- Margot MacDonald will make you believe in snow. (Photograph by Brandon Wu)
While it was easy enough (for a while!) to avoid the holiday music that started playing before Thanksgiving, it's impossible to ignore it now that the yuletide season is officially upon us. While there are plenty of super-Christmassy shows this weekend (including the "Messiah" sing-along at the Kennedy Center), there are a few shows that will slowly ease you into the holiday spirit -- at least for a few days.
Thursday, Dec. 22, at Iota, $10
Local singer-songwriter Margot MacDonald isn't kidding about the "& Friends" part of her holiday show: in addition to openers the Phillip Noss Band and Matt Hutchinson of Fools and Horses, she's going to be joined on stage by Rob Martino, Gideon Grove, Derek Evry, and Maureen Andary of the Sweater Set, among others. On this very crowded stage, MacDonald will be singing both modern and traditional holiday songs as well as a few originals. Onstage, she's probably going to bust out that looping pedal, and after the show, she's apparently going to be selling some handmade ornaments.
Thursday, Dec. 22, at the State Theatre, $10 minimum
The annual Santa Jam at the State Theatre is a charity event: admission to the show (a minimum donation of $10) and raffle ticket sales benefit Doorways for Women and Families and Music to Give. There are plenty of performances as well -- Mark Wenner (of the Nighthawks), Linwood Taylor, Cathy Ponton King, Mary Ann Redmond, Soul Gravity, and School of Rock will all grace the State Theatre's stage. If you're feeling particularly in the giving mood, feel free to bring an unwrapped children's toy as well.
Saturday, Dec. 24, at Jammin' Java, $20
Despite what retail establishments would lead you to believe, there are other holidays besides Christmas at this time of year. Rob Tannenbaum and David Fagin flaunt their irreverent humor in an acoustic setting with their group Good for the Jews. There's probably not a lot of serious holiday content in this show, but if you're looking for a reason to get out of the house on Christmas Eve, then you're probably not looking for that anyway.
Sunday, Dec. 25, at the Kennedy Center (Millennium Stage), free
The holidays are known as a time of year where we celebrate traditions, and the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage has made a 13-year practice of presenting an All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam. The group features brothers (and DC natives) vibraphonist Chuck and pianist Robert Redd, vocalist Delores King Williams (currently of the Capitol Steps), trumpeter Tom Williams, bassist James King, and drummer Lenny Robinson. Expect to hear a lot of jazz versions of holiday tunes.
These and other show listings can be found on ShowListDC.