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Welcome to BosTen, your weekly guide to the coolest events and best things to do in Boston this weekend. Sign up for our weekly email newsletter here. Have an idea about what we should cover? Leave us a comment on this article or in the BosTen Facebook group, or email us at [email protected].
While some have already opened the floodgates of yuletide cheer, others are waiting for a sign that the Christmas season is upon us. The City of Boston is happy to shine some light (more than 7,000 of them) on the situation, with its signature December celebration and the 81st Annual Boston Common Tree Lighting beginning this Thursday at 6 p.m. Not only will the Boston Common become awash with dazzling lights, but refreshments, musical performances, and special guest appearances will help to send us merrily into the holidays. Mayor Wu will be joined onstage by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Santa Claus, and Rudolph to kick off the season, as lights on the city’s most beloved tree go on at about 8 p.m. Twinkles set ablaze on 80-plus other trees throughout the Common and the Public Garden and a pyrotechnic display will follow. Those who can’t make the event can watch on WCVB Channel 5 at 7 p.m. — Cheryl Fenton
Hosting a holiday party this year and hoping to impress with a signature cocktail more interesting than spiked eggnog? This Thursday at 7 p.m., the Boston.com Cocktail Club will offer up some virtual holiday-themed cocktails sure to lift your spirits. Join host Jackson Cannon (The Hawthorne, Eastern Standard) and guest bartender LyAnna Sanabria (Papi) as they teach you how to make two holiday cocktails: the Air Mail and the Traditional Coquito. Attending the Zoom is free, and you can find a full list of necessary ingredients here. — Kevin Slane
Conductor Keith Lockhart and his guest conductors fill your heart with holiday cheer as the Boston Pops take you through yet another magical season starting this Thursday at 8 p.m. The 2022 Holiday Pops season offers 34 evening and matinee concerts Dec. 1-24, including six family-friendly matinees and a Holiday Pops sensory friendly concert. Programs will feature seasonal favorites, including the Boston Pops’ signature work “Sleigh Ride,” alongside new arrangements of holiday classics sure to add to the spirit of joyous music-making. Symphony Hall will be festively decorated for the season, and patrons on the orchestra level can order food and drink from its café-style tables. No Holiday Pops performance would be complete without a visit from Santa Claus and selections featuring the Tanglewood Festival Chorus under the direction of James Burton. Singing along is, of course, encouraged. — Cheryl Fenton
This Friday, the Seaport (which has been recently transformed into Snowport) will light its annual holiday tree. The festivities kick off at 5 p.m., during which guests can stroll through Snowport’s outdoor market, take photos with Snowport mascot Betty the Yeti, and see musical and aerial performances by aerialists just for the tree lighting event. A number of Seaport’s stores will have complimentary treats from 5-9 p.m., including sweets at Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe, cookie decorating at Gather, a whiskey tasting with hot chocolate and cookies at Mack Weldon, and free gingerbread cookies, black forest cupcakes, and hot cider with caramel at YOTEL. The lighting itself takes place at 7:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on NBC 10 Boston for anyone who can’t make it in-person. — Kevin Slane
No more nice list for you this year. Trading stockings in for garter belts, consider this your venture to the naughty list side (translation: leave the kids at home). A saucy adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s famed 1890s ballet Christmas tradition, “The Slutcracker” brings classic ballet to the stage at the Somerville Theatre with a big burlesque twist this Friday through Dec. 31. The show is an unforgettable display of ballet along with unique performers — from hula hoopers to belly dancers, flamenco to pole dancers — donned in risqué costumes with blush-inducing props as they tell the story of grownup Clara exploring the Kingdom of Sexual Sweets. The performances are set to Tchaikovsky’s score as recorded by the Czech Republic’s Brno Philharmonic Orchestra. Every year is different, but each is sexy and covered in glitter. — Cheryl Fenton
A Route 1 landmark since the 1950s, Kowloon has thrived not only because of its top-notch Chinese-American cuisine, but because of the unique atmosphere the Wong family has cultivated. Guests flock to the Saugus restaurant not only to chow down on pu pu platters, but to bask in the colossal, ornately decorated space. They come not only to sip tropical drinks out of giant decorative vessels, but to enjoy an evening of entertainment, whether it’s live music, a drive-in movie, or a stand-up comedy show. To that end, Kowloon recently announced its December entertainment lineup, which includes local comics laying down their tightest sets on Friday and Saturday nights. The headlining act this weekend is South Boston native Mike Donovan, a fixture on the local standup scene since the 1970s and a former sports talk radio host. Future guests include Brad Mastrangelo (Dec. 9 and 10) and “Sopranos” actor Frank Santorelli (Dec. 17). To book tickets, call Kowloon at 781-233-0077. — Kevin Slane
What might be the Boston restaurant scene’s longest-running holiday tradition returns on Fridays in December: Locke-Ober Lunch. For more than 135 years, the restaurant at 2 Winter Place in Downtown Crossing has been the spot for an indulgent, holiday-season lunch of the likes of lobster thermidor, prime rib, baked Alaska, and plenty of Champagne. Boston hospitality pros COJE Management Group revived the storied tradition at Yvonne’s after reinventing the gorgeous, Gilded Age restaurant as one of hottest dining spots in the city. Every Friday this month through December 23, Yvonne’s throws it back with a menu of modern interpretations of decadent favorites from the original Locke-Ober menu. It’s all set in the gorgeous, seasonally decorated, updated-but-no-less-stylish dining room at 2 Winter Place. Reservations are now open and can be made by calling 617-267-0047. — Jacqueline Cain
Team USA punched their ticket to the second round of the World Cup thanks to a 1-0 victory over Iran on Tuesday. Just as they did for all of the group stage games, the Boston chapter of the American Outlaws, the largest supporters’ group of U.S. Soccer in the nation, will host three official World Cup watch parties on Saturday as Team USA play the Netherlands at 10 a.m. The Americans will be underdogs against the Dutch, who boast world-class players like fullback Virgil van Dijk and midfielder Frenkie de Jong. But Team USA has a generational talent of their own in Christian Pulisic, who should have fully recovered from his “pelvic contusion” for Saturday’s match. The main watch party will be held at The Banshee in Dorchester, with satellite options at The Dubliner in Government Center and Parlor Sports in Cambridge’s Inman Square. All three bars will likely fill up quickly, so be sure not to wait until kickoff to arrive. — Kevin Slane
Back in 1975 R&B/soul vocalist Patti LaBelle and bandmates Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash became the first Black vocal group to appear – decked out in George Clinton-inspired costumes – on the cover of Rolling Stone thanks to their No. 1 hit “Lady Marmalade.” In the decades since, the 78-year-old hasn’t resting on her laurels, prepping a new studio album as a followup to her superb 2017 jazz excursion “Bel Hommage.” The “Godmother of Soul” has continued to rack up accolades over the years as well as draw in fans from new generations, some of whom may attend her 8 p.m. show this Friday at Medford’s Chevalier Theatre. Tickets are available through the venue’s website. — Blake Maddux
Old South Church in Copley Square will host its annual Christmas craft fair on this Saturday from 10-4 p.m. Visitors will find purveyors of pottery, knitting, ornaments, photography, fine art, jewelry, blown glass, candles, woodworking, and more at this year’s fair, taking place in the church’s Gordon Chapel. There will be plenty of holiday music and Christmas cookies as well. For more info, check out the craft fair’s website and Facebook page. — Natalie Gale
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