Weekend Guide: 28 Events for Local Holiday Magic

Family traditions, Santa appearances and a whole lot of eggnog await this weekend. Let’s get into it.


Thursday, Dec. 7

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum // On the banks of the Arkansas River, this ceremony will honor those who served in Pearl Harbor during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack. The event is open to the public, and free tours of the USS Razorback will be available afterward. The ceremony begins at 11:58 a.m. Learn more here.

The Bernice Garden Tree Lighting // Clearly we’re wasting zero time getting into the holiday spirit with this neighborhood celebration. Come see the sights, sip hot cocoa, snag some cookies and meet Santa while you’re there. It starts at 5:30 p.m. Learn more here.

Holidays in Hillcrest on Kavanaugh // No, you’re not imagining things. Last week was part one of this annual bash, and the fun continues Thursday with an extra festive First Thursday. Think: photos with Santa at Hill Station, Hocott’s Garden Center’s annual holiday hayride down Kavanaugh, live music, plus a chance to meet the Grinch. It kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Learn more here.

Grand Menorah Lighting at 520 Bowman Road // Bring on the gelt! The annual Chanukah ceremony is back and it’s full of holiday music, hot latkes, doughnuts and, yes, gelt. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. Learn more here.

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Movie Night in the Alley at Sterling Market // When this East Village joint debuted its new indoor/outdoor alley space a few weeks ago, they teased that things would soon get cinematic, and now they’re delivering just in time for the holidays. Thursday’s first-ever double feature kicks off with “Elf” at 5:30 p.m., followed by “Die Hard” at 7:30 p.m.(ish). Learn more here.

Science After Dark: Museum Tricks & Holiday Flicks at the Museum of Discovery // Kevin McCallister approves. This edition of the MoD’s grownup meetup is all about your favorite holiday movies. Expect claymation stations, liquid nitrogen egg nog ice cream and more. As always, there will be plenty of eats and drinks from Stone’s Throw. Costumes and/or PJs encouraged. It all kicks off at 6 p.m. Learn more here.

“Holiday!” Concert at St. James United Methodist Church // It’s lovely weather for a Christmas concert together with the River City Men’s Chorus. On the last night of this holiday show, the chorus will perform old and new favorites alike, guaranteeing to leave you caroling long after the free concert ends. Showtime is 7 p.m. Learn more here.

“A Merry Big Christmas” Concert at UA-PTC CHARTS // The Little Rock Wind Symphony’s annual holiday show returns with yuletide song and a few guest performers like soprano Shannon Rookey Webb, the O’Donovan School of Irish Dance and the Parkview Lab Singers, as well as a silent auction before the concert. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Learn more here.


Friday, Dec. 8 

2nd Friday Art Night in Downtown Little Rock // Bring on the 2FAN. It’s time for the (extra merry) monthly roundup of downtown businesses opening their doors for an after-hours gallery walk. Highlights this month include an Arkansas Chamber Singers concert at the Old State House Museum, an Oh Fitz pop-up (and visit from Chester Claus!) at Bella Vita, cookies with the Clauses at UA Little Rock Downtown and the annual Nog-Off at HAM (more on that in a second). The fun lasts 5-8 p.m. Learn more here. 

19th Ever Nog-Off at the Historic Arkansas Museum // Get excited, nog people. HAM’s annual friendly competition to crown the best eggnog in the metro is officially back, featuring a delicious lineup of sips all judged by a guest panel for top honors, as well as a people’s choice winner. Yes, technically it’s part of 2FAN, but this deserves its own spot in the roundup. The fun starts at 5 p.m. Learn more here.

Home for the Holidays at the Albert Pike Masonic Center // Benefiting Our House, this eighth annual fundraiser is back and promises guests a night of food, drinks, auctions and lending a hand to one of the city’s nonprofits helping our homeless neighbors. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. Learn more here.

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Saturday, Dec. 9

Donuts with Santa at the Junior League of Little Rock Building // The JLLR HQ is standing in for the North Pole this weekend. Bring the kiddos to meet the big guy and get in on holiday treats and activities, all while helping support JLLR’s work in the community. Tickets are available in time slots from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Learn more here.

Holiday Sip & Shop at Rusty Tractor Vineyards // Festivities with a view. Get down on the farm, er, vineyard, with a day of perusing booths from local artisans and tasting wines and spirits from all over. Guests will shop in time slots from noon – 6 p.m. Learn more here.

“White Christmas” Singalong at the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts // Time to warm up those frozen vocal chords. This iconic film comes to life on the big screen as part of AMFA and the Arkansas Cinema Society’s merry movie series, and this time attendees are invited to sing out their favorite tunes. Showtime is 6:30 p.m. Learn more here. 

There’s more where that came from: Where to Watch Classic Christmas Movies in Little Rock

Santa Paws at Loft 1023 // You need more four-legged friends in your life. Come enjoy an open bar, good eats and auction items all while raising funds to save lives at Little Rock Animal Village. It all starts at 7 p.m. Learn more here.

Reminder: There are many annual philanthropic events taking place this weekend, and while some are sold out, you can still donate or bid on virtual auction items to show your support. This includes:


Sunday, Dec. 10

Holiday Brunch & Browse Pop-Up Shop at Lost Forty Brewing // Shop for them, sip for you. This annual pop-up includes Paper Hearts Bookstore, Little Rock artist Sulac, L40 merch and more, plus a wrapping station benefiting JLLR. And yes, the beer and brunch will be in abundance. Stop by 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Learn more here.

More #shoplocal goodness: Soirée Holiday Gift Guide: Part II

Brunch with Santa at Rusty Tractor Vineyards // Well, this is quite the merry menu. This annual RE501 Gives Foundation event comes complete with eats from food trucks, some one-on-one time with Santa and even mimosas for the grownups. It starts at 11 a.m. Learn more here.

East Village Art Market at The Rail Yard // You can’t keep us away for long, Sixth Street. The holiday edition of this market invites guests to “sip, shop and stay a while,” which will be no problem thanks to the lineup of artists, creatives and menu specials. Stop by 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Learn more here.

Dodgeball Santa at Capitol Plaza // Who’s ready to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge? Local groups are going head to head in this third annual dodgeball tournament to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas & North Louisiana. Come watch the fun and get in on food trucks, local brews and more. The throwdown goes down at 1 p.m. at the corner of Capitol and Main. Learn more here. 

Gingerbread Extravaganza at the Arkansas State Capitol // You can’t beat the combo of tasty and merry. Now in its 36th year, this competition will display all the gingerbread house entries from local bakers for you to see close-up, plus photos with Santa and more festivities. Stop by 1-3 p.m. Learn more here.


Thursday – Sunday, Dec. 7-10

“Miracle on 34th Street” Opening Weekend at Argenta Community Theater // This isn’t your average mall Santa. ACT holiday shows are a local tradition for many, and the magic continues this year with this Christmas classic and a Kris Kringle who just may be the real deal. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Learn more here.

“All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” at Wildwood Park for the Arts // Sometimes miracles do happen at Christmas, like the tale behind this production from Riverside Actors Theatre and Praeclara about when fighting paused for a few quiet hours on the Western Front in 1914. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday inside the Cabe Festival Theatre. Learn more here.


Friday – Sunday, Dec. 8-10

“The Nutcracker Spectacular” at the Robinson Center // Tell the Sugar Plum Fairy she’s on. Celebrating its 45th year and featuring a huge cast of dancers from central Arkansas and professional company members from Ballet Arkansas, this classic is a holiday tradition for many families in the state. As is also tradition, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will once again provide the iconic live music for the show. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. And don’t forget about the Land of the Sweets Nutcracker Tea on Saturday and Sunday, as well as the Nutcracker Boutique. Learn more here.

Arkansas Chamber Singers Holiday Concert at the Old State House Museum // We’re getting awfully close to peak Christmas this weekend. This troupe is dedicated to performing the best of the classical choral repertoire, and its free annual holiday program — this year aptly themed “Christmas at the Old State House” — does just that. You have three chances to hear them perform: 7 p.m. on Friday (as part of 2FAN) and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Learn more here.


‘Tis the season for holiday open houses and shop ‘n’ sips! Check out these around town:


And if you just need a breather: Explore the December Issue of Soirée

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