If the cold bite in the air, the early darkness setting in or inflation’s pinch are dragging you down, there are plenty of fun, even free, options to ignite the excitement and spirit of the holiday season.
Theater companies, choruses, civic and religious groups have planned activities to delight all ages, even the Grinches among us. Don your holiday duds — it's time for that ugly sweater! — and enlist your favorite people to check out something new.
Here are some ideas to get your holiday spirit jingling:
The Gamm Theatre in Warwick offers a radio-play version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” through Dec. 24; the Arctic Playhouse in West Warwick is staging “Miracle on 34th Street,” also a musical radio play, through Dec. 19; Trinity Repertory Company in Providence offers its annual production of “A Christmas Carol” through Jan. 2 on stage and online through Jan. 16; the Academy Players in Providence present “Ant’ny Claus 2: A Dysfunctional Family Sequel” through Dec. 12; the Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of “A Christmas Carol” plays at Woonsocket’s Stadium Theatre through Dec. 19; and “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” swings through Providence Performing Arts Center on Dec. 17 and 18.
Hip-hop meets classical music at Black Violin’s “Give Thanks" show on Dec. 9 at the Vets auditorium in Providence; Handel’s Messiah will be performed by the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Providence Singers on Dec.12; the “Lindsey Stirling Christmas Program” comes to Providence Performing Arts Center on Dec. 14; the Greenwich Odeum hosts “Ho Ho Ho! It's a Beatles Christmas Show” on Dec. 11; Ensemble Altera performs “Music and Merriment” at the Providence Art Club Dec. 16; and The Chorus of Westerly offers “Christmas Pops” on Dec. 18 and 19.
Festival Ballet Providence takes to the stage at Vets auditorium from Dec. 17-26 with a reimagined production of “The Nutcracker,” with new sets, choreography and costumes, including a Nutcracker costume designed by Big Nazo Labs.
Lace up your ice skates — your own or rentals — at the Providence Rink at BankNewport City Center. They also block times for ice bumper boats. Check out 3 million lights at the walk-through Holiday Lights Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo on select nights through Jan. 2.
Enjoy holiday decorations at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum in Bristol, as well as afternoon tea Tuesdays through Fridays this month; the décor is gilded at Newport mansions The Breakers, Marble House and The Elms through the season; Hearthside House in Lincoln features an "Old-fashioned Christmas at Hearthside" on Dec. 12 as well as candlelight tours on Dec. 28 and 30; or climb aboard the Blackstone Valley Polar Express running Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Dec. 19.
The Festival of Lights flips on every night at 5 at Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts; Pawtucket’s Winter Wonderland offers family fun with decorated trees and carousel rides; walk along Thayer Street Dec. 11 for Holiday Ice Sculpture displays; and the Westerly Light Parade steps off at Broad Street at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 and winds through downtown.
Chepachet hosts candlelight shopping from 5 to 9 p.m. every Thursday this month; Bristol re-creates European-style Christmas market charm with Magical Bristol on Dec. 11 and 12 with carolers, wood-carving demonstrations and vendors.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Great ways to get into the holiday spirit in RI