Jump down to the full list

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – You know what December means at North Carolina’s largest entertainment venues: It’s a big beautifully wrapped package of Christmas entertainment and sports, of course.

You can’t go many of the year’s final 31 days without finding one or the other across the state, most notably productions of Hip Hop Nutcracker in Greensboro and Durham and huge musical acts and college basketball all over the place.

The Rink, a public skating event, is set up for all 31 of those days at the RedHat Amphitheatre in Raleigh. You can strap on the skates and find the smooth ice.

But first, let’s talk about the Hip Hop Nutcracker, which will be at the Steven Tanger Center for Performing Arts in Greensboro on Dec. 14 and at the Durham Performing Arts Center on Dec. 23.

This tour brings together Tchaikovsky’s music along with dancers and famed hip-hop artist MC Kurtis Blow. The “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is sure to have a different bounce.

Pentatonix performs at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony last December. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)

And this should not be confused with the traditional ballet “The Nutcracker,” which you can see performed by the Carolina Ballet on Dec. 10-11 at DPAC, as well.

The vocal group Pentatonix, known for their a cappella harmonies, will perform “A Christmas Spectacular” on Dec. 17 at the Greensboro Coliseum.

If you prefer something a little less secular, the Grammy-winning percussion and vocal group For King & Country will perform “A Drummer Boy Christmas” on Dec. 11 at Greensboro Coliseum.

The month gets off to a rip-roaring holiday start on Tuesday night at DPAC, when “Elf The Musical” opens a 6-night run. This of course is a Broadway version of the lovable holiday classic movie about Buddy the “Elf.”

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: (L-R) Chris Caffery, Roddy Chong, David Z and Joel Hoekstra of Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform onstage during an exclusive performance at The iHeartRadio Theater in New York at iHeartRadio Theater on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for iHeart Radio)
Trans-Siberian Orchestra is touring with its annual Christmas show.
(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for iHeart Radio)

That’s followed by performances of Disney’s Frozen & Encanto on Ice on Dec. 1-4 at Greensboro Coliseum and on Dec. 7-11 at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Another holiday season staple, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, will bring the noise with “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve” on Dec. 10 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte and on Dec. 14 at the PNC Arena.

And if you want something dazzling and different, you might check out the acrobatic performance of A Magical Cirque Christmas on Dec. 19 at DPAC.

Other holiday events

  • Theatre in the Park’s “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 14-18 at DPAC.
  • Charlotte R&B Music Experience isn’t precisely a holiday show, but it has been rescheduled for Dec. 15 at Spectrum Center and features Monica, Tevin Campbell, Tamar Braxton, H-Town and 112 & Next.
  • Worship will have its Live Holiday Tour on Dec. 18 at the Tanger Center.
  • The Kruger Brothers, with Greensboro Symphony, perform on Dec. 31 at the Tanger Center.

On the court and ice

There is plenty of sports activity, most of it centered on PNC Arena (where North Carolina State basketball and the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team call home) and Joel Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, the homecourt of the Wake Forest University basketball team.

Wake Forest Coach Steve Forbes (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

But the premier sports event in the state this month is in Charlotte, where the Jumpman Invitational will be staged Dec. 20-22 at Spectrum Center.

This is a unique event with games between the men’s and women’s teams from North Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma and Florida. They play two doubleheaders each day, and they swap opponents.

UNC, Michigan and Oklahoma rank among the top 40 men’s teams nationally, and UNC women are No. 6, with Michigan and Oklahoma also in the top 26.

Wake Forest, though, plays three home Atlantic Coast Conference games among seven in December at Joel Coliseum: Duke, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. The schedule: High Point University on Dec. 3, Appalachian State on Dec. 14, Longwood on Dec. 15, Duke on Dec. 20, Rhode Island on Dec. 22, Pittsburgh on Dec. 29 and Virginia Tech on Dec. 31.

Otherwise, your headline basketball and hockey events include:

  • NC State playing three home games, including ACC dates against Pittsburgh (Dec. 2) and Louisville (Dec. 22). There’s also Furman on Dec. 13.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes return home to play seven games against Seattle (Dec. 15), Dallas (Dec. 17), Pittsburgh (Dec. 18), New Jersey (Dec. 20), Philadelphia (Dec. 23), Chicago (Dec. 27) and Florida (Dec. 30).
  • UNC Greensboro plays Marshall on Dec. 13 at the Greensboro Coliseum.
  • The Greensboro Swarm playing Dec. 2 and Dec. 31 in the Novant Health Fieldhouse in Greensboro

The other stuff

Alanis Morissette (center) appears on stage during the “Jagged Little Pill” Broadway opening. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

You may recall the hit album from 1995 called “Jagged Little Pill,” by artist Alanis Morissette. Well, she collaborated with Glen Ballard, writer Diablo Cody and other artists to produce a Broadway version of her album. The show, which will be Dec. 6-11 at the Tanger Center, is said to deal “with pain, healing and empowerment.”

If you like musical stars, you have options on that, too, including:

Closing acts

Let’s top off everything with North Carolina A&T University, which will conduct its commencements for the fall semester on Dec. 9-10.

Graduate student commencement will be at 3 p.m. on Dec. 9 in the Novant Health Fieldhouse, and the general commencement will be at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 10 in the Greensboro Coliseum.

Both events require tickets, and you can check out NC A&T’s website for a lot more information.

The full list

Here’s a deeper list of events, with links to sites where you can learn about times, tickets, parking and other information.

Spectrum Center

333 East Trade St., Charlotte

Dec. 1: Sebastian Maniscalco, Nobody Does This Tour

Dec. 6: Daddy Yankee, La Ultima Vuelta World Tour

Dec. 10: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “The Ghost of Christmas Eve”
Dec. 15 (rescheduled): Charlotte R&B Music Experience, featuring Monica, Tevin Campbell, Tamar Braxton, H-Town, 112 & Next

Dec. 20-22: Jumpman Invitational, men’s and women’s college basketball teams from North Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma and Florida

Visit the Spectrum Center website for more event details and ticketing information.

Greensboro Coliseum Complex

1021 West Gate City Blvd., Greensboro

Dec. 1-4: Disney’s Frozen & Encanto on Ice, in Greensboro Coliseum

Dec. 2: Greensboro Swarm vs. Maine, in Novant Health Fieldhouse

Dec. 2-4: Greensboro Importers & Wholesalers Jewelry & Accessories Expo, in Special Events Center

Dec. 8: Jinjer P.O.D., in Piedmont Hall

Dec. 9: NC A&T Graduate Student Commencement, at Novant Health Fieldhouse.

Dec. 10: Cheersport Cheerleading Competition, in Special Events Center

Dec. 10: NC A&T Commencement, in Greensboro Coliseum

Dec. 11: For King & Country, A Drummer Boy Christmas,  in Greensboro Coliseum

Dec. 13: WFMY Holiday Blood Drive, in Special Events Center

Dec. 13: UNCG vs. Marshall, men’s basketball, in Greensboro Coliseum

Dec. 16: FOX8 Old Dominion Triad Holiday Concert and Food Drive in Greensboro Coliseum

Dec. 16-18: United Futsal – Greensboro Regional Showcase, in Special Events Center

Dec. 17: Pentatonix: A Christmas Spectacular, in Greensboro Coliseum

Dec. 28: WWE Live Holiday Tour, in Greensboro Coliseum

Dec. 29-30: Holy Angels Wrestling Invitational, in Special Events Center

Dec. 31: Greensboro Swarm vs. Capital City, in Novant Health Fieldhouse

Visit the Greensboro Coliseum website for more event details and ticketing information.

Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts

300 North Elm St., Greensboro

Dec. 6-11: “Jagged Little Pill,” Broadway series

Dec. 13: Bela Fleck: My Bluegrass Heart, with Punch Brothers

Dec. 14: Hip Hop Nutcracker

Dec. 17: Heather McMahan, The Comeback Tour

Dec. 18: Worship, Live Holiday Tour

Dec. 31: The Kruger Brothers, with Greensboro Symphony

Visit the Tanger Center website for more event details and ticketing information.

Durham Performing Arts Center

123 Vivian St., Durham

Nov. 29-Dec. 4: Elf The Musical

Dec. 7: Allman Family Revival

Dec. 10-11: Carolina Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

Dec. 14-18: Theatre in the Park’s “A Christmas Carol”

Dec. 19: A Magical Cirque Christmas

Dec. 22: Fantasia

Dec. 23: Hip Hop Nutcracker, with Mc Kurtis Blow

Visit the DPAC website for more event details and ticketing information.

Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum

2825 University Parkway, Winston-Salem

Dec. 3: Wake Forest vs. High Point University, men’s basketball

Dec. 14: Wake Forest vs. Appalachian State, men’s basketball

Dec. 15: Wake Forest vs. Longwood University, men’s basketball

Dec. 17: FOX8 Old Dominion Holiday Concert and Food Drive

Dec. 20 Wake Forest vs. Duke, men’s basketball

Dec. 22: Wake Forest vs. Rhode Island University, men’s basketball

Dec. 29: Wake Forest vs. Pittsburgh, men’s basketball

Dec. 31: Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech, men’s basketball

Visit the LJVMC website for more event details and ticketing information.

PNC Arena

1499 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh

Dec. 1: Chris Tomlin X, MercyMe Winter Tour

Dec. 2: Pittsburgh vs. NC State, men’s basketball

Dec. 3: Reba McEntire, with special guest Jo Dee Messina

Dec. 7-11: Disney’s Frozen & Encanto on Ice

Dec. 13: Furman vs. Nc State, men’s basketball

Dec. 14: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “The Ghost of Christmas Eve”

Dec. 15: Seattle Kraken at Carolina Hurricanes

Dec. 17: Dallas Stars at Carolina Hurricanes

Dec. 18: Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes

Dec. 20: New Jersey Devils at Carolina Hurricanes

Dec. 22: Louisville vs. NC State, men’s basketball

Dec. 23: Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes

Dec. 27: Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes

Dec. 30: Florida Panthers at Carolina Hurricanes

Visit the PNC Arena website for more event details and ticketing information.

Red Hat Amphitheater

500 South McDowell St., Raleigh

Dec. 1-31: THE RINK

Visit the Red Hat Amphitheater website for more event details and ticketing information.