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Best things to do in R.I. this week: Dec. 9-16

This week: Celebrate the season with classic holiday tales, chilly hikes, seasonal spirits, and Kris Kringle himself

The cast of "The Nutcracker" performs the holiday classic at The Vets Dec. 16-24.Liza Voll

We’re in the full holiday swing of things now, Rhody, and we celebrate with John Waters, Santa, hot cocoa bars, fire pits, live music, pizza + beer, a Nazo Nutcracker and more. Let’s make like a kid on Christmas morning and dive right in.


Wine. Beer. Bacon beer cheese soup. Sweet potato hummus. Pumpkin-smoked mozzarella arancini. Apple hand-pies and chocolate Christmas tree cupcakes. Hot cocoa bar and Christmas cookies. Live music. Fire pits. Santa. An Ugly Sweater Contest. It’s Newport Vineyards Holiday Extravaganza, Dec. 9 from 5-9 p.m. Kids free, adults $22. 909 East Main Road, Middletown. 401-848-516. Details here.



Bedford Falls comes to life in Warwick in a staged 1940s radio broadcast of the Frank Capra’s holiday movie classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Gamm Theater starting Dec. 9. Tickets prices vary, show runs through Christmas Eve. 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick. 401-723-4266. Details here.


It’s a Waters Christmas at the Columbus Dec. 10. Waters has “Christmas lunacy throbbing in his veins. Cockeyed. Rabid. Ready to reinfect the lunatic fringe with holiday jeer.” Doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. Tickets from $40. Info. here.


Head to Westerly’s Grills Preserve for hikes, fires and treats. Choose your trail: a shorter trail at a leisurely pace, or a longer trail at a quicker pace. All hikers will meet up for a “fire in the field and seasonal refreshments.” Dec. 11, 1-3:30 p.m. $10. Grills Preserve, 198 Bowling Lane. Details here.


In a very Rhody collab, W’s Wood-Fired Pizza and ‘Gansett team up for “Pies & Pours,” featuring special off-menu pizzas designed to pair with specific Gansett brews. $35. Dec. 11, 4-6:30 p.m. At Narragansett Brewery 271 Tockwotton St., Providence. Details here.



Santa knows where to find good eats. He’ll visit Union Bar + Burrito in East Providence Dec. 11 to pose for free photos. According to the billing: “Because we know how important cultural representation is… that kids see that someone as magical as Santa can be Black like them, we are honored to host this event for the BIPOC community and beyond.” Free. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 326 Bullocks Point Ave., East Providence. Details here.


This looks to be an absolute trip of a holiday show: “The Nutcracker” hits The Vets Dec. 16 featuring a tree that grows to 38 feet, a Nutcracker character designed by Big Nazo Lab, and dozens of young dancers performing alongside Festival Ballet Providence. Dec. 16-24. 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. 401-421-2787. Tickets from $30.


Yes, there’s more “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Watch the movie you love with your crew on a big screen at the Greenwich Odeum Dec. 16. Info here.


Rhode Island Spirits is moving locations, and is hosting a “Farewell Weekend” starting Dec. 16. They are inviting you to “join us for one last drink at 59 Blackstone Ave.” According to their Insta, they’re moving to 40 Bayley St. Free. Starts at 5 p.m. Dec. 16. Info. here.


Catch these events as they roll on this season:


The Chanler at Cliff Walk’s Hot Chocolate Bar serves up the kind of hot chocolate they might drink on the Polar Express. Want a kick? Try a spiked dark hot chocolate with Tuaca and Grand Marnier, or a milk chocolate with Irish Cream and vanilla vodka. Weekends 1-4 p.m. through Dec. 18. 117 Memorial Boulevard, Newport. Details here.

Get Scrooged at Trinity Rep with “A Christmas Carol.” Dickens’ timeless holiday tale, with Ebenezer, Tiny Tim & crew, on now through Jan. 1. From $25. 201 Washington St., Providence. 401-351-4242. Details here.

Bristol’s Blithewold Mansion is illuminated for the season with “Night Lights.” Paths throughout the grounds feature custom light displays and handmade bamboo ornaments. Take a stroll before warming up with a hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee, or “hot drinks with a kick” via RI Cruisin’ Cocktails. 101 Ferry Road. Prices vary per carload, details here.

Done with chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Try Marshmallows toasting on a mansion lawn. Blithewold offers fire pits to get cozy and make s’mores with your crew Dec. 10. They’ll provide the chairs and s’mores kits; all you need to do is gather five friends, six marshmallow-roasting sticks, and one reservation. $55 per group. Details here.

Roger Williams Park Zoo’s Holiday Lights Spectacular features “festive, larger-than-life dazzling displays” with 3.5 million lights. Trail open nightly through Jan. 1 (closed Christmas Eve/Day), 5–9:30 p.m. Tickets sold online only. Adults $12, kids 2-12, $10; babies 1 and under free. Details here.


Meanwhile, find Santa at the zoo every Thursday. Just BYO camera. Dec. 1, 5-7 p.m. Free with that night’s Holiday Lights ticket for 5 or 6 pm time-slots. First-come, first-serve basis. Details here.

Shop local at The Providence Flea Holiday Market running both Fridays and Sundays through the holidays. Aside from the artists, artisans, makers, bakers, plants and florals, vintage vendors, food items, food trucks, find “Sip ‘n Shop Local.” That means handcrafted cocktails on Friday nights with another visit from RI Cruisin’ Cocktails vintage camper outdoors. Plus coffees, brews and cocktails Fridays and Sundays indoors via New Harvest Coffee & Spirits and Providence Brewery. #DrinkLocal. 10 Sims Ave., Providence. Fridays 5–9 p.m. Sundays 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Details here and here.

Until next week, Rhody: keep rockin.’

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.