Holiday Cheapskate: Arts & Entertainment for the Season

Let’s not go overboard or anything this holiday season. (Flickr commons, user MSVG)

We have well established that we are cheapskates. Anti-Couric live on Ramen and vegetables from her garden. I work in the arts. So we can’t always shell out a lot of money for a Holiday Spectacular on Ice. So here are your best bets for partaking in all the holiday goodness without getting raked over Santa’s coals. Some of our choices are free, some are good ideas to do with friends in lieu of buying each other gifts. Pretty much everything here is under $30.

Wadsworth Atheneum Festival of Trees: If you’re a member already, it’s only $3, but $13 for regular adults. If you get there early, there are a ton of activities like local singing groups and crafts, and of course, the pretty, pretty trees.

CONNetic Dance’s Nutcracker Suite & Spicy: A different take on a classic with tons of diversity, tap, jazz, hip hop, and so much local goodness it hurts. There’s even an “ugly sweater” performance…or fugly if you’re really diligent! Tickets are $30 and the show runs December 14-16. If you want to support off-the-beaten-path arts, this is your best bet.

Winterfest in Bushnell Park: They’re saying it’s bigger and better than last year — bigger rink for free ice skating (and free skate rentals), photos with Santa (also free), and trees, wreaths and firewood for sale! Now until middle of January.

Holiday Light Fantastia: For only $12 a car (load ’em up!), drive through the winter wonderland. Be sure to support them, since some a-holes stole their lights, resulting in a postponement of their big opening. I mean, this benefits Channel 3 Kids Camp, and jerks are going to steal from them? Seriously. $2 off coupon here.

Hartford Symphony: With Handel’s Messiah for $35 at Asylum Hill Congregational Church, and great pricing on Holiday Cirque Spectacular (you know, Cirque style performers flying over the orchestra–utter coolness), there’s no reason you can’t go a little fancy. $25 tickets to Cirque for those under age 40, and $10 student tickets–but you need your ID for both.

Mark Twain House & Museum: Our friends at Mark Twain, as usual, have so much going on. From their 31st Annual Holiday House Tour ($30-$35) to their Olde Fashioned Christmas with the Harriet Beecher Stowe House ($20 for adults, $10 for rugrats) and some free programs, they are always a good bet.

Driving Miss Daisy at Playhouse on Park: Okay, I know, this isn’t really holiday themed, but it’s a nice change. Their tickets are really affordable–$15 during previews, and easily under $30 for regular performances.

Have we missed anything that’s affordable and worth our time?