Jingle Beach is your new holiday anthem: See Saturday.
Jingle Beach is your new holiday anthem: See Saturday.
Courtesy of the artist

The 11 Best Things to Do This Week in Miami: Christmas Edition

Thursday, December 24

Preparing holiday dinners can be a huge pain. Shopping for ingredients alone requires that beleaguered cooks take a day off work. Add in various family members' dietary restrictions and you've got one expensive, time-consuming way to spend your Christmas vacation. For those looking to buck the cooking chaos, the Biltmore Hotel offers a swanky and sumptuous alternative.

At both of the Biltmore's acclaimed restaurants, guests will be treated to multicourse Christmas Eve dinners. Fans of French cuisine can indulge in a four-course ($115 per person) or six-course ($145 per person) prix fixe prepared by Michelin-starred chef Gregory Pugin at Palme d'Or. And for Italian-food lovers, Fontana offers a three-course meal ($105 per person) prepared by chef Beppe Galazzi and served in the hotel's lush courtyard.

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To make reservations for Christmas Eve dinner this Thursday at the Biltmore (1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables), call 305-445-8066, Ext. 2373. 

Friday, December 25

Even Christmas won't stop the music at North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Christmas Day, after the last presents have been opened and final coquitos consumed, the museum will offer one final celebration of holiday music with the Miami Big Sound Orchestra. Comprising members from the city's diverse jazz and Latin music communities, the Miami Big Sound Orchestra is downtown Miami's resident big band performing Latin jazz. The group plays a range of contemporary jazz,as well as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian funk and soul. Members have even toured with artists such as Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, KC & the Sunshine Band, and Chaka Khan. Ensuring there's something for everyone to love, the Miami Big Sound Orchestra's repertoire includes works by everyone from local legends to Grammy-winning producers to beloved classical composers.

The Jazz at MOCA series, sponsored by the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency, takes place the last Friday of every month in the museum courtyard, rain or shine. Additionally, the museum's galleries are open from 7 to 10 p.m. during the musical events. Jazz at MOCA Presents: The Miami Big Sound Orchestra takes place this Friday at 8 p.m. at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami). The event is free to attend, but donations are accepted. Visit mocanomi.org. 

If Florida had hills, they'd be alive: See Tuesday.
If Florida had hills, they'd be alive: See Tuesday.
Photo by Matthew Murphy / Courtesy of the Arsht Center

Saturday, December 26

After all the wholesomeness of Christmas Day with the family, you might be seriously itching for some irresponsible behavior. Coming at just the right time, party destination Nikki Beach is hosting Jingle Beach, an all-day tech-house party kicking off the day after Christmas.

Held on Nikki Beach's oceanfront grounds, Jingle Beach brings a roster of international DJ talent for the day-long music bash. Featured acts include Jesse Perez, Paulo Rocco, Tripmastaz, and Sex Sells. Locals will be happy to hear the beats of Ben Finx + Snay, TechNeekz, Lou Flores, and others throughout the day.

Jingle Beach runs from noon to 5 a.m. Saturday at Nikki Beach (1 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach) and is a 21-and-over event. Tickets cost $30. Call 305-538-1111 or visit jinglebeach.com

Boxing Day is the most mysterious holiday on the calendar — at least to us Americans. Historically, it was the day employers would bestow gifts — or perhaps more likely, re-gifts — to their loyal servants and tradesmen. You probably would've fit better into the tradesman category than the wealthy estate, so maybe it's time to take Boxing Day back? Give the gift of music to yourself this Saturday and head to Woody's West End Tavern (600 Payne Dr., Miami Springs) for a special year-end set from SoBe classic Birdman's Clambake.

Birdman and his boys deliver good old Southern-fried food paired with rock 'n' roll with a distinctive Florida twist. It is all crunchy guitars, wailing voices, and face-first attitude — the kind of finger-blister, feel-good jams perfect for having a few too many near the water and noshing on delicious burgers and chicken wings. The guys have a few new songs in store too. Catch the sunset and the vibes on the back patio, free if you're 21 or older. The party starts early, at 11 a.m., but goes hard until 1 the next morning. Call 305-882-1170 or visit woodyswestendtavern.com

While Family Day at Aragon is a typical hit among adults and kids alike at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, there's another exciting event available this month for families: the third-annual Miami International Children's Film Festival (MICFF). Presented in partnership with the prestigious New York International Children's Film Festival, the fest offers a variety of Miami premieres of films from around the world this Saturday through Thursday, December 31, making it a perfect way to close out the year.

There are plenty of films to look forward to in the lineup, including Mune 3D, Moomins on the Riviera, Belle and Sebastian, Enchanted Kingdom 3D, AninA, Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, The King and the Mockingbird, Ballet Boys, The Hero of Color City, and Landfill Harmonic. But it's not just about the films at MICFF; the festival also features a variety of parties, hands-on workshops for children of all ages, meet-the-filmmaker events, and the special Family Fun on the Plaza event. The free family day takes place in front of the theater (260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables) and includes face-painting, balloon animals, music, and other fun.

Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for children, and admission to the opening-night reception costs $15 and $10, respectively. A special $50 MICFF festival pass is also available, allowing one entry per film. Call 786-385-9689 or visit gablescinema.com.

Sunday, December 27

Nobody does Disney like millennials. Fans of the hit Frozen song "Let It Go" have nothing on the incessant, off-key crooning of The Little Mermaid's "Under the Sea" and Aladdin's "A Whole New World" from '90s kids. These are the same children who have grown up to proudly display their annual pass Mickey ears sticker on their SUVs and don princess tiaras for a day out in Orlando.

For all the nostalgia junkies who want to relive their grade-school sing-alongs, Disney in Concert: Magical Music From the Movies is the perfect excuse.

An orchestra, video clips from classic flicks, and killer vocals will join forces to re-create the magic of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, Frozen, and others. Mary Poppins and Pirates of the Caribbean will make an appearance too, so brush up on those lyrics.

Sure, kids will dig it, but let's be real: Many adults will probably have an ulterior motive to attend. Long live Mufasa. The show starts at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Knight Concert Hall inside the Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). Tickets cost $45 to $105. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org

The bright skies and blue waters of Miami's Biscayne Bay are certainly appealing, but the energy-sapping heat during a daytime boat ride is no joke. For those looking to explore the city without the punishing rays, the Deering Estate at Cutler offers its Moonlight Canoe Tour, which departs from Charles Deering's boat basin and stops at Chicken Key, a seven-acre mangrove island and bird rookery about a mile offshore. Chicken Key contains sand dunes and mangrove forests and is surrounded by sand bars, tidal flats, seagrass beds, and rocky debris. A Deering education and interpretive staff member will lead these tours and share ecological facts about the bay. Moonlight canoers can also enjoy a campfire and s'mores on Chicken Key.

The Moonlight Canoe Tour runs from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday at the Deering Estate at Cutler (16701 SW 72nd Ave., Palmetto Bay). Tickets cost $40 per person. Deering asks that all boat passengers wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable clothing and bring water. Call 305-235-1668, Ext. 233, or visit deeringestate.com

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and though Miami won't get any snow or, by the looks of it, even a harsh breeze, it does get dancing sugar-plum fairies as splendid an any others in the nation. In fact, the Magic City has a very special rendition of Tchaikovsky's famed Nutcracker ballet in town, straight from Moscow, Russia. With a new set design and world-class ballerinas, this performance is likely to satisfy even repeat customers.

The Great Russian Nutcracker takes over the Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) for a special one-show engagement this Sunday. Acclaimed dancers Ekaterina Bortiakova and Akzhol Mussakhanov will take the lead, but you'll be just as dazzled by the stellar set design created by 22-time Oscar winner Carl Sprague. You've seen his work in films such as 12 Years a Slave and The Grand Budapest Hotel — he's kind of a big deal.

Doors open at noon Sunday, and the show begins promptly at 1 p.m. Tickets cost $30.75 to $128.75. Call 305-673-7300 or visit fillmoremb.com.

Men, put on your dresses; women, bring your best face. It's the last Sunday of the month, and that means it's time to make trouble at the Double Stubble. Voted the best gay night in the whole damn city by New Times, the monthly at Gramps Bar (176 NW 24 St., Wynwood) means lots of dancing, flirting, drinking, glitter, eye makeup, and likely a bare chest or two — maybe even a bear chest. All kinds are truly welcome.

The ever-fresh DJ Hottpants, Terence Tabeau, and Mystic Ball will be on the ones and twos, but everyone will have to make way for the legendary Lady Miss Kier. You undoubtedly recall her as the juiciest redhead in '90s-club-kid favorite Deee-Lite, and now you're surely squirming in your pantaloons because that's very exciting news indeed.

While the normies pack up their presents and mistletoe, this crowd will be kissing under the camel toe, which is a lot nastier and definitely more fun. Hosted by Fresh Meat and Tommy Ralph Pace III, the party gets started early, at 5 p.m., and lasts till about 3 a.m. Admission is free, and sexual beings of all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds are welcome. Just make sure you're 21 or older — there's no kids' table here. Call 305-699-2669 or visit gramps.com

It wouldn't be Christmastime if that old Ebenezer Scrooge weren't mucking things up again. In a so-called sequel to Charles Dickens' famous novella A Christmas Carol, playwright Mark Brown envisions Scrooge a year after his miraculous transformation. Unfortunately, the humbug is back to his old curmudgeonly ways and suing Marley and the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future for a range of crimes — from breaking and entering his home to intentionally inflicting undue emotional distress. Melding themes and plot lines from the original text with the courtroom drama of 12 Angry Men, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge places all the characters in question on the witness stand, offering a funny new take on the Christmas Eve in question.

Brown allegedly wrote the script to this play in the months following 9/11 as a way to show his gratitude for the kindness shown by others in the wake of tragedy. As time passed after those horrific attacks, however, Brown found that many people seemed to revert to their original behaviors, making him wonder how our old antihero, Scrooge, would have reacted after the magical events of A Christmas Carol. Expect a lot of heart in this new adaptation of a timeless story. The closing-night performance takes place at 8 p.m. Sunday at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables). Tickets cost $50. Visit actorsplayhouse.org

Tuesday, December 29

Students of musical theater are taught the classic stage productions, such as Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, and, of course, The Sound of Music. Even if theater isn't your forte, it's hard to pretend you don't recognize the 1965 film of the same name starring the delectable Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Admit it — you've always secretly wanted to be a Von Trapp kid. Relive the story of how a nanny fell in love with a retired naval officer and helped raise his seven children in Austria during the brink of World War II.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music begins Tuesday and runs through Sunday, January 3, at the Adrienne Arsht Center (1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). The opening-night performance begins at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $29 to $145. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.

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