Bring light to the dark winter nights, warmth to the seasonal cold and spirit to a dull world. At least one of these five upcoming holiday events will brighten your day, warm your heart and uplift your spirits. For more special holiday events, see last year’s “Best Holiday Events and Celebrations in Minnesota.”

(credit: Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

(credit: Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Ever
The Dakota Jazz Club
1010 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 332-5299

Date: Dec. 4 – Dec 5, 2013 at 7 p.m.

You may remember the Ronettes singing “Be My Baby” or a handful of other Grammy Award-winning hits back in the 60s, but you may not have realized that you heard Ronnie sing “Frosty the Snowman” and “Sleigh Ride” just in the last five years. Her recordings were among ASCAP’s top 20 most played Christmas songs. Ronnie Spector and her group became pop star legends by opening for many of the top 60s bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Yardbirds. Spector’s hits in the 70s include a recording with George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr backing her. She performed with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band backing her on a Billy Joel song “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” written especially for Ronnie. She was on the charts 23 weeks in the 80s with “Take Me Home Tonight,” a duet with Eddie Money. See Ronnie Spector this season only at The Dakota, where you can see to world-class performances while dining from a full, chef-driven menu.

Adults Party with Santa
Chowgirls Parlor
1222 NE 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 203-0786

Date: Dec 5, 2013 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Chowgirls, aka Amy Brown and Heidi Andermack, are planning a holiday cocktail party for grown-ups. The Chowgirls Retro Cocktail Party with Santa 2013 features complimentary finger foods, décor and music to evoke memories of a half-century ago. Revel to Christmas 1950s soundtracks of the era. Even Saint Nick will come as Santa and his special helpers will be dressed in retro attire. The featured artist, Tara Costello, paints abstract landscapes with Venetian plaster techniques. Her modern art will be a nice complement to the mid-century modern aspect of the event. Get all of this plus complimentary appetizers and unlimited photos with Santa from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for an almost insignificant cover charge. A cash bar will be available throughout the evening. Reserve your tickets here. Heidi says she is shooting for 70 people at the event.

(credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

(credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Kids’ Breakfast with Santa
Cosmopolitan Room
Jax Café
1928 University Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 789-7297

Date: Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, 2013 at 9 a.m. to Noon

Come to the Cosmopolitan Room where kids can meet Santa in person and tell him whether they have been naughty or nice. This annual event is just another way the Kozlak family has been serving the people of Northeast Minneapolis since 1933. Award-winning cuisine and a tradition of excellence are hallmarks of this institution.

Hill House Holidays 

James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave.
(651) 297-2555

Dates: Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, 2013 
at 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., tours begin every 30 minutes

A vivid portrayal by costumed actors brings to life a Gilded Age Christmas in the home of one of the most pre-eminent Minnesota business leaders ever. Taken from oral histories of people who worked for the Hill family, the thrill and flurry of holiday preparations spring to life in front of our eyes. Keep pace with the tempo starting at the stylish first floor spaces and then scurry down to the basement to see the servants toiling to prepare for holiday events. One of several signature events taking place throughout the year, The James J. Hill House periodically presents these types of theatrical events, themed tours and concerts. Be wise and make an advance phone reservation to ensure an advantageous crowd size.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The Target Holidazzle Parade
Nicollet Mall between 12th and 4th Streets
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 376-7669
Dates: Every Fri. and Sat. through Dec. 21, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

More than a million brilliant lights illuminating elaborate floats attract 300,000 visitors to Nicollet Mall every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. this time each year. High-spirited storybook characters, performers and musical groups parade down the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, warming the hearts of all. The Target Holidazzle Parade features different sponsors, grand marshals, local choirs and local marching bands every night. Check the website for to see when your favorites will appear.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at