You would think Santa Claus would be a bit crunched for time two days before Christmas Eve, but the jolly old elf has made time to lead a few horseback trail rides at Southfork Ranch, home of the prime-time oil opera Dallas’ Ewing family. Apparently reindeer-driven sleighs aren’t Old Saint Nick’s only area of hoof-powered transportation expertise. One can only imagine how slow a one-horsepower ride must feel after being accustomed to a ride fast enough to cover the globe in a single night. Rides are $45 per person (must be 8 or older), include photographs with Santa and are available at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday at Southfork Ranch, 3700 Hogge Drive in Parker. Online reservations are not available, so call 972-442-7800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your ride or get more information. Jesse Hughey
Celebrating the winter solstice in 2018 might sound a little odd. What are we, druids? But you don't need to be a blue-painted pagan to find a reason for celebrating the sun's return journey north and more daylight ahead. Today, we have knowledge of seasonal affective disorder, and any sufferers would gladly don some holly and blue paint and dance naked at dawn for relief. Luckily, Dallasites won't have to take things that far. Instead, head to the Perot Museum of Science and Nature, 2201 N. Field St., for a solstice celebration that includes a yoga session among the dinosaurs, an immersive, relaxing soundscape in the Gems and Minerals Hall and a sunrise dance party with tunes supplied by DJ Sober in the lobby. It all begins at 6 a.m. Tickets are limited and cost $20 for museum members, $25 for nonmembers and include all-day access to the museum. Reserve them at tickets.perotmuseum.org. Patrick Williams
After that last trip to NorthPark, you’re gonna be more than on board with a Christmas story that’s a little south of apocalyptic. In fact, a zombie attack is scientifically more relaxing than getting out of that mall parking garage. See for yourself as Stomping Ground Comedy Theater, 1350 Manufacturing Street #109, presents Christmas horror melodrama Deck the Halls With Brains at 8 p.m. Friday. Greg Silva’s off-kilter holiday tale puts a merry band of misfits in a showdown with a crop of zombies as they attempt to track down (a hopefully not zombie-fied) Santa Claus. There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere, but who are we kidding? We’re kinda hoping to see what happens when someone eats the Spirit of Christmas’ brains. See, the parking garage got to us. Find tickets for $5 to $10 online at stompinggroundcomedy.org. Jennifer Davis-Lamm
Billed as a holiday art celebration, power trio Dead Mockingbirds headlines this shindig at the always-great Double Wide. Fresh off some nice DOMA nominations, the band makes music that is neither pretty or ugly — it's just dirty rock 'n' roll that rattles your brain and tugs at your heart. There will be art on display from Jackdaw Russell, Flesh Piñata and Andrew H. Kendall, so it serves double-sided enjoyment from the music scene and art scene around here. Skip out on that lame holiday party at your office and see this instead. With Crooked Bones, Big Heaven and Cool Jacket, 10 p.m. Friday at Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., $10 at prekindle.com. Eric Grubbs
After slurring his way into the hearts of the mainstream with 2015’s hit single “Broke Boi,” mumble rapper and part-time model Playboi Carti is on a career upswing after the release of his debut studio album Die Lit this spring. The album came close to topping Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop album charts, no doubt thanks in part to features from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott and Lil Uzi Vert. Though if you weren’t a fan of mumble rap before, there’s nothing on Die Lit that’s likely to change your mind. Mainly known for rapping about sleeping with your girl and drinking lean until his “stummy hurts,” Carti’s flair for the dramatic and complex aesthetic are usually enough to send crowds into hysterics on their own. Add that to the rapper’s repetitive catchphrase vocal delivery style, set to booming trap beats from “Magnolia” producer Pi’erre Bourne, and you have all the necessary components of a good night out. 7 p.m. Friday at South Side Ballroom, 1135 S., Lamar St., Suite 101, $35 and up at ticketfly.com. Nicholas Bostick
Full of frenetic energy and dynamic magnetism, a Shane Smith & The Saints show can be a cathartic, communal experience. There will be a cappella sing-alongs, roaring choruses and a fitful blend of Cajun folk and raucous instrumentation that always serves to bring down the house. The Austin-based quintet have released two albums of original material and have toured relentlessly across Texas for the past several years. The roadwork has paid off, as they've built a bigger audience throughout much of the West Coast and have earned a wide range of positive reviews for their latest full-length release, Geromino. Expect a heavy dose of those tracks and some spirited cover songs as they take over Gas Monkey Live! Friday night's show also serves as an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, so come dressed in your most garish attire. 8 p.m. Friday at Gas Monkey Live!, 10110 Technology Blvd. East, $20 and up at ticketfly.com. Jeff Strowe
What do you call a band of five talented brothers from different fathers who play solid gold country-and-western hits and bar-room-sing-along songs while wearing gleaming gold satin cowboy suits? The Gold Brothers, naturally. While you may not have seen or heard of the brothers Gold yet, you’ve likely heard many of the classic country hits that Cal, Cotton, Cozy, Cam and Cash Gold claim to have “written” and then had “stolen” by counterfeit performers who’ve gone on to success in Nashville, Memphis or Bakersfield, leaving the brothers to play gin joints, dive bars and burger houses in North Texas. And the band has an embellished, over-the-top story to go with most of the songs. Expect to hear classics like “Amarillo By Morning,” “Elvira,” “Friends In Low Places” and “Take This Job and Shove It” – just never call them one of the most entertaining cover bands in town unless you want the conversation to end in a bar-room brawl. For Friday night’s A Gold Brothers Xmas! expect some rousing holiday favorites mixed in. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the brothers play from 7:30 to 9 p.m. with an after-party hosted by DJ Bro Ho Ho. 7 p.m. Friday at Andy’s Bar, 122 N. Locust St., Denton, $7 at eventbrite.com. Daniel Rodrigue
With roots in Dallas, The Mammoths are now an Austin band but are back for a show at Three Links on Friday night with an excellent lineup. The band fuses blues, psychedelic rock and soul, and its sweaty, fueled live performances have been described as reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. With Bryce Bangs and Dr. Joe, 9 p.m. Friday at Three Links, 2704 Elm St., $12-$20. Diamond Victoria
Twice nominated for Best Cover Band by the Observer, Raised Right Men are a Denton gem covering all your favorite old country songs. The five-piece who call themselves a honky tonk band invite you to crack open a beer and celebrate the legacy of Willie, Waylon and the boys. 9 p.m. Friday at Box Garden at Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Ave., free. Diamond Victoria
A supergroup made popular by Simon Cowell of American Idol fame, the quartet Il Divo blends classical music and opera with the performative gusto of pop balladry. Touring behind their 10th studio album, Timeless, which includes “Hola,” a Spanish language version of Adele’s smash hit “Hello,” Il Divo are sure to also showcase their celebrated Christmas hits. For fans of vocal supergroups, contemporary classical pops concerts and holidays celebrations, this concert takes place at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at The Majestic Theatre, 1925 Elm St.. Tickets start at $59. Find more info at majestic.dallasculture.org. Jonathan Patrick
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Kindness and love can change the world. That's the message of A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens, the holiday musical playing at Dallas Children's Theater at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and winding up at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Treat your 6-year-olds and up and yourself to the 90-minute performance, which includes a magical tree ride back to foggy Victorian England where brother and sister Jack and Annie and three ghost friends help Charles Dickens with a writing project. For info and tickets ($15-$40), go to dct.org/plays or 214-978-0110.The theater is located at 5938 Skillman Ave. Reba Liner
We're all about local country folk darling Frankie Leonie right now. The teenage sensation who was recently nominated for a Dallas Observer Music Award will blow you away with her powerful voice, talented guitar playing and compelling songwriting. Keep your eye on this one. With Nathan Mongol Wells and Ian Salazar, 10 p.m. Saturday at Double Wide, 3510 Commerce St., $7-$10. Diamond Victoria
To tide you over until Hugh Jackman comes to town to sing the hit songs from his 2017's The Greatest Showman, you can catch Vocal Majority, a Dallas-based men's chorus, perform their Greatest Snowman, a Christmas-themed night of song. Vocal Majority is made up of 100-plus volunteers and have performed all over the world. With their layered harmonies, they'll give audiences a treat. Shows go through Sunday, Dec. 23, at the Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. Tickets start at $16. For more information, visit vocalmajority.com. Paige Skinner