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Top 5 Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

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Art, theater, and luminarias light up the Valley this week. Here's your guide to all of the above.

Las Noches de las Luminarias @ Desert Botanical Garden The concept of luminarias, which are brown paper bags partially filled with sand and then illuminated from the inside by a candle to create a lantern-like appearance, was introduced to America by the Spaniards, who adopted and adapted the idea from the Chinese. Though global in creation, luminarias are typically found most often around the Southwest, lining roadways and walkways in the days leading up to Christmas.

See also: New Times Calendar of Events

In Phoenix, luminarias line the twisting pathways that make up the Desert Botanical Garden. Among the cactus and succulents, these glowing bags cast a wonderfully mysterious luminescence during Las Noches de las Luminarias. It's a cherished event complete with live music, storytelling and wonderful, locally sourced foods throughout the compound.

Catch the spectacle from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, December 9, and through Tuesday, December 31, at the 1201 North Galvin Parkway. Tickets are $30 for adults and $12.50 for children 3 to 12. Dining options are available. Visit www.dbg.orgor call 480-941-1225. -- Glenn BurnSilver

Yuletide Tea @ The Ritz-Carlton The holidays are bound to be stressful, so in hopes of maintaining sanity, it's best to make time for yourself. The Ritz-Carlton is a great place to unwind around the holidays, thanks to its lavish and elegant décor and seasonal Yuletide Tea. This high tea with a holiday twist boasts multiple courses of food, including little sandwiches, scones with Devonshire crème, and delectable macarons. The intimate affair is hosted by resident tea sommelier Jeffrey Hattrick, who is on hand to describe the nuances of every oolong and loose leaf brew on the extensive menu. Nicole Pesce helps guests get into the holiday spirit with her piano-playing at every Yuletide Tea.

Let Christmas steep from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, December 10, at The Ritz-Carlton's Lobby Lounge, 2401 East Camelback. The family-friendly Yuletide Tea is $38 per person, a sparkling wine upgrade is an extra $19. Call 602-468-0700 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Phoenix. -- Melissa Fossum

Fourth Annual Phoestivus @ Downtown Phoenix Public Market It's been a hell of a year, people, so we understand if you've conveniently forgotten about the marathon that is holiday shopping. Luckily, Get Your PHX presents the perfect marriage of airing grievances and last minute gift giving at the Fourth Annual Phoestivus Market.

This year's market features more than 100 vendors offering everything from handmade art to locally grown food, including presents from Practical Art, One Windmill Farm, and Mamma Toledo's Pies. And for $5, Phoenicians can enter to win the Phoestivus Raffle Basket, featuring goodies from Botanicals in Clay and handmade DeCio Pasta.

Enjoy more than a dozen food trucks, live music, a beer garden from the Phoenix Ale Brewery, and of course, Feats of Strength and (allegedly) the world's largest Phoestivus Pole.

Celebrate with the rest of us from 4 to 8 p.m. two consecutive Wednesdays, December 11 and 18, at the Phoenix Public Market, 14 East Pierce Street. Visit www.foodconnect.org/phxmarket for more. -- Janessa Hilliard

Moscow Ballet's The Great Russian Nutcracker @ Comerica Theatre Sure, there are at least a half-dozen other versions of The Nutcracker going on throughout the Valley right now. But only one features a corps of professional Russian dancers, hundreds of exquisite costumes, and nine different backdrops complete with 3D effects. So while little Susie's holiday recital gets bonus point for cuteness, sometimes you just have to do it big.

Of course we're talking about the annual North American tour of Moscow Ballet's The Great Russian Nutcracker, the award-winning event that's been a holiday tradition for more than two decades. As always audience members will watch the story of Clara and her Nutcracker as they journey to the Land of Sweets, a reward for saving his life from the horrible Rat King. Between the roster of candy characters, familiar musical score, and larger-than-life puppets, it's a show that even the non-bunheads can enjoy.

See visions of dancing sugarplums at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 12, at Comerica Theater, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets cost $20 to $85. For more information, call 602-379-2800 or visit www.nutcracker.com. -- Lauren Saria

Third Annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party @ Practical Art When choosing a Christmas-themed sweater, it's pretty easy to decide on the right one: Make sure that it looks like a holiday parade barfed all over it. A cavalcade of delightfully hideous attire will be celebrated at the Ugly Sweater Christmas Party Friday, December 13.

Practical Art is the home for tasteful, artist-made wares, but its third annual shindig turns up, beckoning your wearable eye-sores to come out and play. Dig deep enough in your closet or thrift for the unholiest of knitted relics and you might go home with a $50 gift certificate for the ugliest sweater. The fun, food, and drinks will be rounded out by holiday music by sweet-voiced singer/songwriter Sarah Vanell.

Practical Art gets ugly from 6 to 9 p.m. at 5070 North Central Avenue. Admission is free. Call 602-264-1414 or visit www.practical-art.com. -- Jose Gonzalez

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