This Week in New Haven (December 18 – 24)

A s Christmastime turns to Christmas time, choose between classic and unorthodox ways to celebrate the season.

Monday, December 18
Starting at 6 p.m., Dive Bar in West Haven’s annual Christmas party asks attendees to donate unwrapped toys and promises a “free buffet and drink specials.”

The final New Haven Ecstatic Dance session of the year convenes a “conscious dance space” with a spiritual warmup and cooldown—and “no shoes, no booze, and no chit-chat”—beginning at 7:15 at 39 Putnam Avenue, Hamden.

Wednesday, December 20
East Rock Beer hosts a holiday movie trivia night starting at 6:30. (And if you aren’t free tonight, consider a similar event tomorrow at No Worries Brewing in Hamden.)

Thursday, December 21
It’s the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, so it’s an ideal moment to head to the Mystic Seaport Museum’s Lantern Light Village, “an outdoor, self-guided experience for the whole family, designed to exemplify the differences between the modern and 19th-century holiday seasons. Take a journey through time as you seamlessly transition between the holidays you experience today and the holidays of the past. Enjoy festive lighting displays, live music, horse and carriage rides, crackling fires, a visit to St. Nicholas, and more, including holiday themed stories, crafts, and games” from 5 to 8 p.m.

Or you can help light up the Bonfire Grille in Milford, where vocalist Sandie James and keyboardist Glen Masso—“singing your favorites and taking requests”—lead “a fun evening with great music, delicious food, and wonderful company!”

Friday, December 22
From 6 to 9, Jazzy’s Cabaret hosts “a night of amazing”—and smooth—“holiday jazz music with the Rockwell Valentine Quartet.” At 8, Jazzy’s also, somehow, plays host to The CT All-Star Christmas Show. Emceed by Willie “Bam Bam” Parker, the show promises “your favorite Christmas hits and classics” courtesy of “Connecticut’s top musicians, singers, and performers.”

At either 6:30 or 7 (there’s a discrepancy at the event page), Tea & Tarot, a tea and spiritual shop in Madison, hosts “The Twelve Magickal Nights Ritual for Yule.” “Join us,” organizers say, “in a sacred circle as we gather to celebrate the enchanting festival of Yule, marking the winter solstice. As the world embraces the longest night and welcomes the return of the sun, we come together to honor the rebirth of light and the renewal of hope. With candles aglow and hearts open, we’ll share in timeless Yule traditions, from lighting the Yule log to sharing stories of the season. Through meditation, ritual, and camaraderie, we’ll connect with the spirit of Yule, finding warmth and inspiration in the depths of winter’s embrace.”

At 7 tonight and 2 tomorrow, the Shubert presents A Christmas Carol, a “brand-new” musical production that nonetheless “features all the traditional elements that have made the tale a family favorite for generations.”

Taking the season in a very different direction, John Valby’s XXX-mas Show returns to Toad’s Place at 8. As I wrote in 2016 ahead of that year’s show, which I assume remains true: “Though ‘dirty’ is the word John Valby most often uses to describe his voice-and-piano comedy act, ‘filthy’ does it better justice.”

Dance party series For The Culture returns to Stella Blues for “our favorite event of the year”: the Christmas party. “Meet us there at 9 p.m.,” planners say, “for a night of drinks, dancing and, as always, house music.”

Saturday, December 23
From 2 p.m. to midnight in downtown Milford, a Santacon bar crawl to benefit Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Toy Closet program, which “provide[s] each pediatric patient with an age-appropriate toy or small gift when they are discharged,” climbs down chimney after chimney.

Deviating differently than Valby, the next installment of Sanctuary, a “dark dance” party series at Cafe Nine, presents Merry Creepmas. “Get your festive attire, get your Krampus horns, and be naughty” from 9 ’til late.

Sunday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
At 4 p.m., Center Church on the Green, New Haven’s founding congregation, hosts a candlelight service titled “Christmas Message: The Light We Cannot See” in its venerable nave, then encourages folks to step through the church’s front doors and up to the city Christmas tree for a communal Christmas Eve Carol Sing.

Written by Dan Mims. Image 1 features a scene from the Mystic Seaport Museum’s Lantern Light Village. Image 2, photographed b Dan Mims, features Center Church and the city Christmas tree this year on the Green. Readers are encouraged to verify times, locations, prices and other details 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.

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