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Holiday Hits

   The holiday season abounds with wonderful theatrical and music performances, yuletide events and all-around merriment. You can easily get overwhelmed with all the holiday-themed events taking place now through New Years. Fret not! We've got you covered. Below are our best bets, our holiday hit list. Now all you have to worry about is not overcooking the turkey and picking out the perfect gift for your mother-in-law. Time to break out the eggnog.

   Now through December 2, the Lake Worth Playhouse invites you to travel back to the era of radio. The 1940's Radio Hour, a play by Walton Jones, chronicles the last yuletide broadcast of the Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade. If you've never attended a production that gives you a peek behind the scenes of a radio broadcast, The 1940's Radio Hour is a must. Not only will the era-specific music put you in the holiday mood, but the humorous backstage antics will have you giggling under the mistletoe.

   The weekend following Thanksgiving, after your stomach has settled and you've slept off the tryptophan, stop by the 13th Annual Downtown Delray Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Art Festival. On both November 24 and 25, Downtown Delray will be decked to the nines with amazing artwork, including photography, painting, mixed media and jewelry. Saturday November 24 is the nationally recognized small business Saturday, so feed your funds into your local economy and give a gift of handmade artistry.

   Tree lightings are the perfect kick off to the holiday season. For the historically minded, join the Flagler Museum on December 2. The youngest descendants of Mr. Flagler will light the 16-foot-tall Grand Hall Tree. The tree will be decorated in a style Flagler would be familiar with, including Gilded Age-inspired ornaments. Children will be gifted a free box of animal crackers, a popular snack first introduced in the Gilded Age. For a more casual lighting experience, attend the Clematis by Night Holiday Tree Lighting on December 6. Don't come expecting a traditional tree. A 35-foot-tall sand tree (made from 400 tons of sand) will take center stage, as it comes alive with real lights. Additional sand sculptures and live music will augment the holiday cheer.

   It wouldn't be Christmas time without a wave of Nutcracker performances. The Moscow Classical Ballet's performance at the Kravis Center (Dec. 13 to 15) promises to be the biggest and most traditional take on Tchaikovsky's tale, but there are a number of smaller productions coming to Palm Beach county as well. The Duncan Theatre will host Dance Alive National Ballet on the night of December 7. If you're experiencing a Christmas hangover on December 26, you can catch The State Ballet Theatre of Russia at Sunrise Theatre. For a new take on the ballet classic, check out The Nutcracker: In Swing Time! at the Riverside Theatre from December 10 to 12. Your kids will go gaga for the fun jazz score and the familiar story.

   The Santaland Diaries, a one-elf show, has become a holiday standard for theater companies. However, this hilarious account of one man's time as a Macy's department store elf is anything but standard. Adapted from the essay by David Sedaris, The Santaland Diaries holds all the jolly charm of Santa plus the sass of Mrs. Claus. Parade Productions' rendition, which runs from December 13 through 23, is perfect for adults though not so for children. if you want to get a taste of Sedaris' humor, take a listen to The Santaland Diaries on NPR's This American Life.

   Finally, top off 2012 with some laughs. Spend your New Year's Eve chuckling with the Capitol Steps at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. A political satire group, Capitol Steps pokes fun at all aspects of the political sphere. No party is safe, no network pundit left unmocked. A casual romp with the politics of democracy is the perfect way to end this crazy election year, as well as the holiday season.


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