"Amahl and the Night Visitors": Chamber Opera Chicago's annual presentation of Gian Carlo Menotti's tale of a crippled shepherd boy who meets three kings is, as usual, directed by Menotti's son, Francis. Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium; Dec. 1-2

"Duke It Out": Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington (and Billy Strayhorn) get their place in the holiday spotlight in these "dueling" versions of the score of "The Nutcracker," presented by Axiom Brass and Quintet Attacca, accompanied by young performers from Foster Dance Company. Music Institute of Chicago, Evanston; Dec. 8

"Home for the Holidays with the Bourne Family": Often praised as the contemporary version of the Von Trapp Family Singers, mother Lisa and her eight kids offer a selection of traditional carols and international holiday songs. Auditorium Theatre; Dec. 1

"Kol Zimrah Choir: Hanukkah and More": Songs in celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights. Union League Club; Dec. 12


"Tidings of Tap!": Chicago Tap Theatre sets holiday classics — including "Carol of the Bells," "Hava Nagila," and "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" — to a footloose beat. UIC Theatre, Dec. 14-16

"Mannheim Steamroller": If you like your Yule with a New Age flavor, roll out to Rosemont. Akoo Theatre, Rosemont; Dec. 1

"Johnny Mathis Christmas Show": Or if smooth crooning is what you crave, Rosemont is still your destination. Comedian and country singer Gary Mule Deer (who, to our knowledge, has never pulled Santa's sleigh), opens. Akoo Theatre, Rosemont; Dec. 8

"His Way for the Holidays": Ron Hawking brings his holiday homage to Sinatra, Bing, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, and other great interpreters of the Great American Songbook to two different area venues. Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace, Dec. 17; Theatre at the Center, Munster, Ind., Dec. 31

"A Very Dino Christmas": Peter Oprisko channels Dean Martin in this holiday concert. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Arlington Heights; Dec. 6

"Blind Boys of Alabama — Go Tell It On the Mountain": The living legends of gospel perform their 2003 Christmas album in its entirety. City Winery Chicago; Dec. 8

"Happy Holidays Broadway Style": Some of Chicago's top musical actors join together for one night in a mix of holiday staples and Broadway hits. Paramount Theatre, Aurora; Dec. 4

"Celtic Woman: A Christmas Celebration": The Irish songstresses, backed by a full symphony, present traditional Celtic carols with a contemporary twist. Pfeiffer Hall, North Central College, Naperville; Dec. 8-9

"Cherish the Ladies Celtic Christmas:" More seasonal songs from Gaelic gals. Old Town School of Folk Music; Dec. 6

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year": Chicago cabaret favorites Laura Freeman, Beckie Menzie, and Marianne Murphy-Orland cover the holiday songbook from traditional to modern. Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Arlington Heights; Nov. 28

"BETTY, the Holiday Show": The quirky pop-rock female trio from New York delivers holiday classics with surprises. City Winery Chicago; Dec. 19

"22nd Annual Winter Solstice Concerts": Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang perform a multi-cultural and multi-instrumental salute to Solstice. Links Hall; Dec. 21-23

"Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Show": Saxophonist Koz's annual songfest. Chicago Theatre; Dec. 8

"Songs of Good Cheer with Mary Schmich and Eric Zorn": The Tribune columnists once again host this songspiel fundraiser for Chicago Tribune Holiday Giving. Old Town School of Folk Music; Dec. 13-16