Tuba ChristmasTuba Christmas (credit: CBS)

Amid the chaotic buzz of Christmas shopping, holiday parties and children’s concerts, you’ll find a few wonderful events in the Denver area to sit back and celebrate the holiday cheer. From well-known classics and plays to music, lights and parades, there is something for everyone, some are free. Great holiday events and celebrations happen year after year, and this year there are a lot of great returning favorites. Here is a refreshed list of some of the best ways to celebrate the holiday season with your family.

Zoo Lights
Denver Zoo
2900 E. 23rd Ave.
Denver, CO 80205
(730) 337-1400

Date: Dec. 6, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014

There are a lot of great light shows found throughout the Denver area and the Denver Zoo’s Zoo Lights is one of the best. You can wander the huge zoo marveling more than 38 acres of twinkling lights, complete with more than 150 animated animal sculptures. Visit the Elephant Passage to check out the Zoo Lights Lantern Festival and stop by one of the many warm beverage stations for hot cocoa. A trip through the magical world of the Denver Zoo during Zoo Lights is one of the fastest ways to find yourself, and your whole family, in the holiday spirit. Just be sure to bundle up.

A Christmas Carol, The Musical
Arvada Center For the Arts
6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
Arvada, CO 80003
(720) 898-7200

Date: Through Dec. 22, 2013

Back by popular demand, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities presents “A Christmas Carol, the Musical.” This takes the classic Dickens’ story about the curmudgeonly Scrooge and his nightly visits by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future and sets it to some brilliant music and wonderful dancing. The music is written by the one and only Alan Menken (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid”) so you know it is going to be true Broadway style. A visit to the Arvada Center is always a treat for theater lovers young and old, and its production of “A Christmas Carol, the Musical” is a fun twist on the classic tale. The whole family will love celebrating the Christmas season with this one.

Related: Top Holiday Craft Ideas From A Denver Artist

Denver Parade of Lights
Downtown Denver Starting at Civic Center Park
100 W 14th Ave Parkway
Denver, CO 80209

Date: Dec. 6-7, 2013

One of the most honored and celebrated holiday traditions is the annual Parade of Lights. This two-mile parade is a free spectacle that brings tons of brightly lit floats, marching bands, Major Waddles the Penguin and of course, Santa Claus. There are a limited number of seats available in the Grandstand or you can find a spot anywhere along the route itself. This parade has long been the standard tradition of ringing in the holiday season in Denver, as the whole city watches from the route or catches the televised parade from home. Grab some hot cocoa, bundle up and find your seat on the parade route to enjoy this year’s beautiful festival of lights.

Georgetown Christmas Market
6th St. and Rose St.
Georgetown, CO 80444
(303) 569-2840

Date: Dec. 7, 8, 14 and 15, 2013

Take a step back in time by heading to Georgetown for the annual Christmas Market. For two weekends every December, Georgetown transforms into a scene right out of a Dickens’ novel. You’ll find holiday shopping, horse-drawn wagon rides, roasted chestnuts, plus a daily procession of the Santa Lucia with a traditional St. Nicholas and others in beautiful Victorian costumes. There are also dancers, music and other great family entertainment to enjoy. This annual celebration of traditional Christmas cheer has been going strong for more than 50 years, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy a Christmas Past.

Related: Top Holiday Drink Ideas From Denver Mixologists

Tuba Christmas Concert
Skyline Park
1825 Arapahoe St.
Denver, CO 80202

Date: Dec. 22, 2013 at 1 p.m.

Enjoy all of the classic holiday songs in a way you’ve never heard them before. 300 tuba players from all over the area will come together, courtesy the University of Colorado at Denver, for one of the largest and longest-running holiday celebrations in Colorado. You’ve never heard “Jingle Bells” until you hear it from 300 tubas. Plus, you’ll be enjoying the holiday cheer from Skyline Park, which will be all decked out in all the great holiday décor, making this a truly great Christmas celebration. Bring the family, dress warmly and don’t forget your thermos of hot chocolate. Then head out and enjoy this annual holiday tradition.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.