A Pirate’s Christmas Tale: Join BB Riverboats for their Christmas twist of the “Pirates of the Ohio” cruise this holiday season. Round up your children and enjoy the cruise with plenty of reindeer games, holiday treats and Old Saint Nick himself. Adult tickets are $18, seniors: $15.50, children: $14. 2:30-4:30 p.m. Dec 1, 8, 15. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport. bbriverboats.com.
Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction: Take your little ones on a trip to the North Pole to meet Mrs. Claus and Santa! After you see the man in red, walk through the history of trains in the world’s largest indoor train display and see some beautiful winter train displays. Through Dec. 31. EnterTRAINment Junction, 7379 Squire Court, West Chester. entertrainmentjunction.com.
Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt: Be a part of the first-ever authentic German Christmas market on Fountain Square. Enjoy authentic sweets, mulled wine, beer and seasonal decorations as you experience this German tradition. Nov. 23-25. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. meetup.com/cincideutsch.
Cincinnati Santacon: Join your fellow Santas and spread the Christmas spirit through Downtown Cincinnati; think of it as a Christmasy grownup pub crawl. Dress up, sing songs and spread boozy, happy cheer. Noon. Dec. 8. The Banks, Downtown. cincinnatisantacon.com.
Duke Energy Holiday Trains: The annual holiday trains moved to a new location this year. Bring your family to the Cincinnati Museum Center to see the beloved holiday train display as well as holiday décor, a super-sized tree and many more activities. Through Jan. 6. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. cincymuseum.org/holiday-junction.
Festival of Lights: The Cincinnati Zoo is merry and bright this holiday season. You can see the new Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake, see Santa and his reindeer or just enjoy the lights. 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Dec. 31. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale. cincinnatizoo.org.
Fountain Square Ice Rink: ’Tis the season for ice-skating. Bundle up, grab your skates and join others on the ice as downtown is sparkling in holiday décor. $6 includes admission and skate rental. Through Feb. 15. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. myfountainsquare.com.
Holiday in Lights: This Christmas tradition enters its 22nd year this holiday season. Grab your friends or family for a car ride through a mile of twinkling, bright woods. Runs through Dec. 31. Sharon Woods, Route 42, Sharonville. holidayinlights.com.
Holiday Lights on the Hill: Enjoy all the views of the holiday season without leaving the comfort of your car. Drive through this wintry wonderland of lights and sculptures glowing all around. Through Jan. 1. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Hamilton. pyramidhill.org.
Know Theatre SpeakEasy: Get your fedoras and flapper dresses ready because Know Theatre’s annual New Year’s Eve Party is returning with a 1920s speakeasy theme! You can gain entrance to the swingin’ event for $15 in advance and for $25 at the door. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Dec. 31. Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. knowtheatre.com.
Light Up OTR: In this community-based holiday celebration, Over-the-Rhine residents gather at Washington Park to light luminaries and distribute them across the neighborhood. Then travel to Kaze (1400 Vine St.) for a ceremonial lighting of OTR's own 30-foot Christmas tree. 6 p.m. Dec. 14. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. otrgateway.com.
Macy’s Light Up the Square: Cincinnati’s official welcome of the holiday season. The event features live music from Eclipse and the Cincy Brass, as well as plenty of food, ice-skating and amazing fireworks. 6-8 p.m. Nov. 23. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. myfountainsquare.com.
New Year’s Eve Blast: The Downtown New Year’s Eve Blast is going to be even bigger and brighter this year! Festivities include ice-skating, live music and, of course, the countdown to the New Year. 8 p.m. Dec 31. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. myfountainsquare.com.
OTR a-Glow: Have a groundlevel storefront or residential window facing any street in OTR? Then you’re eligible to compete in this neighborhood-wide display competition, as long as you have a little holiday spirit. The windows with the most spectacular holiday displays can win trophies, prizes and awards just for being merry. Entries must include a non-flammable light source, a holiday theme and a celebration of OTR, its history or traditions
Pet Photos with Santa: Getting humans to take pictures with Santa is, like, so 1995. Bring your four-legged friend instead to sit on Santa’s lap to support the Kenton County Animal Shelter and Kenton Paw Park. Light refreshments will be provided, and pictures are printed while you wait. $10 and up. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 1. Fischer Homes Tuscany Model Home, Tuscanyview Drive, Covington.
RedsFest: Get pumped for next year’s baseball season at the annual winter warmup of the Cincinnati Reds. Games and activities for all ages, plus meet and interact with past and current stars of the Cincinnati Reds. Tickets to the two-day event are $25 for adults and $12 for children. 3-10:30 p.m. Dec. 7; 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown. cincinnati.reds.mlb.com.
Santa Skates: Every weekend from Thanksgiving until Christmas Santa will lace up his skates and join families to tear up the ice. Noon-1 p.m. Nov. 24-Dec. 23. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown. myfountainsquare.com.
Scuba Santa: See Santa strap on his scuba gear and swim with fish both big and small. The kids can even write a letter to Scuba Santa in the Scuba Santa workshop. Through Jan. 1. Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, Newport. newportaquarium.com.
St. Nikolaus Day Celebration: Honor the influx of the traditional German holiday season with a St. Nikolaus meet-and-greet for children, German carols from Fairview-Clifton Language School’s Kinderchor and a display of exquisite wooden carvings from the Cincinnati Carvers Guild. German refreshments available. 1-5 p.m. Dec. 2. German Heritage Museum, 4764 W. Fork Road, Green Township. 513-574-1741, gacl.org.
The Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival: The Boar’s Head is an ancient festival, and one of the oldest celebrations of the Christmas season. Check out the first performance on Saturday, or the second and third on Sunday. Dec 29 and 30. Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E. Fourth St., Downtown. boarsheadfestival.com.
The Thanksgiving Day 10K Run/Walk: Lose those extra few pounds before indulging in a Thanksgiving feast benefitting the Ronald McDonald House, Girls on the Run, Barrett Cancer Center and many other organizations in this 10K walk/run. 9 a.m. Nov. 22. Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown. thanksgivingdayrace.com.
Winterfair: Come to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center to browse and purchase fine arts and crafts made in American studios for just in time for the holidays. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and 24. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Covington. winterfair.org.
A Christmas Carol: Mouth along to your favorite lines in Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s staging of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale chronicling the ideological transformation of the stingy Ebenezer Scrooge in this family-friendly holiday classic. $30-$55. Nov. 29-Dec. 30. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams. cincyplay.com.
Alice in Wonderland: Lewis Carroll’s whimsical account of Alice’s mishaps comes to life at Ensemble amid a hurricane of colorful costumes and characters, energetic choreography and cheery holiday effervescence. $16-$42. Ensemble Theatre, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. ensemblecincinnati.org.
Cinderella: Cinderella takes center at the Covedale Center this holiday season. Tickets are $23 for adults, $20 for students and seniors. 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Nov. 29-Dec 23. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Covedale. cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.
Santa’s Toy Factory: The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati presents families with a local celebrity-laden yuletide musical filled with jolly for the whole family. Local 12 anchors Bob Herzog and John Gumm star as the Miser Brothers and former 16-year-old American Idol contestant Eben Franckewitz plays charming Wendell the Elf. $7-$25. Through Dec. 15. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. 513-569-8080 ext. 10, thechildrenstheatre.com.The Santaland Diaries & The 12 Dates of Christmas: This year, New Edgecliff Theatre gets back to its roots and performs The Santaland Diaries and The 12 Dates of Christmas at the Aronoff Center. $17.25-$25.25. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29-Dec. 8. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. newedgecliff.com.
Wayne Martin Puppets Christmas Concert: This fast-paced Christmas puppetry performance features plenty of children’s favorites, including spirited marionette versions of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a very jolly elf. $5. 1 p.m. Dec. 1. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Covedale. cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com.
Handel’s Messiah: The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra performs Handel’s gripping masterpiece, led by Baroque extraordinaire Jane Glover. Lose yourself in this centuries-old oratorio. $10-$25. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Christ’s Church, Mason; 2 p.m. Dec. 16, Music Hall, Over-the-Rhine. Presented by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. cincinnatisymphony.org.
The Colors of Christmas: The Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra presents its free holiday concert, including classic and modern yuletide selections and audience sing-a-longs. Free. 3 p.m. Dec. 9. Seton Performance Hall, 3901 Glenway Ave. 513-941-8956, gocmo.org.
A Candlelit Christmas: The Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati presents two enchanting candlelit evenings of traditional, cherished holiday music from the esteemed Cincinnati Boychoir. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15. St. Boniface Catholic Church, Northside; 5 p.m. Dec. 16 St. Francis De Sales Church, East Walnut Hills. vaecinci.org/concerts.html.
Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker: The libretto made famous by Marius Petipa and Tchaikovsky is masterfully reinterpreted by Cincinnati Ballet artistic director and CEO Victoria Morgan in this festive holiday classic. Adorned with Tchaikovsky’s sounds remastered by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Clara’s whimsical quest among sugar plum fairies and gingerbread soldiers is more splendid than ever. $31-$82. Dec. 14-23. Cincinnati Ballet, 1555 Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine. cballet.org.
de la Dance Company’s The Nutcracker, Jazzed Up: de la Dance Company’s talented troupe of dancers unites for a snappy, energetic rendition on the yuletide standby with a fiery mix of classic Tchaikovsky tunes and Duke Ellington’s jazzy Nutcracker Suite, set in NYC in the 1940s. $30.25-$32.25. Nov. 23-Dec. 1. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. deladancecompany.org.
Antique Christmas: Christmas trinkets and tokens of bygone eras adorn this exhibition, including an Art Deco Christmas display, antique patriotic ornaments, a fully-furnished 1940s dollhouse, Victorian blown-glass ornaments and a 1930s feather Christmas tree. Let nostalgia galvanize your holiday spirit. Through Jan. 13. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown. taftmuseum.org.
Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!: It never really feels quite like Christmas until you’ve spent some quality time with the Peanuts gang, does it? Traveling exhibition Merry Christmas Charlie Brown! features 50 Peanuts comic strips and 50 vintage Peanuts-themed holiday novelties to remind you what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. Also enjoy cookie decorating, storytelling and a Charlie Brown-sized Christmas tree. Free. Saturdays and Sundays. Nov. 29-Jan. 6. Greenacres Arts Center and Greenhouse, 8400 Blome Road, Indian Hill. 513-891-4227, green-acres.org.
Trains, Trestles and Traditions Holiday Show: The Krohn Conservatory has been gearing up to pick out its finest holiday suit — in this case, that comes in the form of hundreds of cyclamen, evergreens and poinsettias combined for an enlivening background to the conservatory’s festive train and holiday lights display. $6. Through Jan. 6. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams. cincinnatiparks.com.
WHITE CHRISTMAS: The Holiday Show 2012: Miller Gallery hosts a unique show of moderately priced works on paper by gallery artists, framed and matted in white. The ideal stop on your holiday tour de gift route for a one-of-a-kind piece that will last forever. Nov. 23-Dec. 31. Miller Gallery, 2715 Erie Ave., Hyde Park. millergallery.com.