What do you wish for?

Do you base our choices on what you want, or what you think you're supposed to want? Let yourself feel what you feel and want what you want, THEN engage your mind in the process. The best wishes are born from your heart.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Molly Blue Dawn's List of Yule-y Events for 2011

There are so many wonderful Yule-related events happening from late November through early January, I've created this season-long guide.  If something you love is not included on the list, please let me know about it ( mollmac@gmail.com ) so that I can include it in my weekly
e-mails.  There are two sections to this list - Yule-Related Events and Places Decorated for the Holidays.  

Section One - Yule-Related Events

A Christmas Carol at San Jose Rep
Opening Wednesday, November 23, playing through Saturday, December 24
see website for schedule and ticket details
San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose

“The miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, is isolated from his community and the spirit of Christmas. With visits from Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, we follow Scrooge on his transformational journey to rejoin the world, find redemption and discover what it means to be fully human. Rick Lombardo’s adaptation of Dickens' classic holiday story is a feast for the senses full of traditional Victorian carols, lavish period costumes and actors playing over a dozen traditional instruments.”

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Opening Friday, November 25,
thence Saturdays and Sundays November 26-December 18, 11:00AM-7:00PM
Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City
(various discounts may apply, and season tickets are available - see website for details)
Aphrodite’s Closet is offering a free ticket to the Dickens Fair with any purchase of $75 or more!
1201 Park Street, Alameda, 510-521-3313, info@sanctuaryoftheopenheart.org

"Celebrate the Holiday Season in Victorian London!

The bustling streets of London, immortalized for all time by the mighty pen of Charles Dickens, form the living backdrop of your excursion into Christmas Past. You are a living part of a Victorian Christmas card come to life!

A Bay Area tradition for 31 holiday seasons, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair returns to the San Francisco Cow Palace Exhibition Halls for four weekends in 2009, including the Friday after Thanksgiving, from Friday, November 26 through Sunday, December 19 from 11am 'til 7pm.

Created in 1970 by Ron and Phyllis Patterson, the fair is now produced by Kevin and Leslie Patterson and Red Barn Productions, who continue the family tradition of theatrical excellence through authenticity, participation, and playfulness.

Come wander the lanes of Victorian London, as the glow of twilight settles upon the city. With the scent of pine boughs & freshly baked scones floating in the air and the sound of carolers & holiday merrymakers accompanying your stroll…

London is larger this year - over 120,000 square feet to explore!
Visit shops bedecked with Christmastime finery and filled with unique treasures.
Stop in for a hot toddy or a pint of Lagunitas at Mad Sal's Dockside Ale House, where the low-life hang out and the high-born drop in.
Raise a champagne toast to the holidays at Fezziwig's Warehouse, the most cheerful spot in London.
Enjoy rollicking entertainments on six stages and in the streets.
Feast on fine foods from the British Empire and beyond.
Rest a spell in Cuthbert's Tea House, for a sip of hot tea and cucumber sandwiches or scones.

Experience the joys of Christmas past at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair!"

This is one of my favourite Yuletide traditions, and, really, one of my favourite things in the whole wide world.  And don't be fooled into thinking it's not extremely Pagan-friendly just because it's a
"Christmas" event. Christmas not Pagan, you say?!  It is too! Especially in a simulated Victorian London reconstructed by Bay Area Faire Geeks.  It's lousy with Pagans, I'm tellin' ya!  Next time
you're at PantheaCon, picture the people around you in corsets and/or top hats, and you'll realize they're the same people you saw at Dickens, just dressed more diaphonously...

You can get a season pass for $60 - hey, it pays for itself in less than 3 visits, and the Fair is running a total of 9 days this year. There is soooo much to do and see (and eat and buy, if you want to spend money...), I heartily recommend going as many times as you possibly can!  With characters from the works of Charles Dickens roaming the streets, as well as historical figures of the Victorian Age (and a few non-Dickensian fictional ones), it's wall-to-wall entertainment.  You can dance and play parlour games at Fezziwig's Warehouse, you can watch a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, a traditional English pantomime, and various variety acts at the Victoria and Albert Music Hall, you can sing sea shanties with the sailors, you can hobnob with authors, explorers, and inventors at the Adventurer's Club, you can be amazed at the wonders of the Legion Fantastique, you can take child-like glee in meeting Father Christmas, riding a hand-spun carousel, and seeing a Punch and Judy show, you can take adult-like glee in reveling in the naughtiness at Mad Sal's, the wondrous mechanical models of the Dark Garden display windows, and even the extra naughtiness of Saucy French Post Cards.  Delight in watching Scrooge turn from nasty to nice over the course of the day!  Hear Mr. Dickens himself read aloud from A Christmas Carol - spellbinding!

If you drive, plan to carpool, because the Cow Palace charges for parking.  But you don't have to drive, because you can take the free shuttle from BART, and get a discount on your admission for doing so!  The free shuttle will be operating between Glen Park BART station and the Cow Palace from 11:15AM-7:00PM each day of the Fair.  Bring your BART ticket to the box office and get $4 off regular admission.  http://www.dickensfair.com/cowpalace

The Dickens Fair is the place to bring your donations for Toys for Tots!  
Get $2 off regular admission with your Toys for Tots donation.

If you love anything about the month of December, you will adore The Great Dickens Christmas Fair!  If you wish you could attend a Renaissance Faire in the dead of winter, this is the place for you! If watching A Christmas Carol on the stage or screen is not participatory enough for you, come and live it in glorious 3D, with full colour, rich surround-sound, the ultimate Christmas-y smell that wafts from the yummy cinnamon crunch almonds, the warm, cozy flavour of hot buttered rum or chocolate egg nog*, possibly even the realistic feeling of one of Sal's gals in your lap...  It just doesn't get any better than this!

*Yes.  You read that right.  Chocolate.  Egg nog.  Chocolate egg nog.

Sing Along Sound of Music
Friday, November 25-Sunday, December 4
see website for detailed schedule
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco
Special Admission: $15 general / $10 kids (12-) & seniors (62+)

“For those of you not yet converted, Sing-A-Long Sound of Music is a screening of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in glorious widescreen, complete with subtitles so that the whole audience can sing along! In addition to belting out the tunes, goody bags will be handed out to everyone and audience members can add to the fun by dressing up as a favorite character for the costume contest!”

Rockridge In The Snow
Saturday, November 26, 3:00-6:00PM
near Rockridge BART Station, 5660 College Avenue, Oakland

“Children’s Play Area with Snow!
Live Holiday Entertainment!
Bring donations for One Warm Coat http://www.onewarmcoat.org
and Toys for Tots http://www.toysfortots.org

Christmas at McConaghy House
Saturdays-Sundays, November 26-December 18,
Saturdays 10:00AM-4:00PM, Sundays 1:00-4:00PM
McConaghy House, 18701 Hesperian Boulevard, Hayward
Adults $5, Students and Seniors $3, Children under 10 Free

“Experience what Christmas was like circa 1911 at McConaghy House. A time when changes were happening in Hayward and around the country - women in California had just received the right to vote, airplanes appeared in the sky and automobiles on the roads, and electric lights lit homes throughout the Hayward area. Find out what a family like the McConaghys would have been doing to celebrate Christmas 100 years ago.

Special programs will also take place on each Saturday.
Saturday programs:
November 26: Steampunk Crafternoon
December 3: Holiday Knitting Circle
December 10: Merry Christmas - a visit from Santa Claus!
December 17: Holiday Songs”

Irish Christmas in America
Sunday, November 27, 8:00PM
Freight and Salvage Coffee House, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, 510-644-2020
$22.50 in advance, $24.50 at the door

“Seasonal song, dance, and stories featuring Lumiere, Seamus Begley, Oisin Mac Diarmada and Brian Cunningham.

Join Sligo county fiddler Oisin Mac Diarmada of the famed traditional Irish band Teada in celebrating the season at a very special Christmas performance! In addition to the lively music of this masterful artist, the program of seasonal Irish culture features charming West Kerry singer/accordion player Seamus Begley, youthful dancer Brian Cunningham, and the lovely vocal duo, Lumiere, accompanied by Donogh Hennessy. An atmospheric journey through outstanding Irish music, stories, and solstice celebrations, the lively evening includes sing-alongs, lively fiddle tunes, and the exhilarating rhythms of Brian's old-style step dancing, mingled with the contemporary artistry of the first-class musical lineup.”

Holiday Treats
Puppet Shows with Nick Barone
various dates in December
various locations throughout the Bay Area

“Holiday Treats is an original thirty minute Christmas show from Nick Barone Puppets. Filled with lovable and friendly monsters and six or more holiday-like songs, this comical story is designed to delight families and children of all ages.”

The Musical
December 1-18
Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School Street, Lafayette

“Our holiday tradition continues with the return of the world's most famous miser and his journey toward redemption.  A musical delight for the entire family.”

Town Hall Theatre is a nifty little local theatre company in Lafayette, in an historic building which used to be the town hall.  Or possibly a barn.

A Christmas Carol
opens Thursday, December 1, playing through December 24
see website for schedule and ticket details
American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary Street, San Francisco

“The Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition returns to A.C.T. with a sparkling, music-infused A Christmas Carol. Bring your family, bring your friends, and check your "humbugs" at the door!”

Dickens Family Victorian Holiday Party
Friday, December 2, 6:30-9:00PM
Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, 415-485-3328
$10 Adults, $7 Children

“Join Charles Dickens and his family for a joyous evening of Victorian revelry at the Falkirk Mansion in San Rafael. Partake in a holiday treat as you go back in time to Victorian England and meet Charles Dickens, listen to him read from his famous works, watch his characters come alive (look out for Scrooge), meet and greet the true Father Christmas, play Victorian parlor games, dance and sing with our Victorian family and make traditional holiday crafts. Light food and drink will be served. A true family event..”

San Jose Heritage Holiday
Saturday, December 3, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Tea seatings at 11:00AM and 2:00PM
Fallon House, 175 West Saint John Street, San Jose
Holiday Tea tickets are $45 and include admission to Heritage Holiday

“Enjoy a traditional tea with scones, finger sandwiches and sweets featuring Satori Tea served by the players of the Shady Shakespeare Theatre Company. And tour the Fallon House decorated for the holidays with carolling Lyric Theatre!  Reserve your tickets today by calling Juanita at 408-918-1045, or email jlara@historysanjose.org

20 Harps for the Holidays
Saturday, December 3, 4:00PM
Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Avenue, Los Altos
$15 general, $12 children 4-12 and seniors 60+

"Annual 20 Harps for the Holidays Concert

At Harpeggio Music we are not superstitious, so we are delighted to present our 13th annual holiday harp concert! The program will include a wide variety of festive holiday music and we will feature harp solos and ensembles, including our unique studio ensemble of more than twenty harps.

We are delighted to present this year's featured artist, Natalie Cox. Natalie has been a professional harpist, specializing in all forms of classical music, for thirty-five years. Natalie is well versed in solo, chamber, and orchestral playing and is principal harpist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Festival Opera Orchestra.
Natalie teaches lever and pedal harp, both privately and at Dominican University in San Rafael. She also founded Harps of Orpheus, a performing student ensemble, to promote the joy of learning and making music with friends and colleagues. She has numerous recording credits to her name, including CDs as well as tv, radio and film scores.”

Fantasy of Lights
Saturday, December 3, 3:00-7:00PM
Cudworth Mansion, 2040 Union Street, San Francisco

“Our annual kickoff to the Holiday Season takes place in early December. The Snow Queen leads a sidewalk parade of children bringing toys to donate to San Francisco children’s charities as they welcome Santa and his Elves in front of the historic Cudworth Mansion. All manner of costumed characters entertain the crowds until dusk when all of the buildings light up with twinkly white lights making Union Street a magical fantasyland for young and old alike.”

Hanging of the Greens
Sunday, December 4,12:00-3:00PM
BFUU Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley

“Join in the fun of decorating our beloved Fellowship Hall for the winter season. We will have a tree, greenery and lots of lights to hang. We will also have various holiday decorations for Chanukah, the Winter Solstice and Christmas to make and take home.
People of all ages, and especially families with children are welcomed. Delicious hot soup will be served. Please bring goodies to share and a decoration for the tree/hall.
A sing-along of holiday tunes will feature musicians from the BFUU community and friends. Don’t miss this seasonal social event for members, friends and the larger community.”

Children’s Holiday Party
at The Allied Arts Guild
Sunday, December 4, 1:00-3:00PM
Sunset Room, The Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park, 650-322-2405

“We have an exciting new format for children from 4-8 years old accompanied by an adult.

Puppet Show by Magical Moonshine Theater Company (a hit last year)
Heather Magic - magic, comedy and juggling show!
A personal visit with our very own Santa with photo op for parents.
Cookies and juice

Make your reservations now!
Send a check for $25 per person (payable to Friends of Allied Arts) to:
Sally Knorp
1000 Trinity Drive
Menlo Park CA 94025

Please include your email or phone number so your reservation can be confirmed upon receipt of your check.  Your name will be at the door in lieu of a ticket.
Cancellations for reservations before November 29.”

Winter Madrigal and Tea with the Queene’s Court
Sunday, December 4, 3:00PM
The Newark Pavilion, 6430 Thornton Avenue, Newark
Please make reservations by Wednesday, November 30

“You Are Cordially Invited To Partake In A Moste Excellente and Delightfull
Winter Madrigal and Tea with the Queene’s Court.
Come Celebrate A Lovely Afternoone of Seasonall Musick with the Court of
Good Queen Bess, featureing a Choir of Singers, Capering Characters, a Five Course Tea, and Wassail Toaste.”

Roy Zimmerman's PeaceNick Concert

Sunday, December 4, 1:30PM
Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Road, Kensington
$15 in advance, $20 at the door

Sunday, December 11, 7:00PM
Macondray Hall, San Francisco Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco
$15 at the door

Friday, December 16, 7:00PM
UU Fellowship of Los Gatos, 15980 Blossom Hill Road, Los Gatos
$18 at the door


How does a Lefty Pacifist Humanist celebrate the
Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka-Dona-Kwanzaa season?  
By playing his usual songs about war, ignorance and greed, plus some about holidays.

You'll, laugh, you'll cry, your heart will bleed.  It's beautiful.

Belrose Holiday Tea Party
Mondays-Saturdays, December 5-December 31, 1:00-4:00PM
The Belrose Theatre, 1415 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael
$20 per person
reservations required, please call 415-902-5188 or e-mail 2TeaOrNot2Tea@att.net

“You are invited to the return of The Belrose Holiday Tea Party.
$20 Includes:
A Pot of Fine Organic Tea
Tea Sandwiches
Petit Fours
Cookies and Scones”

The Belrose Theatre is a beautiful and truly magical place!

A Ceremony for the Solstice Moon
Thursday, December 8, 7:30PM
The Sacred Forest, Oakland, RSVP for exact location
for more information, call 510-827-3997 or e-mail iyamahea@thesacredforest.org

“This ritual will honor the Moon and the Water Spirits as we enter the season of the Winter Solstice. Our ceremony is inspired by African spirituality and will commemorate hope and renewal through song, sacred dance, healing movement and mbira meditation. Please bring your own symbol of renewal to place on the altar. No fee for admission, and all are welcome. But please RSVP.”

Gathering Goodness: Songs for the Solstice
Friday, December 9, 8:30PM
Aubergine After Dark, 755 Petaluma Avenue, Sebastopol

“A night filled with Soulful music and story that compels us inward. In this time we gather our warmth, our gifts for the season, and our visions as we prepare to enter the deep intentional time of winter.”

Christmas Revels - A Theatrical Celebration of the Winter Solstice
Friday - Sunday, December 9-11 and 16-18
Fridays at 8:00 PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 and 5:00PM
Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland
See website for detailed ticket prices and parking information.

“As the winter solstice approaches in King Arthur's court, the legendary king summons his lords, ladies, knights and knaves to Camelot. Complete with magic, Knights of the Round Table, legendary creatures and spectacular costumes, this interactive visit to the mythical kingdom will delight children and adults alike.”

My experience with The Christmas Revels is that it is both ridiculously fun and sublimely moving.

Alameda Holiday Home Tour
Saturday, December 10, 9:30AM-4:30PM
around the city of Alameda - locations will be provided with ticket purchase
$30 in advance, $35 on the day

“Guests follow their heart as the Alameda Family Services League presents its 41st Annual ‘41 Years of Holiday Magic’ Holiday Home Tour. The tour, Alameda’s premier fund-raising event, will be held Saturday, December 10, 2011 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Home is where the heart is as all proceeds go to the organization that has as its sole goal: helping families - Alameda Family Services. The Holiday Home Tour features a variety of Alameda’s architectural style homes decorated for the holidays. Always in early December, the date is early enough for guests to include gift and holiday decor shopping at the Holiday Boutique. Also on sale are holiday packaged baked goods, candies, and specialty food items at the Gourmet Shop. A Holiday Tea is served to cheer the heart and palate. See our Events page for more information. Booklets are presented to each guest providing a map of the tour and description of each home. See our Tickets page in November, 2011 to purchase tickets for our 41st Annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour.

Proceeds benefit Alameda Family Services.”

Gamble Mansion Holiday Puppet Shows
Saturday, December 10, shows at 10:00AM, 11:30AM, 1:00PM
Gamble Mansion at Elizabeth Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley Street, Palo Alto
reservations required

“Families will enjoy the traditional Holiday story of The Nutcracker brought to ‘life’ by The Puppet Company.  Ages 3+ accompanied by an adult. (This is a perfect outing for grandparents!) Join us in the Carriage House. Light refreshments will be served.”

Gifts for the Season:
Infused Oils, Vinegars and Honey
with Finn Cunningham
Saturday, December 10, 1:00-3:00PM
Garden for the Environment, 7th Avenue at Lawton Street, San Francisco

“Turn the herbs and fruits of your gardens into beautiful and healing gifts for the holiday season. In this hands on workshop you will learn how to make herbal vinegars, spiced honeys and oils for the kitchen and the bath, while discussing the benefits of each of these home remedies. You will be able to take an item home, as well as gather inspiration for turning a few simple ingredients into many more homemade and economical gifts.”

Thanks to Pixie for letting me know about this event!

Community Seed Yule Ball
Saturday, December 10, 5:00-10:00PM
Clubhouse, Harvey West Park, 326 Evergreen Street, Santa Cruz
$5-$10 donation appreciated; no one turned away for lack of funds
bring a potluck item (see details below) and a canned food donation

“Join us Join us! In celebration! In song and merriment!
At our 6th Annual Yuletide Celebration.

In lieu of a December Open Circle we present, yet again, the Formal Yule gather!
Bring your fancy duds, a potluck item and a can of food for the Second Harvest Food bank.
Music and merriment will abound with friends, DJ dancing, potluck and raffle!

Our Feast will be a potluck of delicious offerings from ‘your’ kitchen so bring what you like to eat. Soup and bread will be provided. Be sure to label what you bring for ingredients so people know what’s in it.

Earth signs: Vegetable or side dish Air signs: Protein  Fire signs: Drinks(nonalcoholic) Water signs: Salad

There will also be a double raffle with many fine items from our local Pagan friendly stores and local artisans. One Raffle for the Grownups and one raffle for the Kidlets!! Get your tickets when you arrive and be sure to stay for the drawing, ‘mid’ evening for the kid stuff and the rest near the ‘end’ of the evening.

We ask for donations to help cover the cost of Hall rental, a sliding scale of $5 -$10 is appreciated, however no one will be turned away for lack of funds. We will also be accepting donations for the Second Harvest Food Bank. Those who bring a donation will be given one free Raffle ticket!

If you would like to volunteer for this event please contact Sara 831-469-0336 or info@communityseed.org

Twisted Christmas
Saturday, December 10, 7:30PM
The Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa
$15, ages 11 and up

“It's year number NINE for this popular annual lit-comedy-variety show, featuring off-the-wall holiday stories read aloud, on stage, by some of the Bay Area's funniest people! Along with outrageous Christmas-themed music by You-Tube sensation Roy Zimmerman, comic seasonal observations, bizarre gift giveaways, and a tribute to the weirdest Christmas song ever, this year's show features performances of the revolutionary elf manifesto 'Burn Christmas, Burn!' Grace Paley's lovingly off-kilter 'The Loudest Voice,' David Templeton's subversive fable 'Christmas in the Dormitory of the Gods,' the escalating insanity of 'Twelve Days of Christmas: a Correspondence,' and the much-anticipated reading of the Gingerbread Horror Classic 'Crumbs at Midnight.' Hosted by North Bay journalist David Templeton, this show is a benefit for the Redwood Empire Food Bank.”

A Dickens of a Holiday Celebration
at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach
Saturday-Sunday, December 10-11, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
see website for admission details

“Playland pays homage to author of the holiday classic "A Christmas Carol". Add to the celebration and earn extra prize tickets by coming in Victorian dress or attempt our Dickensian Trivia contest. If you thought Dickens' books were big when you saw them in school, come check out our 8-foot tall versions in our one-of-a-kind Dickens library, where the books have windows into their scenes and are bigger than readers!”

The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie
Saturday-Sunday, December 10-11,
Saturday 2:00PM and 6:00PM, Sunday 1:00PM and 5:00PM
Brava Theater, 2781 24th Street, San Francisco
$15 in advance, $17 at the door

“Featuring Grrrl Brigade, Nol Simonse, Lena Gatchalian, Stella Adelman, Bruce "Mui" Ghent, Leila Baradaran, Fredrika Keefer, Tina Banchero and Dance Mission's Youth Program.

From 1987 to 1997 Dance Brigade produced their annual production of the Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie in Oakland. Over ten years, it reached a total of 40,000 audience members and was a beloved community institution. Dance Brigade decided to remount it again starting in 2007 only this time at the Brava Theater in San Francisco and featuring Dance Mission's Youth Program.

In Krissy Keefer's Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie, Clara is an undocumented worker who works for the wealthiest family in town, the McGreeds. Our story opens just as the biggest bash of the year is beginning - the McGreed's holiday party. To the McGreeds' dismay, their wayward gay son, a pink Mohawk-sporting, Che-shirt wearing Drosselmeyer, crashes the party and gives Clara a freedom-fighting Nutcracker doll from South Africa. Together Clara and the Nutcracker go on a journey of self-discovery and realization where they run into a homeless Sugar Plum Fairy, an Angel of Resistance, and a Snow Queen mourning the melting of the Ice Caps. Where else would you find ariel dance, Spy Mice and a magical Under Water World? Why only at the Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie!!

The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie uses Taiko, Tap, Modern, Trapeze, Belly Dance, Salsa, Ballet, Bungee, Salsa and Hip Hop to tell its story and address contemporary concerns such as global warming and consumerism with humor and artistry. The production is fantastic for those who are looking for a winter activity but are not in the mood for another year of A Christmas Carol.”

Magic Toy Box Tea
Saturday and Sunday, December 10-11, 12:00PM and 3:00PM seatings available
Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, 415-485-3328
$27.50 Adults, $22.50 children

“The second weekend in December is a teddy bear tour de force at our elegant Queen Anne Victorian with an old-fashioned afternoon tea for families. This event is hosted by the Cultural Affairs Service League and takes place inside the house with antique tea settings, live music and fun activities. Home made tea sandwiches and sweets are served, along with hot tea, hot chocolate, and other beverages. Children are encouraged to bring their favorite teddy or other life-like toy (and parent or grandparent!) for a Holiday tea to remember. Bring your camera and dress up for fun for an elegant child-friendly afternoon. Activities often include life-sized Toys, a fun raffle and opportunities for photos with your bears and friends (bring your camera!). Get your reservations early as space is limited.”

Crucible Gifty Holiday Sale
Saturday-Sunday, December 10-11, Saturday 12:00-6:00PM, Sunday 12:00-4:00PM
1260 7th Street, Oakland
Free admission

"A fun day for the whole family! Our open houses are a wonderful way to experience the excitement of The Crucible's 56,000 sq. ft. studio, where furnaces roar and sparks fly. Check out exciting live demonstrations including welding, glass working, metal casting, blacksmithing and much much more. Catch amazing fiery performances and wander through a maze of vendors with handmade crafts, perfect for last minute gifts. You get to support local artists and community arts education for youth and adults while you get your last minute shopping done at the Bay Area's most unusual holiday celebration.”

Winter Wonderland
with The Academy of Classical Ballet
Sunday, December 11, 3:00PM and 6:00PM
Campbell Heritrage Theatre, 1 W Campbell Avenue, Campbell

“A Winter Wonderland takes place deep in woods, on the cusp of Fall turning into a glorious Winter.  Watch as the Winter Fairy, along with the help of her Ice Sprites, turn the land into ice and snow, while bringing to life many of the characters that make every holiday story so great.  We don’t want to give too much away, but some of those characters include: Penguins, Wolves, Elves, Candy-Canes, (a few surprises!) and much, much more.  Be amazed as the season unfolds before your eyes and brings all of the smiles and fun that comes with it.  You’ve never seen a Winter quite like this!”

Winter Solstice Drum Circle
Sunday, December 11, 6:00PM
Sacred Stream Center, 2149 Byron Street, Berkeley, 415-333-1434
For more information, e-mail info@sacredstream.org

“Equinox and Solstice Drumming Circles

We hold drumming circles four times a year to come together to honor the season and to focus on healing for the community and the earth. We invite you to join us.
You do not have to be experienced in drumming or shamanism to attend. It is recommended that you know how to journey, though not required.

If you have a drum or rattle, please bring it. Some drums and rattles will be available to borrow.”

Paper Toy-Making Workshops
with Marilyn Scott-Waters
Saturday December 17,
10:00AM-12:00PM - Pre-school to Kindergarten age children accompanied by adults
1:00-4:00PM - Children grades 1-6
Charles M. Schulz Museum, 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa
Museum admission: Adults $10, students and seniors $5, children under 4 Free

“Join the Toymaker, Marilyn Scott-Waters, to cut, paste and create a koi kite, paper butterfly, miniature fairy book, cornucopia, and a coupon folder holder! Learn tricks and tips for creating your own paper toys at home.”

Giving Birth to the Light of Hope
A Winter Solstice Ritual for Women
Saturday, December 17, 5:00-9:00PM
Odd Fellows Hall, 195 N Main Street, Sebastopol
$10-$25 suggested donation.  No one turned away for lack of funds.
.This Dianic Wiccan ceremony is for Women Only

“As we gather together to celebrate the longest night of the Great Wheel of the Year, so together we turn and face the illuminated Truth, that brings forth true hope and faith in our ability to care for ourselves and to protect All Life on Earth.

5:00-6:00 Arrive, 6:00PM Ritual

Vegetarian Potluck follows the ritual
Please bring a white, unscented candle in a holder to cast your spell, your own plate and utensils, a vegetarian dish, drinking water, fliers or business cards for the networking table, optional fresh cut greenery to decorate the altar, and a seasonally-appropriate offering to share during the feast.

If you are new, have questions or want more information, please contact Debby Zygielbaum at ritual@sonic.net or Corina at 707-527-0407.”

Gaskell Victorian Holiday Ball
Saturday, December 17, 7:30PM
Oakland Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland

"Ye Gaskell Occasional Dance Society has been sponsoring Victorian Ballroom dances for over 20 years. We currently sponsor 6 balls a year at the Scottish Rite Temple in Oakland.
We have live music played by the Brassworks of San Francisco, a group of 5 brass horns and a
drummer led by Frank Davis. The dances feature Victorian Waltzes, Polkas, Schottisches, Mazurkas, and set dances such as the Sir Roger de Coverley and the Congress of Vienna.

The general format of the dance is three 40 minute and one 30 minute sessions of live music, with three 20 minute breaks. We also occasionally have other entertainment during the breaks such as Morris dancing. The first set starts at 8:30 PM, with the last set ending at Midnight. Starting at 7:45 PM is a dance workshop where members of the Society quickly cover the basics of waltzing, polkas and the schottische.

Dress is 19th, 20th, or 21st Century Formalwear - Admission may be refused for those inappropriately dressed.

Refreshments are potluck finger food with the Society providing both fruit punch and ice water."

Women of Windham Hill Winter Solstice Concert
sponsored by The Sacred Stream Foundation
Saturday, December 17, 7:30-10:00PM
San Francisco, exact location given with RSVP
$40 in advance, $45 at the door
for more information or reservations, call 415-333-1434 or e-mail info@sacredstream.org

“The Windham Hill Winter Solstice album sold over 8 million copies. Three veterans of the label come together again to play this special concert. Grammy nominees Liz Story, Barbara Higibie and Lisa Lynne make for a special night of beautiful music. Laura Chandler opens the show.”

Isis Oasis Winter Solstice Ritual and Concert
featuring Triskela Celtic Harp Trio
Saturday, December 17, 7:30PM (dinner available at 5:00PM)
Isis Oasis Redwood Theatre, 20889 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville
for reservations, call 707-318-0666

“At the darkest moment of the year, celebrate the return of the light.  Triskela will weave a tapestry of ancient rituals, traditional Celtic music, and heart-warming songs to awaken the holiday spirit.  Join Triskela and the Bay Are Youth Harp Ensemble as they awaken the Holiday Spirits with Celtic harps, with flutes, drums and lush, heartfelt vocals.  

Have dinner before the concert with a festive dinner for just $20.  Stay overnight in one of Isis’ beautiful rooms for $50.  Isis’ unique and peaceful environment includes aviaries of exotic birds and habitats for endangered and threatened animals; hot tub, pool and quiet strolls on the grounds.”   

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!  
at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach
Saturday-Sunday, December 17-18, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
see website for admission details

“Will it snow? Don't "flake out" and miss this winter theme weekend! You don't have to drive up to the mountains to enjoy the snow, come to Playland-Not-at-the-Beach to make your very own snowflakes, enjoy our snowman theme treasure hunt and make snowflakes in our craft area.”

CAYA Sprouts Winter Solstice
Sunday, December 18, 12:00PM  
See websites closer to the date for more details
RSVP to CAYASPROUTS@yahoogroups.com

“Come As You Are to Sprouts Winter Solstice!

Please RSVP to: CAYASPROUTS@yahoogroups.com with the size of your family if you plan to attend.

CAYA Sprouts offers Sabbat rituals that are specifically designed for children up to age ten. However, the all self identified families are welcome to attend. Come and celebrate the Wheel of the Year with us!”

Diamonds of Light
A Solstice Event
Sunday, December 18, 3:00-5:00PM
The Dream Institute of Northern California, 1672 University Avenue, Berkeley, 510-845-1767

“This dream-based performance features seasonal themes of darkness and return of the light, set in our lovely candle-lit historic building. Join us for refreshments, conversation, and a moving experience of universal motifs that come to life in this dream-based performance.

The Dream Institute is an experimental cultural center founded in 2003. It has come into being during this time known as the shift or the great turning. Our offerings include weekend workshops, daylong seminars, evening salons, film series, professional training, art exhibits, retreats, and dream-based performances. We are also the West Coast center for Culture Dreaming. Programs and events are open to the public; continuing education seminars are for professionals in the healing arts. We do not advocate any single philosophical, psychological, spiritual, or religious viewpoint toward dreams or personal growth.”

Winter Solstice in Muir Woods
Wednesday, December 21, 3:00-8:00PM
Muir Woods, 1 Muir woods Trail, Mill Valley

“Get ready for a Muir Woods’ tradition, the annual Winter Solstice celebration on December 21. Under a full moon, experience the longest night of the year among the world’s tallest tree species, the coast redwoods. Rain or clear skies, dress warmly against the chill, bring a flashlight, and a mug for a warm beverage, and meet us in front of the Visitor Center.
Join the California Revels choristers and the Muir Woods staff as they carol and dance the mysterious Abbots-Bromley Stag Horn Dance amid the ageless Redwoods.  Arrive early. Parking is limited.”

Santa's Workshop
at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach
Saturday, December 24, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
see website for admission details

“Santa's elves have taken over Playland and played jokes on us all by hiding presents everywhere. It's up to you and your family to find all of the presents and put them under the Christmas Trees. We will also have a craft table to create an ornament for the tree.”

Victorian Tweflth Night Ball
presented by PEERS
Saturday, January 7, Doors Open 6:45PM, Dance Lesson: 7:00PM, Dancing
Begins: 8:00PM
Masonic Lodge of San Mateo, 100 N Ellsworth Avenue, San Mateo

“Dance, sing, feast and game at the season’s loveliest old-fashioned holiday party - a 12th Night Ball hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Bangers and Mash, the Bay Area’s most irresistible country dance band, will play a variety of Viennese and rotary waltzes, polkas, mazurka waltzes, schottisches, the Lancers, reels, and other set dances popular in the early and mid-19th century (As usual, all set dances will be taught or called and partners are not required. Indeed, introductions to partners will be cheerfully provided!).Suggested costume is evening or day dress from 1837 through 1870 (the heyday of Dickens’ literary career), any class. Modern evening dress is, as always, a completely acceptable substitute for period costume, and there is no dress code for the evening. Ladies, if you’re wearing a ball gown or evening gown, please be sure to bring a wrap since the ballroom will be cold before the dancing starts.  Once we start dancing, the ballroom warms up beautifully!

Intermission entertainment includes an interactive performance by the Peerless Music Hall and a special performance by our guest of honour, Mr. Charles Dickens. Gamers may enjoy either an intellectual game of whist or a rollicking game of Wink, and the evening will conclude with a glorious Hallelujah Chorus sing-a-long.

To sustain us through this vigorous evening of  dancing, punch and a light Old English snack buffet will be served (As usual, your potluck contributions to Mrs. Fezziwig’s kitchen are very welcome).”

Cave Concerts
check the website to see if concerts will be scheduled for this year

“Resonance... in the earth and everywhere

Hear the Cave. Experience the space. Go back in time.
Dozens of Rarified String, Wind & Percussion Instruments
dulcimers, harps, psalteries, flutes, panpipes, concertinas, bells, gongs, hand drums, steel drums, vibes, marimbas
resonance and reverberation... echoing the universal connection with nature”

Section Two - Places Decorated for the Holidays

Christmas Around the World at the Ainsley House
Ainsley House, 51 N Central Ave, Campbell
See websites for dates and details:

“The historic Ainsley House will be transformed into a warm, enchanting celebration of the holidays around the world. The 15 rooms in the Ainsley House will be decorated by interior designers, house stagers and decorators to create a memorable holiday delight. The Museum Foundation will open its popular Holiday Boutique and offer special delights for holiday shoppers.”

Holiday Traditions at Filoli
Friday, November 25 - Saturday, December 3
See website for schedule and admission details
Filoli Center, 86 Canada Road, Woodside

“Share in the holiday spirit and seasonal beauty this time–honored tradition brings to all. This year, you’ll be surrounded by spectacular holiday decor featuring wise old owls. A symbol of protection, wisdom and intuition, as well as a traditional holiday icon, we’re delighted to have the wise old owl be this year’s theme.”

Shadelands Holiday Faire and Victorian Tea
Saturdays and Sundays, November 26 - December 11, 10:00AM - 4:00PM
Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum, 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek

"Since 1983, the Holiday Faire has been a seasonal tradition at Shadelands. During this two-week event, over 35 vendors will offer a wide variety of hand-crafted items and gifts for sale inside the Museum. Open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Coinciding with the Holiday Faire, Shadelands also hosts three-course tea luncheons with seatings at 11:30 a.m.and 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $28.50 per person. Groups are welcome. Many families and friends maintain an annual tradition of attending the teas. Call the Shadelands office for reservations from October 1.”

Casa del Pomba
352 Hillcrest Avenue, Livermore
Watch the website for details on this years display, visiting hours, etc.

The most amazingly decorated private home in the Bay Area, possibly the world!
If you've never explored Livermore, now you have a reason to mount an expedition to this fascinatingly remote land!

Also, you might want to try the Snow Miracle http://www.snowmiracle.com
at The Donut Wheel, 2017 1st Street, Livermore, 925-447-8190.

Livermore is a festive place!

Holidays at Dunsmuir
Saturdays and Sundays, December 3 - December 18, 11:00AM - 5:00PM
Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland
see website for ticket details

"This annual event has become a tradition in many Bay Area households.Costumed docents greet you as you take a step back into Edwardian times. When you cross the threshold into the majestically decorated 37-room mansion,  you will see the two story live holiday tree that reaches into the Tiffany-style dome. Each room is uniquely decorated in jewel tones, with delicate, whimsical ornaments, bows and garland to create an exquisite atmosphere of a bygone era.  Join us for a cozy tea in the Dinkelspiel cottage or have breakfast with Father Christmas.  Shop for treasures in the antique carriage house, enjoy puppet shows, and listen to holiday music fill the air with choral and instrumental entertainment to warm your heart.  Ride the festive trolley as it escorts your family and friends on a one mile path throughout the 50-acre grounds.

Our dedicated volunteers put in more than 5,000 hours to transform our 16,000 square foot mansion into a breathtaking holiday masterpiece for your enjoyment.  Please know that your visit is important as proceeds from this event go toward the preservation, restoration and management of this Bay area treasure.”

I loved visiting Dunsmuir House at Christmas when I was a child!  It's a beautiful, magical place, at it's best when full of festive holiday cheer.

Holiday activities at Ardenwood Historic Farm
Saturday-Sunday, December 4-5, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Ardenwood Historic Farm, including the Patterson House, 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, Fremont
$8.00 adults, $6.00 seniors (62+ yrs.), $5.00 children (4-17 yrs.),free for ages 3 and under

“Celebrate the holiday season in Victorian style! Visit the beautifully decorated Patterson House, sing Christmas carols, search for the Yule log, visit Father Christmas. Listen to live musical performances and puppet shows, and enter our Christmas cookie baking contest (bring your cookies and recipe with you). The day also includes an abundance of Christmas crafts, music, and Country Kitchen treats.”

Holiday Open House at Rengstorff House
Tuesday, December 6, 7;00-9:00PM
Rengstorff House, 3070 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View

“Enjoy the Rengstorff House dressed in holiday finery, Join in singing of Christmas carols while nibbling on a festive array of goodies.

The Rengstorff House, Mountain View's oldest house, is one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture on the West Coast.”

Fairy Winterland
Fridays - Sundays, December 16-23, 12:00PM-7:00PM
Children's Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland
$8 per adult + one child

"Each December, for just one week, Children’s Fairyland is transformed into a sparkling festival of holiday entertainment.

Through songs and stories, arts and crafts, Fairy Winterland celebrates the winter holidays of many cultures: Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali, and Chinese New Year. After sunset, we turn on our fairy lights and transform Fairyland into a twinkling, enchanting realm of wonder."

Have a ridiculously fun and sublimely moving December!

As they say at The Revels, Welcome Yule!

Molly Blue Dawn, White Christmas, with Evergreen Leaves and a Holly Berry as Red as any Blood...

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