Thursday, Dec. 23
It’s a Wonderful Life
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $18
It’s become a Thalian Hall holiday tradition: screening Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” at downtown’s historic theater every year the week of Christmas.
Capra — whose grandson Frank Capra Jr. helped found EUE/Screen Gems studio in Wilmington in the mid-’80s — filmed the Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed classic in 1946. It has since been remastered and follows the tale of George Bailey who is visited by an angel, Clarence, who shows him what life would look like in Bedford Falls if George wasn’t around.
Thalian Hall’s executive director Tony Rivenbark will have his vast toy collection on display, and seasonal treats will be served.
There are two screenings on Dec. 23, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased here.
ALSO HAPPENING ON THURSDAY
Hi-Wire Trivia — The Princess Street brewery in the Soda Pop District hosts Thursday night trivia, covering a plethora of topics, from science to current events to music. The games begin at 7 p.m. and prizes are awarded to first through third places.
Spirit of the Holidays Cruise — Justin Ellis and John Wolfe will be singing holiday tunes aboard Wilmington Water Tours on Thursday evening for a “Spirit of the Holidays” lights cruise. The 46-foot catamaran will be fully enclosed and heated, and cocktails will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Art Explorers — Cameron Art Museum will have a reading of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” during Thursday’s art explorers program, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. There will be holiday crafts and music, plus hot chocolate. The program is intended for toddlers and preschoolers, and cost is $3 for members and $6 for nonmembers.
Friday, Dec. 24 – Saturday, Dec. 25
Local Christmas Services
Various locations across town
Numerous churches in Wilmington will welcome worshippers to its Christmas services during the most important season in the Christian faith.
At St. James Parish (25 S. Third St.), three services will take place: 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. (Holy Eucharist Rite II). St. James also will have Christmas Day services at 8 a.m. (Holy Eucharist Rite I), 9 a.m. (Lessons and Carols) and 10:30 a.m. (Holy Eucharist Rite II).
Port City Community Church (250 Vision Dr.) will have multiple services at its campuses on Dec. 24. The Wilmington church will meet at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., while the Leland location will have 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. services.
Downtown Wilmington’s First Baptist Church (411 Market St.) will host a candlelight ceremony at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. Nursery care will be provided at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Located at 612 S. College Rd., St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church will hold a Christ Mass Eve at 5 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. Carols will be sung — “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Joy to the World,” and more — ahead of the Candlelight Eucharist.
First Presbyterian at 125 S. 3rd St. will host a 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 11 p.m. (10:30 p.m. prelude) service on Dec. 24.
On Eastwood Road, St. Mark’s Catholic Church will have Christmas Eve mass at 4 p.m. in the church, followed by a 6:30 p.m. service in Spanish and one in English at the same time at the OLV chapel at the school. At 11 p.m. another service will take place in the church at 11 p.m. On Christmas Day, masses will be held at 9:30 a.m. (English), 11:30 a.m. (English) and 6 p.m. (Spanish).
Wesley Memorial (1401 S. College Rd.) will have a traditional candlelight service at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with communion in the sanctuary. A contemporary candlelight service will take place at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. with communion in the Activity Building Gym.
At the corner of 16th and Market streets, St. Paul’s Episcopal will host in-person and livestream services. At 5 p.m. pre-service music will begin ahead of a children’s presentation at 5:30 p.m. of the nativity and Eucharist. At 8 p.m. pre-service music will play ahead of the nativity and Our Lord Choral Eucharist service. The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Eucharist also takes place on Christmas Day, 10:30 a.m.
Basilica Shrine of St. Mary at 412 Ann St. will have services at 4 p.m. (Basilica), 4:10 p.m. (school cafeteria), 6 p.m. (Basilica), 6:10 p.m. (school cafeteria), and 8 p.m. (Misa de Navidad/Spanish). Christmas Day mass will begin at midnight and another will be held at 10:30 a.m. (Basilica), followed by a vigil mass at 5:30 p.m.
The Wilmington location (6934 Market St.) and Southport campus (4811 Southport-Supply Rd. SE) of 828 Church is welcoming parishioners to enjoy music, a Chrsitmas message and baptisms. It will also stream for those who cannot make it in person.
Life Church (1939 Independence Blvd.) will host a Christmas Eve candlelight service, complete with carols, candles, a snow machine for the kids. There are two time slots, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Kidz Life will be open at the activity center for children birth to pre-K.
The Church of the Servant (4925 Oriole Dr.) will host Holy Eucharist services at 4 p.m. with music and at 7 p.m. with both music and a choir.
St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church will host a children’s service at 4 p.m. and traditional candlelight services at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Services will also be livestreamed.
Christmas Eve services at Pine Valley United Methodist (3788 Shipyard Blvd.) throughout the day Dec. 24. Noon will feature a traditional service, 3 p.m. for children, 5 p.m. will be contemporary, 7:30 p.m. will be a blend of traditional and contemporary, and 11 p.m. will be traditional.
ALSO HAPPENING ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
The Feast Gathering — A nonprofit that works with the unsheltered population to provide music, conversational homily, meditation, communion and dinner will be partnering with The St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 12 N. 6th St., for its annual Christmas dinner, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help cook, set up, break down, serve and host. Sign up is here.
New Hanover County Arboretum — The N.C. Cooperative Extension and NHC Arboretum grounds will be open Christmas Day for free to folks who wish to enjoy the outdoors and gardens. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Arboretum is also pet-friendly, though animals must be leashed and cleaned up after. Holiday hours will be Dec. 23-27 and 31-Jan. 2.
Leland in Lights — Founders Park in Leland is lit up this time of year with lights strewn on every tree and displays welcoming onlookers to enjoy the vibrancy of the holiday season. The lights are on nightly through Jan. 10 at 113 Town Hall Dr. It’s free to attend.
Sunday, Dec. 26
Lake Linda’s Christmas Lights
218 Old House Rd., Hampstead • Free
Every year in Hampstead, Lake Linda’s Christmas Lights illuminates the northern part of the county with over 200,000 bulbs twinkling, blinking and glowing alongside holiday displays, all synchronized to music. The attraction has gained so much popularity, it became a contender on 2020’s “Great Christmas Light Fight” on ABC.
Individuals can walk or drive through the attraction and tune into 89.5 FM to hear the holiday music and get the full experience. There is also a Christmas Shoppe open to purchase snacks and souvenirs.
Hours are 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. through New Year’s, weather permitting.
ALSO HAPPENING SUNDAY
Beer Church — Cape Fear Wine and Beer’s (139 N. Front St.) weekly tradition falls on Boxing Day come Sunday. All the masses are welcome to learn about and sip on Gouden Carolus, a Tripel beer brewed in the Belgian city of Mechelen. Free to attend, beer priced separately.
Yoga Flow — Hi-Wire Brewing (1020 Princess St.) hosts a yoga class on Sundays, 11 a.m. It’s upbeat, costs $10, and helps instill focus, balance, strength, and mindfulness. The class is limited to 25 people and must be reserved at bit.ly/wilmyoga. Walk-ups are welcome, if space allows. Mats will be spread 6 feet apart, and masks will be required to ensure safety for all.
Illumination — Cameron Art Museum’s (3201 S. 17th St.)current lantern exhibition is open to the public through Jan. 9 ($8-$10 admission). A multitude of lanterns are on display, handcrafted by local, regional, and national artists, each representing a take on the theme of renewal and rebirth. Read more about the exhibition here.
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