Once again, it’s that time of year to splurge on others, and this month, there are plenty of options to make everyone on your list happy. Among the countless Nutcracker performances in town, two of the best are from local companies: California Ballet (Dec. 14 to 23, orchestra tickets $92) takes Clara to the Land of Sweets in its beloved annual production at the Civic Theatre, and San Diego Ballet (Dec. 29 to 30, premium tickets $100) brings together an international cast of more than 100 dancers at Copley Symphony Hall. For classical music aficionados, there is no better treat than Avi Avital (Dec. 6 to 8, grand tier and mezzanine tickets from $61), the Grammy-nominated Israeli mandolinist. On Dec. 6, he will perform a short early-evening concert of works by Vivaldi and Bach (tip: arrive early for a quick bite from Harvest Kitchen’s farm-to-table food truck). Then, Dec. 7 and 8, Avital will delight again with a longer program of baroque and Russian classics. Have a Radiohead fan on your list? Thom Yorke (Dec. 17, tickets $60), who recently scored the remake of the 1970s horror movie Suspiria, comes to the Observatory with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and audiovisual artist Tarik Barri for some electronic magic. For the die-hard romantic, there’s the San Diego Symphony’s special screening of the holiday rom-com Love Actually (Dec. 14, grand tier and mezzanine tickets from $52). Accompanied live by the orchestra, the film stars Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and too many other excellent actors to name. And lastly, for your favorite pacifist, there is San Diego Opera’s All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Dec. 7 to 9, orchestra tickets from $70) at the Balboa Theatre. Based on real-life events, the 70-minute a cappella chamber opera tells the story of a group of World War I soldiers from France, England and Germany who ended up in no man’s land on Christmas and put their differences aside to enjoy the holiday together. Sounds like a good reminder for us all!
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