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Christmas spirit hits Toronto stages -- and more this weekend

It's hard to escape Christmas cheer across the city -- as is evident from Toronto's theatrical stages. Here are some festive productions and other events to check out this weekend:

Impulse Festival
Dec 12 to Dec 15
Young Centre for the Performing Arts

Over the course of the festival each eight improv troupes from Toronto and beyond will perform their signature shows and offer workshops of varying intensity focused on a range of improvisational technique. There will also be a series of mash-up performances, where each troupe is paired with another for some border-crossing improvisational antics.

For more information, check out the Soulpepper Theatre website.

The Nutcracker
Dec 14 to Jan 4
Four Seasons Centre

The National Ballet's sumptuous, comical, touching and spellbinding version of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Christmas tale was created in 1995 and has been enthralling audiences - especially children - ever since. It is a refreshingly traditional version of the story, replete with the details of childhood dreams and the appeal of fantasy, a ballet gloriously designed and costumed and brimming with affection for and insight into the passage from childhood to maturity that all children make.

For more information, check out the National Ballet of Canada website.

Weather the Weather
Dec 6 to Dec 30
Evergreen Brick Works

Inspired by winter, the Canadian Shield and our indomitable compulsion to get home for the holidays, Toronto playwright Haley McGee has written a tale about the making of the Canadian character. She plucks familiar characters from northern folklore, lets them loose in the Don Valley Brick Works, adds a global storm and dares them to find their way home.

For more information, check out the Theatre Columbus website.

The (Mostly) Annual Toronto Santa Speedo Run
Dec 14
Start Point: Hemingway's (1:30 PM)

Some wait for Santa. Others for Elijah. And still others for Krüüdknæpper, the Festive Elf of Iceland. But in Yorkville, they wait for pasty-white "athletes" in nothing but flimsy red lycra.

For more information, check out the Toronto Santa Speedo Run website.

City of Craft
Dec 14 to Dec 14
Theatre Centre

Get some unusual Christmas gifts for family and friends, and maybe even yourself, at this craft trunk show featuring the city's amazing DIY-ers. Admission is only $2!

For a line-up of vendors and workshops, check out the City of Craft website.

Family Activities
Harbourfront Centre

There's something for everyone -- from handmade holiday decorations workshops and a scavenger hunt to the return of the DJ Skate Night!

For more information, check out the Harbourfront Centre website.

Annual Holiday Open House
Dec 15
Toronto's First Post Office

Make mail art, seasonal paper crafts, remember Christmas traditions from the old town of York... Most of all, get those Christmas cards all written up!

For more information, check out Toronto's First Post Office Facebook page.

A Celebration of the Life of Nelson Mandela
Dec 13 (2:15 to 4 PM, doors open 1 PM)
Convocation Hall (UFT)

Hosted by our own Garvia Bailey, this is an event to remember the amazing life of Nelson Mandela.

For more information, check out the University of Toronto website.

In Concert: Frankie Payne
Dec 13
Velvet Underground

Frankie Payne performs as part of a hiphop showcase.

For more information on his music, check out Frankie Payne's website.

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