Make the most of the holiday weekend with local, festive events

There’s one weekend left before it’s time to settle in with family and friends, overeat, open presents and generally bask in yuletide cheer. Whether you’ve not quite gotten into the festive spirit or you’ve been belting carols since Halloween, here are a few weekend activities to kick-start your holiday.

Bah, Humbug

Video still from ‘A Christmas Carol’ (1951).

Dickens and Donuts

Uptown Bill’s — Saturday, Dec. 23 at 3 p.m.

Let your inner Scrooge loose — in a festive, collaborative way. Head to Uptown Bill’s for a community reading​ of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Open to people of all ages and abilities, with audience members encouraged to take part in reading the holiday tale about a miserly curmudgeon who is shown the error of his ways.

Caucho Holiday Movies

Video still from ‘A Christmas Story.’

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Caucho — Friday, Dec. 22 at 10 p.m.

‘A Christmas Story’

Caucho — Saturday, Dec. 23 at 10 p.m.

Revisit two quintessential holiday films while enjoying popcorn, snacks and drink specials including hot toddies and mulled wine at Cedar Rapids’ Caucho (1202 3rd St SE #102). The Mexican restaurant continues its holiday movie series, which have been playing Friday and Saturday nights in December, with two showings this weekend.

Deck the Halls

The Cedar Rapids Brucemore Mansion. — photo by Zach

Brucemore Mansion Holiday Tours

Brucemore — Various Times

Each winter season, the Brucemore Mansion in Cedar Rapids gets decked out with 13 Christmas trees and holiday decor throughout its four floors. Holiday tours started Nov. 24 and run through Dec. 31, although the mansion is closed Dec. 24-26. The 45-minute tours are free for members, $5 for kids and $12 for adults, with tickets available on a first-come-first-served basis. Tour groups are capped at 15 people, and during the holiday season, visitors are advised to arrive around a half hour early.

Weekdays, mansion tours are at the top of the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. On the weekend, mansion tours are available on the hour and half hour. On Saturdays, the tours start at 10 a.m., with the last tour at 3 p.m. On Sundays, the tours are accompanied by piano music and start at 1 p.m., with the last tour at 3 p.m.

Only the first floor is handicap accessible, but a video is available for those who are unable to climb the stairs.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice

A winter scene. — photo by robin_ottawa

Yule Sabbat

Illuminations Center for Enlightenment (Cherry Building) — Saturday, Dec. 23 at 3 p.m.

Open for anyone to participate, this event at Illuminations in the Cedar Rapids Cherry Building (329 10th Ave SE) is an opportunity to come together for an afternoon ritual celebrating the winter solstice and the return of light into the world.

The winter solstice, the precise moment at which the Northern Hemisphere is tilted the farthest from the sun strikes this year on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 10:28 a.m. (Central Time). The event marks the shortest day of the year and the point after which we will slowly begin to see longer daylight hours.

The holidays come to the Iowa City Public Library

Video still from ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol.’

The Iowa City Public Library is home to loads of family-friendly, holiday-themed events this winter, with opportunities to enjoy classic holiday stories (told via both film and book).

Gingerbread Fun Storytime

Iowa City Public Library — Thursday Dec. 21 at 10:30 a.m.

This event for kids from 3 to 5 years old kicks off with a gingerbread-themed story time, followed by an opportunity to decorate gingerbread cookies and take part in wintery crafts.

Friday Flick: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

Iowa City Public Library — Friday, Dec. 22 at 5:30 p.m.

Special Access Movie: Autism Friendly showing of ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

Iowa City Public Library – Saturday, Dec. 23 at 2 p.m.

Dickens’ classic story, as brought to life by the Muppets and Michael Caine, is a charming, and surprisingly faithful, adaption of the Victorian original. Although it is likely to charm the kids as well, one suspects a few parents might enjoy the nostalgia trip of this 1992 film. The Friday showing is open to kids and families of all ages. Viewers are invited to bring snacks to enjoy. Saturday’s showing is only open to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Again, viewers may bring snacks, but are encouraged to keep them peanut-free to accommodate allergies.

Family Storytime: ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’

Iowa City Public Library – Saturday, Dec. 23 at 10:30 a.m.

At this event for kids of all ages, read the classic Dr. Seuss story, then watch the original, animated movie about the Grinch, who “hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!” but who comes to realize the true meaning of the holiday. Supplies for a craft will also be available to work on at the library or take home.

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