Atlanta knows how to create a festive holiday spirit — shopping, parties and events may build excitement, but delightful holiday shows bring a magic all their own. Sitting in the audience of a fantastic seasonal performance ignites holiday cheer in the best of us, so treat yourself — and your family — to one of these glorious productions.

Enjoy the 25th Anniversary production of A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theatre. (Image credit: Alliance Theatre)

Enjoy the 25th anniversary production of  “A Christmas Carol” at the Alliance Theatre. (Image credit: Alliance Theatre)

Alliance Theatre

A Christmas Carol: This year marks the 25th anniversary production of the Dickens classic at Alliance Theatre, and many devotees never miss a year. This year, Alliance invites you to share your favorite Christmas Carol memories with them on their website, creating a virtual scrapbook of warm thoughts. Take your seat for a ride through the past that you’ll carry long into the future. (Nov. 21-Dec. 24 • alliancetheatre.org)

It’s A Wonderful Laugh: Atlanta’s favorite ensemble improv troupe, Dad’s Garage, parodies the quintessential Christmas story, It’s a Wonderful Life, spoofing the timeless tale of Bedford Falls’ most fallenEvery evening, the audience chooses a new “invader” (who is a complete surprise to the cast and can be anything from a big purple monster to Beyoncé) to infiltrate the world of George Bailey and Bedford Falls. What would Christmas be like if George never existed and Beyoncé came to town? It’s up to the cast to keep the story on track in this anything-can-happen production. Adults only. (Nov. 28-Dec. 20 • alliancetheatre.org)

Aurora Theatre

A Christmas Carol: Aurora stages a riveting, one-man show evoking the original presentation of A Christmas Carol. The theater’s artistic director and show lead Anthony Rodriguez explains, “Before the novel was brought to stage, Dickens actually read the story at Christmas parties in England as entertainment, which is why the one-man show works.” It’s the simplicity of this version that gives impact. Through mannerisms and voice alone, Rodriguez brings the characters of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley and the remarkable ghosts to life with the audiences in witness. (Nov. 28-Dec. 21 • auroratheatre.com)

Christmas Canteen: An Aurora Theatre original, Christmas Canteen presents a nostalgic musical revue of holiday classic song and dance. (Nov. 20-Dec. 21 • auroratheatre.com)

The 12 Dates of Christmas: While watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Mary sees her fiancé kiss another woman on national TV! Over the next year, Mary is set up, hooked up, strung up and fed up as she stumbles back into the dating scene, and the results are a hilarious romp through modern romance. (Nov. 29-Dec. 20 • auroratheatre.com)

Holiday romance takes a comedic turn in The 12 Dates of Christmas at Aurora Theatre. (Image credit: Aurora Theatre)

Holiday romance takes a comedic turn in “The 12 Dates of Christmas” at Aurora Theatre. (Image credit: Aurora Theatre)

Center for Puppetry Arts

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer: Have a holly-jolly jaunt from the North Pole to the Island of Misfit Toys to Santa’s sleigh. Rudolph and crew return to the Center for Puppetry Arts in an authentic production of the 1964 classic stop-motion animation TV special. The ubertalented puppeteers bring the red-nosed reindeer, the elves and even the Bumble all to life in a magical local theater tradition. (Nov. 13-Dec.28 • puppet.org)

Bumble bounces back to the Center for Puppetry Arts stage in this "live" version of the animated classic. (Image credit: Center for Puppetry Arts)

Bumble bounces back to the Center for Puppetry Arts’ stage in this “live” version of the animated classic. (Image credit: Center for Puppetry Arts)

The Cobb Energy Centre

Dave Koz Christmas Tour: Saxophonist Dave Koz teams up with Jonathan Butler, Christopher Cross and Maysa for an eclectic, high-energy show featuring fresh takes on holiday standards, as well as other selections that beautifully capture the spirit of the season. (Dec. 3 • cobbenergycentre.com)

The Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Rocks Extravaganza!: Legendary musician Brian Setzer takes the stage with his 18-piece orchestra for a lively jive sure to get your bells jingling. (Dec. 5 • cobbenergycentre.com)

Joy – An Irish Christmas: Honor of the birth of Christ with traditional carols, modern hymns and Irish folk music. Join Keith and Kristyn Getty and their band of Irish and bluegrass virtuosos for this Atlanta Christmas tradition. (Dec. 19 • cobbenergycentre.com)

Star 94 Jingle Jam: The much-loved local radio station, Star94, delights fans each year with their Jingle Jam concert. This year, the concert lineup includes The Script, Lindsey Stirling and Echosmith. (Dec. 18 • cobbenergycentre.com and star94.com)

Rock around the Rockabilly Christmas tree with the Brian Setzer Orchestra at Cobb Energy Centre. (Image credit: Cobb Energy Centre)

Rock around the Christmas tree with the Brian Setzer Orchestra at Cobb Energy Centre. (Image credit: Cobb Energy Centre)

Bluegrass style meets classical Christmas music in Joy, An Irish Christmas at Cobb Energy Centre. (Image credit: Cobb Energy Centre)

Bluegrass style meets classic Irish Christmas in “Joy, An Irish Christmas,” at Cobb Energy Centre. (Image credit: Cobb Energy Centre)

The Fox Theatre

Mannheim Steamroller: The electronic orchestral production of Chip Davis renders contemporary arrangements of traditional carols and songs for a unique sound that’s become a modern classic. (Nov. 22 • foxtheatre.org)

Turkey Eve with Yacht Rock Revue: Before you gather ’round the Thanksgiving table, get out on the dance floor and shake your tail feathers with Atlanta’s favorite party band, Yacht Rock Revue. Gobble up the tickets to the Turkey Eve bash in the Egyptian Ballroom. (Nov. 26 • foxtheatre.org)

Anthony Hamilton Home for the Holidays: R&B sensation Anthony Hamilton tours his latest album, Home for the Holidays, with a stop at the fabulous Fox Theatre. Hamilton’s first-ever holiday album features catchy renditions of festive favorites like Little Drummer Boy and Away In A Manger, and some original tunes, as well. With a soulful, smooth voice, Hamilton injects new life into upbeat carol covers that will keep the audience on its feet. (Dec. 6 • foxtheatre.org)

Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker: The Atlanta Ballet transports audiences into a magical world of dancing dolls, mischievous mice and sparkling snowflakes with the time-honored classic, Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. This larger-than-life production features the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra and has become a local staple of the season. (Dec. 11-28 • foxtheatre.org and atlantaballet.com)

Michael W. Smith & Amy Grant: Two iconic stars, long-heralded for their voices and performance styles, join together for a holiday event. Singing classics and old standards, as well as hits from their own personal favorites, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith croon Christmas cheer. (Dec. 15 • foxtheatre.org)

The Sugar Plum Fairy casts her holiday spell in the Atlanta Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker. (Image credit: Atlanta Ballet)

The Sugar Plum Fairy casts her holiday spell in the Atlanta Ballet’s annual production of  “The Nutcracker” at the Fox. (Image credit: Atlanta Ballet)

Gwinnett Center

A Very Grinchy Christmas: The Southern Ballet Theatre twirls through Whoville in this dance interpretation of the Seuss story. (Nov. 22-23 • gwinettcenter.com)

The Nutcracker: The Northeast Atlanta Ballet stages its annual performance of The Nutcracker, with exquisite costuming and accompaniment by the Gwinnett Symphony. (Nov. 28-30 • gwinettcenter.com)

Enjoy this ballet version of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (Image credit: Southern Ballet Theatre)

Enjoy this ballet version of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” (Image credit: Southern Ballet Theatre)

Horizon Theatre

The Santaland Diaries: This outrageous holiday comedy, written by NPR comic genius David Sedaris, stars Crumpet, a rebel without a Clause who recounts the true-life tale of an out-of-work writer’s stint as a Macy’s department store elf. Not appropriate for children. (Nov. 22-Dec. 31 • horizontheatre.com)

Madeline’s Christmas: While on their morning walk with Miss Clavel, Madeline and the girls come down with the flu. As they take to their beds, many wonder if they will be able to go home for Christmas. With the arrival of a mysterious stranger, Madeline and the other girls get a holiday adventure. This production is a collaboration with the The Atlanta Children’s Theatre Company. (Dec. 7-31 • horizontheatre.com)

Crumpet reveals the secrets of life as a department store elf. (Image credit: Horizon Theatre)

Crumpet reveals the secrets of life as a department store elf. (Image credit: Horizon Theatre)

Serenbe Playhouse

The Snow Queen: Rachel Teagle adapts the Hans Christian Andersen tale that inspired the movie FROZEN to present The Snow Queen at Serenbe Playhouse. Audiences join brave Gerda on her epic quest to save her brother from the icy allure of the mysterious Snow Queen and the chill creeping into his own heart. (Dec. 4-Dec. 21 • serenbeplayhouse.com)

Serenbe Playhouse presents a dramatic re-imagining of The Snow Queen. (Image credit: Serene Playhouse)

Serenbe Playhouse presents a dramatic re-imagining of “The Snow Queen.” (Image credit: Serenbe Playhouse)

The Strand

A Christmas Tradition: This song-and-dance revue showcases The Strand’s awe-inspiring sets and effects like  never been seen before, as well as the diva voices and high energy dances that Strand patrons have come to know and love. A sure-fire way to enjoy the spirit of the holidays, this production features a preshow holiday singalong with Ron Carter on the Mighty Allen Theatre organ. (Dec. 5-Dec. 21 • earlsmithstrand.org)

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tribute: Jeffrey Bützer and T. T. Mahony present a jazzy musical tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, playing the whimsical songs that Charlie Brown and the gang have turned into holiday favorites. (Dec. 18 • earlsmithstrand.org).

It’s A Wonderful Life: For a truly authentic, golden-age experience, enjoy the movie classic It’s a Wonderful Life at Marietta Square’s historic theater, a landmark venue since 1935. Thirty minutes before showtime, guests can enjoy a holiday preshow and singalong with the Mighty Allen Theatre organ. (Dec. 22 • earlsmithstrand.org)

Jeffrey Bützer & T. T. Mahony present a jazzy musical tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas at Marietta's Earl Strand Theatre. (Image credit: Butzer & Mahoney)

Jeffrey Bützer  and T.T. Mahony present a jazzy musical tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at Marietta’s Earl Strand Theatre. (Image credit: Samantha Shal)

Variety Playhouse

The Merry Y’all Tide Celebration: The Whiskey Gentry and the Dappled Grays bring their bluegrass best for a down-home sound of Christmas. (Dec. 6 • variety-playhouse.com)

A Peter White Christmas: Peter White has earned his reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists in the world of contemporary jazz. Jazz greats Rick Braun and Mindi Abair join him for this holiday show. (Dec. 11 • variety-playhouse.com)

Kingsized Holiday Jubilee: Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n’ Roll orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Really Big Santa and other special guests, show off signature glitz and glamour in what has become a holiday tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages show features holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more. The cadets from Parkview High’s MCROTC are collecting donations for Toys for Tots. (Dec. 20 • kingsizedholidayjubilee.com)

Bluegrass cheer for the holiday season at Variety Plahouse's annual Merry Y'all Tide Celebration with The Whiskey Gentry. (Image credit: The Whiskey Gentry)

Bluegrass cheer for the holiday season at Variety Playhouse’s annual “Merry Y’all Tide Celebration,” with The Whiskey Gentry. (Image credit: The Whiskey Gentry)

There are enough seasonal shows to fill the entire calendar, and with the wide variety of options, even the pickiest grinch critic can find a show to enjoy! Make time for one of these spectacular seasonal highlights and enjoy the magic of the holidays.

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