The Muppet Christmas Carol will be shown for free Dec. 10 at Nelson's Civic Theatre. Photo: IMDB

LARGE POPCORN, EXTRA BUTTER: Celebrate the holidays Saturday at The Civic Theatre

The event includes free admission and movies, a visit from Santa and giveaways

This year, rather than a chocolate or toy-filled advent calendar for our kids, our family has a holiday activities poster with little badges that you scratch off when you do something. I know it’s a gimmicky little Christmas thing, but it’s fun for all of us to think about how we can spend time together as we lead up to the winter holiday season and all the wonderful traditions, beliefs, and celebrations that come with it.

There are expected things, like “decorate cookies” and “have a snowball fight,” and then also things that some might enjoy more than others, like “wine and cheese night” and “eat candy for breakfast” (I’m pretty sure we won’t really be doing either of those entirely as a family!). I was really pleased to see that “see a pantomime” was included as an option, and we proudly scratched that one off this weekend after seeing the Capitol’s “Pied Piper of Nelsondorf.”

I imagine that many of you also have lists of things to do with friends and family over the coming month or are thinking up ways to make the season bright. So I wanted to offer you an option to add to your activities this December: The Civic Theatre’s Home for the Holidays Winter Celebration of Family and Friends is happening on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 1 pm.

Generously sponsored by SMT Law, the afternoon will feature free screenings of the timeless hockey-lovers classic The Sweater and a 30th-anniversary screening of the beloved Muppet Christmas Carol. Both screenings will be sensory screenings, accommodating everyone, including our patrons who find the movies a little too loud and the theatre a little too dark.

We expect to see Santa, and we will be giving away two signature Civic Theatre gift baskets, complete with popcorn, a Civic T-shirt, and goodies from Pixie Candy and Nelson Olive Oil, as well as a gift certificate to spend the next time you are at The Civic or The Shoebox. And don’t forget your paper and pencils! We are pleased to welcome back animation artist Nathan Affolter to show us how to draw a muppet and show it to everyone on the big screen again!

And as we have done since the first holiday event in 2014, admission is free (but donations are warmly welcome), and if you bring a donation for the Nelson Community Food Centre, we’ll give you a free mini popcorn in return. (Be sure to check out their website at nelsoncfc.ca/donate-food first to learn what the top 10 most wanted food donations are, and of course, cash gifts go a long way.)

Of course, we know that not everyone is eager to see Santa — if this happens to be you, please check our screening schedule for the coming week at www.civictheatre.ca to catch a screening of The Banshees of Inisherin, Armageddon Time, Neil Young: Harvest Time, She Said, and Bones & All as well as the new Disney blockbuster, Strange World. There is something for everyone this week.

Eleanor Stacey is the executive director of Nelson Civic Theatre Society, which operates The Civic Theatre, Reo’s Video and the Shoebox Theatre at 225 Hall St.