Nipping at your nose

Our Festivities Guide to all the cheer and charity Chico has to offer this holiday season

There’s a line many of us do not cross during the holiday season, a wall of comfort that keeps us safe and warm and full at home and shut off from the rest of the holiday season.

And why shouldn’t it be that way? Who wouldn’t prefer the comfort of a hot toddy and a rerun of It’s a Wonderful Life to going out? Braving the season’s elements as well as the fluorescent hum of holiday shopping is enough extra exertion, right?

Perhaps. But the holiday season is also a time of celebration for local artists and performers, and by staying home you’re missing much of what makes it wonderful. Keep the dates with family and friends locked in for sure, but also check out what the rest of the community is up to. Take in a play. Sing a few songs. Buy some locally made art. And give a little time to those who don’t have the means to make the same choices this year.

Music, theater, singing and dancing

Sing-along Messiah
Thursday, Dec. 2, 7:30pm. Audience participation is encouraged at this annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. Dan Valdez conducts the chamber orchestra and choir. Cost: $8-$10; $4 for children. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Rd., Paradise. (530) 872-8454.

Folk Dance Winter Party
Friday, Dec. 3, 7:30pm. The Chico International Folk Dancers are having a winter holiday party and dance, featuring live music by the folk singers Karamfil. Cost: $10. Chico Women’s Club, 3rd & Pine Streets. Info: (530) 877-7918.

Holiday Concert
Saturday, Dec. 4, 8pm, & Sunday, Dec. 5, 3pm. Karen Finley directs two shows of the Oroville Community Chorus‘ annual Christmas concert. Tickets: $8/general. Oroville State Theater, 1489 Myers St., Oroville Box office: (530) 538-2470.

Traveling Jewish Theatre
Sunday, Dec. 5, 6pm (doors, 5pm). Chico’s local synagogue, Chico Havurah, is bringing San Francisco’s Traveling Jewish Theatre to the Chico Cabaret to perform The Wonders, an original play celebrating 350 years of Jewish life in America. Cost: $15/adults; $5/18-under. Chico Cabaret, 2201 Pillsbury, Almond Orchard Shopping Center. Info: (530) 895-0245.

High School Winter Concerts
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 7pm. The Pleasant Valley High Music Department’s annual Winter Concert will feature holiday and concert music performed by the Acappella Choir, Madrigal Singers, Jazz Ensemble and Concert Band. Cost: $3/adults; $2/students; $1/under-12; free/under-5. Available at PV student store and at the door. Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall on the Chico State campus. Info: (530) 894-7472.

Thursday, Dec. 16, 7:30pm. Chico High’s Winter Concert will feature performances by the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble. Tickets: $7, available from CHS band students and at the door. Harlen Adams Theatre on the Chico State campus.

Holiday Dance Pageant
Thursday, Dec. 9, 6:30-9pm. “Our Town: A Holiday Celebration,” a multicultural holiday celebration of dance, features a diverse program of performances, including hula, African drumming and dancing, martial-arts demo, ballet folklêrico and hip-hop. Free admission. Dorothy F. Johnson Center, 775 E. 16th St. (530) 895-4707.

The Nutcracker
Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 9-12. A large holdover of experienced Chico Community Ballet students has made it possible to stage an all-local version of The Nutcracker for the annual Friends of the CCB and Chico Performances co-production. Deborah Jorritsma directs and choreographs this year’s rendition of E.T.A. Hoffman’s classic holiday tale. Thurs./Fri. shows are at 7:30pm, and Sat./Sun. matinees are at 2pm. Tickets: $14-$23. Laxson Auditorium on the Chico State campus; University Box Office: (530) 898-6333.

Glorious Sounds of the Season
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 10-12. This is the season’s biggie. Chico State’s School of the Arts pulls out all the stops for this concert of holiday favorites. Performers include the 200-voice Choral Union, Gospel Choir, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Faculty Handbell Ensemble, Early Music Ensemble, David Rothe playing the university organ, and the Children’s Choir of Chico. Fri./Sat. shows are at 7:30pm and Sun. show is at 2pm. Proceeds go toward student scholarships. Cost: $20. Harlen Adams Theatre on the Chico State campus; University Box Office: (530) 898-6333.

Chico Pantheon Benefit Concert
Saturday, Dec. 11, 8pm. Chico Pantheon, a group of Chico activists, have gathered five bands—Gruk, Nogoodnix, Boy Tiger, Aubrey Debauchery and Nothing Left—for a benefit show at Fulcrum. Money and awareness are being raised for Chico Infoshop, Food Not Bombs and Peaceful Action Against Racism. Cost: $4, or $2 if you bring a donation of a clean jar (with a lid), winter cloths or non-perishable food items. Fulcrum Records, 530 Broadway.

A Christmas Carol
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17-19. The Northern California Ballet presents a new ballet based on the famous Dickens story about little Tiny Tim and the evil Mr. Scrooge. A Christmas Carol will show four times, Fri./Sat. at 7:15pm and Sat./Sun. at 2:15pm. Tickets: $15-$18/general; $7child/student. Paradise Performing Arts Center, 777 Nunneley Rd., Paradise. (530) 872-8454.

Community events

Community Tree Lighting
Friday, Dec. 3, 6pm. You can’t miss the big Christmas tree. It is one of the only trees left in the Downtown Park Plaza. The Children’s Choir of Chico and City Councilman Steve Bertagna will be gathered there for the annual public tree lighting. Santa Claus will be on hand too, joining the party aboard an antique fire engine. Downtown Park Plaza. Info: (530) 345-6500.

Oroville Christmas Parade
Saturday, Dec. 4, 6pm. The theme for Oroville’s 10th annual Olde Fashioned Lighted Christmas Parade is “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Marching bands and 50 lighted floats will be featured. Bird & Myers Streets, downtown Oroville. Info: (530) 655-4653.

Special events

Friday, Dec. 3, 7pm. Chico State’s Freethought Alliance and Skeptics Society invite you to celebrate the holiday made famous in the Seinfeld television show by George’s dad Frank Costanza. No decorations. No exchange of gifts. No commercialization. No religion. Just free food, the Festivus pole, the “airing of grievances” and the “feats of strength.” BMU 314 on the Chico State campus. Info:

Frontier Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 4, Noon-4pm. It’s Christmas, only Pioneer style at the Frontier Christmas at Lake Oroville. You’ll be able to meet Santa and buy holiday food and crafts still, but there will also be pioneer games to play, gold panning and pioneer music all day. Free admission. Lake Oroville Visitor Center, Lake Oroville. (530) 538-2219.

Patrick Ranch Christmas Open House
Sundays (beginning Dec. 5) 1-4pm. The grounds of Patrick Ranch are open for free tours every Sunday through the holidays, and the historic Northgraves-Compton mansion on the property will be decked out for the holidays and available to tour on Dec. 5 & Dec. 12 (admission: $5). Patrick Ranch, on the Midway between Chico and Durham. Info: (530) 891-4336.

Breakfast with Santa (twice!)
First: Saturday, Dec. 11, 8-11am. For only $5 have a pancake breakfast and get your picture taken with Santa (parents can eat too, for an additional $2 each). CARD is holding three pancake/photo sessions at 8am, 9am and 10am. CARD Community Center, 545 Vallombrosa Ave. (530) 895-4711.

Second: Sunday, Dec. 12, 9am-1pm. The Sunshine Kids Club has holiday music, raffle prizes and gifts and pancakes and pictures with Santa. Tickets: $8, available at Laura’s Wig & Beauty, Kids Kingdom, Lash’s Glass, North Valley Soccer and Standard Beauty Supply/Salon. Eagles Hall, 20th & Mulberry Streets. Info: (530) 891-6318.

Bidwell Mansion Christmas Open House
Sunday, Dec. 12, 1-4pm. With holiday decorations, refreshments and music by the Sounds of the Valley and Sounds of the Foothills choruses, this is the day to tour Bidwell Mansion. Tour is free, but reservations are required. Call: (530) 895-6144. Bidwell Mansion.

Artists, artisans and Fair Trade

Children’s Shopping Days
Friday & Saturday, Dec. 3 & Dec. 4. Chico Nursery School will have personal shoppers on hand to help children choose gifts for their families. All items are handmade, and each wrapped gift is $2. There will also be a silent auction and pictures with Santa. Friday’s store is open 2-7pm and Saturday’s is open from 9am-2pm. Chico Nursery School, 1190 E. 1st Ave. (530) 891-1723.

Cottage Artisans Show and Sale
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 3-5. For the 21st year in a row, local cottage artisans will be selling original works, including pottery, woodworks, jewelry, photographs, paintings and more. Featured artisans and artists include Fred Atwood, Dee Danley-Brown, Misty Leppard Claudia Dussalt-Howell and more. Open Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Chico Art Center, 450 Orange St. (530) 872-2710.

An Affair to Remember
Saturday, Dec. 4, 10am-5pm. Local scrapbookers will have their handmade crafts for sale at Scrapbook Avenue scrapbooking store. There will also be demonstrations and the artists will be on hand. Scrapbook Avenue, 664 E. 1st Ave. (530) 876-9925.

Paradise Arts & Crafts Faire
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 4 & Dec. 5. A Christmas Arts & Crafts Faire to benefit the Paradise Ridge Senior Center. Open Saturday 9am-4pm and Sunday 10am-3pm. Paradise Senior Center, 877 Nunneley Rd., Paradise. (530) 877-1733.

Chico Art Center Christmas Faire
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 11 & Dec. 12, 10am-4pm. Works by local artists, including paintings, jewelry, dolls, pottery and more, will be sold at the Chico Art Center’s first annual Christmas Faire. Chico Art Center, 450 Orange St. (530) 343-6929.

Fair Trade Store
Chico Peace & Justice Center’s Fair Trade Store is open throughout the holidays. Hand-made gifts from the around the world, without a guilty conscience! All of the items in the store are certified to come from sources that provide living wages and promote fair labor practices. Everything from toys, instruments, tapestries and jewelry to coffee, tea and chocolate is available. Store hours: Monday-Friday, 1-5pm; Saturday, 2-5pm. Chico Peace & Justice Center, 526 Broadway. (530) 893-9078.