Savannah Celtic Christmas, Festivus Party 


At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22

St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1802 Abercorn St.

Admission $20 adults, $10 children under 12

Indeed, this is a Christmas music show, but it doesn't take place in a club. It's in a church sanctuary.

Don't let that scare you off. The second annual Savannah Celtic Christmas is a freewheeling celebration of Irish music and culture, with dancing, good-natured tomfoolery and even beer and wine (that stuff's all part of the cieli, or Irish after-party, in the Church Hall next door).

The main attraction is Savannah native Moira Nelligan on fiddle and vocals, accompanied by her son Mickey on guitar, and "Uncle" George Norman on mandolin. Collectively, they're called the Dixie Jigs.

Nelligan and her husband, artist Michael Hickey, are paying for everything themselves, bring kit and caboodle down here from their home in Decatur.

"It didn't occur to us to say anything but why not," Nelligan explains. "We love this stuff."

It's a southeast spinoff of the "Atlanta Celtic Christmas," a perennial favorite. Hickey, who's also an actor, will demonstrate "mumming," the traditional Irish mask folk dance.

"I collect songs, I live to learn songs, arrange songs and tunes," says Nelligan. "Oh my gosh, we live for this. And to share it, that's very important to us.

"Most of the time, when people do music, it's about sharing, and we want to share what we love more than anything."

And then there's stepdancer Jacquie Berger. "Jacquie Berger rocks," Nelligan enthuses. "She is awesome. She's in aviation school - she's so busy doing all this cool stuff, I can't get her to send me a picture. She's by far the best-looking out of all of us."

Berger is also a dance teacher in the Atlanta area. "Two of her students just qualified for the world championships in Belfast," adds Nelligan. "And those are the two that are coming with her to Savannah."


At 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23

Wormhole Bar, 2307 Bull St.

Among Seinfeld's catchphrases and contributions to the cultural lexicon, none stands taller than the Festivus pole. For the uninitiated (and there can't be that many of you), Festivus was a holiday dreamed up by George Costanza's father, Frank, as an alternative to the crass commercialism of Christmas. "It's Festivus for the rest of us!" he proclaimed. (You'll find it in the Season 8 episode The Strike).

For George, of course, Festivus was typical family torture. First, Dad set up a bare aluminum pole in the center of the room (no decoration - Frank always found tinsel "distracting"). There followed the Airing of Grievances, in which you tell everyone the ways in which they've disappointed you this past year, and the Feats of Strength (generally some sort of wrestling match). Then came the Festivus meal.

In The Strike, penny-pinching George fakes a charity, the Human Fund, and "donates" to it in lieu of giving anybody a Christmas gift. His clueless boss, Mr. Kruger, writes out a check for $20,000 to give to the Human Fund, which leads - in a typically roundabout way - to his getting invited to the Costanza home for a holiday meal. As Kramer says, "It's another Festivus miracle!"

There’ll also be a re–gifting ceremony at the Wormhole bash, so bring those bad gifts (“the worse the better,” advises Wormhole owner Amy Stafford. “I love Seinfeld,” she adds. “It’s my favorite show ever.” The Festivus fun also includes Elaine Benes dancing, soup for you, and an open musical jam.









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Bill DeYoung

Bill DeYoung

Bill DeYoung was Connect's Arts & Entertainment Editor from May 2009 to August 2014.

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