This Week in New Haven (December 22 – 28)

I t’s a relatively quiet week as most of us focus on celebrating Christmas and getting some R&R. But there are still some chances to be loud, whether that means ooh-ing and ahh-ing at light displays, singing during a Christmas Eve service or partying at a firehouse.

Monday, December 22
Through January 6, Lighthouse Point Park (2 Lighthouse Rd, New Haven) is housing a lot of lights. Easter Seals Goodwill Industries says it’s got “over 100,000” of them set up for this year’s “Fantasy of Lights”, the annual drive-through tradition that attracts cars’ and buses’ worth of visitors with a mix of seasonal and whimsical light displays. This time around there are more than 60 of them, including animated ones, with admission costing $10/car, $25/mini-bus and $50/full-sized bus, and hours running from 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays (including Christmas itself) and 5 to 10 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, December 23
With an early dismissal today kicking off winter break throughout the city’s public schools, the Fair Haven Branch of the New Haven Free Public Library (182 Grand Ave, New Haven; 203-946-8115) is offering “all kinds of board games, chess, checkers, cards, Legos and other activities” to help young people occupy themselves for the rest of the day. Free.

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Westville for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 24
Churches around town are hosting special Christmas Eve gatherings. Bethesda Lutheran (305 Saint Ronan St, New Haven) has two, at 4 and 10 p.m. Christ Church (84 Broadway) is hosting a “Sung Eucharist and Blessing of the Crèche” at 4:30. Church of the Redeemer (185 Cold Spring St) puts on a 5:30 candlelight service involving “singing festive carols and hearing the age-old story of Christmas.” United Church on the Green (southwest corner of Elm and Temple) hosts a candlelight service, too, beginning at 6 p.m., followed by an “intimate communion service” at 10 p.m. Trinity Church on the Green (northwest corner of Chapel and Temple) is hosting two services as well, at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., with the latter featuring performances by two of the church’s choirs.

Thursday, December 25 – Christmas
Merry Christmas, everyone.

As holiday traditions are kept around the city, an unorthodox Christmas custom continues at Congregation Mishkan Israel (785 Ridge Rd, Hamden; 203-288-3877), where the many-membered klezmer band Nu Haven Kepelye performs what bandleader David Chevan says is its “17th or 18th” annual Christmas day concert. Starting at 4 p.m., regular admission costs $7, with those under 13 getting in for $5 and families of four or more receiving a group rate of $20.

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Forever at Long Wharf Theatre

Friday, December 26
Today and tomorrow, the Ives Main Library (133 Elm St, New Haven; 203-946-8835) screens a thoughtful “Shakespeare Film Sampler: A 450th Birthday Tribute to the Bard.” First up is Othello (1995), starring Laurence Fishburne, at 2 p.m. today—particularly notable, according to organizers, for being the first major-studio film adaptation of the play to cast a black actor in the title role. Next up is a Russian-language, English-subtitled version of King Lear (1971), “hailed as one of the best adaptations of this Shakespearian tragedy,” showing at noon tomorrow. Then, at 2:30 tomorrow, the sampler concludes with Julius Caesar (1953) featuring Marlon Brando as Mark Antony. Free.

Saturday, December 27
From 6 to 10 p.m., the Italian heritage preservation group East Haven Sons and Daughters of Italy throws its annual “Jingle Mingle” at the Foxon Firehouse Hall, which EHSADOI says is located near the intersection of Route 80 and N. High Street in East Haven. Promising food (we’re guessing Italian), a DJ, dancing and raffle prizes, tickets to the BYOB affair cost $20 apiece.

Sunday, December 28
On the heels of a $3 3 p.m. bill featuring oddball surf rock acts, “The Original Sunday Night Jam,” where “amps, P.A. and drums are provided so just come down, sign up and plug in,” takes over Cafe Nine (250 State St, New Haven; 203-789-8281) tonight at 8. The house band this time is The Morris Trent Band and, as always, there’s no cover, which is especially nice if you went over budget on Christmas presents.

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Image depicts a small piece of the big city Christmas tree on the New Haven Green. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations and prices before attending events.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories, helped in no small part by a small team of dedicated contributors.

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