Explore offbeat and traditional holiday events in Portland.

Explore offbeat and traditional holiday events in Portland.

Do you like your holidays traditional or a little bit offbeat? Either way there’s plenty of holiday cheer for Portlanders to enjoy this season.

For an offbeat holiday, start it off right by joining Anticon Santicon, a new take on the Portland underground ritual beautifully recounted in Chuck Palanuik’s classic travelogue Fugitives and Refugees. Part pub crawl, part Santa-themed dress up party, this event will satisfy duel desires for costuming and imbibing. Anticon participants are encourage to meet up under the Paul Bunyan statue in the Kenton district at 12:30pm on December 7th dressed in their St. Nick inspired finery.

Follow up your red rampage with a holiday shopping at Crafty Wonderland. Featuring wares by northwest artisans, it’s like having a regional “best of Etsy” gathering under one roof. With everything from fancy toiletries to unique clothing, you’ll find plenty of trendy gifts that feature art by locals. Previous years have also offered an ugly Christmas sweater photo booth, perfect for a family portrait to embarrass and amuse. Crafty Wonderland happens on December 14th  and 15th from 11 am – 6 pm at The Oregon Convention Center.

Finally, for some wickedly offbeat holiday fun, take in a performance of The Santaland Diaries written by humorist David Sedaris. Based on an essay of the same name, Sedaris drolly recounts his experience working as an elf in Macy’s department store. For any person who’s ever felt jaded by the commercialism of the holiday season, Sedaris’s take on faking holiday cheer for a paycheck will no doubt tickle your funny bone. The show runs through the end of December.

For a traditional and family friendly start to the season, why not skip the long lines at your local mall in favor of breakfast with Santa at one of several McMenamin’s locations? Enjoy a hot breakfast and a cup of joe while the youngsters take a turn on Santa’s lap. Check out the McMenamin’s calendar for tickets and times at each location.

For a more traditional holiday shopping experience, visit the Expo Center for the annual Christmas Bazaar. Billed as America’s largest holiday bazaar, you’ll find unique gifts of both the handcrafted and commercial variety. With over 1,000 vendors, you’re sure to knock at least a few entries off your shopping list. The Expo Center Christmas Bazaar happens over two weekends: Nov. 29th-Dec. 1st and again on Dec. 6th-8th. Tickets are available online, but you can get in for free this Friday (Nov. 30th) with two cans of food for the Portland Sunshine Division.

As far as holiday entertainment goes, it doesn’t get more traditional than the Christmas Revels show. A variety show of sorts, the Christmas Revels combines instrumental and choral music, folk dance, children’s music, drama and poetry to celebrate the winter solstice. A large cast of actors, musicians, and local choral groups come together to produce a show that celebrates the season through song, dance, story and ritual across cultures. This year’s show will explore the traditions of Old Europe presenting music and dance from Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. The show runs Dec. 6th-14th at the Scottish Rite Center theater.