The temperature has dropped just enough to make you want to put the Christmas tree up and thoughts of baking and shop, shop, shopping are in the mind. (Yes, I know some of you finished it in last year’s sales but we won’t go there.)

That’s not all this jolly time of year brings out. December is the month when you just can’t seem to get to the plethora of shows and events that are popping up all around you.  Most of which are fine tuned to the holiday season. So pick and chose you must – here are a few choices that will put a bit of a kick in your egg nog.

To start the season off in all its glory…what would Christmas be without The Nutcracker?  Put on every year by Les Grands Ballets Canadian, it is a treat to see no matter how many times you have seen it before, and no matter how old you are. It’s on at Place des Arts from December 13 to 30. Did you know that an hour before each performance, actor Jacques Piperni gives a reading of Hoffmann’s tale to the children, after which the Mouse of the Day will be randomly selected? Also related to The Nutcracker, there’s Storytelling at the BANQ, again with Jacques Piperni. From 3 to 4pm in the auditorium, rez chaussé, Sunday, December 16. www.laplacedesarts.com, Box Office 514-842-2112

For those who enjoy audience participation, if you have never joined in the celebratory mood with a gospel choir, there’s no better time than Christmas. The Jireh Gospel and Montreal Gospel Choirs, both under the direction of Carol Bernard, are holding A Christmas Gospel Celebration on December 15 at Theatre Outremont. They have been called “a treat for the ears and spirit”, delivering a highly energetic and exhilarating performance. They are sure to inspire the audience to sway, clap and dance in jubilation! You’ve never heard Go Tell It on the Mountain like this before! Tickets for the show are selling fast. www.jirehgospelchoir.com, Box Office 514-678-5254

There are certain things that some can’t go without at Christmas. The Rialto Theatre is presenting its third instalment of the yearly classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This year’s production of the holiday classic will inaugurate and be performed in the newly restored Rialto Hall. Starring James Milvain as Ebenezer Scrooge (Hudson Music Club’s The Drowsy Chaperone), this wonderful Dickens classic is a treat for the spirit and is sure to delight audiences of all ages! Enjoy fourteen traditional Christmas Carols and a versatile cast of performers. Nine performances from December 13 to the 23. www.theatrerialto.ca, Box Office 514-770-7773

And for something a little different – A Victorian Christmas at the Georges-Etienne Cartier House.  On now through to December 23, experience the Night Before Christmas Matinees, the magical world of Christmas Eve with a reading of Clement Clark Moore’s famous story. And for the lady who enjoys entertaining, The Art of Entertaining at the Christmas Table. Sit at the Cartier table and join the family’s chief steward for a special presentation on the art of entertaining. Discover the origin of certain traditional holiday dishes; learn what people ate in the Victorian era, and, of course, a few basic rules of etiquette and entertaining! Reservations are required for groups: www.pc.gc.ca, Call 514-283 -2822

And for those all Christmased out? Once again, Urban Tales is on at The Centaur Theatre from December 12 to the 15 – a short run, so you need to book your tickets early. Centaur promises “Frosty tales to chill your hearts in this age of global warming!” This is the sixth edition of the somewhat provocative and funny, somewhat decadent storytelling show. Translated and directed by Harry Standjofski, I can promise you it will have a dose of naughty, wicked and nice. Not for all audiences, though. www.centaurtheatre.com, Box Office 514-288-3161

That’s it for this year’s holiday package of entertainment for December. All wrapped up in a bow. There is much to do, much to relish and certainly enough to keep everyone enjoying the warmth and spirit of the season.