Since Christmas is next week (Thursday), there's a ton of holiday stuff to do this weekend — everything from plays and other onstage events to train displays and elves doing things.
- Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some) (through Dec. 28 at Cincy Shakes): For seven seasons this mash-up of holiday tales has played to sold-out Cincinnati Shakespeare audiences. It starts as an annual performance of A Christmas Carol but goes off the tracks almost immediately to poke fun at the season and the stories we all remember — Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, The Island of Lost Toys, The Nutcracker, even It’s a Wonderful Life.
- A Soldier's Christmas (through Dec. 21 at NKU's Corbett Theatre): Last summer Cincinnati Opera presented Silent Night, a retelling of the 1914 “Christmas Truce,” when World War I forces set aside their battles and marked the holiday. Local playwright Phil Paradis has rendered this story into a play that is being presented for the holidays. Two soldiers — one British, the other German — meet by chance as they seek warmth for their respective trenches.
- Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings (through Dec. 21 at Covedale): The late-’50s singing group of Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky died when a bus full of Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show crashed into the Plaids’ car as they drove to an audition. In the sequel, they’re on a mission with heavenly guidance from Rosemary Clooney, who tells them harmony is needed to cheer a discordant world.
- Amahl and the Night Visitors (Dec. 19-22 at Xavier University's Gallagher Center Theater): Amahl and the Night Visitors is Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s annual holiday gift, a multi-media extravaganza of the Christmas classic originally written for television in 1951. Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act opera of the crippled boy Amahl and his encounter with the three wise men on their way to Bethlehem is a celebration of music, magic and miracles.
- And, of course, A Christmas Carol (through Dec. at the Playhouse in the Park): Howard Dallin’s excellent adaptation has been used since 1991. The Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol features one of the Cincinnati area’s best local actors, Bruce Cromer, as Scrooge for the 10th consecutive year.
- Grab a friend or family member and head to Fountain Square for some ice skating. The ice rink is up through Jan. 4, 2015 — and this weekend is the last weekend to skate with santa. The man in red hits the ice for some skate time on Saturday and Sunday.
- BB Riverboats is offering a variety of holiday-themed cruises, including a Christian Moerlein Brew Ho Ho Ho dinner cruise with beer tastings on Saturday.
- The Cyclones are throwing an ugly sweater party during their game against the Elmira, N.Y. Jackals on Saturday.
- For an enlightening holiday experience, head to Union Terminal on Saturday and Sunday for their two-day Winter Solstice Celebration, highlighting end of year traditions like Chinese New Year, Diwali and Kwanzaa.
- Take that a step further Sunday for the annual Lighting of the Serpent at Serpent Mound. Volunteers will light luminaries along the coils of the ancient effigy mound.
- And, another thing to see at Union Terminal: Holiday Junction. The Duke Energy trains are back through Jan. 4, 2015, with 300 mini rain cars, 60 engines and 1,000 feet of sparkly, snow-covered track.
- Folk duo Over the Rhine is continuing their annual Christmas tradition of performing a holiday concert at the Taft. Expect to hear songs from their recently released Blood Oranges in the Snow Saturday night.
- Nashville, Tenn. quartet Steelism packed the house at this year's Midpoint Music Festival. Expect a similar crowd when the band plays MOTR Friday.
- Guitar ace Adrian Belew plays the 20th Century Theater Sunday.