We know that being a mom is much more than a job. It’s a full-time-never-get-a-break-don’t-put-that-in-your-mouth-no-means-no-lifestyle filled with ups and downs, laughs and tears and memories by the minute. Sure, it can be confusing and completely overwhelming at times, but hey, that’s why we’re here.
The two Jen’s originally created this site, and now a team of moms with different views will add to this daily blog. Our goal is to make this the ultimate resource for Charlotte moms and moms-to-be on a variety of activities, events and motherhood-related topics (best deals on hip new products, navigating the school systems, kids eat free, etc). This is a place for us to share as well as our readers, and we don’t pretend to know everything here. But, we’ll try our best to provide you with plenty of info we’ve learned through research, trial and, unfortunately, error.
What’s Courtenay’s story? I want to know more about Jen. I think I know Krista from somewhere, but where? Find out everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you didn’t) about our talented and insightful bloggers who know an awful lot about kids’ stuff and the latest goings on around town. We’re moms, wives, co-workers, friends, people in the know and, best of all, your guides on this crazy little thing we call Charlotte Smarty Pants.
Happy Wednesday Smarties! It has been a great week in Smarty Land because we have named the Toy winners. Check to see if you were a winner. The Holiday Swag Bag Giveaway ends this week, if you haven’t entered, this is your chance – click here. The winners will be announced on Friday! get ready because there is plenty to keep you busy this weekend from Holiday Markets to The Nutcracker. If you have time and are ready to get your shop on, visit our friends at Toys & Co in Cotswold and Park Rd. Shopping Center. They have been fantastic in helping with our Toy Guides and with our shopping event. You won’t find better people anywhere! Get Out and Enjoy.
December 8-9, Sat., 2:00pm, 7:00pm; Sun., 2:00pm
Charlotte’s favorite holiday tradition – Nutcracker – celebrates the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Bring your family and friends along for this holiday voyage featuring choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, live music from the Charlotte Symphony and over 100 performers. Be there as the Nutcracker Prince triumphs over the evil Mouse King and as the Sugar Plum Fairy entertains Clara, her Nutcracker Prince and the audience with dazzling dancing sweets. Nutcracker is recommended for all ages. Wondering at what age your child is ready to attend a performance? A good gauge is if they’re able to sit through a movie. Cost is $25-$79.
The Harris YMCA School of Dance Presents – Our 10th Annual Nutcracker
Dana Auditorium Queens University Charlotte
December 8-9, Sat., 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm, 7:00pm; Sun., 12:00pm, 3:00pm
The Harris YMCA School of DanceÂ is proud to present our 10th annual performance of The Nutcracker! This family-friendly, abridged version is beautifully narrated for even the youngest ballet enthusiast to enjoy. Girl Scouts can earn their Nutcracker patch for attending! Cost is General admission tickets – $10.
Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge
Explore our enchanted winter wonderland during Snowland, a month-long holiday celebration featuring these daily special events:
Daily snow showers inside the Grand Lobby.
Cub Club transforms into Santa’s workshop with a writing depot, wrapping depot and toy creation station.
North Pole University – Kids will enjoy fun, holiday assignments to earn a “Snowploma,” arcade tokens and surprise gift!
Great Clock Tower Holiday Show and nightly Story Time with Rowdy the Reindeer.
Special appearances by Santa Claus.
First Friday Holiday Market
Atherton Mill and Market
Dec 7, 4:00pm-8:00pm
Experience the growing art scene in Charlotte’s South End community with our annual holiday shopping event inside of historic Atherton Market. Handmade gift items and good cheer along with original art, culinary delights, fine crafts, jewelry, soaps and more. Live music, holiday trees, soup for sipping! 2104 South Boulevard behind Icehouse and near Luna’s Living Kitchen.
OMB Christmas Market (“Weihnachtsmarkt”)
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
December 7-8, 4:00pm-9:00pm
OMB’s 3rd annual Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt) starts Thursday, Dec. 6th & continues through Saturday, Dec. 8th from 4 to 9pm. For those of you not familiar with this traditional holiday market, it occurs in the weeks leading up to Christmas throughout Germany. People stroll around in the evenings & shop while enjoying good beer, Glüh wein (spiced red wine) & food.
Club Cookie with Jeff Gordon
Join us for an outrageous charity benefit for The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte and The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation!
The Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS! Breakfast or Lunch with Santa
December 8, 11:00am, 3:00pm
Breakfast at 9:00am followed by concert at 11:00 or Lunch at noon following 11:00 performance.
Starring the Grey Seal Puppets and Carolina Voices’ MainStage Choir! Share the excitement of a live performance and the warmth of the holidays with your child at this special kid-friendly performance of The Singing Christmas Tree. Just an hour in length, the show is filled with puppets, dancers, music and sing-a-longs – perfect for children age 3 to 10. New this year! Two special events — Breakfast with Santa and Lunch with Santa. Tickets just $7. Limited availability.
The 58th Annual Singing Christmas Tree
December 8-9, Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 3:00pm
Christmas is coming and there’s no better way to ring in the holidays than experiencing The Singing Christmas Tree with the whole family. This unique, 58-year-old Charlotte tradition features the Carolina Voices’ 80+ member MainStage Choir atop a 32-foot Tree performing a rich array of holiday music. Dancers, puppets and special guests, including Carolina Voices’ own Festival Singers and Impromptu ensembles, add to the sparkling warmth of this classic show which even boasts a special visit from… Show more Santa Claus. Don’t miss this holly jolly gift of music that everyone will love! Have young children you’d like to introduce to the arts? Consider The Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS, perfect for children age 3-10!
A Huntersville Christmas
Huntersville Town Center
December 8, 4:00pm-8:00pm
Come out to this community event and enjoy the festive celebrations in Downtown Huntersville. There will be pony rides, magic shows, entertainment, horse and carriage rides, a bonfire, storytelling, rides and games, children’s crafts, a visit from Santa and much more!
Breakfast with Santa
Painting with a Twist
December 8, 9:30a to 12:00p
Breakfast, painting & Santa, oh My! Join us for a memorable morning…we’ll create a masterpiece of memories with breakfast, create a cute portrait & a special visit from Santa perfect for intimate photos! While we welcome painters of any age, this is recommended for people aged 6+. Artists provide assistance to painters, but younger painters might also need the help of their guardian. Parents can join the fun and paint, or watch their young budding artists as they paint!
Cookies, Cocoa & Santa
Painting with a Twist
December 9, 3:00pm-5:00pm
Cookies, Cocoa & Santa. Join us for a memorable afternoon of painting fun! We’ll help create a masterpiece of memories and enjoy visit from Santa! A very intimate setting for meeting the man in the red suit! Perfect for photos! While we welcome painters of any age, this is recommended for people aged 5 and up. Artists provide assistance, but younger painters might also need the help of their guardian. Parents can join the fun, or watch their young budding artists as they paint!
3rd Annual Christmas Pawty
Club K9, Pineville
December 8, 11:00am-4:00pm
Come on out and have yourself a Merry good time!!!! Join us for our 3rd annual Christmas Pawty! There will be an off leash play area, vendors with great stuff for shopping. Nana’s Pet Safety and CPR will be there doing live demos and will have great pet products for your pooches! Lots of Danes to meet, food, drinks and of course those FABULOUS Christmas photos of your furry friends! Christmas photos are $10 and your photo files will be emailed to you so you can create whatever you like with them!
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
December 8, 3:30pm-5:30pm
Grab a change to spend some time with the jolly old chap with activities including a sing-along, story time, and a tram ride on the Garden Express. Tickets cost $20 for members, and $25 for non-members. For reservations, call 704-829-1252.
Holiday Cookie Decorating
Small Hands Big Art
December 8, 4:00pm-5:30pm
In this festive workshop, children will decorate ten large sugar cookies with colorful confections and lots of sticky sweet goodness, and then embellish a one-of-a-kind gable-handled cookie box to transport their treats. Drop off, ages 4+. $35/child + $15/siblings. Parents are welcome to stay to assist their child with his/her cookies. For information or to register online, visit www.smallhandsbigart.com or call 704-246-8271.
Rockin’ In A Winter Wonderland
McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square
December 9, 4:00pm
This event, “Rockin’ in a Winter Wonderland,” will be a unique collaboration of pop, country and rock music, dance, and other special surprises, and will benefit the Rock School Scholarship Fund (rockschoolfund.org) which provides instruments and rock school tuition to students ages 7 to 17 who could otherwise not afford to participate in a music program. Streetwise Music has been Charlotte’s leader in private music instruction since 2001 and specializes in guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums and vocals. However, what sets Streetwise Music apart from its competitors is the popular rock school program – “The Rock Shop.” Instructors work with intermediate-to-advanced students to form a band, create a set list, learn solos and performance techniques and, after 10-to-12 weeks, perform live, on stage, at one of Charlotte’s popular music venues such as Amos’ Southend, CPCC’s Halton Theater, and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.
The Charlotte Observer IMAX® Dome Theatre – Discovery Place
The Polar Express – Runs through January 1, 2013
Check for times
Back by popular demand for an exclusive limited engagement, this cherished holiday tale based on the classic children’s book written by Chris Van Allsburg is directed by Oscar® winner Robert Zemeckis and stars two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks. Using state-of-the-art CGI and performance capture technology to create a unique blend of realism and fantasy, it tells of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.
Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra
Until December 29, 8:00am
One of Charlotte’s favorite traditions is returning to Founders Hall this holiday season – Leonard Bearstein and his animatronic orchestra. Times are: Monday – Friday, 10 and 11 a.m.; noon; and 1, 2, 5 and 6 p.m. Saturday – Sunday, hourly from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Performances are free and times are subject to change.
Carolina Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Until January 1, 6:00pm-11:00pm
Carolina Christmas has something to put a smile on every face. From millions of lights, to driving on the track at Charlotte Motor Speedway to shopping in the Emporium, the attractions at the Carolina Christmas Village will delight visitors of all ages. Some activities in the Christmas Village have an additional cost. Cost is $20 per car.
Christmas Town USA
Until December 31, Mon.-Fri. 5:30pm-9:30pm; Sat.-Sun. 5:30pm-11:00pm
The lights are back and this is the event that launches many Carolina Family holidays.
WBT Holiday on Ice
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Until January 6, Wed.-Fri., 5:00pm-10:00pm; Sat.-Sun., 10:00am-10:00pm
Price: Admission: $9.00, Skate Rental: $3.00
WBT Holiday on Ice is back for the 2012 holiday season! The rink is now located at the corner of MLK Blvd and Brevard on The NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, and we are more than 30% larger. That means more skating room for you to cut up the ice! Holiday on Ice will continue its tradition bringing Charlotte the coolest surface in the city, an outdoor ice skating rink in the heart of Uptown. It’s a holiday tradition for us to continue with you, your friends, and family. And we hope to see you there!
Christmas Wonderland of Lights
Until December 2, Wed.-Sat., 6:00pm-10:00pm; Sun., 6:00pm-9:00pm
Join us for the 4th Annual Christmas Wonderland of lights presented by McDonald’s, one of the Carolinas Largest Light Shows. With over 2 million lights, and a computerized light show set to music this will be a memory your entire family won’t forget. Along with the lights, Santa will be visiting nightly until Christmas Eve, we have petting zoos, pony rides, concessions, roasting pits to make smores, a candy shop, general store, and much, much more.
Holidays at the Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Until December 31, noon-9:00pm
The sights and scents of a winter’s eve will envelop guests as Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden celebrates this special season. Our holiday display promises surprises aplenty with a new festive display of Christmas trees, a lighting display with 500,000 lights, and a touch of warmth offered by tasty s’mores enjoyed beside a glowing fire. Also, you can still enjoy favorites such as the Orchid Tree, visits with Santa and live entertainment. Cost is $12, adults; $6, children 4-12; $11, Seniors, 60+.