Family friendly Christmas shows to enthrall and enchant

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By Dan Sears

Weekends and winter vacations are basically just code words for “keep your kids busy,” right?

Thankfully, the holiday season in the Big Apple provides a dizzying array of wonderful shows that will leave youngsters entertained and enchanted.

Get your kicks
Running now through Jan. 1, the “Christmas Spectacular,” starring the Radio City Rockettes, is a mainstay dating back to 1933. There’s nothing quite like watching the Rockettes kick and sway in tandem. Plus, the costumes are amazing, the songs are feel-good anthems and you can choose from several daily time slots to cater to your child’s preferences. From $67.
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave.

A Christmas story
Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, “This Christmas Show” is well worth the schlep to Staten Island. The two-hour show tells the story of a grandmother reading a Christmas story about the joy of the holidays and involves jaunts to the North Pole, Times Square, the Rainbow Room, and SI’s very own Clove Lakes Park. The show runs from Dec. 8 to 10. From $19.
St. George Theatre, 35 Hyatt St., Staten Island.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular Carl Scheffel/MSG Photos

Acrobatic acts
Cirque du Soleil’s first holiday production at Madison Square Garden, “’Twas the Night Before . . .”, runs from Dec. 7 to 28 and is a one-of-a-kind reimagining of Clement Clarke Moore’s early 19th-century poem “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” Prepare to be awed for some 85 entertaining minutes.

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In addition to amazing acrobatics and character performances, you can also look forward to a holiday soundtrack that will stick in your head long after the curtains close. From $81.
The Theater at MSG, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza.

‘Twas the Night Before… by Cirque du Soleil at The Theater at MSG Michael Last, MSG Entertainment

Gift of giving
Catch O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” on Dec. 16 at 1 pm. The reading by actor Kevin R. is a free event (reservations encouraged) and will take place on Queens County Farm’s 3-acre pasture, where you’ll hear an animated retelling of a fabled tale chronicling newlyweds plotting to gift each other something special.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens.

Ballet high
Is it a childhood without a trip to “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”? New Yorkers think not. You’ll delight in the ornate costumes, beautiful backdrops and New York City Ballet’s graceful leaps and pirouettes.

Set to Tchaikovsky’s music, the drifting snowflakes and jumpy candy canes certainly symbolize the start of the holiday season in these parts. Runs till Dec. 31. From $70.
David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

A modern spin
On Dec. 16, head to Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn for a different but also inspired spin on the beloved holiday classic, performed by the Brooklyn Ballet. “The Brooklyn Nutcracker” draws inspiration from hip-hop, global dance, and ballet to create a dynamic tapestry, pumping up the Brooklyn factor further by weaving in the role of Dutch settlers on Flatbush Avenue. From $45.
Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.

Just joking around
Kids, too, can enjoy the Big Apple tradition of seeing a first-rate comedy show, presented by performers in the Kids ‘N Comedy program. Its monthly public shows are always a blast, but we especially love “Christmakwanzukah Show,” a winter special on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

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You’ll laugh until your ribs hurt as the tween and teen comedians, from ages 11 to 17, poke fun at religious traditions, family time and, you know, actually finding joy during the most wonderful time of the year.
Rest assured that the sets are kept appropriate for a family audience. $18 plus one food item minimum.
Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St.

Kids’ Comedy Christmakwanzukah Show at the Gotham Comedy Club. Courtesy of Gotham Comedy Club

Shining lights
Dance, music, juggling, live painting and circus arts come together in “White Gold” by Phare Circus, an enthralling performance that’s also New Victory Theater’s first show from Cambodia.

Founded by refugees, all members undergo eight years of training, giving kids from impoverished backgrounds education, employment, food and support.

The show runs Dec. 8 to 30. From $29.
Stage 42, 422 W. 42nd St.

Songs of the season
Come the evenings of Dec. 8 and 9, jingle all the way to the Upper West Side, and you’ll be rewarded with the mellifluous notes of country crooner Brett Eldredge. The “Glow” Live Tour is inspired by Eldredge’s Christmas album, and young and old alike will rejoice in hearing hits such as Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” with Eldredge interspersing songs with endearing and humorous stories.

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Design marketplace Minted has partnered with Eldredge, releasing holiday cards featuring lyrics from Eldredge’s tunes with Minted artists’ original artwork; The Minted and Brett Eldredge Collection will raise funds for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. From $79.
The Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway.

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