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It's the most whatever time of the year

Anyone can deck a few halls, grab some boughs of holly, plop the kids on Santa's lap, and call it a holiday celebration.

TubaChristmas at the Kimmel, 100-plus locals wailing on tubas, euphoniums, and sousaphones. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
TubaChristmas at the Kimmel, 100-plus locals wailing on tubas, euphoniums, and sousaphones. APRIL SAUL / Staff PhotographerRead more

Anyone can deck a few halls, grab some boughs of holly, plop the kids on Santa's lap, and call it a holiday celebration.

But there are other approaches, for those seeking entertainments of a secular bent, or less conventional approaches to making merry - brassy, maybe, or semi-clothed. Maybe vaudevillian, or rockin', or just outrageous.

And remember, "holidays" really does mean holidays. Kwanzaa is coming, too.

The Mausoleum X-Mas Party

The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Arts, PhilaMOCA, never slacks in its presentation of the beautiful, the damned, and the outright odd. Why would its celebration of Christmas be any different? Along with the recent addition of Jimmy Kimmel Live favorite Suzanne "Underdog Lady" Muldowney doing her unusual interpretive dances to seasonal songs, PhilaMOCA director Eric Bresler's event features bespectacled singer Keyboard Cathy as well as the Happy Birthday Jesus Band. Most important for Philadelphians, the performance-art musical ensemble Thunderlips & the Ultimate Males (named for the Rocky III character played by Hulk Hogan) will enact their new Christmas rock opera, Tim Allen and Adam Sandler in "The Santa Clause 4: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Santa."

You'll have something to tell your grandkids every Christmas after this one.

A Low Cut Connie Christmas

Members of Philly's rip-snorting Low Cut Connie bring the party wherever they land. With their slick-back-and-sides hairdos and their mix of rockabilly and melodic power-punk, how could they not? This is a band that shot a video for its hit "Boozophilia" at Ray's Happy Birthday Bar.

The quartet ends the year with a seasonal-themed soiree at which they'll debut songs from their 2014 elpee, play some old favorites, and offer up a hard-knock Christmas song or two.

1812 Productions' 'The Big Time: New Vaudeville for the Holidays'

Damn it, people, Jen Childs' all-comedy theater company put "the holidays" in the title, so there's no way you can avoid it. Then again, why would you bypass her collection of Philly theater VIPs - her husband, Scott Greer, and guys-not-her-husband Dave Jadico, Greg Nix, and, starting this week, Tony Braithwaite - doing old-timey routines, traditional and self-penned. (Childs lives in South Philly, so keep an eye out for the Italian bakery sketch and tell me this isn't Isgro's.)


The Philadelphia Orchestra may have the "glorious sounds of Christmas" planned for Verizon Hall, as well as a teaming with the Philadelphia Singers Chorale on Messiah, but let's face it: The really rowdy action happens every year in the lobby, when 100-plus locals wail on tubas, euphoniums, and sousaphones. Go for the festive wall of sound - or, if you think you've got the holiday tuba chops, hit up, and join in the oompah-pah merriment.

The Peek-a-Boo Revue Holiday Tease-a-thon and the Karaoke Gung Show Holiday Edition

In celebrating the holidays, it's inevitable that Chinatown's Trocadero Theatre - the original home to old-school burlesque and striptease when it was still new school - utilizes the festive peeling services of Philly's top-tier feather-and-fan-bearing lasses and their comic foiling hosts Joey Martini and Count Scotchula.

Just as hilarious but twice as buttoned up is the Troc's Balcony event, featuring the green king of punk karaoke, Skeletor (portrayed, as always, by Carmen Martella III), in his holiday guise, "Skeleclaus." Just because it's Christmas, don't expect Skelly to be more merciful with the gong. He's a mean one, meaner than the Grinch.

Saturday at 10 p.m. at the Balcony atop the Trocadero. Free. 1003 Arch St., Information: 215-922-6888,

Now Comes Kwanzaa

Let's get serious. While African American families throughout the area will find their own way to involve themselves in the weeklong celebration of Nguzo Saba (the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa) that begins Dec. 26, there are several public events focused on the First Fruits of the Harvest.

At Arch Street's African American Museum of Philadelphia, Kwanzaa's weekend days will be marked by reflective events, with the lighting of kinara candles, discussion of the principles, telling of stories, and craft making, as well as music and dance.

At the William Way Center, members of the black LGBTQ community can experience spiritual-themed ceremonies as well as spoken-word live music and drag performances. (The center also hosts a terrific potluck for members of the gay community on Christmas Day at 2 p.m.)

Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. Information: 215-732-2220,