Family

Family Picks: A B-movie Santa and ‘Nutcracker’ magic

There’s a toy train show and sale Saturday and Sunday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds’ Kerr Scott Building, one featuring kid-friendly interactive modules, model train layouts, and 150-plus vendors.
There’s a toy train show and sale Saturday and Sunday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds’ Kerr Scott Building, one featuring kid-friendly interactive modules, model train layouts, and 150-plus vendors. News & Observer File Photo

When my 5-year-old woke up Tuesday, one of the first things she asked was, “Is it December?” Yes, we said, and she went to school thrilled. December, to her, means Christmas. Maybe to you and your kids it means Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or maybe it simply means a few weeks off school and time around family – whatever it means, it’s here. Finally. Awesome.

▪ I’ve mentioned the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ First Friday films in this column fairly often, but they do have a knack for featuring delightfully strange B-movies and this evening’s is no exception. Older kids should appreciate “Santa Claus,” a 1959 Mexican film that pits Santa and Merlin – yes, Merlin the wizard – against a demon bent on stopping Christmas.

The free screening is at 7 p.m. at the Raleigh museum. Visit naturalsciences.org.

▪ True to Tchaikovsky’s original vision, Carolina Ballet’s “Nutcracker” works illusions – OK, magic – into the choreography of this Christmas classic. With ballerinas of all ages, from local children to the adult dancers of the company itself, this imaginative, ambitious version has become a local tradition. “Nutcracker” opens this weekend at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, with 2 and 8 p.m. shows Saturday and then 2 p.m. Sunday. As the month progresses, it moves to DPAC in Durham and then Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. Tickets this weekend start at $49 and are available at carolinaperformingarts.org; tickets at DPAC range from $33-$95, while the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium shows cost $25-$105. To buy tickets at those venues or see all shows dates, visit carolinaballet.com.

▪ There’s a toy train show and sale Saturday and Sunday at the N.C. State Fairgrounds’ Kerr Scott Building, one featuring kid-friendly interactive modules, model train layouts, and 150-plus vendors. If your kids are into trains, this is a no-brainer. Admission is $6 for teens and adults, or free for kids younger than 13. Visit ncstatefair.org/events/12-15.htm.

▪ Visit Santa’s Workshop at Durham’s Northgate Mall Saturday for free ornament-making with Bull City Craft. This runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Directly afterward, visit the mall’s Discovery Nook to see Bright Star Touring’s “Holidays Around the World.” Visit northgatemall.com or bullcitycraft.com.

Send Family Picks suggestions to newsobserverfamilypicks@gmail.com

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