The sameness of holiday traditions from year to year can be a rock in changing times. Portland offers many rocks: concerts, plays and performances that affirm our faith, our community and our benevolence to friends and family. Here are five that will make you feel good this season:

Portland Stage Company, “A Christmas Carol,” Dec. 3-24. The Portland Stage version of the Charles Dickens’ tale is traditional in its costuming, set and presentation. Director Anita Stewart focuses the story on redemption and hope, and finds a soft spot where humanity emerges. portlandstage.org

 

ChoralArt, “Christmas at the Cathedral,” Dec. 3-4. ChoralArt, formerly known as the Choral Art Society, sets a spiritual tone with its early-December concert at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a perfect venue for this collection of voices and brass under the direction of Robert Russell. The concert will feature the premiere of Travis Ramsey’s “On The Night You Were Born,” set to a text by Nancy Tillman. ChoralArt’s long-time collaborators, the Portland Brass Quintet, will perform solo and accompany the ChoralArt Singers and the traditional audience sing-along. choralart.org

 

Portland Symphony Orchestra, “Magic of Christmas,” Dec. 9-18. The lasting beauty of this concert is the musical wonder that happens when the Magic of Christmas Chorus fills Merrill Auditorium with blended harmonies that lift the orchestra and audience in a joy-filled sing-along of 2,000 voices and instruments. This year, the Portland Symphony Orchestra brings back the Cirque de la Symphonie, adding aerial acrobatics to the mix of carols and classics. Robert Moody conducts. portlandsymphony.org

 

Kotzschmar Christmas with Cornils, Dec. 20. Municipal organist Ray Cornils commands the console of one of the great organs of the world for this family concert at Merrill Auditorium that includes festive, reflective and fun music from across centuries. This is the 26th year that Cornils has hosted the concert, which also features the Kotzschmar Festival Brass, the Parish Ringers and Musica de Filia. foko.org

 

Maine State Ballet, “The Nutcracker,” Nov. 25-Dec. 4. This is the 40th anniversary of the Maine State production, which is music from the Maine State Ballet Orchestra and dancing by more than 300 ballerinas at Merrill Auditorium. This year also marks the final performance of principal dancer Glenn Davis, who will retire after 20 years. New this year is a matinee at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25. mainestateballet.org

 

Portland Ballet, “The Victorian Nutcracker,” Dec. 17-18, Westbrook Performing Arts Center; Dec. 23, Merill Auditorium. This performance offers audiences a Portland-rich interpretation of the classic holiday tale. Set in Portland’s Victoria Mansion, “The Victorian Nutcracker” makes use of Portland people and places, turning the ballet into a local story with a universal message. portlandballet.org