From twinkling lights to the live nativity, Tuacahn’s holiday lineup is ready to spread a little Christmas cheer — starting with Buddy the Elf singing loud for all to hear.

“That kind of cheer is something I think more of us could use,” says Matt Owen, who plays Buddy in the Tuacahn production of Elf the Musical this season.

It’s a story that has quickly become a favorite Christmas tale, earning a place alongside classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story. Now the film version of Elf comes to life on stage in the charming, funny and energetic production of Elf the Musical.

Buddy, an orphan child, crawls into Santa’s open sack one Christmas Eve and is accidentally transported to the North Pole, where he is raised as an elf. Eventually, with Santa’s permission, he embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and his true identity, all the while spreading Christmas cheer.

“It’s really a charming, funny show,” says Peggy Hickey, director.

That fact came as a bit of a surprise to Hickey herself. Prior to her first experience directing this show, Hickey says she was a bit cynical about the project. But just like the show’s cynical characters that eventually find their hearts softening to the magic of the message, Hickey says once she was exposed to the production she became enchanted by it.

“It was a complete surprise to me how well crafted it is,” she says. “It’s shockingly uplifting for even any bah humbuggers out there.” 

The show takes place inside the newly renovated indoor Hafen Theatre and is just one of several ways you can get into the holiday spirit during a trip to Tuacahn.

“Christmas in the Canyon is Tuacahn’s Christmas card to the community,” says Kevin Smith, Tuacahn CEO. “It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ for supporting us all year.”

Driving into the canyon aglow with 250,000 twinkling lights, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped inside a real-life Christmas card. This perfect holiday destination features all of your favorite things, from Santa Claus visits to hot chocolate, beautiful music, shopping, a live production of the nativity story and more surprises.

“The entire event is just a great capstone to our year,” Smith says.

Christmas in the Canyon opens Nov. 29 and runs most Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings through Dec. 23. Tickets to the live nativity are $3 and can be purchased in advance online. For more information log onto www.tuacahn.org

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.