IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE The holidays just wouldn’t seem right without perennial favorites like The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, and Miracle on 34th Street. Of course, you know how all those feel-good shows are going to end, so this year we encourage you to expand your repertoire. Check out these devilishly good acts for some nontraditional cheer.

December 7 and 8: Houston’s DiverseWorks Artspace hosts Slump: The Christmas Show, a performance by the musical troupe Slump that turns the stage into a bizarre North Pole full of elf sweatshop laborers and perverted reindeer surrounded by gargantuan paintings of an inebriated Frosty the Snowman.

November 17-December 22: Dallas’ Kitchen Dog Theater presents Reckless, a black comedy starring Tina Parker as Rachel, a suburban housewife who discovers on Christmas Eve that her husband has hired a hit man to kill her.

December 7-December 23: El Paso’s Aardvark Theatre puts on Sorry, Wrong Chimney, a tale of a woman who suspects that her husband—who is moonlighting as a department-store Santa so that he can buy her a fabulous present—is having an affair.

(See Dallas: Theater; El Paso: Theater; and Houston: Theater.)