OUT THERE: Christmas is early in all sorts of ways, go out and enjoy it

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If the change in weather hasn’t clued you in, then perhaps the sudden rush of Christmas carols did the trick: Christmas is coming.

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Is it a funny thing, this holiday that is supposed to be about the birth of Jesus Christ, or is it the legend of Saint Nicholas that has come to be represented by Santa Claus? Some might argue that they are both fictional characters that we have lied to our children about for centuries.

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At the very least, there is little reason to believe that Jesus was actually born on December 25 and that the festival season is nothing more than a medley of carefully selected traditions of an alluring mix of spirituality and magic.

One could argue that, but I won’t. We’re not here to argue because, with apologies to Mariah Carey, all I want for Christmas is Yule. Bloody sacrifices aside, the pagan winter solstice celebration brings all the family feasting and drinking into the season—and the mistletoe—and begins at a reasonable time to boot, from the first official day of winter, December 21. , until the new year.

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It’s a simple reminder when I’m struggling, as the main character in A Charlie Brown Christmas did, to remember what makes the season meaningful to me.

The cast of the Manitoba Theater for Young People production of A Charlie Brown Double Bill.  From left to right: Becky Frohlinger (Lucy Van Pelt), Ben Ridd (Charlie Brown), Duncan Cox (Snoopy), Hazel Wallace (Sally Brown), and Kris Cahatol (Linus Van Pelt).  LEIF NORMAN
The cast of the Manitoba Theater for Young People production of A Charlie Brown Double Bill. From left to right: Becky Frohlinger (Lucy Van Pelt), Ben Ridd (Charlie Brown), Duncan Cox (Snoopy), Hazel Wallace (Sally Brown), and Kris Cahatol (Linus Van Pelt). LEIF NORMAN Photo by LEIF NORMAN /LEIF NORMAN

You may remember that it was Linus who went through the crude commercialization of Christmas for Charlie Brown to spell out that child in a manger, yes, but also peace and goodwill towards humanity. And that’s a pretty good security blanket.

The 1965 animated TV special was the first with the Peanuts gang and makes up one half of the Manitoba Theater for Young’s A Charlie Brown Double Bill, which runs in Forks through December 23 (the other is You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown). It’s the first indoor holiday show for MTYP since 2019, and it’s among a multitude of seasonal offerings available to you and yours.

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If it’s the lights that fill you with awe, then it’s the season for you. Zoo Lights at Assiniboine Park Zoo opened Thursday, and Canada Inns Winter Wonderland at Red River Former Park opens Friday. Lights of the North at Garden City Shopping Center lasts through the end of the year, and if you’re ready to drive, Selkirk has the Santa’s Light Parade on Friday night.

Continuing with the theme, on Friday there’s a Rockin’ Elvis Christmas show at the Club Regent Event Centre, and Home for the Holidays with the Royal Canadian Air Force Band at the Burton Cummings Theatre.

On Saturday, the CP Holiday Train will travel across the country with free concerts, stopping at Panet Road and Molson Street at 9pm, with performances by Tenille Townes and Aysanabee. The event is in support of Winnipeg Harvest, and a cash donation is preferred to non-perishable food, which would not be turned away anyway.

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And on Sunday you’ll see a 2 pm matinee performance of A Flicker of Light on a Winter’s Night at Centennial Concert Hall. The musical journey covers many of our Christmas traditions in an effort to find harmony in diversity.

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Concert options this weekend include Pie: The Music of Cake at the Good Will Social Club, Cash Grab at Times Change(d) and Jon Bryant at the West End Cultural Center on Friday. Saturday shows include a Stan Rogers tribute at WECC and Ripperz with Watchmen’s Daniel Greaves at the Park Theater (there’s also a Taylor Swift dance party on Friday). The Gimme Some Truth documentary festival continues at the Cinematheque, Steve Patterson is at Rumor’s this weekend, and for hockey fans, the Winnipeg Jets, Manitoba Moose and Winnipeg Ice are home this weekend.

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