First Night
Highmark First Night Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Forget swans a swimming, drummers drumming and that pesky partridge. This month you’ll be seeing visions of Krampus, Wonder Woman and Han Solo, slinging booze and cookies and starting 2018 off on a very creative note.

Artwork by Lizzee Solomon.

1. Wonder Woman: Visions opening at the ToonSeum: December 1, 7 to 10 p.m.

She burst into the universe in 1941 and has spawned countless television shows, films and collectibles. This month, fans will have the rare chance to see original Wonder Woman art published throughout the character’s monumental 75-year run — including work by comic legends like Ramona Fradon, Trina Robbins and H.G. Peter, the first person to draw her. The show also features drawings by 11 regional female artists exploring what Wonder Woman means to them. Fresh on the heels of Patty Jenkins’ buzz-worthy film starring Gal Gadot, Pittsburgh’s one-of-a-kind museum examines the enduring icon and her impact on art, pop culture and society. Channel your inner “Amazing Amazon” by creating your own Wonder Woman in the museum’s community montage project. Don’t miss the free opening reception.

Photo courtesy Lawrenceville Corporation.

2. Joy of Cookies Cookie Tour in Lawrenceville: December 1 — 3, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Forget a cookie table, how about a cookie mile? Dessert will reign supreme at the 20th anniversary of this Lawrenceville institution. Bigger — and sweeter — than ever, this cherished Pittsburgh tradition blends baking from scratch, independent commerce and neighborhood pride. Boasting 53 shops, restaurants and cafes, the path to cookie heaven runs from the 5500 block of Butler to parts of Penn Ave. and 34th Street. Taste scrumptious cookies such as cream cheese spritz, pumpkin snickerdoodles, chai tea shortbread and Vietnamese and Mexican treats, discover new recipes and finish your holiday shopping, all while supporting small businesses — from Wildcard to Nine Stories to Kickback Pinball Café. Rest your weary feet and refuel with lunch, cocktails or coffee at 13 designated “Take-A-Break” stops. Don’t miss the coconut chocolate chip porter at Roundabout Brewery. On December 2, the festivities will include a Cookie Mall, tree lighting ceremony and visit from Santa.

Brendan Francis Newnam (L) and Rico Gagliano (R) of The Dinner Party Download. Photo by Kevin Scanlon.

3. Boozy Brunch Book Fair at Threadbare: December 3, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Brunch, booze and books: what could be better than this winning trifecta? Some of the brightest food and drink writers from around the U.S. will convene at Wigle Whiskey’s latest Spring Garden outpost for an afternoon of imbibing, book signing, and shopping. Stock up on gifts for the bookworms on your list, enjoy yummy brunch from Threadbare and taste coffee and liqueur samples from Wigle and Steel Cup Coffee Roasters. Featured authors — who will talk shop, food, drink and more — include Noah Rothbaum (The Daily Beast), Kara Newman (Wine Enthusiast), Pittsburgh native, Rico Gagliano (The Dinner Party Download), and Wigle co-owners, Mark Meyer and Meredith Meyer Grelli. Moderated by Pittsburgh-based writer Beth Kracklauer of The Wall Street Journal and Anne Trubek of Belt Magazine, the talks will be paired with signature drinks. The Book Fair will also showcase works by Pittsburgh-based writers Sherrie Flick and Cody McDevitt, and a pop-up shop stocked by City of Asylum and Belt Publishing. Buy tickets.

Photo courtesy Krampus in Pittsburgh.

4. Krampusnacht in Market Square: December 5, 6 to 10 p.m.

Tap into the naughtier side of the holidays at Pittsburgh’s second annual Krampusnacht celebration. According to European folklore, Krampus is sort of like the anti-Saint Nicholas — a “horned, half-goat, half-demon anthropomorphic figure” who harmlessly punishes misbehaved kiddos. In parts of Europe, on the night before the Feast of St. Nicholas — which is celebrated December 6 — Krampus appears on the streets and visits homes and businesses (think Devil’s night preceding Halloween). Krampus mania has taken off in Pittsburgh and is a fast-growing phenomenon within American culture. If the idea of a holly, jolly and hairy holiday appeals to you, head Downtown to revel in the spectacle of goat-like creatures stomping through Market Square’s quaint Christmas Village. Plop down on Krampus’ lap (adults included) to snap a selfie, belt it out in the Holiday Karaoke for the chance to win $1,000, and enjoy live entertainment by the all-Krampus band, Sleigher. Meet the horned folk legend himself (itself?) at 7 p.m., and join The Pittsburgh Krampus pub crawl.

Photo by Chris Sprowls.

5. MAKEnight (21+): Yinz Ball! at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: December 7, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Looking for a festive no-kids zone where you can unwind and be creative before the holiday madness sets in? The Children’s Museum will keep its doors open late on December 7 for a Pittsburgh-themed ball catering to the 21+ set. Slip into your favorite LBD, bedazzle it with gold sequins and head dahn to the Northside because this MAKEnight is a decidedly black and yellow affair. Print a “Terrific Towel,” make Steel City-centric holiday cards and ornaments and head to the Soldered City Station to construct a miniature Pittsburgh skyline out of metal. Learn new skills as you create leather charms with Artist & Craftsman Supply, and get into the yinzer spirit by sewing your own black and gold pennant. Play interactive games with City Theatre and put your gustatory cells to work during a blind ketchup taste test led by Heinz History Center. Satisfy your finger food cravings at the flowing ranch fountain featuring a variety of “dippables,” grab a glass of wine and make a beeline for the authentic cookie table. Buy tickets.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...