Cookies, singalongs, an ’80s dance party and a ’40s radio spoof. We’d say December is looking super festive, wouldn’t you?
1. The Joy of Cookies Tour in Lawrenceville: November 30 – December 2, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Why just shop, when you can shop, support local businesses and eat cookies? Back with its sweetest — and biggest — event yet, the Joy of Cookies Tour boasts 61 participating sites. Lawrenceville’s eclectic commercial corridor — from the 5500 block of Butler to parts of Penn and 34th St. — will morph into a mile-and-a-half-long cookie table, tempting shoppers with recipes new and old. Pop into 47 shops to savor free cookies and collect recipes. Refuel and enjoy lunch, cocktails and coffee at 14 “take-a-break” stops along the cookie-lined route. Visit them all to make Irma Rombauer proud. Don’t forget to vote for the best cookie and head to the Cookie Mall to attend a tree lighting ceremony and see Santa.
2. Highland Park Pottery Tour: December 1 & 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
There’s nothing like sipping hot cocoa from your favorite mug and enjoying homemade soup in your best bowl during frigid winter. What better way to add to your collection — and select one-of-a-kind holiday gifts — than by buying directly from the makers? Pottery collectors will flock to this East End tradition, where fabulous and functional work by 30 of the city’s top ceramicists is on sale. During the intimate, self-guided experience, artists and art lovers will mingle in living rooms and studios, discuss ceramics techniques and share snacks at kitchen counters. From vases and vessels to pendants and platters — you can find an item for everyone on your list. Also featured is the Union Project’s Ceramics Cooperative and Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology.
3. WYEP Holiday Hootenanny at the August Wilson Center: December 6, 7 p.m.
It’s great to sit around a warm fire listening to classic Christmas albums by The Beach Boys and Ella Fitzgerald, but it’s even cooler to sing and dance along while local bands perform holiday tunes for you. With singer-songwriter Nathan Zoob at the helm, the Hootenanny House Band will serenade Pittsburghers with their own twist on holiday favorites. Performers include Chet Vincent, Shane McLaughlin, Addi Twigg, Josh Verbanets and many others. Kicking the good cheer up a notch will be the Holiday Hootenanny after-party in the lobby, where DJ Selecta will spin dance music. Pop into the Digibooth, join a scavenger hunt and have your photo taken with Bowie Claus. Proceeds will benefit the Tree of Life Synagogue Fund. Buy tickets.
4. Midnight Radio’s Die Hard N’at at Bricolage Production Company: December 6-22, 8 p.m.
Forget lords a-leaping and flying reindeer. This season calls for some seriously epic holiday hijinks. Who better to deliver the goods than Bricolage, with their original Midnight Radio parody of the iconic 1988 action film “Die Hard.” Get ready for police cars to blow up, skyscraper windows to smash and NYPD detective John McClane to lose his shoes. Can you say “Yippee Ki-Yay, Ya Jags?” Taking the form of a classic 1940s radio broadcast, the antics will showcase Foley sound effects, commercial spoofs and a powerhouse cast. That means you are part of the live studio audience, so don’t miss your cue when the applause sign flashes! Arrive 30 minutes early for free drinks and retro games at the pre-show Happy Half-hour event. Buy tickets.
5. A John Waters’ Christmas: Holier & Dirtier at Carnegie Lecture Hall: December 8, 8 p.m.
Don’t bother writing that letter to Kris Kringle, because we know you’ve been naughty this year. That’s why you’re going to seek wisdom from the King of Cult Films, and you’d be a fool not to. Putting the X back in Xmas, famed director John Waters — the visionary behind cult flicks like “Hairspray” and “Female Trouble” — will have you reaching for the silver tinsel and spiked punch. Charm City’s own bad boy of pop culture will ruminate on pressing questions like “Is Prancer the only gay reindeer?” while dishing out advice on how to “disrupt living crèche celebrations in the name of political action.” Waters’ irreverent brand of “Christmas crazy” might be just the antidote you need in today’s increasingly tumultuous world. Buy tickets.
6. Dave Eggers & Mokhtar Alkhanshali at Carnegie Music Hall: December 10, 7:30 p.m.
Fans of writer Dave Eggers should not miss this special Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures event. Eggers penned his massively successful debut memoir, “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” when he was just 21, and went on to create McSweeney’s journal, write nine more books and launch an educational nonprofit. His latest work could not be more timely. “The Monk of Mokha” weaves the remarkable true story of the 24-year-old Yemeni-American, Mokhtar Alkhanshali, who takes a “death-defying journey through an active war zone” in order to share the ancient art of 16th-century Yemeni coffee with the world. The event includes a conversation between Eggers and Alkhanshali, founder and CEO of Port of Mokha coffee, as well as a book signing. Buy tickets.