▪ The annual Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway continues to dazzle carloads of families with its the 3.75-mile light show, which ends on the track – where Thursday through Sunday you’ll find Santa, a petting zoo, the Christmas village, and movies on the big screen every Thursday through Sunday until New Year’s Eve. The light show is open nightly from 6-10. Admission is $25 per car Thursday and Sunday, $30 Friday and Saturday, and $20 Monday-Wednesday (when the village is closed).
▪ Another holiday-light option: More than 600,000 twinkling bulbs adorn towering trees and illuminated displays at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens’ annual Holidays at the Garden. The exhibit opens nightly (except Christmas Day) at 5 p.m. with live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, model trains, and the Children’s Discovery Trail of kid-friendly activities. $12.95-$14.95 adults, $11.95-$13.95 seniors, $7.95-$8.95 children 2 to 12; younger than 2 free. Through Dec. 31.
▪ And it’s snowing on the border (of N.C. and S.C.), as Carowinds transforms into Winterfest for the holidays. The park has 16 rides open for the season – including the Flying Ace Aerial Chase, Afterburn, and the Zephyr; Peanuts characters manning the Christmas Tree lot and starring in their own show (one of many song and dance performances throughout the park); holiday-centric food, drink and shopping; and ice skating; crafts; and more. 5-10 p.m. through Dec. 30. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. $28-$45.
▪ Meanwhile, if you’re already over the holidays, sick of tinsel and tired of Christmas tunes, check out Flight’s non-traditional holiday party: The Grunge That Stole Christmas, where the sounds of Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain will take you back to the era that’s heavy on flannel, light on flash. Cover band Gump Fiction provides early- to mid-’90s guitar rock, while you provide your best Courtney Love, Liz Phair or Uma Thurman impression and sip on a nice-priced ’90s-era beverage. 8 p.m.
▪ Looking to burn off some pre-Christmas calories? Take your pick from two separate races being hosted in Mooresville. There’s the Elf Run 5K, which starts and finishes at the Mount Mourne Fire Department near Langtree Road, or – for those wanting a little more distance – Trump National Golf Club Charlotte is the site for the Jingle Jog Race & Taste 10K. One hundred percent of the proceeds generated by the latter will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Jingle Jog starts at 8 a.m., while the Elf Run goes off at 9 (followed by a kids fun run at 8:45).
▪ The 12th annual performance of Starving Artist Productions’ “The Birth” leads up to Christmas Eve with three performances Saturday (and one Friday at 6:30 p.m.). Inspired by the works of 91-year-old Presbyterian minister and author Frederick Buechner and featuring original music, “The Birth” has become a Charlotte tradition. 2, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. at Duke Energy Theater. Talkbacks with the cast will take place after the Friday and late Saturday performances; Saturday’s talkback will be followed by a reception with Christmas treats and a cast meet-and-greet. $16-$24.
▪ It’s the last night to catch the lights of McAdenville’s Christmas Town USA before they flicker off for another year. The 62nd annual holiday attraction, which can be enjoyed by car or on foot, runs from 5:30-9:30 p.m. weeknights. The lights stay on until 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Free.
▪ With regular stints on TV Land’s “Lopez” and the short-lived but acclaimed 2014 sitcom “Enlisted” (as well as spots on late night, Comedy Central and “Last Comic Standing”), Charlotte native Maronzio Vance is on the fast track to becoming a big name in comedy. He makes home for the holidays count twice with a two-night, post-Christmas run at The Comedy Zone. 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. $20.
Wednesday and Thursday
▪ Rap pioneer Kurtis Blow is your host for this contemporary re-imagining of the classic Russian ballet at Knight Theater. “The Hip-Hop Nutcracker” transports Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker to Brooklyn in the early ’80s, where the girl’s parents first met – and where hip-hop was born. With a DJ, a team of dancers and an electric violinist, it’s safe to say this isn’t your grandma’s Nutcracker; but the messages of hope and love remain. 7 p.m. Wednesday, 2 and 7 p.m. Thursday, with performances at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29 and Saturday, Dec. 30 at 2 and 7 p.m. $19.99-$54.99.
▪ Prepare for cheers and tears as Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor meets his former self (actor David Bradley, as William Hartnell’s First Doctor) in the annual theatrical screening of the series’ Christmas special “Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time.” It’s not only Capaldi’s last stand and the meeting of the time-hopping minds, it’s also the end of an era, as it marks the debut of the first female Time Lord (played by Jodie Whittaker) and the final episode for show runner Steven Moffat. Locally, the mini-movie/plus-size episode screens at Crownpoint at 7 p.m. Wednesday and at Stonecrest and Concord Mills at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. $10.50-$14.