Friday, 12/15 | Monk Botanical Gardens, Wausau
This week’s highlights are bookended by two events happening at the Monk Botanical Gardens. The first of these is Light Night, an opportunity to spend the evening walking through the gardens and enjoying the newly installed permanent light fixtures. The event promises fires to keep warm as well as hot chocolate for sale. 7-8 pm. $6 at the door, cash only. Free for members. Monkgardens.org for more info.
John Altenburgh Christmas Extravaganza
Friday, 12/15 | Grand Theater, Wausau
The holiday events keep on coming! This jazz-filled who’s who of local talented musicians is a must see every year. Altenburgh has decades of experience playing and recording jazz and other music, and has also been putting on this show for decades, so you know you’re in for a barn-busting holiday experience. 7:30 pm. $45 and up. grandtheater.org (BCK)
Barefoot Movement Christmas
Saturday, 12/16 | Campanile Centers for the Arts, Minocqua
In case you were thinking that the Barefoot Movement group putting on this Christmas show was a bunch of barefooted bluegrass hippies — well, that’s kind of true. At least in all their promo photos, they are in fact not wearing shoes in any of them. They do come armed with upright bass, banjo, fiddle and some serious bluegrass skills, and they’ll bring them to the Campanile Center in Minocqua for this Christmas themed extravaganza with acoustic versions of Run, Run Rudolph, Oh Holy Night and Hark The Herald Angels Sing. $30 adults, $15 students, $37 gold seat. campanilecenter.org (BCK)
The Jingle Jam
Saturday, 12/16 | Granite Peak Ski Resort, Wausau
The newly christened ‘Jingle Jam’, formerly ‘Cranberry Jam’, is the first of two Saturday events featuring ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters. This is a freestyle skiing and snowboarding event where contenders will take turns riding the park set-up right outside Granite Peak’s outdoor deck area. Competitors are encouraged to wear the aforementioned ugly Christmas sweaters, along with bells and any other holiday-themed outfit you can imagine. The venue will be decorated for Christmas as well – with trees, lights and music. Prizes will be handed out afterwards, including a tree giveaway. 2pm registration. $10 entry fee. More at skigranitepeak.com
Ugly Sweater Party ft. Jerry Schmitt Band
Saturday, 12/16 | Rock Ridge Orchard, Edgar
Keep your ugly Christmas sweater on, because you’ll need it at Rock Ridge Orchard’s annual Ugly Sweater Party. The evening will include homemade pizza and snacks in addition to plenty of hard cider from the farm. Music will be performed by the Jerry Schmitt Band, a country group from Stratford that has been performing around the country for over a decade. There will even be $50 prizes handed out for the best ugly sweater and best couple, so make sure to wear the ugliest sweater in your closet. 6 pm doors. 21+. $10 entry.
Monday, 12/18 | Grand Theater, Wausau
This is a storied Christmas tradition, but I can’t think about Mannheim Steamroller without thinking about Dwight Schrute head-banging in that one episode of The Office. But that makes me want to go even more! Here Grammy Award winner Chip Davis brings this recreation of Mannheim Steamroller to the Grand Theater, with Mannheim Christmas classics along with dazzling multimedia effects that’ll present a show you won’t soon forget. 4:30 pm, 7:30 pm. $65. grandtheater.org (BCK)
Winter Solstice Celebration
Thursday, 12/21 | Monk Botanical Gardens, Wausau
The winter solstice is the moment when the earth’s north pole reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun – which means both the shortest day and longest night of the year. The good news is that the days only get longer from here! Monk Botanical Gardens invites you to celebrate with a night hike through the park. The evening promises traditional winter solstice candle and wreath activities. The winter and summer solstices have been celebrated in cultures all around the world from time immemorial. A number of famous archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge, were likely associated with these seasonal events. Come with your family to take part in Wausau’s very own solstice celebration and hopefully you can feel a connection with the many generations of who have honored the occasion. 5:30-7:30 pm. $15 per family. monkgardens.org.