Winter Traditions 11

It’s Time for Memorable Holiday Rituals or Making New Ones

There’s plenty to do to celebrate the holiday season in the 280 area, so whether you’re upholding a family tradition or looking to start a new one, check out these beloved community events.

Many Hoover area families enjoy capturing an annual, commemorative holiday photo in front of the 32-foot-tall Christmas tree at the Hoover City Hall, 100 Municipal Center. And, there’s always the impressive, synced “Chick-mas” lights and music display to admire each evening from 5 p.m. to closing time at the Chick-fil-A, 1609 Montgomery Highway in the Hoover Commons shopping center.

To finish off home trimmings and mailbox decorations, numerous people make a tradition of heading to the Greenery Sale at Roots, the garden and gift shop of Aldridge Gardens, 3530 Lorna Road, Birmingham. Offerings include ribbon tree toppers, pine cones and other outdoor decorations, too. This year’s sale will be held December 2 behind the Aldridge House. In case of rain, the greeneries will be offered under the pavilion.

Aldridge Gardens’ volunteer coordinator Phyllis Giles says they also may offer classes and kits for certain holiday decoration ideas.

The Roots gift shop also will be open during the greeneries sale with plants, pots, containers, books, home and garden accessories, all of which make innovative, useful holiday gifts.

To get into an old-time festive spirit just as December starts, head to Christmas at Arlington December 1-3 as Arlington’s staff commemorates the mansion’s 58th anniversary as Birmingham’s historic house museum. See how local floral designers transform the interior of the house, 331 Cotton Ave SW, Birmingham, into replicas of Christmas past. There will be no admission charge, but donations are encouraged. The event includes entertainment, Santa Claus and refreshments. All ages are welcome.

Send music to your ears by celebrating the holidays with a spectacular display of favorite tunes of the season. Red Mountain Theatre Company Conservatory students perform alongside Birmingham’s best local artists this year from December 1-17 in matinee and evening performances of the “Holiday Spectacular.” Performances will be held at RMTC Cabaret Theatre at the Historic Kress Building, 301 19th St. N., Birmingham.

Some don’t feel they have truly experienced winter until they go to the outdoor ice skating rink at Railroad Park, 1600 First Ave. S. in Birmingham.

Called “the most sung artist anywhere” by Time magazine, multiplatinum-selling artist Chris Tomlin will be conducting “Christmas Songs of Worship” on December 3 at the Alabama Theatre, 1817 Third Ave. N. in Birmingham.

“I want these nights to feel warm and cozy,” Chris says. “That’s what I love about the beautiful, historic theaters—they provide the perfect setting for a night to come together as a family, celebrating the spirit of Christmas.”

He says the concert is going to be “an incredible, intimate night of remembering what this season is about, remembering what Christmas is about, remembering why we celebrate and why we worship and remembering our savior together.”

“Christmas at the Alys,” will be held beginning at 7 p.m. December 4 at Jemison Concert Hall, Alys Stephens Center, 1200 10th Ave. S. Choral singers from Birmingham join for holiday favorites and Christmas classics. The event is presented by the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music.

“Sounds of the Season,” an operatic concert on December 8, features surprise guest artists as well as a variety of solo and ensemble performances to set the perfect mood for the holiday season. It will be held at Brock Recital Hall at Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham. Opera Birmingham is teaming up with the U.S. Marine Corps to provide toys for less fortunate children in the community this season through their Toys For Tots program. To participate, take a new, unwrapped toy to “Sounds of the Season.”

“Voices of the South Presents Christmas” will be presented at 7 p.m. December 9 by Birmingham’s premier men’s a capella chorus at the historic Lyric theatre, 1800 Third Ave. N., Birmingham.

“Holiday Soul” is back by popular demand at 7 p.m. December 10 at Jemison Concert Hall, 1200 10th Ave. S., Birmingham. This harmonious holiday celebration features UAB artist-in-residence Eric Essix along with musical friends Antonio Allen, Melvin Miller, Leonard Julien III, Kelvin Wooten, Kim Scott, Belinda Peoples and Tamara Bodie. Following the success of the first “Holiday Soul,” Essix and friends will perform a handpicked collection of soulful songs, along with holiday favorites.

In “The Mutt-cracker,” Birmingham Ballet will perform a version of the holiday classic with help from canine friends at 7:30 p.m. December 15, at BJCC Concert Hall, 2100 Richard Arrington Junior Blvd. N., Birmingham. Dogs performing alongside the dancers make for a very interesting, uplifting presentation. A portion of each ticket to “The Mutt-cracker” benefits the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

ZooLight Safari, located at the Birmingham Zoo, 2630 Cahaba Road, features more than a million lights, festive snowfalls and holiday music. A variety of rides also will be available for kids and kids at heart December 9-10, 15-18, 22-23 and 26-31, such as the Candy Cane Train, Jingle Bell Carousel, the 100+ foot Yuletide Slide and the Santa Rollers. Take in the beauty of a decorated tree reaching nearly 50 feet tall as visitors dance to special entertainment each night, including the singing Santa for meet-and-greets plus photos. Beer, wine and cocktails will be available for purchase. The new Henley Park Event Lawn at the zoo just opened this September and will provide more green space to weave into ZooLight Safari.

From December 2-16, the Birmingham Children’s Theatre will present “Cinderella” at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, 950 22nd St. N. with free Santa photos before each show.

For those who relish drive-thru events, the Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland team will offer a custom-made, 3.25-mile drive-thru holiday light show with synchronized music through January 7. It’s at the Birmingham Race Course, 1000 John Rogers Drive. An all-new Santa’s beach party theme features custom-built, giant, all-LED displays.