How to Plan a Big Family Gathering


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This time of year, calendars start filling up with social events — parties, get-togethers or tailgating with friends and family. But there's often one highlight event that, this year, you're in charge of.

A big family gathering.

Whether you have a large family spread out over the globe or a small bunch nearby, planning a family gathering can be stressful.

It doesn't have to be. Take some tips from event planner Courtney Scholl, a Holly Springs mom and owner of Parties By Bash, as well as a few other Triangle moms who have planned big events. (One even had to coordinate family members in another country, who spoke another language!)

Start communicating

The first thing on your "to do" list is to start the conversation with everyone on the invitation list. Let them know a party is in the planning stages and they are invited. Tell them details are coming but, for now, you just need to find out the best way to include them in the information flow. Email? Texting? Skype? Facebook?

Add less tech-savvy family members to a phone list. If there are several, set up a phone chain. You can call your brother Joe and cousin Sally. Joe will call your Uncle Leo. Sally will call her mom. That way, the phone isn't glued to your ear every time a message needs to go out.

Cindy Altman of Cary is one of a family of 24 who all live in Wake County. They regularly plan family gatherings during the holidays, as well as an annual beach trip, and rely on email to hash out most details.

"Around the holidays, we can end up with an email train that's 30 to 50 emails back and forth about this or that," she says. "We had to drag my mother kicking and screaming into email because, otherwise, we'd spend all morning on the phone trying to figure things out."

A family website may be in the future for the Altman clan so all communication can be posted in one spot. "We haven't quite gotten to that point yet, though," she says. "There aren't enough tech-savvy people in the family for that level."

Consider picking a theme for your gathering. Whether it's "Awesome '80s," "Tex-Mex," sports or Hollywood, having a theme adds a layer of fun to the event. It also helps guide decorating, food and activity choices.

First things first

After you establish communication methods, it's time to start planning. That means answering the big questions: How much is this going to cost and who's paying for it?

If you're footing the entire bill, that's your decision. But if you're splitting costs, ask others those questions. Find the general consensus on who is willing to pitch in and how much they are comfortable paying. Get firm numbers so you don't end up in an awkward situation later. ("Uh, Grandma, you still owe me $45.")

If you will purchase all of the necessary items, consider having everyone chip in up front, through checks or even PayPal if you have an account. Or people can send gift cards for the places where you will shop.

Keep in mind that just because it might be a large get-together doesn't mean it has to be pricey. There are low-cost alternatives to just about everything — from lodging to food and location.

*    COST-CUTTING TIP: If you're having a big blowout, families could hold yard sales or garage sales to help defray expenses. Everyone could donate all of the proceeds, or a percentage.

When's the party?

Think about your timeframe. If everyone lives in the Triangle (or close by), a one-day event is perfect. But what if folks are coming from out of town? Chapel Hill mom Katie Vick coordinated family coming from Canada and other parts of the country for her son's christening. She planned a multiday event to entertain those who came from a distance. "One day was the formal event and we had a casual get-together another day," she says.

*     COST-CUTTING TIP: Consider planning the event during the week if possible or even scheduling a mid-year "holiday" celebration instead of during peak holiday time. You'll most likely save money on rentals — and people probably won't mind freeing up the space in their busy holiday calendars.

Location, location

Free is always a great option, right? If you have the space, opening your home to guests is a can't-miss choice. If the weather's nice, you can spill outside and spread out. Set up a spot for kids to keep them from feeling overwhelmed with the crowd.

"We pulled out a big bin of toys and spread out a roll of butcher paper with lots of crayons and markers," Vick says.

Another free option? Try a local restaurant.

"A lot of them have some sort of private room," Scholl says. "Some have a food and beverage minimum per person, but sometimes all you have to do is call to reserve it and everyone can just pay for their own meal."

Next up the price-point list are parks and recreation centers. You may be able to rent a pavilion or large room for your event. Bass Lake Park and Retreat Center in Holly Springs, for example, offers a facility overlooking the lake you can reserve. If the weather's nice, family members can relax on its decks or stroll the grounds.

The priciest spots will be hotels and event centers, but if everyone's chipping in, it could be a viable option.

*     COST-CUTTING TIP: If your heart is set on a more expensive location, call the facility to find out if any discounts or deals are available. Sometimes choosing a different date or time can lower the cost. Vick needed to reserve rooms at a hotel for out-of-town guests. "We just called and said, 'We don't have as many for a wedding, but we do have a lot of people coming in,'" she says. "They were willing to work with us and gave us a discount."

It's in the details

Once you settle the main issues, take time to consider smaller details. Addressing as many issues as you can in advance will make things run smoother later. Some areas to consider:

*     Transportation – With so many family members flying in, Vick needed to consider how people would get from the hotel to planned events. They found a low-cost solution. "We enlisted friends to help us shuffle people around in their cars," she says. "It worked out great."

*     Ice-breakers – Think about how you'll initiate mingling. "We purposely sat people in groups at dinner the night before where they'd have something to talk about," Vick says. "My husband and I each sat at a different table to get people talking." They also enlisted close friends to talk to people to make sure no one felt like a wallflower.

*     Simplification – Don't make things harder than they need to be. The Altmans divide birthdays into quarterly celebrations. Every three months, whoever has a birthday during that time is celebrated during one event. "The summer party is pizza at the swimming pool," Altman says. "And the winter one is at the ice skating rink, with everyone going back to one sister's house for pizza afterwards."

Make memories

Whether it's an annual event or once-in-a-lifetime gathering, making memories is what it's all about. Consider doing something beyond basic photo sharing to help everyone cherish the family bonds:

*     Try a family scavenger hunt with questions that encourage kids to talk to everyone. ("Who lived in a lighthouse when they were in the Coast Guard?" or "What was Great-Great-Uncle Frank's job?") This especially helps children, who sometimes have a hard time keeping track of who's who in extended families, especially if they've rarely (or never) met certain relatives.

*     Tack up a huge piece of butcher paper on the wall and let everyone draw in their part of the family tree, adding photos when possible. Let them know ahead of time to bring a few current photos.

*     Ask everyone ahead of time to bring old photos labeled with dates and names. Consider having a scanning station with a CD burner or ask people to bring copies. Send everyone home with photos and the stories behind them.

*     Turn photos captured at the event into photo books at sites like Shutterfly.com, Snapfish.com, KodakGallery.com, MyPublisher.com or SmileBooks.com. Let everyone know where to purchase the books so they will have a memorable keepsake. You can do something similar with recipes. Ask everyone to bring copies of favorite or traditional recipes and turn them into a book for everyone to take home. You can do this at a site like HeritageCookbook.com.

Enjoy your event!

Once the planning is done, enjoy your event! No one wants a stressed-out host.

"We told ourselves that once Thursday hit and people started to arrive, no matter what happens we gave it our best shot," Vick says. "We put everything in motion. Something may go wrong, but everything will be OK." 

Kathleen M. Reilly is a freelance writer and mom based in the Triangle.

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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Take the family for s Christmas theme-park style event all under one roof. Experience a winter wonderland with winding hallways of lights and decorations with special events beginning in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossroads Fellowship
2721 E. Millbrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Sponsor: Crossroads Fellowship
Telephone: 919-981-0222
Contact Name: Lorraine Entwisle
Website »

More information

Kids enjoy games and food while parents enjoy a night out. Ages 5-10. Register online. Choose course #117711.

Cost: $16/child resident, $20/child nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC  27513
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Website »

More information

Enjoy an evening of holiday fun with your canine friend.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Armory
212 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Telephone: 919-560-435527295

More information

Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Register online. Choose course #117241

Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Kids have fun and make pottery at the clay studio while parents enjoy a night out. Each kid will complete and paint a piece of pottery that will be glazed and fired by the instructor and...

Cost: $18/child

Where:
The Clay Studio
1058 West Club Blvd.
Space 836
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2735
Contact Name: Lauren Tannenbaum Whittaker

More information

This class is a chance for adventurous women to get together for a fun-filled workshop where we explore the basics of aerial silks. No need for a background in aerial yoga, this is a workshop...

Cost: $25

Where:
Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
Telephone: 188-858-79530
Contact Name: hoa bui
Website »

More information

Barriskill Dance Theatre School present its annual production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Reynolds Theater, Duke University
125 Science Dr.
Durham, NC  27708
View map »


Website »

More information

City Ballet presents the full-length, richly costumed and staged version featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet dancing alongside nearly 100 City Ballet student dancers to bring the...

Cost: $15-$30/person

Where:
Stewart Theatre
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
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Sponsor: City Ballet
Telephone: 919-844-9799
Website »

More information

Cary Ballet students presents the holiday story of Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy Ira David Wood III's musical comedy adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $36 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

The Justice Theater Project presents the rebirth of its annual holiday family favorite, "Black Nativity by Langston Hughes," Dec. 14-18 at two locations: Umstead Park United Church...

Cost: $27 Adults, $23 Seniors/Students/Military, $21 groups of 10+.*Prices do NOT inc

Where:
NCSU Stewart Theater
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC   27607
View map »


Sponsor: The Justice Theater Project
Telephone: 336-655-2119
Contact Name: Melissa Zeph
Website »

More information

Celebrate the season with favorite carols and enjoy a singalong.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC
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Website »

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Enjoy a solo theatrical performance to benefit post-Florence recovery at Shelter Neck. Actor Peter Battis becomes Charles Dickens (and his beloved characters) as Dickens tells his classic tale...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
The Community Church of Chapel Hill UU
106 Purefoy Road
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: The Community Church of Chapel Hill UU
Website »

More information

This musical comedy is a holiday sugarplum for the whole family with just the right mixture of comedy and romance to add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $26-$30/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Enjoy a continental breakfast (juice, muffins, fruit, juice, etc.), a story read by Mrs. Claus, and photo opportunities. Be sure to bring your letter for Santa that Mrs. Claus can take back to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Garden Supply Company
1421 Old Apex Road
Cary, NC  27513
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Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Drive
4028 Carya drive
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call the park home. Help collect data for the Natural Resource Inventory Database and other citizen science projects....

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Join Princesses Belle & Cinderella for a Christmas Tea! Decorate a personalized gingerbread cookie, have your photograph taken professionally with a Princess, and make an ornament!  Moms!!...

Cost: $35 per child $5 per adult

Where:
6176 Old Jenks Rd
Apec, NC  27523
View map »


Sponsor: CocoFARM
Telephone: 919-985-1865
Contact Name: Corrie "Coco" Burton

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Girls ages 5-12 take their favorite doll and have a creative time together preparing for the holidays. Register by emailing polkhouse2@bellsouth.net. 

Cost: $22/attendee. $20/sister

Where:
Historic Polk House
537 N. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Telephone: 919-676-6368
Website »

More information

Enjoy making a rustic wreath for winter starting with twine, pine cones, and some unexpected objects. Join artist Leatha Koefler in creating unique wintry garlands and wreaths for this...

Cost: $10/member, $15/nonmember

Where:
Artspace
201 E. Davie St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919-821-2787
Website »

More information

Cary Ballet students presents a condensed version of the holiday story featuring Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. 

Cost: $12/person

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
Website »

More information

City Ballet presents the full-length, richly costumed and staged version featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet dancing alongside nearly 100 City Ballet student dancers to bring the...

Cost: $15-$30/person

Where:
NCSU Stewart Theatre
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27695
View map »


Sponsor: City Ballet
Telephone: 919-844-9799
Website »

More information

Barriskill Dance Theatre School present its annual production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Reynolds Theater, Duke University
125 Science Dr.
Durham, NC  27708
View map »


Website »

More information

Take part in a fun and playful aerial yoga and movement class for ages 8 and older. No prior aerial yoga experience required. Register online. $40 one parent+one child (age 8-12) $20...

Cost: $40 child+adult or $20/child $25/adult

Where:
Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
Telephone: 888-587-9530
Website »

More information

Take the family to make gingerbread houses. Workshop takes place at 2 p.m. An allergy-free workshop takes place at 11 a.m. Registration required online for all workshops.

Cost: $40/per family

Where:
Family Preschool
4907 Garrett Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Family Preschool
Telephone: 919-402-1500
Contact Name: Ginger B. House
Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holiday season with goats, farm animals, a new hay ride and tractor ride, holiday treats and a Christmas Market. Santa will be at the farm on all weekends giving you the perfect...

Cost: $13.50/person

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd.
Chapel Hill , NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Spring Haven Farm
Telephone: 919.407.1806
Contact Name: Andrew Crihfield
Website »

More information

Enjoy a 75-minute workshop learning the fundamental components of aerial yoga in a relaxed and fun learning environment. The student will experience yoga asanas (poses) on...

Cost: $40/person

Where:
Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
Telephone: 188-858-79530
Contact Name: hoa bui
Website »

More information

Free Kidz Connection Event for kids in grades 1-5 featuring games, snacks and fun. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Bible Fellowship
9043 Chapel Hill Road
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Sponsor: Grace Bible Fellowship
Telephone: 919-468-4590
Contact Name: Yvette
Website »

More information

Saturday, December 15; 1:00–3:00 p.m. Stop by our FREE discovery table to learn about soil! Registration is not required. The display table is located at the Upper Playground.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850

More information

This musical comedy is a holiday sugarplum for the whole family with just the right mixture of comedy and romance to add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $26-$30/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Families make gingerbread houses together. Register online. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Learn to identify a few common winter “feeder birds” and make some yummy bird treats to take home. Ages 5 and older with adult. Register online. 

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

More information

The Johnston County Chorus presents "A Christmas Spectacular," its annual holiday show featuring favorite seasonal songs and skits. Special guests this year include dancers from...

Cost: See the website for fees

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy Ira David Wood III's musical comedy adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $36 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Girls ages 5-12 take their favorite doll and have a creative time together preparing for the holidays. Register by emailing polkhouse2@bellsouth.net. 

Cost: $22/attendee. $20/sister

Where:
Historic Polk House
537 N. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
View map »


Telephone: 919-676-6368
Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Cary Ballet students presents the holiday story of Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
Website »

More information

Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Harris Lake will welcome a special holiday visitor this December!  Santa will take time out of his busy schedule to join us for a cup of hot cocoa and a ride on our wagon along the back roads of...

Cost: $2 per person

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Experience The Raleigh Ringers live in concert as they dazzle concert audiences with unique interpretations of sacred, secular, and popular music, including famous rock ‘n’ roll tunes...

Cost: $20/adult, $11/student

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

City Ballet presents the full-length, richly costumed and staged version featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet dancing alongside nearly 100 City Ballet student dancers to bring the...

Cost: $15-$30/person

Where:
NCSU Stewart Theatre
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: City Ballet
Telephone: 919-844-9799
Contact Name: City Ballet
Website »

More information

Discover what's happening as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #117095.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

This musical comedy is a holiday sugarplum for the whole family with just the right mixture of comedy and romance to add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $26-$30/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Barriskill Dance Theatre School present its annual production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Reynolds Theater, Duke University
125 Science Dr.
Durham, NC  27708
View map »


Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Drop your children off to enjoy games, a pizza dinner, activities and crafts while you finish your holiday shopping or just enjoy a night off.  Ages 6-14. Registration required...

Cost: $25 for first child; $20 each sibling

Where:
East Coast Gaming
218 Nottingham Dr.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy Ira David Wood III's musical comedy adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $36 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a one-act performance of Clara’s journey to the Kingdom of the Sweets to life, with dazzling costumes, animated narration, and a talented ensemble of young dancers.

Cost: $12-$15

Where:
Heritage High School
1150 Forestville Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

The Johnston County Chorus presents "A Christmas Spectacular," its annual holiday show featuring favorite seasonal songs and skits. Special guests this year include dancers from...

Cost: See the website for fees

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Website »

More information

Cary Ballet students presents the holiday story of Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
Website »

More information

The Justice Theater Project presents the rebirth of its annual holiday family favorite, "Black Nativity by Langston Hughes," Dec. 14-18 at two locations: Umstead Park United Church...

Cost: $27 Adults, $23 Seniors/Students/Military, $21 groups of 10+.*Prices do NOT inc

Where:
NCSU Stewart Theater
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC   27607
View map »


Sponsor: The Justice Theater Project
Telephone: 336-655-2119
Contact Name: Melissa Zeph
Website »

More information

Experience The Raleigh Ringers live in concert as they dazzle concert audiences with unique interpretations of sacred, secular, and popular music, including famous rock ‘n’ roll tunes...

Cost: $20/adult, $11/student

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience The Raleigh Ringers live in concert as they dazzle concert audiences with unique interpretations of sacred, secular, and popular music, including famous rock ‘n’ roll tunes...

Cost: $20/adult, $11/student

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

The ArtsCenter’s annual Songs from the Circle shows are a celebration of the best in classic American folk and bluegrass. The Circle cast has added a second program to celebrate the...

Cost: $15

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
View map »


Sponsor: The ArtsCenter
Telephone: 919-929-2787
Contact Name: Patrick Phelps-Mckeown     
Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.