Need a dose of sweet home Alabama for Christmas? Head to Birmingham

Want to do something a little different this year to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year? Head to Birmingham, the city sitting in the middle of Alabama and oft overlooked. Whether you'd like to revel in a Christmas classic musical or ride the “North Pole Express,” Birmingham has something in store — for Christmas and for an unforgettable time among, family, friends and loved ones.

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Orchestra Holiday at the Samford University

To celebrate season's greetings with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, attend a concert filled with Christmas favorites on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The “Home for the Holidays” concert features the Hilltop Singers from Birmingham Southern College. Tickets are free. Samford University Wright Center, 872 Montague Dr., Birmingham. 205-726-2853.

Scrooge: The Musical

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Based on the beloved “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, the musical takes you and Ebenezer Scrooge “on a spellbinding journey through Christmas past, present and yet-to-come...” From Dec. 14-23, Thursday to Sunday. Tickets: $15-$40. Scrooge: The Musical. Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 326th St. S, Birmingham. 205-251-1206.

Alabama Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

Alabama Ballet is one of only eight ballet companies in the world to be licensed by The Balanchine Trust, and this year, the company returns with performances of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker. Performances are Dec. 14-23 and held at the Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center of Samford University. Tickets are $40-$65. Alabama Ballet's '"The Nutcracker." Leslie S. Wright Fine Arts Center, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham. 205-726-2853.

North Pole Express

For lovers of the book, "The Polar Express," which was later made into a movie, the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum is bringing a chance to experience the magic of the North Pole to life. Running from Nov. 16 to Dec. 15, those of all ages will be able to get onboard. Wear your favorite cozy pajamas if you would like. Infants free. Tickets $28-$47. North Pole Express. Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, 1919 9th St., Calera. 205-668-3435.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Drive through more than 3.25 miles of custom dancing light displays set to your favorite holiday music, all of which is synchronized over the car radio. Open nightly through Jan. 6. Tickets per car or family van: $25. Birmingham Race Course, 1000 John Rogers Dr. Birmingham. 888.321.7547.

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