7 p.m. at Madison Center for the Arts, 5601 N. 16th St., Phoenix. The inaugural Santa Circus acrobatic performance is happening this month at Madison. Guests can meet their favorite Christmas characters and write letters to Santa with the help of Mrs. Claus while enjoying the wonder and music of the holidays. Make sure to wait around after the show to get a photo. Tickets are $35-$65.
Eat See AZ
6 p.m. at WestWorld, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale. The Valley has perfect winter weather for an outdoor cinema experience. Tonight, guests can view A Star is Born while grabbing dinner from food trucks and listening to live music before the show. Make sure to bring blankets and pillows so you can cozy up when the sun goes down. Tickets are $12 per person.
7 p.m. at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd St., Phoenix. Alice Cooper’s 19th annual Christmas Pudding fundraising event is back. This year, guests will jam out with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Solid Rock Dancers and The Bucket Brigade. This event benefits Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center. Tickets are $35-$400.
Arizona Fried Chicken and Wings Festival
12:30-5 p.m. at The Pressroom, 441 W. Madison St., Phoenix. Make sure to grab plenty of napkins, it’s going to get messy at the second annual Fried Chicken and Wings Festival. Guests can enjoy classic, modern and fusion chicken recipes from over ten local vendors. There will also be an art market, lawn games, drinks and dessert. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for Happy Hour only.
Arizona Fried Chicken and Wings Festival Facebook page
7:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Symphony,
1 N. 1st St., Phoenix. The holiday season is here, and what better way to celebrate than with all the festive music? The Phoenix Symphony presents the annual Holiday Pops concert, featuring hymns and carols from various traditions. Vocalists Andrea Ross and Ryan Vona, along with the Phoenix Symphony Chorus, will sing all the classics – it might be hard not to sing along. Tickets start at $34-$100.
Sit Stay Brunch
10 a.m. at the Scottsdale Resort, 7700 E. McCormick Pkwy., Scottsdale. Benefiting the Lost Our Home Pet Rescue, the 12th annual holiday champagne brunch and auction is back. This event raises funds needed to support services and programs for pets and people in the community. Guests can enjoy drinks and brunch, take photos in the photo booth, hang out with adoptable pets, and participate in the silent auction. Tickets start at $125.
Christmas at the Princess
5 p.m. at the Scottsdale Fairmont Princess, 7575 E. Princess Dr. The resort has been transformed into a holiday haven, with over six million twinkle lights and displays for families and friends to stroll through. Guests can go ice skating or slide down the ice mountain, plus take photos with Santa and his elves, sip cider or cocoa and send your Christmas wish off with Fairmont’s special wish paper. Tickets are $18 per person; $72 for a family of four.
Merchantile Outdoor Market
9 a.m.-3 p.m. at 1500 N. McClintock Dr., Tempe. Shop local this holiday season with Merchantile Market’s new outdoor pop-up shop. Guests will find dozens of local artisans and businesses showcasing their wares: art and paintings, jewelry, apparel and home décor. There will also be food trucks on-site in case you get hungry from all the shopping. Admission is free, and parking is $5.
SATURDAY 12/11 – SUNDAY 12/12
Phoenix Festival of the Arts
10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 N. 3rd St., Phoenix. The Phoenix Festival of the Arts is here with over 150 art and culture vendors and live entertainment (on two stages), interactive exhibits, a family fun zone, circus performances and spoken word poetry readings. There will be food trucks and drinks available for purchase, but the event is free, and you can also bring your pups.
Pueblo Grande Indian Market
9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Pueblo Grande Museum, 4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix. The 44th annual Indian Art Market at Pueblo is here. This market features over 100 artisan booths, traditional Native American performances, demonstrations, and Native foods, as well as hands-on activities for the whole family to enjoy. The museum and park will also be open during this event. Admission is $5.
A Fireside Christmas
3 p.m. at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Pkwy. Desert Overture and Desert City Jazz present A Fireside Christmas, where guests can be treated to a mix of traditional holiday classics and new music. A Fireside Christmas boasts both a wind symphony and a jazz big band, so there’s a chance you’ll be out of your seat and dancing in no time. Tickets are $15 for adults. Kids 12 and under are free.
Hot Chocolate 5K
7 a.m. at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix. Keep your eyes on the hot chocolate prize at this year’s 5K race. Attendees can choose from a 5K or 15K race, and afterward, there will be a post-race party with an award ceremony, vendor market and Christmas tunes to keep you in the spirit. Registration starts at $55 for the 5K, $75 for the 15K.
Million Dollar Quartet Christmas
7:30 p.m. at the Phoenix Theatre Company, 1825 N. Central Ave. Ring in the holidays with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley as the theatre company presents all the songs that made these ‘gents a household name. Guests will experience music and storytime in hopes of keeping the holidays merry and bright. The show is available until January 2. Tickets start at $44 per person.
Toy Shoppe Tea Party Recital
1 p.m. at the Paradise Valley Country Club, 7101 N. Tatum Blvd., Paradise Valley. Dance Theater West is inviting all to see its winter recital. StoryBook Ballet Company and the dancers from the primary ballet classes will join together to celebrate the holiday season. Guests can also enjoy refreshments at a tea party after the performance. Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids.
Holly Jolly Cork Crafting
10:30 a.m. at LDV Winery, 7134 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale. This event is part of Scottsdazzle’s holiday happenings – head to LDV Winery for food and fun. Guests will create their own “cork” art while sipping on a glass of wine and enjoying some holiday snacks. Instructions and supplies are included. This class is $25 per person.
In November, a new skincare concept opened on the northwest corner of 40th St. and Indian School (next to Arcadia Meat Market) called Face Foundrié. Services include facials, waxing, lash lifts, lash extensions, brow tinting and dermaplaning. Various memberships are available.
Kneaders Bakery and Caféon Indian School Road closed its doors in early November. No word yet on what will replace the eatery.
Prince of Peace Preschool will open a center at Hospice of the Valley’s Dementia Care and Education Campus in the near future. The preschool will partner with the Adult Day Club to provide meaningful intergenerational enrichment. Programming includes supervised, age-appropriate, engaging activities for the children and adults, with music, movement, storytime, gardening, arts and crafts and creative play.
Jade & Clover, a Texas-based gift and plant shop, has opened their first Arizona location at the intersection of 40th St. and Campbell, in the corner next to Postino WineCafe. The shop offers gifts, home décor, accessories and house plants, and the Plant Bar, where guests can build their own planters and terrariums to take home. They also offer plant parties for celebrations.
Phoenix food and beverage professionals Chris French and Pat Jasmin recently opened Far Away Wine & Provisions. Part shop, part lounge and part café, the business is located on 32nd St. and Indian School (3031 E. Indian School Road) and offers more than 25 wines to sip and more than 200 to browse and take home. Guests can grab a glass and a snack and hang out in the lounge.
After some structural updates, Freshly Laid has finally broken ground in the Gaslight Square complex on 36th St. and Indian School Road. The eatery will serve breakfast sandwiches and plans on opening in early 2022.
In September, a new Mexican kitchen opened in the Gaslight Square complex at 3623 E. Indian School Road called Papi Gordo’s Cocina + Tequileria. Phoenix Chef Albert Hernandez brings traditional recipes to Gordo’s, where guests can find beef barbacoa nachos, fajitas, carne asada, California burritos, and more. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Biltmore Fashion Parkknows where Santa is – right here in Phoenix! Guests can schedule their family photos with the man in red throughout December at Biltmore; there are options to socially distance or sit next to him. Visits are free, and photo packages are available for purchase. Also, on select Saturdays, guests can enjoy complimentary live music shows on the center lawn. Coming up is Ri and Ry, TEMPO and Adam Simons.
Phoenix high school sophomores and juniors are invited to sign up as Phoenix Youth Ambassadors and become part of Phoenix’s ten sister cities. Applicants will have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and make friends around the world. Applications are due January 9, 2022.
TOY DRIVES/VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:
Nourish Phoenix is holding a holiday toy drive until December 10. Their goal is to provide new toys and gifts to at least 300 children. Ways to participate this season include “adopting” a child, donating gift cards or volunteering at the gift distribution event. The organization is looking for gift wrap/bags, toys, kids clothing (new), makeup, jewelry and sports equipment. Donations can be made online or dropped off at 501 S. 9th Ave., Phoenix.
Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hungry for Change holiday campaign is ongoing until December 31. The campaign relies on public support and offers volunteer options and online or food/item donation options directly to Phoenix Rescue Mission. The campaign has several events, including community markets, a Christmas parade and a Winter Wonderland collection event.
The Foundation for Senior Living nonprofit needs non-perishable foods, cleaning, and personal hygiene items for its pantries throughout Arizona. FSL operates more than 20 food pantries in Wickenburg, Peoria, Phoenix and several housing communities around the state. Donations can be made through their Amazon wish list or at the corporate office, 1201 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ingleside Animal Hospital (4855 E. Thomas Road) is offering visits with Santa on Saturday, December 11 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Those who bring in a donation for Toys for Tots or a donation of blankets/food for pets can get a free picture with Santa – don’t forget to bring your furry friends with, too!
Sun Devil Auto and Wilhelm Automotive (5211 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix) launched their 15th annual Toys for Tots donation drive. The companies set a goal of collecting 4,000 toys this year, and the drive will include a matching donation of up to $2,000. All Phoenix-area locations are collecting new, unwrapped gifts through Monday, December 13.
Childhelp’s Holiday Toy and Clothing Drive is open until December 31. Every year, Childhelp provides clothing and toys to children in Arizona, California, Tennessee and Virginia. In high demand this year are undergarments in all sizes, fidget spinners, makeup kits, adult-size shoes, superhero-themed items, Legos and multicultural dolls. Folks can drop off new or unused items at Childhelp’s headquarters at 6730 N. Scottsdale Road or at participating Grimaldi’s Pizzeria locations, donate online or make a purchase through Amazon with Childhelp as the designated charity.