Some holiday traditions have gone staler than old fruit cake. Change it up this season with one of these six alternatives to the Ghost of Christmas Past.

A Christmas Story, the Musical

Now through December 30

The cheesiness factor has been dialed up considerably in this exuberant, feel-good musical adaption of the 1983 classic. Expect big production numbers, a kick line of dancers outfitted as those iconic leg lamps, and to hear the films’s most famous line (do we even need to say it?): “You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”. Thursday and Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton; 303-794-2787; $28–$44

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Now through December 23

Set in 1969, this nostalgic holiday spectacular follows a family of entertainers preparing for their annual televised holiday variety show while their eldest son struggles to readjust to family life and the anticipation of performing again after returning from the war. The musical, which combines original song and dance numbers with seasonal favorites, is making its world premiere in Arvada. Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m; Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities Main Stage Theater, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada; 720-898-7200; $53–$77

Elfie Shtick-Holiday Sketch Comedy

November 25 through December 23

Between holiday parties, impending visits with the in-laws, and the seemingly never-ending struggle to track down the perfect gift, sometimes all we really need during the holidays is a good laugh. That’s why this season we’re thankful for the good folks at Bovine Metropolis Theatre. Revel in the often absurd complexity of the holiday season while enjoing more than 20 original sketches and song and dance numbers, which the group creates through a mix of improvisation and collaborative workshops. Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m.; Bovine Metropolis Theatre, 1527 Champa St.; 303-758-4722; $20–$22

The Santaland Diaries

November 25 through December 24

Hoping to find something snarky under the tree this year? Look no further than this uproariously grinchy one-man show, which is adapted from a humor essay by David Sedaris, who detailed his own experiences working as an elf at Macy’s commercialized Christmas mecca in New York. This one promises to be a sure cure for the common Christmas show, but leave the kids at home. Tuesday through Thursday, 7 p.m.; Friday, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; the Jones Theatre, 1400 Curtis St.; 303-893-4100; $35–$43

A John Waters Christmas

December 7

You’ll forget all about Santa when filmmaker John Waters comes to town to serve up a sleighful of yuletide mischief and laughs that are sure to put the “x” back in “Xmas.” The edgy, adult humorist will expound upon his compulsive desire to give and receive perverted gifts, and his unhealthy love for real life holiday horror stories as he mocks standard rituals and traditions during a rapid fire monologue. Wednesday, December 7, 7 p.m.; Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder; 303-440-6455; $35–$65

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)

December 10–24

With so many holiday classics to perform, never settle for acting out just one. That’s the thinking behind this fast-paced romp through the Christmas canon, which follows three actors from the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company as they spoof their way through all manner of Christmas stories (both traditional and modern) during a wayward effort to stage a production of A Christmas Carol. Tuesday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St., Boulder; 303-444-7328; $20–$35