Sweet




If you really want to hear what a human voice can be, see Sweet Honey in the Rock at The Grand Opera House Dec. 19. Since 1973 the all-woman a cappella group has spread a message of love and peace through stories and songs inspired by their African ancestors. Universally lauded for the perfect blend of the members’ voices, the Sweet Honey experience is nothing short of joyful. 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org

 

Brassy

Join the popular and talented Chesapeake Brass Band at World Cafe Live at the Queen on Dec. 21 for a fun, festive, holiday celebration with A Cappella Pops. The concert features performances of favorite holiday tunes from across the years. Who can get enough of that? 994-1400, queen.worldcafelive.com

Peerless

The incomparable First State Ballet Theatre stages Tchaikovsky's “The Nutcracker,” with music by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra with the Wilmington Children's Chorus, Dec. 21-23. See the company’s classically trained professional dancers in a dazzling display and sparkling costumes created in Russia. It’s a local tradition. See it at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington. 800-37GRAND, thegrandwilmington.org

If film is more your style, see “Ballet in Cinemas: The Nutcracker” at Theatre N Dec. 23. The Royal Ballet production creates the world of the 19th-century onstage, with a Christmas tree that magically grows and toy soldiers that come to life. 571-4699, theatren.org

Magical

Will faith, love and courage triumph over evil? Chases, duels, escapes and a sprinkling of magic await in this adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ classic “The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe,” presented by The Chrysalis Players at the Wilmington Drama League. This one is timeless. See it through Dec. 29. 764-1172, wilmingtondramaleague.org

Scrooged

The timeless “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens gets a merry retelling in a world-premiere adaptation by the creator of the two-time Tony Award winning “The 39 Steps.” Five actors portray more than 20 characters, exploring new facets of the classic tale. Re-imagined with a new physicality, this “highly theatrical, sometimes comic, ultimately moving adaptation” is sure to brighten up your holidays, according to critic Timothy Childs. See it until Dec. 30. 594-1104, deltheatre.org

Celebrating an Icon

During Diana Vreeland’s 50-year reign as the “Empress of Fashion,” she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis, and established countless trends that have withstood the test of time. She was the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked for 25 years before becoming editor-in-chief of Vogue, then served at Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, where she helped popularize its historical collections. The film “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” is a portrait and celebration of one of the most influential women of the 20th century, an icon who has had a strong influence on the course of fashion, beauty, publishing and culture. See it at Theatre N at Nemours Dec. 21-23. 571-4699, theatren.org

Celebrate the Brandywine Valley

One of the things we love most about the holidays is visiting the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford. First, there’s the model railroad. Second, there are the critter ornaments, handmade by local volunteers for sale to support the museum and programs. They adorn seven trees on the first and third floors, and charming critter scenes will surround the base of the trees and fill display cases. Then there’s “Pop-Up! Illustration in 3-D,” a display of books that range from late 19th-century examples to sophisticated constructions designed by contemporary paper engineers working with noted artists. Finally “Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth” features exquisitely crafted jewelry by Pywell and inspired by Wyeth's paintings. Everything is on display through Jan. 6. (610) 388-2700, brandywinemusuem.org

Themed A Feast for the Eyes, Yuletide at Winterthur is designed to tempt visitors with visions of holidays past and spark ideas for their own celebrations. Guests can explore how Americans have celebrated the winter social season from the 1800s to the present during the Yuletide at Winterthur tour through Jan. 6. A highlight: a lavish Victorian-era setting focuses on festive trappings, a glittering tree and a table arrayed with towers of gifts. 888-4600, winterthur.org

Christmas at Hagley cultivates sharing and giving. This year's theme is Holiday Entertaining at Home. The morning room of Eleutherian Mills is set for the New Year's Day calling, the dining room celebrates Twelfth Night, and the terrace is ready for Christmas lunch. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or clothing item for donation to the Sunday Breakfast Mission. The event continues until Jan. 9 658-2400, hagley.org

Nemours Mansion & Gardens is open for holiday tours through Dec. 30. This world-famous du Pont estate is beautifully decorated for Christmas, with antiques from its historic collection along with new items that celebrate the season. Christmas trees, garlands, sprays, paper filigree “quilling,” hand-painted ornaments, miniature churches, original holiday cards, a manger scene and original toys from the du Pont estate all add to the festive setting. Reservations are required. (800) 651-6912, nemoursmansion.org

Rockwood Museum is decorated with a musical theme though Jan. 7. rockwood.org

Finally, A Longwood Christmas is always a highlight of the season. Inside Longwood’s 4-acre Conservatory, trees shimmer with star-inspired ornaments. In the Exhibition Hall, twinkling lights hang from the vaulted glass ceiling over a 64-foot-long table dressed for a holiday gathering. Living wreaths, floral displays, and trees as tall as 22 feet bring the magic of the season to life. Outdoors, more than 500,000 lights brighten the night. Fountains dance to holiday music in the Open Air Theatre (weather permitting). And the outdoor train display travels past miniature Longwood landmarks lit for the season. Music includes sing-alongs on Longwood’s majestic 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and evening choral and bell choir performances by area groups. In the Chimes Tower, a 62-bell carillon plays holiday music every half hour. Strolling performances fill the gardens with music on weekends. See it through Jan. 6. longwoodgardens.org

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