Festivus for the Rest of Us at Howler’s (CPs Sun., 12/22/13)

1) Get your grievances and your strength ready, because it’s time for Festivus at Howler’s Coyote Cafe. Based on the famous “Seinfeld” episode, Festivus is a holiday made up by Frank Costanza’s character in protest of the religious and commercial aspects of Christmas. Marvel at the aluminum Festivus pole and its impressive strength-to-weight ratio. Air your grievances with friends over drinks; explain how they have disappointed you in the past year. Featuring live music by local metal bands Reinforced, The Lopez, SFX, and Mind Tiger, the Festivus celebration at Howler’s also includes Seinfeld trivia and prizes to put under your pole at home. While a key aspect of the holiday is the Feats of Strength (a wrestling match to pin the host), it would probably be wise to hold off on that one. 8 p.m. 4509 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield.

2) Join the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for a magical afternoon with The Nutcracker at  Benedum Center. Accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s music, the timeless ballet tells the tale of young Clara and her encounters with her nutcracker doll, the mouse king, gingerbread soldiers, and the Land of Sweets. Classic compositions like “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Flower Waltz” captivate audiences of all ages and show us the magic of the holiday season, no doubt bringing out the inner child in all of us. Featuring exquisite dancers and a timeless score, The Nutcracker is a a holiday treat almost sweeter than cookies. 12 and 4:30 p.m. 237 Seventh St., Cultural District.

3) Don’t be a Scrooge—it’s the last day to get to Kennywood’s Holiday Lights. Your favorite summer spot has transformed itself into a winter wonderland. Bundle up the kids and enjoy all the family fun, including selected rides, light shows (every half hour, so you won’t miss a minute), a Toy Soldier Band, and a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” Write a letter to Santa in the Penny Arcade, or go see him for a photo that screams “Pittsburgh” in a replica coaster car of the Racer. Warm up with some hot cider and Potato Patch fries and learn why Kennywood isn’t just for summer fun. 5 – 9 p.m. 4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin.

4) For a family-friendly holiday experience, join the Gemini Children’s Theater for Sleeping Beauty Holiday. This original production takes a seasonal twist on the classic fairy tale of Princess Aurora and her spinning wheel. Meant for children, this interactive performance allows little ones to participate from their seats while catchy songs spark imaginations of old and young alike. Let the kids be kids and feel the magic of this truly unique theater experience. 1 and 3:30 p.m. 7501 Penn Ave., Point Breeze.

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Jessica Dayhoff

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