Andy Williams called it “the most wonderful time of the year,” but if you’re like us, there are just too many things going on — too many presents to buy, too many open-bar holiday parties, too many concerts, too much mistletoe — to fully enjoy those crazy weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. But this year, it’s going to be different because you’ll have The Brooklyn Paper’s indispensable guide to the holiday events that are worth your time. So go, drink heartily from the cup of mirth served up on these pages.
Look, with the economy the way it is, the best gift you get will be the one you give yourself. The good news, of course, is that there are plenty of great holiday sales and bazaars with selections ranging from designer fashion to homemade art.
• Break in that new winter wallet at Park Slope’s version of Black Friday, the third annual Snowflake Celebration on Dec. 10. Stores along Seventh Avenue will stay open late and unleash an onslaught of deals for customers. There’ll be free wine, discount prices and the finest kebab carts in the area to encourage you to shop until you drop. You can even toss the kids at the free child-care area.
“Snowflake Celebration” on Seventh Avenue begins at 7 pm on Thursday, Dec. 10. For a full list of participants, visit buyinbrooklyn.com.
• Culinary masters and craft mavens rejoice! More than 120 Brooklyn artisans will fight for your attention on two floors packed with custom clothing, jewelry, food, toys and textiles at the 3rd Ward art epicenter in Bushwick.
3rd Ward [195 Morgan Ave. between Meadow and Stagg streets, (347) 223-5954], Dec. 12; noon to 6 pm. For info, visit www.3rdward.com.
If the latkes are on the stove, Brownstone Brooklyn’s rival Jewish groups are battling once again for menorah bragging rights.
The action starts on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 11, when Rabbi Aaron Raskin’s Congregation B’nai Avraham in Brooklyn Heights lights its 29-foot menorah outside Borough Hall. Then, a half-hour later, Rabbi Shimon Hecht of Congregation B’nai Jacob tries to one-up him with a 30-foot display at Grand Army Plaza. If there’s a tie, the winner is the rabbi who can convince notoriously acrophobic Borough President Markowitz to get in the cherry picker.
Menorah lightings on Dec. 11 in Cadman Plaza (Court Street at Montague Street) and in Grand Army Plaza (Union Street between Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Park West).
The borough’s official Christmas tree lighting is on Dec. 8 at Borough Hall. If previous year’s festivities are any indication, expect Borough President Markowitz to make a joke about how Jewish he is before flipping the switch on what is always the best tree in town. If you can’t wait for Tuesday, head for J.J. Byrne Park this Saturday for the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District’s annual affair.
Borough Hall [209 Joralemon St. at Court Street in Downtown, (718) 802-3700], Dec. 8; 5:30 pm; J.J. Byrne Park [Fifth Avenue between Third and Fourth streets in Park Slope, (718) 768-3195], Dec. 5; 5 pm.
Eight crazy nights
So what if the calendar says it’s time for some tradition? Plenty of venues are offering way out ways to mark the season:
• The last time we saw Santa at a beer hall, we were wasted in Prague. But that great tradition continues on Dec. 12 when Kris Kringle heads for the Radegast beer garden in Williamsburg to pose with kids, parents and plenty of mugs of ale.
Santa at Radegast Hall [113 N. Third St. at Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3973], Dec. 12, 11 am-1 pm. For info, visit www.radegasthall.com.
• The artists behind the installation “Eternal Christmas: A Yuletide Dreamland 2009” say they got it from a dream: a home filled with birds of prey, Egyptian goddesses, smoking volcanoes and platters of cookies. It’s not much of a description, but the Flaming Fire Art Collective promises confusion and awe on your next bad (art) trip.
“Temple of the Dying King” storefront [525 Atlantic Ave. between Third and Fourth avenues in Boerum Hill, (646) 765-8916], Dec. 4-Jan. 5; 7-11 pm. For info, visit www.eternalchristmas.org.
• Why get wasted at the holiday party and try to pick up that sexy co-worker when there’s a much better party for that? Thanks to our friends at Brooklyn Based and several other Park Slope-based and female-run Web sites, the Bell House will host the second “meat market” and naughty office party on Dec. 9. With free hard drinks, music and sexy Santas, who needs mistletoe?
BK Holiday Meatup at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues, (718) 643-6510], Dec. 9; 7 pm. Tickets, $10 advance and $15 at the door.
• What if Cirque du Soleil did Christmas? The Galapagos Arts Space will take tradition to new highs with Santa on a unicycle, a ribbon-wielding Nutcracker and even a drunken Sugar Plum in this circus mash-up by the Aerial Theater troupe.
“The 12 Acts of Christmas” at the Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. near Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 222-8500], Dec. 19; 8 pm and Dec. 20; 3 pm. Tickets, $20 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. For info, visit www.galapagosartspace.com.
• Hanukkah can sometimes get obscured this time of year, so thankfully, there’s the Schlep Sisters and their third annual “Menorah Horah,” a sexy burlesque romp through the Festival of Light (and See-Thru Undergarments). The erstwhile siblings will be joined by a gaggle of hot acts, plus music, dancing and dreidel spinning. Interestingly, it’s sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon, the choice of Jews since 5414.
“Menorah Horah” at Southpaw [125 Fifth Ave. at St. Johns Place, (718) 230-0236]. Dec. 12; 8 pm. Tickets, $16. For info, visit www.thirstygirlproductions.com.
And for the kids
Why should drunken adults have all the fun this holiday season. There are plenty of classic ways to keep the kids happy (without taking them to American Girl Place, even!).
• Some people believe that Christmas begins and ends with a “Nutcracker,” and we’re not in the mood to argue. To see the best one in the borough, head for the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts for “The Colonial Nutcracker,” which sets Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet in George Washington’s Yorktown.
“Colonial Nutcracker” at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4500], Dec. 13; 2 pm. Tickets, $6.
• Ever wanted to beat Santa in an eating competition? Now’s your chance — St. Nick (not his real name) will join you and the kids for breakfast at the New Utrecht Reformed Church on Dec. 5, with photo ops and laughs abound. If there’s a better working Santa than Carmine Santa Maria (yes, that’s his actual middle name), we don’t know him.
Breakfast with Santa at New Utrecht Reformed Church [18th Avenue between 83rd and 84th streets in Bensonhurst, (718) 946-0234], Dec. 5; 11 am.
• …And all through the Brooklyn Lyceum, not a creature was stirring except for an evil wizard and an army of filthy-but-child-friendly monsters. In the theatrical presentation of “’Twas the Night Before … MONSTERS!” two young puppets battle a twisted group of unsightly beasts while they weave in and out of the story and spirit of the holidays.
“’Twas the Night Before … Monsters!” at the Brooklyn Lyceum [227 Fourth Ave. between Union and President streets in Park Slope, (646) 322-9218], Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20. Tickets, $5. For info, visit www.bkcraftcentral.com.
The last party
The holidays are over, the extended family’s gone and New Year’s Eve is your last chance to wreak havoc before you get serious about work again or make resolutions that you intend to keep:
• Three famed Brooklyn performers — OBITS, Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves, and the Subway Soul Club DJs — will keep you up even after you drunkenly wave the mistletoe around like a coin cup at the Bell House. It’s going to be so classy, they’ll be passing out free cans of Sofia Blanc de Blanc champagne with admission. That’s right, cans. Last year’s event was sold out, so get your tickets early.
“Rock ’N’ Soul New Year’s Eve Party” at the Bell House [149 Seventh Street between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], Dec. 31; 8 pm. Tickets, $30 in advance. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.
• A majestic, sweeping ballroom awaits those with a more “proper” sense of swilling booze and wolfing down appetizers in the new grand ballroom at Dyker Beach Golf Course. The elegant party will feature new-fangled TV screens to watch the Times Square countdown, live bands, a premium open bar and a massive shrimp dinner (with your $150 ticket, that is).
Dyker Beach Golf Course [86th Street and Seventh Avenue, (718) 836-9722].