Christmas This Year celebrates special abilities, plus more events this week


  • Courtesy of Danielle Schmidt

Christmas This Year

Dec. 5, 7 p.m., Dec. 7, 2 and 6 p.m., Ent Center for the Arts, 5225 N. Nevada Ave., $12-$25,

Local musician Jared Anderson is used to being in the spotlight. His career as a Christian music artist and his calling as a worship leader at New Life Church have given him a healthy amount of time in front of live audiences. During his upcoming variety show Christmas This Year, however, he will perform in a much smaller capacity, ceding the stage to the exceptional talents of Colorado Springs’ dynamic special abilities community.

Anderson was inspired to create the variety show after visiting a school in South Africa called Club 21, which specializes in supporting the education and development of people with Down syndrome. Services for people with disabilities are limited, and many individuals with Down syndrome are placed in schools that do not offer the unique services they need to achieve their fullest potential. Club 21 is the only school in South Africa that provides such specialized support.

Anderson had visited the school to perform for the students. It led to an afternoon of singing, dancing and engaging with the students that truly inspired him. After the event, a colleague remarked that it would be amazing to hold a similar event in Colorado Springs. Anderson agreed. He returned home and he and his wife, Megan, sat down and began to create the program.

Five years later, the show has grown into a beloved event for members of the special abilities community and their families, as well as the community at large. Anderson, his wife and their six children all participate in running the show, and the proceeds benefit Club 21 and local nonprofits for individuals with Down syndrome.

“This show is a celebration of their abilities, as well as a chance to partner in advocacy for people that do not have access to services,” says Anderson.

Attendees can expect an evening of comedy, skits, dances, funny videos and even a unicycle act. Everyone has been hard at work honing their performances and Anderson says audiences are sure to leave the show feeling uplifted.

“These kids and adults are so often spectators at other people’s performances and competitions,” says Anderson. “They cheer on their loved ones and are so supportive. Bringing them into the spotlight to share their own talents is such a joyful experience.”

#OptOutside Night Hike

Nov. 29, 5:30-8 p.m., 1805 N. 30th St., $8,

The state’s largest organized night hike is back to help you #OptOutside of the retail chaos that is Black Friday. Hike Garden of the Gods at night with only glowing markers to guide you. No moon means a particularly dark adventure, so be sure to bring a flashlight — red-tinted lights are highly recommended for maximum enjoyment. This year, the hike has introduced timed entry tickets to ensure that the trails aren’t overly packed. Beyond traipsing the trails, attendees can also meet nocturnal birds of prey and check out the stars using professional-quality telescopes set up by the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society.

Scrap Exchange

Nov. 29, 1-4 p.m., Rockrimmon Library, 832 Village Center Drive,

Every crafter has that stack of unused scrapbooking paper, stray skein of yarn or abandoned jar of glitter cluttering up the creative space with no real purpose. Why not exchange it for something useful — and maybe nurture a little crafting camaraderie with your fellow makers while you’re at it? Bring in clean, gently-used crafting materials to the Who Gives a Scrap supply swap. You’ll exchange your items for tickets that you can then use to “purchase” new-to-you items for all your artistic endeavors. When you’re done collecting supplies and inspiration for your next big creation, you can hop on over to the project table where you’ll find a craft activity with upcycled materials.

Small Business Saturday

Nov. 30, Runs all day long at locations throughout the Pikes Peak region

Give meaningful gifts that support the local economy this holiday season by shopping on Small Business Saturday. This special day has become a popular way to take the focus off the big box stores that tend to dominate holiday sales. Give special attention to the small businesses that contribute directly to their local economies through their tax dollars, philanthropy and support of local makers. Shoppers can expect special sales throughout the city, as well as free parking downtown and visits from Santa in Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City.

Bright Saturday Comedy Show

Nov. 30, 7-9 p.m., Funky Little Theater Company, 1367 Pecan St., $5-$10,

After a week of eating, shopping and family time, Oxymorons Comedy wants to give you a breather with an evening of improv comedy. The locally based troupe prides itself on clean performances that can be enjoyed by everyone without sacrificing any hilarity. That means you’re safe to bring your ultra-conservative uncle, naughtier cousins and eye-rolling teens — like Thanksgiving dinner but, you know, fun. The show includes a raffle for gift certificates to local attractions, restaurants and merchants with proceeds going to support Christmas Unlimited.