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Winter break event listings

Need something to do when you finally get bored from a lack of homework? Here are some ideas to keep you from going stir crazy! See you at the start of winter term, my friends.

For the kid in you
Zoo Lights
Nov. 25–Dec. 1
Oregon Zoo
Fee: $15
Did you know you can take the Red and Blue Max lines up to the zoo? It’s much closer to campus than you’d ever believe, and the staff really deck out the zoo for its annual nighttime holiday revelries. Sure, most of the animals are sleeping, but you go for the good times, the hot cocoa and to journey up and down footpaths that are fully decked out in holiday joy. A note from management: Grinches will be fed zoo fudge.

Winter Wonderland
Nov. 25–Dec. 25
Portland International Raceway
Fee: $20+
If you have a friend with a car, this a wonderful way to share light-set pieces and animated scenes while enjoying whatever holiday radio station you wish. An individual and yet communal experience, Winter Wonderland is a great way to whittle away your holiday doldrums. Most nights the lights will be on from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Miracle of a Million Lights

Dec. 12–23
Victorian Belle Home (1441 N. McClellan St.)
Fee: $6 (Adults), $3 (Kids & Seniors)
Victorian Belle’s construction dates back to 1885, and it is the kind of house one might expect Judy Garland to croon “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” from. This 2 1/2 acre estate boasts a Christmas festival of a million lights, 30 trees and many antiques. Local musicians will play and refreshments will be served. Most nights the house will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Peacock Lane
Dec. 15–31
SE Peacock Lane
So I’m sorry to say that my pithy comment last year about going to see it before it becomes gentrified may have been a little too true. Petitions had to be circulated earlier this year so a new buyer wouldn’t turn one of the neighborhood homes into a multi-family unit. In any case, Peacock Lane continues on stronger than ever! A full neighborhood light experience with pedestrian-only nights set for Dec. 18, 19 and 20. A free event!

Japanese Currents
Dec. 2–11
Whitsell Auditorium
This annual film festival highlights the year’s best Japanese films. From anime to docudrama, there is always something to see that will give you the full experience of Japanese culture at this moment. Full time and price guides can be found at in the festivals section.

The Red Shoes
Tuesday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 30
Whitsell Auditorium
7 p.m.
Fee: $9
One of the most moving and provocative non-musical musicals ever made, this backstage romance between a premier ballet dancer and an orchestral pioneer influenced filmmakers for generations to come. The startling and dramatic conclusion will leave you heartbroken and floored, but this journey is just as much about the color and words as it is the destination.

Beauty and the Beast
Dec. 9–24
Newmark Theatre
Fee: $25–55
The Disney adaption of the classic French fairy tale continues to inspire, uplift and drill songs into our brains. One of the golden era films to make it to Broadway, this exquisite show understands the movie it borrowed from and what made the story one you fell in love with so long ago. Matinees and evening shows are available throughout its run. Enjoy the magic.

The Santaland Diaries
Dec. 4–24
Portland Center Stage at The Armory
Fee: $25–55
Easily one of the wittiest of the holiday cult classics, The Santaland Diaries is a holiday fever dream with David Sedaris’ Crumpet the Elf at the center of the journey. He’s the Willy Wonka steering our paddle boat through a mystical journey of holiday “magic” you so won’t be able to forget. Matinees and evening shows are both available.

Festival of Lights
Nov. 25–Dec. 30
The Grotto (8840 NE Skidmore)
Fee: $11
If you don’t know, The National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother, commonly known as The Grotto, is a year-long contemplative space with a Catholic bent, but during the holidays it turns into a whimsical and fantastic place to celebrate with your loved ones. This year, 160 holiday concerts are to be performed. Traditional and sublime are married, offering a beautiful, hopeful respite if your year hasn’t been so great. Visit for nightly offerings.

It’s A Wonderful Life
Saturday, Dec. 17
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
7:30 p.m.
Fee: $30
The Oregon Symphony will ramp up the sound on this classic black-and-white Jimmy Stewart love fest about an angel helping a man remember how much good he’s done in the world when he believes all is hopeless. The orchestra will play in sync with the movie, which will not be the colorized version.

Gift shopping
Crafty Wonderland
Crafty Wonderland
Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11
Oregon Convention Center
This free holiday art and craft market promises over 250 vendors selling handmade goods. There’s a very strenuous approval process to sell at this craft market, and space sells out quickly, so this is a wonderful event to find something unique as a token of affection for that special someone in your life. And to support a local Portland artist.