Elf—The Musical 

Thru Dec. 22 | The Hobby Center

It feels a little early to call the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell "a timeless Christmas classic," but, well, the movie is an absolute delight and the musical based on it can't help but get you in a Yuletide state of mind. So go on and snag some tickets to the Theatre Under the Stars production. You won't be able to help enjoying the story of Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa's gift bag, and grows up at the North Pole. The action really takes off when Buddy realizes that he is not, in fact, an elf, and sets out on a quest to connect with his birth father and figure out his own identity. It's Christmas-y. It's cute. And there's a grown man wearing an elf costume. What more do you need to know? 

Tickets from $50. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. More info at thehobbycenter.org. 

Zoo Lights 

Thru Jan. 12 | Houston Zoo

Even the most Grinch-ly inclined types will be hard-pressed to avoid getting into the holiday spirit while enjoying the Houston Zoo’s life-sized LED creatures, the 30-foot-tall Christmas tree, the special Texas-themed light display, and the rest of the stunning decorations. The animals are mostly asleep as people pass by, but the concession stands do sell hot chocolate. Pro-tip: Make your beverage even more festive with peppermint schnapps, and thank us later. 

Tickets from $18.40.   Houston Zoo, 6200 Hermann Park Dr. More info at houstonzoo.org.

Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Thru Dec. 29 | Wortham Theater Center

For the more traditionally inclined, we suggest this annual favorite tale of Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, the Rat King, and, of course, the wonderfully creepy godfather, Drosselmeyer. Whether you go for the beautiful dancing, the superb music of Tchaikovsky, or to wonder what Clara must have eaten to give her such decidedly weird dreams, you won’t be disappointed. 

 Tickets from $35. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-227-2787. More info and tickets at houstonballet.org.

The Houston Symphony's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 14 | Jones Hall

Still not feeling all that festive? Then maybe you should stop worrying about what to get Uncle Clark this year, grab the kids, and head on down to Jones Hall to take in a recitation of the classic story, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, accompanied by music from the Houston Symphony. This show is open to kids of all ages, and includes a singalong to holiday favorites. That jolly old guy in red might even put in an appearance. It's nearly impossible to come out of such a show feeling anything less than jolly yourself. 

Tickets from $34. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana St. Tickets start at $34. More info at houstonsymphony.org

Cher: Here We Go Again Tour

December 14-15 | Toyota Center

Are you still not on board with this whole holiday thing? Well, then it's time to either Grinch it up for the season, or do something that simply cannot fail to leave you feeling joyful. And who in the world could keep from having their spirits lifted by taking in the majesty, the wonder, the sheer undeniable staying power of fabulousness that is Cher? Nobody, that's who. 

Tickets from $39. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk St.  More info at toyotacenter.com.