Home for the Holidays: You don’t have to travel far to get quality Christmas and Thanksgiving entertainment

Published 10:29 am Saturday, November 18, 2017

In a lot of ways, Austin is custom made for the holidays. With places like the Historic Paramount Theatre and the Hormel Historic Home, Christmas and Thanksgiving always seem to work as families look for ways to spend time together.

The Paramount Theatre

The Paramount Theatre acts as a perfect backdrop to any holiday offering and it has for a number of years.

Email newsletter signup

Most notably, in years past, people flocked in droves to see the annual Michael Veldman and Friends holiday show with music and skits to get anybody in the mood. While that show came to an end a couple of years back, the Paramount has filled the spot with other kinds of quality shows.

TubaChristmas returns to the Paramount Theatre early in December. Herald file photo

“I would say around the holidays, people spend more time with their family and make memories,” said Austin Area Commission for Arts Executive Director Laura Helle. “We’re happy to provide opportunities and we have lots of options for families.”

Just a couple of years ago the Paramount began hosting Christmas at Home, a show presented by members of the Austin Public Schools including music from faculty, students and more.

In just its two short years, it has become a fan favorite and presented in two different showings.

Not to be confused with “Christmas at Home” is the “At Christmas” show on Dec. 2 featuring area natives John and Lisi Wright of Galactic Cowboy Orchestra.

“I’m pretty excited about the ‘At Christmas show,’” Helle said. “It’s really kind of a unique variety show with holiday music and comedy skits. It’s really a heart-warming experience.”

And people would be remiss if they missed out on the deep-sounding spectacle of TubaChristmas. Both events take place on the same day with TubaChristmas at 11 a.m. and At Christmas at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s a long standing tradition, TubaChristmas,” Helle said. “I think this is the time where [tradition] is big in your heart.”

Austin Area Commission for the Arts holiday events and classes

Jane Taylor’s “The Nutcracker”

When: 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24.

Where: Historic Paramount Theatre

Cost: Free (Part of Christmas in the City)

Polymer Clay Snowflake

Ornaments with Layl McDill

When: 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30

Where: Austin ArtWorks Center

Cost: $40


When: 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: Historic Paramount Theatre

Cost: Free [participant registration fee $10]

“At Christmas” featuring John and Lisi Wright]

When: 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2

Where: Historic Paramount Theatre

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 the day of the show.

Matchbox Children’s Theatre: “A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol”

When: 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8; 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10.

Where: Historic Paramount Theatre

Cost: $6 for students and $10 for adults.

Winter Trunk Show

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12

Where: Austin ArtWorks Center

“Christmas at Home”

When: 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16

Where: Historic Paramount Theatre

Cost: $15 in advance, $20 day of the show, $5 for students

Kids Studio: Christmas Trees

When: 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16

Where: Austin ArtWorks Center

Cost: $5 per child

Gail Christenson browses through items at A Handmade Christmas last year at the Hormel Historic Home. Herald file photo

While the Paramount Theatre provides the stage for the holidays, the Hormel Historic Home provides a beautiful setting.

The large, Victorian era historic set piece offers it’s own nostalgic feel, but when decorated for Christmas, takes that feeling one step further.

“It’s obviously a home for families and the holidays are for family,” Executive Director Holly Johnson said.

With a past era feel that would put the Hormels themselves at home, the Hormel Historic Home is a setting perfect for families. Over the years, the HHH has provided a shift in programming during the season that not only give more of a family options but more things to do rather than a place decorated for the holidays that people could tour.

“We are seemingly appealing to the traditional games and young families,” Johnson said. “It seems like people want more of an experience.”

Among these events is a trio of activities recently added over the past couple years that have turned into real hits.

The trio of events got underway Friday with the Holiday Tea Open House that was held from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

That is followed by the very popular Soup and Santa event today as well as the Soup and Spirits event later in the evening.

“It’s a very welcoming environment,” Johnson said. “This is the third year of Soup & Santa and it’s definitely something people were in search of.”

Then in December are two presentations dedicated to Christmas: Home and Hearth and History Happy Hour, both wondering, “What’s Wrong with My Nativity?”

And if you still need that special something for someone, don’t forget about A Handmade Christmas. While not a Hormel Historic Home produced event, the setting at the HHH makes shopping that much more Christmas friendly.

Hormel Historic Home events

Soup and Santa

When: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Today

Cost: $5, children under 2 are free.

Soup and Spirits

When: 4-7 p.m. Tonight

Cost: $15 for those 18 and over; $5 for a children’s ticket and children under 3 are free.

A Handmade Christmas

When: 4-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 9

History Happy Hour: What’s Wrong with My Nativity?

When: 5:30 p.m. social, 6 p.m. presentation on Monday, Dec. 11.

Cost: Free for members, $5 for non members.

Home and Hearth: What’s Wrong with My Nativity?

When: 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19

Cost: Free

Christmas for all

For people who love their traditions, the Christmas in the City events and Christmas in the county provide the fun people remember for years. Below is a list of dates for this year’s events.

Christmas in the City

5:30-7:30 p.m. on Nov. 24.

Christmas in the Northwest

4-7 p.m. on Nov. 28

Christmas in the Southwest

4-7 p.m. on Nov. 30

Christmas in the East

4-7 p.m. on Dec. 5

Christmas in the County

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the Mower County Historical Society.

For a more detailed list of events going on during this times, be sure to pick up our Thanksgiving Extra that prints Thanksgiving Day.