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?





And so it begins…

By wallyg from Flickr Creative Commons

Every year the “Holiday Season” seems to start a bit earlier. This year I was at a CVS the day before Halloween and had to fight my way through Christmas crap just to find the spooky goods. But it’s Turkey Day that officially kicks off the holiday season for me. The holidays just come in rapid succession once that day has come and gone.

Thanksgiving means a lot of things to us here at The CuT. It’s a precursor to the Asian Persuasion’s birthday, an excuse for the Gay Guru to gamble in Vegas casinos, and the cue for me to increase my rambling about the Stuff Boycott. With the AP working her way across Southeast Asia for the holiday and her birthday, and GG out west, I was left to my own devices over the long weekend. This led to Black Friday shopping with Nana.

When I say “Black Friday shopping” I don’t mean we got up at 4 a.m. and trampled fellow shoppers. Instead, I did what normal human beings do: I waited until all the maniacs went home/were sent to the hospital, and then went to get the few things on my list that weren’t worth buying online or weren’t donations. I ended up at TJ Maxx picking out a purse for my mom, and my cousins’ presents from Nana. Then we headed to the Christmas Tree Shoppes where I bought a frame for a print I bought for my aunt, and a really awesome facial mask for myself — I’m getting old, I need help staying porcelain. And then we went to WalMart…a place that shakes me to my very core every time I go near it — which is only when Nana makes me.

I lost my steam after that.

But when I say “Holidays” I don’t just mean Christmas. December is full of other holidays like Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. Around here, though, our Holiday Season doesn’t end until the Asian Persuasion throws a Chinese New Year Bash. She used to get a room at Szechuan Tokyo but these days your lucky if she throws an old egg roll at you as you walk in her front door. Still, we don’t call it quits until the Asian gives us some food.

With that in mind, we are officially kicking off our holiday coverage… just as soon as we’re all back in CT.

The Rageless Gift

We here at The CuT are agoraphobic…at least from mid-November until January 2nd. We are pretty broke and, therefore, cheap. And we like to procrastinate to boot. This combination makes holiday shopping akin to having 27 root canals in one sitting, while having someone squeeze lemon juice into papercuts. So we’ve developed some serious shopping skillz, and we thought it was our duty to share our expertise with you. So here are some of our best last-minute, cheap, yet good gift ideas that will also keep you clear of malls and the rage that accompanies them. We are also going to steer clear of cheesy homemade gift ideas like cookies and collages. If you’re crafty, you’ve already thought of doing it, and those are never good last minute gifts–waiting for glue to dry on your way to Christmas dinner? No es bueno. (more…)