Christmas will be here before we know it. Are you looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? Want to do something fun with the family to celebrate the season? The region has myriad family-friendly options to enjoy the holidays. Check out these events!


"A Christmas Memory"
Through Dec. 14
Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Rd., Munster
Based on Truman Capote's touching memoir of his childhood, this new musical is set in a small Southern town in the 1930s. "A Christmas Memory" chronicles a young boy's friendship with his eccentric relatives, including his cousin and best friend, Sook. It's a festive tale whose songs celebrate the simple pleasures of country life, friendship and the joy of giving during the Christmas season. Tickets cost $40 for matinees and $44 for evening performances. Visit for more information.


"Winnie-the-Poo Christmas Tail"
Theatre at the Center's Theatre for Young Audiences
Dec. 1-2, 4-6 and 8-13; 11:15 a.m. shows
Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Rd., Munster
Enjoy this merry musical that teaches lessons in friendship. Select performances also feature a hot dog lunch for $4.50 per person. Tickets are $7.50 for students and $9.50 for adults and are available at


"The Nutcracker"
Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 3 and 4; 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Pl., Merrillville
Indiana Ballet Theatre brings this cherished holiday tale to life with music, dance and spectacular costumes. For more information, visit


"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Through Dec. 21
Chicago Street Theater, 154 W. Chicago St., Valparaiso
Fridays 7 p.m., Saturdays 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays 5:30 p.m.
The Peanuts characters everyone knows and loves are brought to life on the stage with this adaption of the beloved holiday classic.


Holly Days
Friday, Dec. 5, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Central Park Plaza, Valparaiso
Enjoy holiday musical performances on the Porter Health Amphitheater Stage, watch Michiana Ice Carvers prepare a giant ice sculpture and shop at the Holiday Village Market. Visit for more information.


"A Fabulous 50's Christmas"
Dec. 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21
Towle Theater, 5205 Hohman Ave., Hammond
The annual holiday production is designed to capture the spirit of Christmas in the manner of the Perry Como and Andy Williams TV specials of the 1950s. Showtimes are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $17 each.


"A Major Event"
Saturday, Dec. 6, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Dr., Hammond
Santa will be atop his mountain from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. to take photos for $5 each. Attendees may also participate in a scavenger hunt and bingo games, decorate cookies for $2 or create crafts for $1. A train will be offering rides throughout the event for $1 each. "A Major Event" will also include live entertainment and viewings of the holiday classic "A Christmas Story" in the theater at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, visit


Hammond Holiday Parade
Saturday, Dec. 6
Kicking off at 10 a.m., this fun holiday parade begins at Gavit High School and runs north on Indianapolis Boulevard, ending at 169th Street.


Holiday Traditions in the Dunes
Saturday, Dec. 6, noon to 3 p.m.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Come to Bailly Homestead, Chellberg Farm and the Douglas Center & Visitor Center for live music, dancing, kid holiday card crafts and more. 


Tree Decorating Naturally
Saturday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, Hammond
Come join in the tradition of decorating the Gibson Woods holiday tree with "natural" ornaments. Acorns, pinecones, seedpods and other dried materials will be available to make your own unique decorations. Make one for the tree and one to take home.


Taltree Express
Saturdays, Dec. 6 to 20
Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, 450 W 100 N, Valparaiso
Get into the holiday spirit with Christmas classic story time, visits with Santa and his elves, refreshments and the Taltree Railway Garden Trains. For more information, visit


Candy Cane Express
Dec. 6-7 and 13-14, Gates open at 11:30 a.m.; train rides noon to 5 p.m.
Hesston Steam Museum, 1201 E. 1000 N., LaPorte
Greet Santa as he arrives in a vintage Model T car at noon, and then visit with him in his railroad caboose. Donate a new unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marine Corps.' Toys for Tots toy drive to receive a free train ride, and receive 15 percent off all merchandise in The Depot Store. Admission is free, and train rides cost $5 for adults and $3 for children.


Northwest Indiana Symphony's Holiday Pops
Thursday, Dec. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Pl., Merrillville
This cherished South Shore tradition features a holiday sing-a-long and musical surprises. Children from Protsman Elementary School in Dyer will perform, and make sure to keep an eye out for visitors from the North Pole. Purchase your tickets here.


"Oh Fuuudge!" Relay Race
Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m.
Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Dr., Hammond
Teams of one parent and one child will compete to see who can change a tire and maneuver through an obstacle course the quickest. There are two age categories to enter, with the category being based on the age of the child: ages 4 to 7 or 8 to 12. For more information, visit


Small-Town Christmas Celebration
Saturday, Dec. 13
Downtown Whiting
The event begins with breakfast with Mrs. Claus at the Winey Beach Café from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. After a delicious breakfast, visitors can enjoy classic holiday tunes as carolers perform along 119th Street throughout the event. There will be ice sculptors creating breathtaking works of art from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and various businesses will be participating in a hot cider and cocoa walking tour. Santa will be taking photos with families, including pets, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Whiting Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, and the Whiting High School choir will conduct a free holiday performance at 12 p.m. at Studio 659. For more information, visit


Hobart Holiday Market
Sunday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Police/Court Complex, 705 E. 4th St., Hobart
More than 70 vendors in two gymnasiums will be bringing unique gift ideas, including holiday crafts, decorations and sweet treats, to residents and visitors, providing many opportunities to finish holiday shopping.


Mommy's Little Piggy 
Mashed potato eating contest
Saturday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m.
Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Dr., Hammond
Participants in the contest will compete against one another, with empty plates of mashed potatoes as the goal. There are four age groups: 4-7, 8-12, 13-17 and 18+. For the age groups 4-7, 8-12 and 13-17, participants will race to see who can finish one plate of mashed potatoes in the quickest amount of time. The winner of the 18+ category will be determined by who can eat the most plates of mashed potatoes within the 3-minute time limit. For more information, visit


Holiday Farm Frenzy 
Saturday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fair Oaks Farms, 856 N. 600 E., Fair Oaks
The Dairy Adventure and Pig Adventure will be packed with wall-to-wall vendors and crafters for last minute holiday gift shopping, kids' activities and wonderful light displays. Santa will be there all day enjoying breakfast, baking cookies and taking pictures with little ones. Admission is $10 per person and includes both Dairy and Pig adventures. Visit for more information.


Whiting Lakefront Park Holiday Light Spectacular
Through Jan. 5
Whiting Lakefront Park, 1500 Park Rd., Whiting
Beginning at dusk, this drive-through display of lights will consist of more than 100 different holiday displays, including a penguin winterfest, toyland, reindeer and Santa band, and teddy bear village. 


"A Christmas Story" Comes Home
Through January 4
Indiana Welcome Center
7770 Corinne Dr., Hammond
View the six animatronic window displays from Macy's Department Store in New York City featuring scenes from the holiday classic "A Christmas Story," enjoy kids' crafts, and visits with Santa and showings of "A Christmas Story" on select days. For more information, visit


For information on other holiday happenings, be sure to visit our calendar of events at Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below!

Contributing Editor: Amy Van Soest
Former communications coordinator with the South Shore CVA.