Party season hits full stride this weekend for most of us with social calendars and music will actually hit the back burner for once. But some big shows are right around the corner. Meanwhile, let's look at the best options - holiday and non-holiday - for the cold, clear weekend ahead.

The Kurt Bestor Christmas event hits Abravanel Hall for its annual run starting Thursday and continuing through Saturday. Bestor's a true musical talent and even though he focuses on Christmas music doesn't mean one should discount his skills. The multiple award winner is even up for a Grammy this year. Tickets for all four shows are available at arttix.org. Here's Bestor's playing a sentimental favorite called "Prayer of the Children."

And The Nutcracker continues its nearly month-long run at the Capitol Theatre with performances Thursday and Friday and two shows on Saturday. Nothing quite gets me in the holiday mood like this show - no, I don't know why either - and it's an annual treat. Tickets are on sale at arttix.org.

And scooting back a bit, don't forget that country-rapper Colt Ford is at The Complex on Thursday night ... Yes, you read that right, he plays country music while rapping on top. It's better than you fear. Tickets are on sale at smithstix.com.

On Friday, KRCL hosts its second annual Polar Jubilee down at the warehouse off North Temple. Tickets are $30 and the money goes to the station's benefit. That's a great cause to support in my book. See you there.

Also on Friday night, the Urban Lounge is hosting Chicago's Entrance Band along with locals Spell Talk and Dark Seas. Should be a fun time. Tickets are $10. Check out Entrance Band's video for "Grim Reaper Blues."