Still plenty to do in Denver for the holidays

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Holiday gatherings will likely be quite different this year.

But looking into a few things, I found there are many events still happening, either virtually or in a space designed to allow for social distancing.

Here are a few I found particularly interesting.

Santa

It’s likely there won’t be any events where you can take children to sit on Santa’s lap this year.

Luckily, award-winning Denver photographer Ron Cooper spent more than a year traveling the U.S. seeking out all the Santas and photographing them. His book, which was published Sept. 29, called “We Are Santa: Portraits and Profiles,” is a compilation of his photos and the Santas’ unique stories.

And the best part? Proceeds from book sales benefit Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Visit www.ron-cooper.com/We-Are-Santa to learn more.

Gallery MFC, 424 Broadway, has an exhibit of the photos that will be available through Dec. 31. Before going, however, give the gallery a call at 303-446-2265 to verify open hours.

The Nutcracker

When I was little, it was my family’s tradition to listen to the soundtrack of The Nutcracker every year while decorating our tree.

This year, families can experience not only the music, but also the performance from home.

Thanks to a partnership between Rocky Mountain PBS and the Colorado Ballet, The Nutcracker will be broadcast on television for free.

Presented by PNC Bank, it will be aired on TV on the following dates in December: 9 p.m Dec. 18, 1 a.m. Dec. 19, 7 p.m. Dec. 24, and midnight on Dec. 25 (the wee hours of Christmas morning).

For information about how to access the Rocky Mountain PBS channel in a specific area, visit http://www.rmpbs.org/channels/. The production also may be streamed at no cost, any time throughout the holiday season, on the Rocky Mountain PBS app, downloadable at https://www.rmpbs.org/pbs-video-app/.

Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum

Another virtual experience theater production to check out is Cleo Parker Robinson Dance’s Granny Dances to a Holiday Drum.

Tickets cost $25-$75 per household. A link will be sent to all ticket holders and it will be viewable from Dec. 5 to Jan. 2. And you can watch it as many times as you like during that timeframe.

Learn more at https://cleoparkerdance.org/performance.

Lights and more lights

The Mile High Tree, a 110-foot-tall immersive art installation, will be lit up until Jan. 2. It is located on the 16th Street Mall at Welton Street in downtown Denver.

A free festive light and music show will take place from 5-9:30 p.m. on most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and from 5-8 p.m. on some Sundays. The program lasts about five minutes and will run approximately every 15 minutes.

While you’re in downtown Denver, make sure and check out city’s Grand Illumination. On Nov. 20, various buildings — Denver Union Station, the City and County Building, the 16th Street Mall, Skyline Park, the D&F Clock Tower, 14th Street, Larimer Square, and more — were lit up for strollers and shoppers in the downtown area.

The 9NEWS Parade of Lights will take place as a multi-week event beginning on Nov. 27. All the floats will be displayed throughout downtown, and the free 9News Parade of Lights app, which is available for mobile devices, provides a map of all their locations.

Shopping

In addition to the Cherry Creek Holiday Market, which is featured elsewhere in this paper, there is the Denver Christkindl Market, which opened on Nov. 20 and will continue through Dec. 23. This year, it takes place along the center promenade of Civic Center Park, 101 W. 14th Ave. in Denver.

This is the 20th annual year for the Denver Christkindl Market. It is put on by the German American Chamber of Commerce-Colorado Chapter.

The market is an outdoor, cultural experience that “offers guests an opportunity to stroll through a European village festively decorated for the holiday season - no passport required,” states a news release.

The Denver Christkindl Market is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. Beginning Dec. 16, the market will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week until Dec. 23.

Hanukkah

The Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center Denver, JEWISHColorado and Judaism Your Way are co-hosting a virtual family Hanukkah celebration called Latkes & Light. The event takes place from 10-11:30 a.m. on Dec. 13.

During the event, the community will bless their Hanukkah Menorahs together, sing and dance, and do Hanukkah-themed activities.

Latkes & Light features educators from Jewish Explorers, Judaism Your Way, Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center and PJ Library. Keynote discussion will be on the importance of tzedakah, a Jewish value focused on the importance of charitable giving.

”How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

OK, so this isn’t a local event. But it is a tradition in my family to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” every Christmas Eve.

It began when I was little — at least a couple of decades before Jim Carrey played the Grinch in the 2000 film, so we’ll just say it’s been about 40 years now. And now the tradition has been carried down to my two nieces, who both have well passed their 15th year of this tradition. It’s funny — there are now three generations in my family who know every word, every scene of the original Dr. Seuss cartoon version, which, I think Google said it came out in 1966.

I’m not sure of our plans yet this year. But one thing I know for sure, we’ll still eat fudge and drink eggnog, and watch The Grinch. Even if we do it in our separate living rooms.

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