The holidays in Little Rock looks like lively parades and craft eggnog competitions, caroling and theatrical performances. As a cultural hub not just for the state of Arkansas but the entire South, the capital city is brimming with festive events—from a Nutcracker iteration to enchanting tea parties—for kids and adults alike.
Many events have been altered or canceled for the 2020-2021 season, so check the websites of individual organizers for up-to-date information.
Ballet Arkansas' "The Nutcracker"
Billed as the "largest holiday production in the state of Arkansas," Ballet Arkansas puts on their annual performance of "The Nutcracker Spectacular" at the Robinson Performance Hall. The classic Christmas story of Clara and her animate nutcracker toy taking on the Mouse King comes to life with the help of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, two choral ensembles, and a cast of more than 250 children and adults from across the state. In 2020, the ballet will not be holding in-person performances but rather a "Magic of the Nutcracker Virtual Experience" on December 18.
Holiday Show by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
Each December, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra puts on a special show. This year, the theme is "Home for the Holidays" and while the orchestra will not be playing for an audience in person, the performance will be live streamed at 3 p.m. on December 13, and will remain on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra website until December 27. Songs will include "O Holy Night," "The First Noel," "Sleigh Ride," and "The Christmas Waltz."
"A Christmas Carol" at the Argenta Community Theater
The Argenta Community Theater puts on an annual performance of Dickens' classic holiday tale, "A Christmas Carol." The story performed in Little Rock is adapted by an Arkansas playwright and features a cast of local youth and adult actors. In December, folks would normally file into the playhouse, located just north of the Arkansas River, to watch Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past, but not in 2020. Instead, the theater group will hold a virtual 12 ACTs of Christmas event on Facebook.
Christmas Activities at the Capital Hotel
The historic Capital Hotel, located in the trendy River Market neighborhood, has been celebrating Christmas in Little Rock since 1876. For the holiday season, it normally hosts afternoon teas with sandwiches and pastries, a Teddy Bear Tea for young kids, Santa meet-and-greets, and group crafting, such as a build-your-own-gingerbread-house workshop—all supplies provided. During the 2020-2021 holiday season, however, the hotel will remain closed and all holiday events have been canceled.
Ever Nog-Off at Historic Arkansas Museum
If you can't have Christmas without eggnog, the annual Ever Nog-Off event at the Historic Arkansas Museum is a holiday must-do. Visitors can sample a wide variety of the sweet drink, from classic recipes to modern twists, and then vote on their favorites. Home mixologists proud of their concoctions can sign up to compete with others for prizes like best eggnog, best "untraditional" eggnog, and best non-alcoholic eggnog judged by a panel of children. The competition usually coincides with the monthly 2nd Friday Art Night event, allowing visitors to explore nearby venues throughout downtown Little Rock for art, cultural, and historical exhibitions; however, the 2020 event has been canceled.
Christmas Carols at the Old State House
It wouldn't be Christmas without hearing a few classic carols. The Arkansas Chamber Singers have been fulfilling the need for holiday singing with their smooth renditions since 1979. The choir is made up of 65 volunteers and is praised for its quality and talent. 2020's anticipated free concert has been canceled.
Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade
An annual tradition, the Big Jingle Jubilee is a holiday parade that features marching bands, floats, cars, a few reindeer, and the obligatory appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Families from all around Little Rock and the surrounding suburbs head to the streets to cheer on the Christmas procession and see which float will take home best in show. The parade starts at Second Street and Broadway, turning right at Capitol Avenue, ending at the State Capitol Building. This year's parade has been canceled.