at Nostalgia

Head to this intimate wine and jazz lounge in Over-the-Rhine for a night of Christmas soul classics from Nostalgia’s house band, Sound the Alarm featuring saxophonist Rick Sexton.

Dec 24, 9 pm, 1432 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens

With a fast-approaching NFL postseason and a Bengals squad seeking a playoff spot, Cincinnati and Baltimore fight for the top spot in the AFC North at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday. Can the Bengals ground the Ravens for the second time this season (link to Thursday Robert column)? Find tickets here or catch the gridiron action on CBS.

Dec 26, 1 pm, Paul Brown Stadium, downtown

Holiday Bonus List: Light Shows in Greater Cincinnati

There’s nothing better to do in the wintertime than visiting one of the many dazzling holiday light shows around Cincinnati. Here are some of our favorites you can visit through the new year:

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo transforms into a wild winter wonderland for its 39th Festival of Lights. See beautiful displays composed of 4 million LED lights, search for Fiona statues in Fairyland, catch a ride on the North Pole Express, watch a blacklight puppet show, and grab a snack at the S’mores and More. Check out our video tour of the Festival of Lights on our TikTok @cincinnatimagazine.

Dec 23–Jan 9, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale

Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island

Coney Island lights up the night for this Cincinnati holiday tradition. See dazzling drive-thru displays synchronized to Christmas classics and rocking renditions through your car radio, and see massive Christmas trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes, and tunnels of light from the cozy comfort of your car.

Dec 23–Jan 2, dusk–10 pm, Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Twp.

Light in the Forest at Cincinnati Nature Center

Milford’s Rowe Woods are aglow at the Cincinnati Nature Center’s family friendly holiday light show. In addition to classic holiday lights, Brave Berlin, the good folks behind BLINK, Lumenocity, and other popular local light shows, project imaginative scenes in the natural surroundings. Don’t miss the holiday pop-up shop at the Visitor’s Center for unique gifts. Check out our video tour of Light in the Forest on our TikTok @cincinnatimagazine.

Dec 2–Jan 1, 5–9 pm, Cincinnati Nature Center, 4949 Tealtown Rd., Milford

Journey Borealis at Pyramid Hill

Enjoy this drive-thru holiday light display from the comfort of your car along a 2.5-mile course featuring more than 1 million LED lights. See displays like Jerusalem’s Hanukkah celebration, Pyramid Hill’s famous Swan Lake, Germany’s Candy Cane Forest, Grinch’s Greenland, Bethlehem’s birth of Jesus, and the North Pole. Hamilton residents get in free on Tuesdays.

Dec 23–Jan 2, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, 1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd., Hamilton

Lumaze Lights at the Duke Energy Convention Center

This family-friendly indoor light show features towering light gardens, interactive displays, and special appearances by Santa and Lumaze princesses. This season’s theme is “Glow Around the World,” and you’ll find ornate light displays depicting global landmarks plus playgrounds for the kids. Shop the Mini Market for unique gifts from local artisans, enjoy live entertainment, and snack on LaRosa’s, Skyline, and more. Find schedules and tickets here.

Dec 23–30, Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., downtown

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