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November 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

4 fun activities to put you in a holiday mood

The holiday season is now officially upon us, and while spending money may be inevitable, spending time with friends and family — taking part in seasonal activities or cultural events — is an investment you’ll never regret. Here are a few choices, below: Some require a ticket and planning ahead; others are free and “drop-in”-style.

Nutcracker.jpg

My own holiday rounds typically start with Pacific Northwest Ballet‘s “Nutcracker,” which opens tonight and runs through Dec. 27. As long as there are children in the world, this one will never grow old — it’s a delight to see it through their eyes each year, with their “oohs” and “aahs” as the perfect soundtrack.

XmasCarol.jpg

Another holiday standard, ACT Theatre‘s classic “A Christmas Carol,” also starts tonight, continuing through Christmas Eve. One of the joys is seeing one of two beloved Seattle actors, who will trade off the role of Scrooge: David Pichette and Jeff Steitzer. Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson contributed a nice roundup of holiday stage shows, including this one, to today’s paper; don’t miss it.

Winterfest.jpg

For a more come-as-you-are-when-you-want activity, drop in on Bellevue’s Magic Season or Seattle Center Winterfest, both of which start today. A keystone of both is ice skating — something we Pacific Coasters don’t get enough of.

Looking for something else? Our listings exploded with holiday activities this week. Check out our Community Datebook — all 100-plus column inches of it — for something fun and festive to do near you.

And as usual on Fridays, here’s a video version of this weekend preview, taped this morning at KING 5:

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(Photos: PNB “Nutcracker,” 2009, by Angela Sterling; ACT’s “A Christmas Carol” by Chris Bennion; ice skating at Winterfest by Alan Berner/The Seattle Times.)

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