by Jennifer Sammons and Cheryl Crosby
• The Nutcracker, throughout December. Sugar Plum Fairy fans can take their pick from half a dozen high-quality local performances. From the Boston Ballet’s classic performance at the Boston Opera House (bostonballet.org) to Urban Nutcracker’s version featuring hip hop, step and tap dance (urbannutcrackerboston.com), there’s something for everyone.
• Holiday light displays are a surefire way to get into the holiday spirit. Visit Edaville USA (edaville.com) in Carver for its Christmas Festival of Lights or the Stone Zoo (zoonewengland.org) for ZooLights.
• Ice skate on Boston Common’s Frog Pond and take in the surrounding Christmas lights, throughout December. View the massive Christmas tree on the Common, donated each year by the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia, as thanks for Boston’s help during a Halifax explosion in the early 1900s. 617-635-2120; bostonfrogpond.com.
• Holiday Vacation Week, Dec. 26-31. Free and fun activities for families all week long at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). MFA, Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston; mfa.org
• First Night, Dec. 31, various locations, Boston. Ring in the New Year a little early with First Night, Boston’s family-friendly celebration. Storytelling, music, top entertainment, food and other kids’ activities will keep the littlest revelers busy. An early fireworks display occurs on Boston Common. For older revelers, artistic performances are scheduled throughout the city, as well as a spectacular midnight fireworks display over Boston Harbor. firstnight.org.