CeeLo Green

No kidding, the R&B/hip-hop singer best known for the 2011 megahit “Forget You” — the unedited title of which sums up how some people feel about the holidays — made a playful yet heartfelt Christmas record in the wake of his success, 2012’s “CeeLo’s Magic Moment.” It’s now the basis for a full-blown Holiday Hits Tour this year, promising his Motown-flavored but still uniquely CeeLo-ized versions of such obvious classics as “White Christmas” and “Run Rudolph Run,” plus Joni Mitchell’s “River” and his Muppets-accompanied original “All I Need Is Love.” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Ames Center, Burnsville, $47-$142, ames-center.com.)

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

 

Holidays at the Arb

Cold weather may be here, but the grounds of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum are still cheery and bright. The holiday season begins with the ceremonial lighting of the Great Hall’s 24-foot poinsettia tree. Walk through the winter lights display that glimmers throughout 14 illuminated vignettes. Kids with wish lists in tow can nibble on cookies with milk during Milk and Cookies With Santa. End the year with a family friendly party featuring games, crafts and a New Year Wish Tree. (Tree lighting ceremony: 5-9 p.m. Thu. $5-$25. Milk & Cookies With Santa: 5-8 p.m. Dec. 12 & 19. $5-$15. Winter Lights: $15, ages 15 and under free. 5-9 p.m. Fri.-next Sun., Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Dec. 6-8, Dec. 13-15, Dec. 20-23, Dec. 26-Jan. 1. New Year Party: 5-10 p.m. Dec. 31. $5-$30. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska. 952-443-1400. arbwinter.umn.edu.)

MELISSA WALKER

 

‘The Holiday Pageant’

Puppets, a community chorus, Pearce Bunting as Lucifer and shepherds with their lambs. Those are just a few of the seasonal elements incorporated into Open Eye Figure Theatre’s holiday show, which premiered (in different form) in founders Michael Sommers and Susan Haas’ living room 34 years ago. Inspired by medieval tales, it’s a whimsical take on the concept of a holiday pageant, and did we mention there are cookies and cider, too? (7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 4 p.m. Sun, Dec. 6-22. Open Eye Figure Theatre, 506 E. 24th St., Mpls., $12-$26, openeyetheatre.org.)

Chris Hewitt

 

‘El Mesiás’

If it’s Christmas, it’s time for Handel’s choral masterpiece to be trotted out again. But here’s a “Messiah” with a difference — a bilingual version by the Twin Cities choir Border CrosSing. The choruses from Part One of the oratorio plus the ecstatic “Hallelujah Chorus” are sung in a mixture of Spanish and English, while the baroque orchestra is spiced up with Andean instruments and even an accordion. Movements from Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez’s cantata “Navidad Nuestra” are interspersed, in what promises to be a fascinating evening. (7 p.m. Dec. 13, Church of the Ascension, Mpls.; 7 p.m. Dec. 14, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, St. Paul. $15-$25. bordercrossingmn.org)

TERRY BLAIN

 

Martina McBride

One of Nashville’s most enduringly gorgeous female voices, this Kansas-reared country star brings her ninth annual Joy of Christmas Tour to the Twin Cities. She’ll feature selections from her two holiday albums, 1998’s “White Christmas” and last year’s “It’s the Holiday Season,” as well as her country classics such as “Independence Day.” Maybe she’ll even discuss a holiday recipe from one of her cookbooks or her Food Network show “Martina’s Table.” (8 p.m. Dec. 7, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Prior Lake, $39.25 and up, ticketmaster.com)

JON BREAM

‘The Classic Nutcracker’

Ballet Minnesota brings back returning guest artists Violeta Angelova and Matthew Prescott for this annual production. Angelova has held 70 title and leading role ballet credits throughout her career and has performed internationally at the Vienna State Opera Ballet and the National Ballet of Bulgaria. Prescott, meanwhile, has choreographed for the national tour of Broadway’s “Billy Elliot,” not to mention works performed by both Misty Copeland and Prince. They are joined by a cast of 130 dancers of all ages, including Robert Cleary in his 21st appearance as Godfather Drosselmeyer, for this staging choreographed by Andrew Rist. (Dec. 13-15, O’Shaughnessy, $21-$46, 651-690-6700, oshaughnessy.com.

SHEILA REGAN