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Toy Party celebrates 10 years with ‘Cirque de Jouets’

Toy Party

Downtown Atlanta will be more bustling than Santa’s workshop on Dec. 2, as thousands of LGBT Atlantans turn out for the 10th annual Toy Party at AmericasMart #3.

For more than a decade, the Toy Party has allowed LGBT locals and an increasing number of heterosexuals to play Santa’s elves by donating holiday gifts for underprivileged children in Atlanta.

“It’s amazing how every year it gets bigger and bigger,” says Nick Gold, a member of the advisory board of For The Kid in All of Us, the volunteer non-profit that organizes Toy Party. “It’s amazing to see, and we expect maybe as many as 5,000 people will attend the Toy Party this year.”

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Local theaters offer diverse takes on the holidays

Santaland Diaries

Holiday time at local theaters traditionally brings familiar offerings as well as some newer fare, much of it appealing to LGBT patrons.

Of course, “The Santaland Diaries” will be back for its 14th outing at Horizon Theatre. The comedy has proven to be the grandest gay-themed offering of the entire season. Based on gay writer David Sedaris’ own experience, as told in his “Holidays On Ice,” it stars Harold M. Leaver as the snarky title character, forced to work as a department store elf during the holidays one year when money is tight.

Leaver’s co-stars are Enoch King, now in his sixth year, and LaLa Cochran. Leaver still shakes his head at how successful “Santaland” has become. What started as a staged reading now often sells out its entire run.

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Ho, ho, ho-liday concerts!

Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus

It’s just not the holidays without music to put you in the festive spirit. Atlanta’s gay and lesbian choruses are poised to host their annual holiday concerts with inclusive messages of peace and hope.

The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus returns to the Cathedral of Saint Philip for its annual holiday concert, this year called “And on Earth, Peace.” The concerts are set for Dec. 7-8, including the traditional ice cream social after the 2 p.m. show on Dec. 8. The chorus also offers a preview show Dec. 1 at Red Clay Theatre in Duluth.

Kevin Robinson, artistic director for AGMC, said this year’s theme of peace goes hand-in-hand with the season.

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Don’t miss these favorite ATL holiday traditions

Holiday events

Atlanta may not be a typical winter wonderland, but the season is still filled with events and attractions to get you in the holiday spirit. While not as LGBT-specific as Toy Party or gay chorus concerts, you’ll also find plenty of “family” at these beloved traditions.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Nov. 17-Jan. 5 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org

“Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is among the newest traditions on our list, debuting last year. By turns whimsical and ethereal, this lovely lighted walk through the 30-acre garden uses more than 1.5 million low-energy lights to create a vision that is nothing short of delightful. Among the new features this year are the Vincent Van Gogh-inspired “Starry Night Walk and “Liquid Lights,” a lighted fountain display in the Cascades Garden described as “an icy cool vibe.” Favorites from last year also return, including the “Orchestral Orbs” display set to holiday music on the Great Lawn.