It’s going to begin to look and sound and even smell a lot like Christmas early next month at the Northland Performing Arts Center as an attempt is made to establish new holiday traditions at the facility on Tamarack Boulevard.

“To sort of put a splash into the community, we are having a kids’ event that we are very excited about,” center spokesman Christian Laver said.

First up will be “A Children’s Christmas Celebration” on Saturday, Dec. 3, from noon to 4 p.m.

“I understand that there’s a rumor that Santa Claus will visit,” said Laver, who is on the Northland Performing Arts Center board and is also on board of trustees for 70-year-old Vaud-Villities Productions Inc.

That will be followed on Dec. 9, 10 and 11 with a traditional Christmas dinner and concert entitled, “Music and Memories,” a Vaud-Villities production.

“When you attend, you’ll know nearly all the songs,” Laver said. “They’re songs that you’ve heard before, but they're done in a different way.”

Many of the traditional tunes, he added, will be performed by the Vaud-Villities group, Vocal Spotlight, in eight-part harmony.

“When you add eight parts, there’s a richness that comes through and overtones that are unique,” he said. “Though vocally challenging, it’s a very rich sound that comes out.”

Admission to the children’s event Dec. 3 will be $5 for individuals or $10 for a family. Admission includes a visit and photos with Santa, face painting, a skit from an abbreviated version of the Dr. Seuss classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and a craft demonstration to help youngsters make gifts. Also on tap will be a bake sale, glass-blowing demonstration, craft bazaar and a “Secret Santa” shop where the children — and only the children, Laver said — may buy gifts for the members of their families.

The event is being held primarily to introduce people to the Northland Performing Arts Center, in a portion of the former J.C. Penney building at 4411 Tamarack Blvd., but it will also serve to “embrace the kids of the Northland area with a very exciting event.”

Tickets for the dinner and concert later in the month are $45 a person or $20 for the concert alone, although Laver said those choosing this option will smell the food and may wish they’d decided otherwise. He and other center officials recently sampled the proposed fare of a beef au jus carving station as well as traditional turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad and more offered by the Northland firm Nicole’s Catering, and they were impressed, he said.

“It’s a full buffet meal for the extra $25, and it’s well worth it,” Laver said. “It’ll be a buffet dinner that they’ll remember.

“We have a guarantee to put you into the Christmas mood.”

The hours for the event are:

• Dec. 9, dinner from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. with the concert at 8 p.m.

• Dec. 10, dinner from 5 to 6:15 p.m., with the concert at 6:30 p.m.

• Dec. 11, dinner from 3 to 4:15 p.m., with the concert at 4:30 p.m.

The Salvation Army is partnering with the Northland Performing Arts Center for “Music and Memories.”

Ticket information for the children’s event and the dinner-concerts is available by calling 262-7469 or visiting

“The venue’s almost worth the trip,” Laver said.