December is a festive month all over Harford County, with family-friendly celebrations of the season on stage, in homes and at parks.
From ballet to movies, this month is packed with performances that are seasonally spirited and family-friendly, including a rousing Celtic concert and dance performance at John Carroll School and a showing of the 2004 holiday classic “The Polar Express,” complete with a visit from Santa, at the Havre de Grace Opera House.
Also this month, the stage at Harford Community College transforms into a magical world of sweets, dolls and dance when Harford Dance Theater puts on several performances of “The Nutcracker.” The classic ballet performances double as a fundraiser, as the dance troupe collects toys for the Empty Stocking Fund.
The Nutcracker. Dec. 8-10, multiple shows. Harford Community College’s Amoss Center, 200 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air. $10-20. tickets.harford.edu.
Andy Cooney’s Irish Christmas. Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. John Carroll School, 703 E. Churchville Road, Bel Air. $35. 443-619-9048. cooneyshows.simpletix.com.
The Polar Express. Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. Havre de Grace Opera House, 121 N. Union Ave. Havre de Grace. Tickets are $5 for those 13 and older, $4 for seniors and military veterans and free for children under 13. 443-502-2005. hdgoperahouse.org/event/the-polar-express.
Explore the wonders of Christmases past — minus the “Christmas Carol”-style ghosts — at one of the county’s charming museums.
On Dec. 9, the Lock House Museum hosts its annual Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes. The tour is self-guided, so families don’t have to worry about keeping up with a pack, and gives a glimpse into the history of some of Havre de Grace’s most interesting homes and public buildings.
Later in the month, Steppingstone Farm Museum will open its doors to families during a Christmas Candlelight Open House featuring Victorian decorations and illumination. Historic interpreters will be on hand throughout the farmhouse to help bring the historic holiday to life at this stroller- and wheelchair-friendly event.
Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House Candlelight Tour of Historic Homes. Dec. 9, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 817 Conesteo St., Havre de Grace. $20 in advance or $25 the day of the tour. 410-939-5780. thelockhousemuseum.org.
Christmas Candlelight Open House. Dec.16-17, 5 pm. to 8 p.m. Steppingstone Farm Museum, 461 Quaker Bottom Rd., Havre de Grace. Donations welcome. 410-939-2299. steppingstonemuseum.org.
Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with the Harford Chabad community at an annual lighting of the large menorah in Shamrock Park.
The evening includes hot drinks and snacks like latkes (potato pancakes traditional to the holiday) plus a pantry drive benefitting SARC, a local nonprofit that supports victims of abuse and domestic violence. Kids may even leave with a gift of Hanukkah gelt.
“It’s a great way to expose your children to Jewish culture,” says Harford Chabad Rabbi Kushi Schusterman. “It’s quick, easy and fun, with good food and good company.”
Chanukah in the Park. Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. Shamrock Park, Lee Way and Hickory Avenues, Bel Air. Free admission. harfordchabad.org.