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VIDEO: Art&Seek Jr: Have Yourself a Quirky Little Christmas

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about holiday traditions, both “traditional” and off-beat. Luckily, I come from a family that embraces both.

I completely forgot about one family tradition until it turned up this past Thanksgiving at my brother’s house. It isn’t cutting down our own tree,  singing as a group by the piano, or even getting up to shop on Black Friday. No, our family ”tradition” comes in the form of a pale, runny, oyster casserole. If you haven’t guess yet, I am the black sheep of my oyster-casserole-loving family. I never touch it. Some of my earliest memories of Christmas were seeing the clear, plastic tubs of oysters lined up on the counter as my  mother tried to recall the recipe. This past Thanksgiving, as my brother mixed together the ingredients, it brought back fond memories of the time we spent together.  And, even though there is nothing about oyster casserole that appeals to me, there’s something very comforting and family-like about that. I guess that’s why they call them “traditions.”

Our newest family tradition came to be because my sister and her husband are great lovers of trying new things. They discovered Tuba Christmas about 10 years ago and it’s been part of our Christmas ever since. On its 35th year, Tuba Christmas takes place at Thanks-Giving Square in downtown Dallas at noon Christmas Eve. Some 200-plus tubas and euphoniums gather and play traditional carols at this free concert. Don’t forget to bring your funny yuletide hats and jingle bells. I shot this video (above) at last year’s performance.

And speaking of new traditions, here are a couple more you and the tiniest will definitely want to try on for size this week.

Singing is optional at the Tuba Christmas concert. Photo Therese Powell

Yes, I know tomorrow night is a school night, but if you’re wanting to do something unusual with the kids that will really fill you with the holiday spirit, you must check out Unsilent Night.  Unsilent Night is part parade and part participatory art. Here’s the deal: each participant gets one of four tracks of music in the form of a cassette, CD, or Mp3 (you can download it on iTunes) . Together all four tracks comprise Unsilent Night. Participants meet at the Akard DART rail station and carry boomboxes, or anything that amplifies music, and simultaneously start playing the music. The crowd then walks through the streets of downtown Dallas, creating a moving sound sculpture. Cool, huh?

If you’re wanting to include something a little quirky into your annual trip to see the decked out windows at the downtown Neiman-Marcus, be sure to head to Pegasus Plaza this Saturday night and catch Busk-a-Move. For those of you not familar with the term ”busking” it’s basically street performing.  Saturday night’s busking event promises everything from guitars to puppets to circus freaks. A veritable smorgasbord of entertainment all yours for the cost of a few coins!

 Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 7-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at tpowell@kera.org.