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This Week in Buffalo: Amid the Christmas chaos

The 10 days before Christmas are always a whirlwind. Frantic shopping, holiday plans to keep straight and work to wrap up, all in the backdrop of Buffalo Bills fever this year. Clinching a playoff spot might make the next two weeks less stressful, but that calm is temporary.

It's an exciting time to be a Buffalonian. Here is what's ahead for the event calendar spanning Monday through Thursday, with a teaser of weekend events at the end.

Jim Brickman: A Christmas Celebration, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18 at Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda. Tickets range from $29-$49.

Friendly, versatile and festive, pianist Jim Brickman will soothe the Riviera Theatre on his 23rd annual tour. A mix of traditional carols, Brickman's own Christmas melodies and entries from his new album, "A Christmas Celebration," are all likely for the tour stop. He seems like a genuinely amiable fellow.'s recent interview has Brickman admitting his catalog has become popular for intimate moments. Please refrain from those in the theater.

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Buffalo Brewery Cookie Party, 5 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Brawler's Back-Alley Deli (basement of Pearl Street Grill). Beer flight is free if you bring 12 or more homemade cookies.

We already know craft beer pairs well with unusual things, such as cereal, doughnuts and custard. Pearl Street's sixth annual cookie party celebrates cookie-inspired beers from six local breweries, complemented by personal baking feats of all kinds. People take serious pride in their cookies.

[Two more food events: Vegan tasting and brews on Oliver Street, Christmas Taste of Clarence Hollow]

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Hang Local Holiday Market, 3 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 500 Seneca in the Hydraulics District. Free to attend.

This week's top holiday market invades one of the most underrated spaces in Buffalo: the atrium at 500 Seneca. It's a little hidden compared to two other great spots – ECC City Campus and the Ellicott Square Building – but its design, high ceilings and holiday decor will improve your mood.

Vendors specializing in clothing, artwork, housewares and personal care will congregate, with 500 Seneca's retail tenants showcasing their services. Zak Ward will perform from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and Old First Ward Community Center will be on hand to help wrap gifts.

[Know 500 Seneca: Smiles at the Carnival | Review of Dobutsu | Meet Big Norwegian Kombucha

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Straight No Chaser, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Shea's Buffalo Theatre (646 Main St.). Tickets begin at $26.

Whether or not you agree the Christmas season needs more a cappella, Straight No Chaser is back again for those craving the style. The holiday harmonizers' recent release is a personal reflection on their 23-year career, which will obviously mention the YouTube video that made them famous. As far as musical puns go, the "Open Bar Tour" is on the clever side.

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"It's a Wonderful Life," 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19 at the Screening Room Cinema & Arts Cafe (1265 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst). Tickets are $7 at the door. Showings continue Friday through Monday.

Movies can help reinforce what's important during the holiday season, and few do it better than "It's a Wonderful Life." The transformation of James Stewart's character, George Bailey, has endured since 1947, tugging at the heart strings of millions of viewers.

[Read more: Take yourself on a date to the Screening Room]

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Christmas party central

Flavors of Allentown debuts, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 256 Allen St. Free. New Allentown bar "by women, for women" is open, across from sister business DBGB. '80s-themed cocktails and the kickoff of a weekly Ladies Night. Read more about J.J. Alfieri's plans for Flavors.

Duke's Bohemian Christmas, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 253 Allen St. Free. Trusty DBGB is practically always open and loves to throw a late-night party. This features house DJs, a complimentary buffet and a visit from someone named "Bad Santa." Check out Smile photos from Duke's Monster Ball.

Rapid-fire rundown of holiday parties:

Wear your ugly sweater

Continuing events

5 to look forward to this weekend

Feedback & tips

Have feedback on this Things To Do in WNY newsletter? Email Ben Tsujimoto at

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