Your Guide to 2023 Holiday Events in Portland

The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert, The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, and More
November 15, 2023
Beloved Pacific Northwest drag queens Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme are back with The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show. (Jiji Lee)
In the words of Mariah Carey, patron saint of holiday cheer, “Are you ready to be festive?!” Well, are you? If so, this list of time-honored Portland traditions and newfangled winter events should put a twinkle in your eye. (And if you’re not feeling festive, check it out anyway—you might actually find a reason to be merry.) We’ve compiled the best in cozy, delight-bringin’ events below, including The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, Make the Yuletide Gay, The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert, Crafty Wonderland, and more, plus a sprinkling of New Year’s Eve happenings. (Cowboy prom, anyone?)


Black Nativity Remind List
Written by innovative playwright, poet, and social activist Langston Hughes, Black Nativity first premiered in 1961 and was one of the first off-Broadway plays composed by an African American person. This interpretation of the gospel play will be presented by PassinArt, an African American theater company that interpreted the bluesy, Pulitzer-nominated play Seven Guitars earlier this year. The production will blend nativity storytelling, dance, and traditional Christmas carols with brand-new songs, and it’s directed by Jerry Foster, who has previously helped direct the Juneteenth and Kwanzaa Celebration for the North Portland library and the Peace Festival for Black Women for Peace. LC
Brunish Hall, South Park Blocks (Thurs–Sun, from Nov 22–Dec 10) 

NOT-Cracker Remind List
For those who are just a smidge too cool for The Nutcracker, this “unconventional” dance show fits the “holiday-themed, but make it edgy” bill. Choreographed by the cofounders of contemporary dance company Open Space and “renowned Tokyo Street artist” Uno, the production is set in Portland and stars the company’s dance artists, NØIR, and dozens of kiddos from The School at Open Space. NOT-Cracker also includes an act by performance artist Charles Roy starring the city’s gender-nonconforming ballroom legends House of Ada, who recently competed on HBO’s Legendary. LC
Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks (Dec 16-17) 

Fam Jam: Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special Remind List
This screening of history’s best holiday special, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, honors the memory of Paul Reubens, everyone’s favorite nasally, bow-tied, high-camp artiste who passed in July after a private cancer battle. (It’s not all about him, though: Cher, Oprah, Grace Jones, k.d. lang, and Little Richard make appearances.) Pee-Wee’s shiny postmodern sarcasm and half-toy, half-human, kitschy sincerity were far more influential than we gave him credit for. If you’re in need of a little spiked-eggnog cheer, I recommend popping on an ugly sweater and taking this flick for a spin—it’s even weirder, and better, than you remember. LC
Tomorrow Theater, Richmond (Sat Dec 23) 

The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show
Remind List Jinkx Monsoon, the “internationally tolerated Jewish narcoleptic drag queen,” and BenDeLaCreme, the sugary sweet RuPaul’s Drag Race icon, will bring their unique blend of bubbly effervescence and quirky realness to the stage for this holiday dragstravaganza. The pair plan to show off their sleigh and share why they’re the true queens of Christmas cheer, which already seems undebatable. The show will return to town after a wildly successful run last year; expect brand-new songs and a healthy dash of spectacle, plus “adult themes and language.” LC
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Wed Dec 27) 

Champagne Ball Remind List
Wrangle up something gold and glittery, because one of Portland’s fancy-schmanciest New Year’s Eve parties will return for its 31st year. Since relocating to the Portland Art Museum in 2022, the Champagne Ball has expanded to offer up “16,000 square feet of good times,” complete with a video countdown, two ballrooms, party band performances, DJs, “singles beads,” a karaoke lounge, and a “hot and cold hors d’oeuvres buffet.” (The amount of partying you’ll be doing is sure to work up an appetite, right?) LC
Portland Art Museum, South Park Blocks (Sun Dec 31) 

More arts highlights

Home for the Holidays Remind List
Broadway Rose New Stage Theatre (Nov 22–Dec 23)

Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really Remind List
Portland Center Stage (Nov 25–Dec 24)

The Nutcracker Remind List
Keller Auditorium (Dec 8–24)


Make the Yuletide Gay Remind List
This year, the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus will make the Yuletide gay—as in happy and homosexual. The vocal ensemble has set out to produce the “gayest holiday concert of all time” with a performance inspired by classic variety and sketch comedy shows like The Carol Burnett Show, The Muppet Show, and Saturday Night Live. Prepare your pipes for some deep, Santa-esque belly laughs—no laugh track necessary! AV
Newmark Theatre, South Park Blocks (Dec 8–10) 

Kristin Chenoweth With The Oregon Symphony Remind List
Tony-, Grammy-, and Emmy Award-winning Broadway sweetheart and recording artist Kristin Chenoweth has earned national treasure status with beloved roles like Glinda in Wicked, Sally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Olive Snook in Pushing Daisies—just to name a few. She will be accompanied by the Oregon Symphony for a festive evening of holiday tunes from her 2021 Christmas album, Happiness Is...Christmas! AV
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Thurs Dec 14) 

The Muppet Christmas Carol In Concert Remind List
Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the Muppets. Every year, I pop in my VHS copies of The Muppet Christmas Carol and the lesser-known TV special A Muppet Family Christmas to gawk at how fabulous Miss Piggy is—seriously, she’s my #1 inspiration. Experience Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo, and the whole gang on the big screen as they retell Charles Dickens' classic holiday tale. The Oregon Symphony will accompany the film with a live performance of Miles Goodman’s memorable score. It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to meet the Muppets because, as Dickens himself once said, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” AV
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, South Park Blocks (Dec 16–17) 

Jenny Don’t and The Spurs - New Year’s Eve Cowboy Prom Remind List
Ring in the New Year in style at this “cowboy prom” featuring live performances, a balloon drop, and a photo booth to memorialize the evening forever. Jenny Don’t and the Spurs will headline with an energetic live set filled with flashy western wear (handmade by Jenny herself). The band pulls inspiration from classic country greats like Patsy Cline and Hank Williams, following suit with the same level of rawness and sincerity. Likeminded country troupe James Jones and the Chupacabras will open. Now can I get a “yee-haw"?! AV
Polaris Hall, Humboldt (Sun Dec 31) 

More music highlights

Jake Shimabukuro: Christmas in Hawai‘i Past Event List
Newmark Theatre (Sat Nov 18)  

The Storm Large Holiday Ordeal Past Event List
Aladdin Theater (Nov 24–25)

Crash Test Dummies: Jingle All The Way Remind List
Aladdin Theater (Thurs Dec 7)

Tuba Christmas
Pioneer Courthouse Square (Sat Dec 16)

Grand Exhale with Nik West
Alberta Abbey (Sun Dec 31)


Portland Holiday Drink Week Remind List
’Tis the season for warming wintry libations, from mulled wine to spiked cocoa. Ready to get your nog on? The Portland Mercury and EverOut have you covered with our Holiday Drink Week, a new annual tradition that debuted last year. For one week only, you’ll find a variety of exclusive holiday-themed drink specials at participating bars and restaurants around town. Why not round up some friends, bundle up in your coziest attire, and head out on a self-guided booze tour? One thing’s for certain: these won’t be your ordinary cups of cheer. JB 
Various Locations (Nov 27–Dec 3) 

Christmas Ships Parade Remind List
You’ll have the chance to see more than three ships come sailing in during the 69th annual Christmas Ships Parade this year. During the chilly evenings in the first half of December, decorated ships will head up and down both the Columbia and Willamette rivers, bringing holiday joy to the crowds gathered onshore. Grab a thermos of hot cocoa and make sure to check the schedule; we’re aiming for nights when both fleets make an appearance in the same spot for maximum sparkly ship sightings. SL
Various locations along the Willamette River (Dec 1–17)

Crafty Wonderland Remind List
Find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list at Crafty Wonderland, one of Portland’s OG indie markets. This holiday shopping extravaganza features over 250 artists, designers, and crafters selling wares from ceramic dumplings to bow ties for cats. Grab tickets for Friday’s preview night to get first dibs on the goods and a free drink at the bar, or save money on Saturday and Sunday timed-entry tickets (they’re just $4, and you can stay as long as you like). SL
Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District (Dec 8–10) 

New Year's Eve Sobriety Powwow Remind List
New Year’s celebrations can be tricky for those who don’t drink, and the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA) puts together a sober alternative every year featuring youth activities, drumming, dancing, and a sober countdown. The organizers encourage attendees to bring a drum or dancing shoes and join in! The Sobriety Powwow has moved a little outside the city this time, but we think it’s worth the trek (plus, you’ll be sober and can make the drive). SL
Wingspan Event & Conference Center, Hillsboro (Sun Dec 31) 

More culture highlights

39th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Past Event List
Pioneer Courthouse Square (Fri Nov 24)

Scandinavian Christmas Goat Market Past Event List
Norse Hall (Sat Nov 25)

Weihnachtsmarkt Remind List
German American Society (Sat Dec 2)

My People’s Market Remind List
Oregon Convention Center (Dec 2–3)

ScanFair Remind List
Oregon Convention Center (Dec 9–10) 

Portland Bazaar Remind List
Premier Gear & Machine Works Building (Sat–Sun, from Dec 9–17)

Peacock Lane Remind List
Peacock Lane (Dec 15–31)

Stumptown SantaCon Remind List
Wristband pickup at Ankeny Alley (Sat Dec 16)

End of Year Africa Elegance Night Remind List
Morrison Market (Sat Dec 30)

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