All eyes are on the dinner table. No wonder, Thanksgiving is the most magical meal of the year. In a probably futile effort to stave off the guilt of over-eating, why not burn some calories before dinner by running Portland’s Thanksgiving Day 4-miler or attending a benefit yoga class. And after the stuffing cools and the wish bone has been split, what then? How about The Nutcracker, a well-decorated mansion, and making your own candy canes?
For the weekend of November 29-December 1
9 am Thursday | One City Center, Portland |$25| www.eventbrite.com
Most people consider Thanksgiving a day to succumb to gluttony. To eat well and nap well and repeat. But not you. You want get up early, pull on your running shorts and a pair of aerodynamic ear muffs, and sprint through the streets of Portland. Because you love to run! And because you are maybe, sort of, a little bit like one of those crazy runner people. But hey, that’s cool, good for you! I’ll save a cookie and cup of spiked hot chocolate for you back at the house, where I’ll be wearing pajama pants and not running.
7:30-8:30 am and 9-10:15 am Thursday | Greener Postures, Falmouth and Portland | $15 suggested | www.greenerposturesyoga.com
9-11 am Thursday | Portland Power Yoga, Portland | $25 | portlandpoweryoga.com
I bet you thought the only stretching you were going to be doing this weekend was in your waistband. Not so! On Thanksgiving morning, two local yoga studios are offering sessions that will do good for you and a few local organizations that could use the help. Portland Power Yoga and Greener Postures are offering benefit sessions. Greener Posture’s sessions are by donation (suggested donation of $15). At Portland Power Yoga, proceeds from the $25 class fee go to Good Shepherd Food Bank, and attending yogis are also encouraged to bring in donations of canned and dry goods. Ohm!
2 pm and 7 pm Saturday, 2 pm Sunday | Merrill Auditorium, Portland | $20-$60 | porttix.com
It’s tradition. And for good reason. The Nutcracker is a holiday staple in many households (I remember going to see this every year as a kid, and then returning again as an adult just to feel some of that Nutcracker magic). Performances continue through Dec 8.
Portland: 5:30 pm Friday in Monument Square
Brunswick: 5 pm Friday at The Town Mall
Gorham: 4:30 pm Saturday at Robie Park
York: 6 pm Saturday Sohier Park (Lighting of the Nubble)
The best time to be near a Christmas tree is on Chrstimas morning when it starts spitting out all the presents (get there early!). But the second-best time is when the tree is dressed with lights and lit up for all the world to see. The annual tree lighting is like the tree world’s version of a Debutante Ball. “World, I present to you this tree, all dressed up, looking her finest, and ready for marriage!” Or maybe it’s just fun to look at trees with lights and maybe sing along to some Christmas carols.
Victoria Mansion, Portland | 11 am- 4:30 pm Friday, Saturday & Sunday | $15 adults, $5 ages 6-17, free under 6 | victoriamansion.org
Your holiday decor is amazing. The tree decked with shiny bulbs, the faux snow on the windows, the stockings you thought about knitting yourself but realized you don’t know how to knit. You are truly a master of Christmas merry-making. But that Victoria Mansion, with its rooms of big trees and velvety red ribbon and garland and gold stars and ornaments made of oranges and cloves, it’s not pretty well for itself, too. Christmas at Victoria Mansion kicks of on Friday, and visitors can peruse the rooms decorated by local designers (who totally got their ideas from you, of course).
8 am Saturday | Haven’s Candy Factory, Westbrook | $7 | www.havenscandies.com
Contrary to popular belief, candy canes aren’t made by a medical supply company in the North Pole that caters to elves recovering from knee surgery and/or hip replacement. They’re made by candy companies like Haven’s Candy. On Saturday, you can see exactly how those minty sticks are made and make one yourself (bend it into any shape you’d like! A cane, a crutch, a toe splint!).