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Holiday concerts to get you into the spirit of the season

Aimee Mann performs at The Saban Free Clinic's

Aimee Mann performs at The Saban Free Clinic's Gala Honoring ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee And Bob Broder at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 19, 2012. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Frazer Harrison

Holiday concerts generally conjure up images of either solemn choirs or over-the-top Mannheim Steamroller-style cheesiness.

While the Steamroller won't come closer than Connecticut this year, there are plenty of holiday shows in the five boroughs, from the ridiculous to the sublime. Here are a few.

Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays

One of the rare holiday concerts that gets into the spirit by raising money for a good cause, Lauper's annual benefit works to fight LGBT youth homelessness. It's also one of the most musically diverse shows of the season, featuring 50 Cent, Natalie Maines, Sufjan Stevens and Salt-N-Pepa. (Beacon Theatre, Dec. 6)

Puss 'N' Boots Christmas Extravaganza Take 3!

Puss 'N' Boots started in 2008 as a side project for Norah Jones to have fun with friends Sasha Dobson and Catherine Popper. The group just released its first album this year, which includes covers of songs by Neil Young and Wilco. For its Christmas show, the band promises special guests including WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley as Santa. (The Bell House, Dec. 11)

The Aimee Mann Christmas Show

After three years away, Mann is bringing her holiday tour back to New York, this time with co-star Ted Leo, her partner in their group The Both. Mann's shows typically feature Christmas classics, her own songs, videos and comedy skits with guests that have ranged from Patton Oswalt to Weird Al Yankovic. (Town Hall, Dec. 13)A John Waters ChristmasThe director of cult movies including "Hairspray" and "Pink Flamingos" is bringing back his annual one man show. His twisted take on Christmas has been known to include discussions of perverted holiday gifts and true crime holiday horror stories. (City Winery, Dec. 14)Mariah CareyThe owner of one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time (1994's "Merry Christmas") and a single so popular she recorded it twice ("All I Want for Christmas Is You," which she released in 1994 and again in 2010), the Long Island native is making the city her home for five holiday concerts. (Beacon Theatre, Dec. 15 -21)

A Darlene Love Christmas and Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Party Ever

Today, most people know Phil Spector from Al Pacino's portrayal of him in a film about Spector's murder conviction. In 1963, he was the mastermind behind what may be the greatest pop Christmas album of all time, "A Christmas Gift for You." It prominently featured Love and Ronnie Spector's group The Ronettes, turning both of the girl-group era icons into Christmas institutions. (Darlene Love performs at B.B. Kings on Dec. 19; Ronnie Spector performs at B.B. Kings on Dec. 20)

The Wizards of Winter: A Trans-Siberian Experience

Like Mannheim Steamroller, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is sticking to the suburbs this year. Those who are allergic to leaving the city but still crave prog-rock bombast and pyrotechnics with their Christmas tunes will need to look to TSO offshoot the Wizards of Winter, which features former members of the Orchestra. (Best Buy Theater, Dec. 21)Hanukkah Party for All! featuring The LeeVeesThe LeeVees' concert may be the only holiday show where you're practically guaranteed not to hear "Silent Night." The duo, which consists of Adam Gardner from Guster and Dave Schneider from The Zambonis, writes humorous indie-pop songs about Hanukkah, such as "Jewish Girls (at the Matzoh Ball)." (Brooklyn Bowl, Dec. 21)


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