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.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Molly Blue Dawn's List of Yule-y Events for 2013

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

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair!
Friday-Sunday, November 23-25, and every weekend through December 22, 10:00AM-7:00PM
Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City
see website for ticket details
Parking fees are $10.00 per car charged by the Cow Palace
Free shuttle available from Glen Park BART Station

"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 since 1970, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair returns to the San Francisco Cow Palace Exhibition Halls for five weekends in 2013, including the Friday after Thanksgiving, from Saturday, November 23 through Sunday, December 22, from 10:00AM 'til 7:00PM.

Created 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 and freshly baked scones floating in the air and the sound of carolers and holiday merrymakers accompanying your stroll.”

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...

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 various variety acts at the Victoria and Albert Music Hall, you can sing sea shanties with the sailors of Paddy West’s School of Seamanship, 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.  The free shuttle will be operating between Glen Park BART station and the Cow Palace from 10:15AM-7:00PM each day of the Fair.  

The Dickens Fair is the place to bring your donations for Toys for Tots!  
Get $3 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.

The Snow Queen - A New Musical
opens Wednesday, November 27, playing through Sunday, December 22
see website for schedule and ticket details
San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose

“Without a true friend, innocence can end in a very cold place.

Be spirited away this holiday by San Jose Rep’s world premiere musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s fantastical coming-of-age adventure. As you follow Gerda through an unimaginably dangerous and whimsical world with singing flowers, a chattering crow and a talking river to save her friend, Kai, you’ll realize this isn’t your average bedtime story. An original pop rock score, alluring ballads, urban steampunk flair, and the enigmatic Snow Queen turn this traditional fairy tale into an epic quest.

Do you dare enter the palace of the Snow Queen?”

The San Rafael Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
Friday-Saturday, November 29-30,
see website for detailed schedule
along 4th Street from B Street to Lootens Place, San Rafael

“Downtown San Rafael will once again host its annual holiday Parade and Winter Wonderland. In its 34th year, the event features a Holiday Marketplace with arts and crafts, live entertainment, children’s activities, free snow sledding, and one of the largest Holiday Parades in the Bay Area.

In 2011 the event was attended by people from all over Marin County. It enjoys a very local feel and is known as a great destination for people of all ages. The event starts at noon with free snow sledding and kids’ activities, a Holiday Marketplace and the Parade begins at 5:30PM.

Following the Parade, Santa, Ms. Claus and other costumed characters arrive with the Mayor of San Rafael to the center of town in the City Plaza to light the official Holiday Tree. Following the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa and friends are available for a meet and greet with the kids.

The entire event is free to the public and occurs the day after Thanksgiving, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Don’t miss this great opportunity to take advantage of the Holiday shopping season.”

Sonora Christmas Craft and Music Festival
Friday-Sunday, November 29-December 1,
Friday-Saturday 10:00AM-5:00PM, Sunday 10:00AM-4:00PM
Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora (East of Modesto)
adults $7, seniors and students (13-18) $5, children (6-12) $2, under 6 free
see website for coupon for $1 off admission
parking $5
for more information, please call 209-533-3473

“The 39th Anniversary of the legendary Sonora Christmas Festival will be held Thanksgiving weekend. This highly regarded festival features over 150 great quality craft artists, up tempo and varied music, street performers, costumed elves and twinkle trees, carolers, a wide selection of home-cooking style festival kitchens and bake shops, all in festive, brightly colored craft halls. The Spirit of Christmas is definitely present here! Also, don’t miss the annual Christmas Parade in downtown Sonora on Friday at 5:30PM.

Kids Area
Pictures with Santa
The Merry Elves and Twinkle Trees
Take a ride on the Polar Express Train
Play Area by AirPlay - Bounce Houses and Slides
Juggling, Storytelling and Music!”

Sing Along Sound of Music
opens Friday, November 29, playing through Sunday, December 8
see website for detailed schedule
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco
Special Admission: $15  

“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!”

Holiday Tree Walk
Friday-Sunday, November 29-December 1,
and Saturday-Sunday, December 7-8 and December 14-15
Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton, 831-335-4484
see website for schedule admission details

“Get in the holiday spirit by bringing family and friends to ride Roaring Camp’s daytime steam train to Bear Mountain.  At the summit, guests may sip hot cider and delight in viewing a tree-lined walk of beautifully decorated holiday trees.  Trees are provided by Patchen California Christmas Tree Farm, Los Gatos.

To add to the festive spirit and bring hope to families in need, visitors may bring a new and unwrapped toy to Roaring Camp’s depot to benefit Santa Cruz County’s Toys for Tots campaign. Toys collected will be distributed through participating agencies to children who otherwise would have less.  For each donated toy, Roaring Camp will deduct $2 per train ticket, whether purchased online or in person.  Guests are requested to avoid donating toys of aggression or unpacked stuffed animals.”

The Velveteen Rabbit
presented by ODC
Friday, November 29-Sunday, December 15
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco
see website for schedule and ticket details

“Join us for this beloved Bay Area holiday tradition. ODC/Dance enlivens Margery Williams’ classic tale of a well-worn nursery rabbit that becomes real. Told through music, dance and a powerful narrative, The Velveteen Rabbit celebrates the unique relationship between a little boy and his stuffed rabbit, and the enduring power of love.
Brimming with wit, festive costumes, madcap characters and the perfect amount of holiday cheer, ODC/Dance - one of America’s most exciting and acclaimed contemporary dance companies, returns to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to present their 26th season of the beloved Bay Area production!”

Tilden Park Christmas Fantasy In the Woods
Wednesdays-Sundays, November 29-December 23, 5:30-8:30PM
CAYA Sprouts will be there on Sunday December 8
Tilden Park Merry Go Round, Shasta Road, Berkeley
$2.00 per ride or $10.00 for 7 rides

“The Annual Christmas Fantasy experience at Tilden Park features an extensive array of outdoor holiday light displays and decorations covering the merry go round and surrounding grounds. Experience spectacular sparkling Christmas trees with an array of themes ranging from more traditional Santa Tree to the more eccentric Vampire or Mardis Gras decor.

Delicious holiday sweets and seasonal warm beverages are served nightly. The holiday spirit continues with carolers, holiday character appearances, and visits from Santa and his live reindeer! Visit any night until December 23. Santa comes nightly, except for Wednesdays.”

Santa’s Riverboat Arrival
Saturday, November 30, 11:00AM
Golden Eagle Shopping Center, 280 E Washington Street, Petaluma

“Santa and Mrs. Claus sail into the Petaluma River Turning Basin aboard a tugboat at noon and disembark in the Golden Eagle Shopping Center on E. Washington Street to greet children and distribute candy. Performers will be on hand at the shopping center starting at 11:00AM.”

Rockridge In The Snow
Saturday, November 30, 3:00-6:00PM
near Rockridge BART Station, 5660 College Avenue, Oakland

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

Holiday Tea and Tours at the Ainsley House
various dates, November 30-December 14,
see website for detailed schedule
Ainsley House, 51 N Central Avenue, Campbell
Reservations required, please call 408-866-2757

“Join us for an elegant and relaxing afternoon and get in the holiday spirit! The Campbell Historical Museum and Ainsley House Foundation's traditional English-style Holiday Teas in the Carriage House feature delicate sandwiches, holiday sweets, and champagne as well as a guided tour of the Ainsley House, decorated in its holiday finest.

In the beautiful, historical Ainsley House in Downtown Campbell, all of its 15 rooms will be transformed into a warm, enchanting celebration of Christmas, decorated by local interior designers, house decorators, florists, and volunteers and featuring a special holiday boutique, full of unique delights for holiday shoppers.

Teas will be held at 1:00PM and 1:30PM on November 30 and December 1, December 4-8, and December 11-14.  The donation/fee is $30 for members and $35 for non-members. Please phone 408-866-2757 today to make your reservations. This is a wildly popular program and seating is limited - act now before we're booked up!

All proceeds benefit the Campbell Historical Museum and Ainsley House Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks, through the Museum and Ainsley House, to promote Campbell history and educate the public about the region's rich past.”

Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios
Saturdays-Sundays, November 30-December 22, 11:00AM-6:00PM
locations throughout Berkeley -  see website for map

“Over one hundred professional artists, craftspeople and galleries at studio buildings in Berkeley, California will open their doors to the public during the 23rd annual Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios.
All manner of fine art and craft will be shown, including blown glass, functional and decorative ceramics, ornaments, Menorahs, lamps and lighting, painted and custom furniture, garden art, floor cloths, one-of-a-kind clothing, textiles, dolls, leather bags, many styles of jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings, original prints and works on paper, musical instruments, mosaics, work from recycled materials, and artisan food products. All work is handcrafted, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind.

This self-guided tour presents a unique opportunity to meet the artists, to buy original and creative gifts, and to see working craft studios. The art walk gives viewers a glimpse into the creative process, and the opportunity to sign up for classes and workshops. Many studios are in the same building, or are clustered within walking distance.

This much anticipated, popular event is known for the high quality of the work shown. A free Map and Directory is available showing all participants. This event is FREE.”

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 North Pole Review: Family Holiday Variety Show
presented by the Fratello Marionettes
various dates, times, and locations all over the Bay Area
see website for detailed schedule

“Looking for a unique way to celebrate the holiday season? Join the fun with our puppet extravaganza, The North Pole Review! This production showcases the high kicking antics of the Russian Trepak Dancers, our graceful ice skater Crystal Chandelier, and features the dazzling acrobatic penguins.”

Belrose Holiday Tea Party
Mondays-Saturdays throughout December, 1:00-4:00PM
The Belrose Theatre, 1415 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael
$25 per person
reservations required, please call 415-902-5188 or e-mail 2TeaOrNot2Tea@att.net

“Tea Parties at The Belrose are Back!
Come enjoy four weeks of The Belrose Tea Party with family, friends, and co-workers.
Mondays through Saturdays, 1:00-4:00PM
$25 for this experience includes:
A Pot of Fine Organic Tea
Tea Sandwiches
Petit Fours
Cookies and Scones”

The Belrose Theatre is a beautiful and truly magical place!

Christkindlmarkt in Petaluma
Sunday, December 1, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma

“Enjoy traditional crafts, food, music and entertainment from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and have your child's photo taken with Santa.“

The Claremont’s Annual Holiday Artisan Faire
Sunday, December 1, 11:00-6:00PM
Claremont Hotel, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, 510-843-3000

“Become part of this annual holiday tradition with artist vendors from the East Bay community showcasing handmade, unique artwork. A perfect venue to get your holiday shopping!”

Chanukah Train
Sunday, December 1, 5:00PM
Roaring Camp Railroads, 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton, 831-335-4484
see website for schedule admission details

Share the Light of Chanukah Aboard Roaring Camp Railroad’s New Chanukah Train!

Gather at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on the 5th night of Chanukah for the lighting of the menorah and then set off on an incredible train ride in Roaring Camp’s comfortable excursion cars adorned with thousands of shining lights and Chanukah decorations.

We’ll share in Chanukah traditions and ride the train through the streets of Santa Cruz listening to Chanukah stories, playing dreidel and enjoying kosher refreshments provided by Chabad by the Sea. Evening also includes your choice of mini golf, laser tag or arcade games.

Create a new holiday tradition with family and friends as we experience the lights, stories and traditions of Chanukah in a whole new way!

Produced in Association with Chabad by the Sea

Teddy Bear Tea Party
Sunday, December 1 and December 8,
Seatings at 10:30AM, 1:00PM, 3:30PM
The Camellia Tea Room, 828 First Street, Benicia, 707-746-5293
$47 per person

“Camellia Tea Room and Benicia Main Street invite you to bring your teddy bear and join in the festivities at 828 First Street. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 707-746-5293.”

Heirloom Glass Ornament Class
Tuesday, December 4, 4:00-7:00PM
Castle in the Air 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley
$75 includes materials

“We’ve imported wonderful Old-World Christmas balls - made of glass with a silver coating - that are easy to decorate with Dresden, bullion, German glass glitter, and other sparkly wonders. The resulting ornament you make will look like a forgotten treasure from a Victorian attic.

Instructor: John B. McRae, Limit: 12 students”

RiffTrax Live presents Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Thursday, December 5, 8:00PM
various locations - see website for details

“Just in time for the holidays!

NCM Fathom Events and RiffTrax are overjoyed to bring the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) back to select cinemas nationwide on Thursday, December 5 LIVE at 8:00PM for only one night with a hilarious never-before-seen take on the family ‘classic’ Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Join Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett of RiffTrax for an uproarious riff on one of the most popular titles in the MST3K catalogue! This one-night event will be your only chance to see the guys fire their wisecracking commentary at Santa Claus Conquers the Martians on the big screen.

Visit the Downloads tab to download free goodies before the show!  PLUS all attendees will receive free access to more digital downloads on event night!”

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)
Thursdays-Sundays, December 5-22,
(see website for detailed schedule)
Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School Street, Lafayette

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)
written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez
directed by Michael Storm

How can we do everybody's idea of Christmas in an hour and a half?  Without rehearsing?  It's impossible!

From A Christmas Carol to It's a Wonderful Life and every other Christmas tale in between, this hilarious romp guarantees a happy holiday for all!

Join Liam Callister, Justin DuPuis, and Dennis Markam as they try to cover every Christmas tradition in one of the funniest and fastest-paced shows Town Hall has ever offered!”

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.

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes
8th Annual All Drag Xmas Exdrag-a-ganza
Thursdays-Sundays, December 5-22,
Thursdays-Saturdays 8:00PM, Sundays 7:00PM
Victoria Theater, 2961 16th Street, San Francisco

“The San Francisco Golden Girls All Drag Smash Hit is back for The Holidays.
The popular all-drag production of the popular ‘80s sitcom features San Francisco drag personalities, Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin and Pollo Del Mar; as TV’s favorite Miami retirees Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche and Rose.  Manuel Caneri and Laurie Bushman also guest star.”

Holiday Open House In Downtown Benicia
Friday, December 6, 6:00-9:00PM
along Main Street, Benicia

“First Street merchants, along with Benicia Main Street, host this ever-popular open house at the beginning of the Christmas season. Merchants offer beverages and treats and show off their holiday goods while costumed carolers sing traditional Christmas tunes. Live entertainment, wagon rides, and wine tasting add a festive atmosphere to this family event.”

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

“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. ”

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
adapted from the book by Tomie de Paola
presented by Peninsula Youth Theatre
Friday-Saturday, December 6-7,
Friday 7:30PM, Saturday 11:30AM and 1:30PM
SecondStage, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View
Friday $12, Saturday $10

“Long ago, near a little town in Calabria, Italy lived an old witch called Strega Nona - ‘Grandma Witch’. She knew magic and loved to use it to help people. Big Anthony, Strega Nona’s helper, didn’t like to work, never paid attention and almost always got into trouble. Every Christmas Eve, Strega Nona made a big feast for all the people of Calabria with no magic at all because she says, ‘No magic at Christmastime. Christmas has a magic all its own.’ When Big Anthony nearly ruins Christmas by another one of his goofs, it seems like nothing but a miracle can save Strega Nona’s feast. But Christmas is a time for miracles… and wonderful surprises too.

Join us for a special performance on Friday, December 6 at 7:30PM, where we will feast on holiday cookies and apple cider and enjoy holiday carols from some of our illustrious alumni!"

Holiday Frolic and Snow Park in Downtown Martinez
Friday-Sunday, December 6-8,
Friday 1:00-9:00PM, Saturday-Sunday 10:00AM-5:00PM
along Main Street from Ferry Street to Alhambra Avenue, Martinez
see website for admission details

“A Winter Wonderland with Real Snow!
Snow Park and Ice Skating
Holiday Light Parade, Friday, November 30, 6:30PM, on Main Street
Visit with Santa!
Santa's little red house at the Main Street Plaza.
Also, city sponsored fun: Jumpers, Face Painting, Crafts and more!”

A Christmas Carol
December 6-28,
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!”

Holiday Crafts Day
Saturday, December 7, 10:00AM-2:00PM
Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco

“Tired of nothing but buy, buy, buy for the winter holidays?  Come to the Randall Museum for relief from consumer mania with a day of creative, inexpensive gifts and decorations you can make yourself.  Enjoy live, family-friendly entertainment and tasty sandwiches or piping hot chili in our Holiday Cafe.

Crafts include roll-your-own beeswax candles, handmade candle holders, scented soaps, candy houses, and more!  Hands-on workshops will run from 10:00AM-2:00PM.”

San Jose Heritage Holiday
Saturday, December 7, 11:00AM-4:00PM
Tea seatings at 11:00AM and 2:00PM
Pacific Hotel, History Park, 635 Phelan Avenue, San Jose
Holiday Tea tickets are $45 and include admission to Heritage Holiday
Reservations required, please contact Juanita Lara at 408-918-1045 or JLara@historysanjose.org

“Enjoy a traditional tea with scones, finger sandwiches and sweets, featuring exclusive blends by Satori Tea, champagne by Guglielmo Winery, and served by the players of Shady Shakespeare Theatre Company.  Tour historic houses decorated for the holidays.”

Petaluma Downtown Merchants Holiday Open House
Saturday, December 7, 11:00AM-5:00PM
Downtown Petaluma

“Join us on December 7th for our annual Merchant's Holiday Open House, followed by the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade at night.  All day long, we'll have fabulous shopping deals, festive holiday treats, horse and carriage rides from Putnam Plaza, balloon art, face painting and so much more.  We hope to see you there!  We'll be posting more information about all the open houses and events shortly, please check back soon.”

America's Children's Holiday Parade
Saturday, December 7, 2:00PM
along Broadway from 11th Street to 20th Street, Oakland

“It begins the holiday season... a fun time of year.  It makes children of all ages stand up and cheer!  There are giant balloons that fly high in the sky.  They are causing oohs and aahs as they pass by.  We have dancing trees and floats on parade.  There are marching bands, drill teams and clowns on that day!  It’s fun to watch kids see their favorite stars.  Hey there’s Snoopy, Miss Rosa, Clifford and Lars!  It’s a holiday celebration for the whole family to enjoy.  It even features Santa for all girls and boys.  America and the world can watch this great show.  It comes from the City of Oakland, a place all a-glow.

Plans for the 14th Annual America’s Children’s Holiday Parade are well underway and it promises to bring together more children’s stars, new floats, giant balloons, terrific marching bands and entertaining entries along with new and exciting elements.”

Lighten Up About the Holiday Season
with Annie Goglia
presented by LifeFire Workshops and Coaching
Saturday, December 7, 2:00-4:30 PM
Waltz Chiropractic, 5545 Claremont Avenue, Oakland
Early Bird!  $29-$55 sliding scale by November 30
$39-$65  sliding scale December 1-6
Day of workshop: $49-$75
For more information or to register, please contact Annie Goglia at 510-282-1279

“A Playful and Mindful Approach to the holiday madness

Are the holidays bringing you extra stress on top of an already busy life?
Perhaps you feel you SHOULD feel happy, but instead feel isolated.
Or maybe you feel put off by materialistic or certain religious aspects of the holidays.
Give yourself the gift of finding inner joy and connection - Recreate the season from your own vision!

Join us to laugh, move, heal and share.

We will learn useful tools to de-stress and have more joy through:
Laughter Yoga
Deep breathing/meditation  
InterPlay/self-healing movement

Sign up now! Limited to 8 people”

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

“On December 7, Union Street kicks off its annual Fantasy of Lights Holiday celebration, where young and old alike can enjoy festivities to begin the holiday season. Thousands of holiday lights set off the Victorians, transforming Union Street into a magical backdrop for Santa and a team of elves to celebrate along with jugglers, live ponies dressed as reindeer, a monkey, face painters and balloon artists.

Come to the Metro Theater, 2055 Union Street, and help decorate the Union Street Gingerbread House from 3:00-7:00PM or decorate a cupcake from 3:00-5:00PM!

Santa will arrive in front of the Metro Theater, 2055 Union Street, at 5:30PM, where he will sit available for pictures until 7:00PM.

Donate toys for needy children through the SF Firefighters Toy Program. Collection barrels will be available on Union Street at the event and throughout the holiday.

This is truly a holiday tradition that should not be missed.”

Weihnachtsmarkt: German Holiday Market
Saturday, December 7, 3:00-7:00PM
German International School of Silicon Valley, 310 Easy Street, Mountain View

“8th Annual German Holiday Market - Weihnachtsmarkt.
With vendors, student performances, live music and German food.”

20 Harps for the Holidays
Saturday, December 7, 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

An ensemble of around twenty harps will be making music for Harpeggio Music's fifteenth annual holiday harp concert this year.

The concert will feature harp solos and ensembles, as well as our studio ensemble, which has in recent years provided the sight and sound of more than twenty harps on a single stage. This year’s program will include a variety of festive holiday music, including some well-known carols, and a delightful harp and organ duet.

Organist and composer T. Paul Rosas will be our guest artist. Paul is an accomplished keyboard player with a wealth of international music experience, and is the senior organist at the concert venue, Los Altos United Methodist Church, which houses one of the premier organs in the Bay Area.”

Annual Carol of Lights Festival
Saturday, December 7, 4:00-8:00PM
Downtown Campbell, E. Campbell Avenue and Central, Campbell

“Carol of Lights 2013 to be Held on Saturday, December 7th.

Last year, bad weather forced the Carol of Lights to take a year off, but the Campbell holiday celebration that you know and love is back for 2013! It'll be a festive and spirited celebration for all ages.

This year's Carol of Lights is scheduled for Saturday, December 7th from 4:00-8:00PM with bounce houses, a petting zoo, pony rides, musical entertainment, Santa Claus and SNOW!

This event is manned entirely by volunteers and is funded through recycling, sponsorships, and many community donations.”

4th Annual Holiday Concert With Community Dance
with Maureen Atkins
featuring Broceliande
Saturday, December 7, 6:00
All Saints Episcopal Church, 911 Dowling Boulevard, San Leandro
Dinner, dancing, concert: $25, 6:00PM
Dancing, concert, dessert: $15, 7:30PM

“Dance teacher/choreographer Maureen Atkins will be leading the Community Dance.

Dance to music of the season! Participation heartily encouraged but not required.
Dancing will be in the 1st half followed by intermission. Join us in the 2nd half for a joyous blend of Medieval, Renaissance, and familiar carols on harp, guitar, octave mandolin, flutes, and vocals.”

Lighted Boat Parade
with the Petaluma Yacht Club
Saturday, December 7, 6:30PM
Turning Basin, 10 C Street, Petaluma

“In a dramatic evening spectacle, a flotilla of decorated, lighted vessels glide into historic downtown at the Turning Basin at about 6:30PM. The lighted boats remain docked in downtown throughout the night behind the Great Petaluma Mill.”

Dickens Holiday Crafts Fair
Saturday-Sunday, December 7-8,
Saturday 9:00AM-5:00PM, Sunday 10:00AM-4:00PM
Finley Community Center, 2060 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa
Adults $2, Children 12 and Under Free, admission covers both days

“Celebrate the season and find gifts for all of your loved ones with a festive shopping experience featuring over 70 local artists. Shop for quality, hand-crafted holiday decor, home goods, jewelry, bath and body products, edibles and more all sold by the artists!

Plus enjoy:
Live entertainment and a visit from Santa!
A ride on Rosie the Trolley for FREE to and from the Crafts Fair to the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens Holiday Open House!
Prize drawing in the front lobby. Several vendors have contributed craft items to the drawing and you could be a lucky winner if we draw your ticket! Proceeds from the prize drawing ticket sales benefit the Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Scholarship Fund. Last year, over $1,900 was raised providing swim lessons and summer camp for many youth in need! Suggested ticket donation price is $1/ticket or $5/6 tickets.
Kettle corn, cookies and hot beverages for purchase.
Breakfast and lunch items for purchase provided by Bruno's on Fourth.”

Luther Burbank Home and Gardens Holiday Open House
Saturday-Sunday, December 7-8, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
$2, Children 12 and under free

“The public is invited to this popular annual community event! Enjoy a 34-year community tradition and begin the season’s celebrations by visiting the historic Home and Gardens of Luther Burbank. Experience a charming reminder of bygone days when you tour the home decked out in Victorian holiday finery inside and out.

See the latest exhibit and shop for unique Burbank-related items in the Carriage House Museum and Gift Shop.

FREE PARKING is available at First and D Streets, and enjoy FREE RIDES on Rosie the Trolley to and from the Dickens Holiday Craft Fair held at the Finley Community Center.”

An Ardenwood Christmas
Saturday-Sunday, December 7-8, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, Fremont
Adults $8, Children $5

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

Guglielmo Winery's 25th Annual Holiday Faire
Saturday-Sunday, December 7-8 and December 14-15, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Guglielmo Winery, 1480 East Main Avenue, Morgan Hill
Free admission

“Join us for our 25th Annual Holiday Gift Faire!

Are you one of those people who looks at Christmas shopping as something to be endured? We have got good news for you!  How about if you could sip delicious, award-winning wine while selecting unique and beautiful gifts for everyone on your list?  How about if there was ample, free parking and friendly, knowledgeable staff to help you?  Sounds like a painless way to shop during the holiday season or any time. So make the short drive to Morgan Hill and visit beautiful Guglielmo Winery.

Enjoy our award-winning wines, gourmet food, hot mulled wine and holiday carolers!
Browse our huge selection of unique gifts!
From wine-themed gifts to custom gift baskets, you can please everyone on your list!

Our tasting room and gift shop will remain open throughout the holiday season from 10:00AM-5:00PM, except on Christmas Eve, when we let ourselves go home at 3:00PM. Cheers!”

Holiday on the Farm
Saturday, December 7 and Saturday, December 14, 10:00AM-2:00PM
Forest Home Farms Historic Park, 19953 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, San Ramon, 925-973-3284

“It’s hard to spot Donner, Blitzen and the others when they are hard at work pulling Santa’s sleigh, so come to the farm to see a pair of live reindeer. They will be visiting from 10:30AM-1:30PM.

December 7
11:00AM: The Nutcracker - puppet show by the Puppet Company

December 14th
Shop the Holiday Market for unique gifts from over a dozen vendors.

Both Days
Tours of the Farm and the Glass House Museum (fee) - decorated for the holidays
Visits with a Victorian Santa
Victorian ornament making
Stuff your own teddy bear (fee)
Old-fashioned games
Tractor rides
Sheepdog demonstrations
Family entertainment
Food available for purchase”

Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto!
Sunday, December 8, 10:00AM-3:00PM
Andronico’s parking lot, 1550 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

“Free Event For Children Of All Ages

Bring Boots and Mittens to Play in the Snow
Visit with the Snow Queen  
Pony Rides
Make Holiday Crafts  
Arts and Crafts Vendors
Hot Cider and Cookies
Bring your boots and mittens to play in the snow that is predicted to gently fall in the parking lot at 1673 Shattuck Avenue at Lincoln Avenue.

Visit with the Snow Queen, who will listen to all of your holiday wishes, ride the decorated live ponies, make holiday crafts like greeting cards and dreidels, and warm up with hot cider and chewy cookies courtesy of Andronico’s. Find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts from local craft vendors."

A Scottish Christmas
with Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums
Saturday, December 8, 3:00PM
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 13601 Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga, 408-867-3493
donations graciously accepted

“You are cordially invited to a Free Concert to celebrate the season, presented by the Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums of San Francisco.
Bagpipes and Drums, Scottish Fiddlers, Highland Dancing, Scottish Ballads.
Special guest appearance by Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers and San Jose School of
Highland Dancing.
This is a popular concert.   We recommend carpooling and allowing enough time to park.  Bring a cushion to soften the church pew experience.”

Winter Solstice Drum Circle
Sunday, December 8, 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.”

Tree Trimming Party and Meditation for Those of All Faiths
Tuesday, December 10, 7:00-9:00PM
Anubhuti Meditation and Retreat Center, 820 Bel Marin Keys Boulevard, Novato, 415-884-2314
donations accepted
Please RSVP to 415-884-231 or anubhuti@bkwsu.org

“We are inviting people of all cultures and backgrounds to join us in decorating the holiday tree with ornaments from all faith traditions, sharing of good wishes and good company. The tree is a symbol of life in many cultures, and as we go through the season of darkness, we bring the tree inside to enliven our spirits.

Talk - Meditation - Music and Singing - Refreshments

Holiday treats and warm mulled cider will be served. Children are welcome.”

A Child’s Christmas In Wales
by Dylan Thomas
presented by Livermore Shakes
Wednesday, December 11, 2:00PM and 7:00PM
Swirl on the Square, 21 South Livermore Avenue, Livermore, 925-447-1400
$35 per person and includes a glass of wine and a Tapas Sampler plate.

“Join Livermore Shakes for an intimate event in downtown Livermore!

Livermore Shakes Associate artists present a staged reading from the original holiday classic at the delicious and intimate Swirl on the Square! Originally written for the radio, A Child’s Christmas in Wales in one of Dylan Thomas’s most famous poems. The Welsh born poet tells a tale of Christmases past as seen through the eyes of a young child. It is a well loved, romantic and nostalgic ode to a simpler time.”

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker
December 11-29,
see website for schedule and ticket details
The War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

“On Christmas Eve, 1944, the audience at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House experienced the American premiere of Nutcracker. An instant sensation, the ballet launched a national holiday tradition.

San Francisco Ballet’s sparkling production of Nutcracker, set here in our own City by the Bay, has introduced audiences of all ages to the magnificent world of ballet. This holiday season, experience the beauty and athleticism of SF Ballet’s international cast of world-class dancers in Nutcracker, a San Francisco tradition since 1944.”

Center REP’s A Christmas Carol
December 12-22, see website for schedule and ticket details
Hofmann Theatre, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek

“Brimming with music and dance, love and laughter, spectacular special effects and scary ghosts, it's no wonder the critics have called it ‘THE Christmas Carol to see in the Bay Area.’ Join the thousands who make this theatrical event a part of their annual holiday traditions.”

10th Annual Slavic Choral Christmas Concert
with Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble
Friday, December 13, 7:30PM
Church of The Nativity, 220 Fell Street, San Francisco

“Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble presents the 10th annual Slavic Choral Christmas Concert, a rich tapestry of seasonal carols and winter songs of East-Central Europe and the Balkans, featuring traditionally costumed Community artists from the Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Jewish, Moldovan, Polish, and Ukrainian Bay Area populations.

The Slavic Choral Christmas Concert presents powerful to the lighted-hearted performances based on the rich fabric of East and Central-European and Balkan folk and sacred holiday music. The repertoire encompasses a multitude of mesmerizing styles ranging from simple folk themes (pastorals) to close-harmonized sacred carols - all presented by Community Artists. The annual joyful Concert finale features over 60 artists onstage to lead a rousing audience sing-a-long of both European and American carols. The event's Central European holiday marketplace atmosphere is enhanced by seating under hand-hewn shingle ‘huts’, spicy aromas of mulled cider and wine - one complimentary glass per ticket holder - and the opportunity to purchase hand-crafted artisan gifts.

Lowiczanie Polish Carolers, directed by Jola Jankowska, together with Lowiczanie Folk Band musicians are joined by the Ukrainian Bay Area Carolers, Halyna Lorczak, director; Bulgarian Koledari Group, Tanya Kostova, director; Hungarian Folk Singing Circle, Zina von Bozzay, director; Dalyte Kodzis and Lilla Serlegi, who accompanies herself on the ancient, ‘old’ Tamburitza, or ‘samica,’ present carols from Poland and the Croatian peoples of Hungary, respectively. The spiritual Christmas traditions of Serbia are represented by Baritone Ivan Vuksanovic.

The two-hour program is visually beautiful - highlighted by traditional ethnic dress of the participating Slavic communities - and enriched by the virtuoso musical talents on display: Lowiczanie's folk orchestra (Kapela ) features Susan Worland on violin, Nicolai Prisicar on accordion and Roman Titcu, formerly of the internationally-renowned band, Roma, (both are originally from Moldova) on cimbalom, and Pawel Walerowski of Poland on cello. Other musical surprises feature artists from of Bulgarian, Croatian and Jewish backgrounds.”

with Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble

Friday, December 13, 8:00 PM
St. Paul's Church, 114 Montecito Avenue, Oakland

Sunday, December 15, 4:00PM
St. Bede's Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park

Saturday, December 21, 8:00 PM
Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento Street, San Francisco
$20 advance, $25 at the door

“Few things evoke the magic of the winter holidays as the transcendent splendor of the human voice. Kitka has researched and discovered a treasure-trove of seasonal music from a wide variety of Eastern European ethnic and spiritual traditions. Wintersongs showcases material ranging from rousing Slavic folk carols to lush, meditative Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works... from pre-Christian incantations for the longest nights of the year to Medieval Sephardic Chanukah songs to original new pieces inspired by the beauty and mystery of wintertime.”

Christmas Revels - A Theatrical Celebration of the Winter Solstice
Friday-Sunday, December 13-15 and 20-22,
Fridays at 8:00PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00PM and 5:00PM
Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland
See website for detailed ticket prices and parking information.

“It’s the Shortest Day, and ghostly revelers gather in the chambers of venerable Haddon Hall for their annual celebration. There's a knock at the door, and in comes the family of John Manners. He is the 9th Duke of Rutland and landlord of the premises. Manners wants everybody out because the Hall is about to fall, a victim of progress and the demands of economics.

What will happen to Haddon? What will be the fate of the Spirits that inhabit it, not to mention their annual Revels? Will the joy of celebration, community and madcap revelry be enough to deter the Duke from his plan? The battle is joined and just as the outcome seems apparent, there is another knock at the door…”

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

Alameda Holiday Home Tour
Saturday, December 14, 9:30AM-4:00PM
around the city of Alameda - locations will be provided with ticket purchase
$35 in advance, $40 on the day

“Guests follow their heart as the Alameda Family Services League presents its 43rd Annual 43 Years of Holiday Magic Alameda Holiday Home Tour. The tour, Alameda’s premier fundraising event, will be held Saturday, December 14, 2013 from 9:30AM to 4:00PM. Home is where the heart is, as all proceeds go to the organization that has as its sole goal: Serving Families, Strengthening Our Communities - 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 Gift Boutique. Also on sale are holiday packaged baked goods, candies, and specialty food items at the Gourmet Shop. A Holiday Dessert Tea is served to cheer the heart and palate. See our Events page for more information. Booklets are presented once tickets are purchased to each guest providing a map of the tour and description of each home. Check back soon to find out more information about the 2013 Annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour.”

Holiday Puppet Show - The Nutcracker
Saturday, December 14, 9:30AM-2:00PM,
Performances are at 9:30AM, 11:00AM, and 12:30PM
Gamble Mansion at Elizabeth Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley Street, Palo Alto
$15, reservations required

“Families will enjoy the traditional story of The Nutcracker brought to life by
The Puppet Company.

Join us in the Carriage House - Light Refreshments will be served.

The puppet show is appropriate for children three and older accompanied by an adult.

This is a perfect outing for grandparents and their grandchildren!  All proceeds benefit Gamble Garden - thank you for your support!”

Christmas Parade and Holiday Market
Saturday, December 14, 10:00AM-3:00PM
Downtown Benicia

“The parade starts at 10:00AM at First and D Street and ends at H Street.  The parade features local marching bands, dancers, and the much-anticipated Santa Claus.  The Holiday Market features handcrafted arts and crafts, gourmet items and delicious foods.”

Community Seed Yule Ball
Saturday, December 14, 5:00-11:00PM
Clubhouse, Harvey West Park, 326 Evergreen Street, Santa Cruz
$8-$20 donation appreciated; no one turned away for lack of funds
bring a potluck item (see details below) and a canned food donation

“Come one, come all! Bring the family to the Yule Social!
A celebration of Joy and Merriment.

Gather at 5:00PM, Feasting at 6:00PM

Festivities to follow…..
Dancing with DJ Julian, spinning tunes from across the decades to get everyone wiggling.
Two raffles! Including one just for the youngsters.
The fabulous Photo Booth returns for your amusement.
General Fellowship and Fun as we welcome the return of the Sun….

Sliding scale donation: $8.00-$20.00 per person (no one ever turned away for lack of funds.)

Potluck Offerings:
Air Signs: Savory
Fire Signs: Salads
Water Signs: Sweets
Earth Signs: Sips (non-alcoholic)

Please bring enough for 6 small servings, and label your ingredients.  We’ll see you and your clan at 5ish on Saturday, December 14th!  (All Community Seed events are clean and sober.).”

Day in the Life 1901
with the Hyde Street Living History Players
Saturday, December 14, 6:00-9:00PM, and the second Saturday of each month
Aboard the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco
included with vessel admission, Adults $5, 15 and under free

“Step into the past as you board our historic ships. Help the sailors on Balclutha raise the staysail in the morning and return for musical fun during the afternoon dogwatch. Learn about life in 1901 from the ferry passengers on Eureka, or join Mrs. Galan on the Ark houseboat for an afternoon tea to discuss issues of the day.

Witness a dramatic re-creation of the 1901 labor strike that shook the San Francisco Waterfront in July. In September, picknickers in period swimsuits frolic on the beach. Don’t miss President McKinley’s visit in May and the Old Time Maritime Christmas celebration in December, with all the ships decorated as they were in 1901.

December 14: Old Time Maritime Christmas
In the evening, 6:00-9:00PM, join us for our costumed Living History players Old Time Maritime Christmas. Turn back the clock to Christmas in the year 1901, where you will meet captains, wives, crews and passengers aboard the floating historic vessels.

Refreshments will be served, with sea music performed by Richard Adrianowicz and Peter Kasin.

Lamplit tours by a costumed nightwatchman leave from the Hyde Street Pier entrance every 20 minutes beginning 6:00PM. Last tour leaves 7:40PM. Each tour lasts approximately 55 minutes. Each tour limited to 14 people. Reserve for this living history program by calling the Visitor Center, 415-447-5000, between 9:30AM-4:30PM.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, in San Francisco. The park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, visitor center, maritime museum and library. For more information about the park, or its public programs, please call 415-447-5000 or visit the park’s website. To contact Hyde Street Living History directly, please email David Hirzel at sfmaritime1901@sbcglobal.net.”

Winter Concert with Margaret and Kristoph
of Broceliande
Saturday, December 14, 7:30PM
Chanticleers Theatre, Castro Valley Community Theatre, 3683 Quail Avenue, Castro Valley
Adults $10, Children 12 and Under $5
Make reservations now - this event will sell out!

“When the days grow short and the nights grow cold, friends and families are drawn together to reminisce about old times and celebrate in traditional ways the holidays and the turning of the year.

In honor of this custom, Castro Valley's Chanticleers Theatre will present Margaret and Kristoph, an evening of Celtic music from the British Isles and the Medieval and Renaissance melodies of the European courts, castles, and countrysides.

Featuring tight vocal and instrumental harmonies, their entrancing sound is built on the interweaving of soaring vocals with the lyrical music of the Celtic harp, octave mandolin, 6- and 12-string guitars, flute, and recorders.

Margaret Davis and Kristoph Klover have delighted audiences since 1993 - sharing the magic of other times and places with fans of traditional music the world over.

Dressed in beautiful period costumes, they have performed throughout the San Francisco Bay Area at concert halls and festivals as well as in Britain and Germany. They can be heard on dozens of recordings of the duo and with their bands, Avalon Rising and Broceliande, and in 2008 they performed in the Disney movie Bedtime Stories.”

Solstice Flame Trance Dance Activation
with Axis Mundi TranceFusion
Saturday, December 14, 8:00PM-Midnight
Bhakti Mandir (House of Devotional Ecstasy), 6225 Doremus Avenue, Richmond
$15 at the Door

“As we approach the Winter Solstice and the Longest Night, it is time for us to honor the transformational power of the Darkness, and the Flame of Regeneration that burns at its
core.  Now is perfect moment to join us as we nurture this Flame and set forth our Intentions for creating the World we want.

Hosted Savory Edibles Served - veggie and omnivore
BYO Libations and Contributions of Savory or Sweet Snacks Welcomed!

Wear your EXOTIC and FESTIVE FINERY and have a warm layer to enjoy Full Moon Gazing from the beautiful 3 level outdoor deck!”

Crucible Gifty Holiday Sale
Saturday-Sunday, December 14-15,
Saturday 12:00-6:00PM, Sunday 12:00-5:00PM
The Crucible, 1260 7th Street, Oakland
Free admission

"Shopping at the mall was never like this!

Get your last minute shopping done at the Bay Area’s most unique holiday bazaar while supporting local artists and community arts education for youth and adults. 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.”

Magic Toy Box Tea
Saturday and Sunday, December 14-15, 12:00PM and 3:00PM seatings available
Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, 415-485-3328
$25 Adults, $22 Children, $45 for one Adult and one Child together

“The second weekend in December is a magical holiday tour de force at our elegant Queen Anne Victorian. Music, magical toys which come to life and high tea- Victorian style. Homemade tea sandwiches, sweets, hot chocolate, tea and so much more. Bring your favorite bear or special toy and join the fun.

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. 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. Two seatings on Saturday and two seatings on Sunday - 12:00PM and 3:00PM each day.”

A Winter Wonderland
with The Academy of Classical Ballet
Sunday, December 15, 2:00PM and 5:30PM
Campbell Heritage Theatre, 1 W Campbell Avenue, Campbell
$15 show only, $20 show and Snowman Soiree

“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!

Meet the cast in costume at our Snowman Soiree following the show.”

Solstice Gathering at Anubhuti
Tuesday, December 17, 7:00-9:00PM
Anubhuti Meditation and Retreat Center, 820 Bel Marin Keys Boulevard, Novato, 415-884-2314
donations accepted
Please RSVP to 415-884-231 or anubhuti@bkwsu.org

“Join us in celebrating the shortest night of the year in meditation and by igniting our inner lights. We will have a candle lighting ceremony to symbolize the longer days and our enlightened spirits.”

Holiday Open House at the Ainsley House
Saturday, December 15, 5:30-8:00PM
and Thursday, December 19, 5:30-8:00PM
Ainsley House, 51 N Central Avenue, Campbell

“This December, the historic Ainsley House in Downtown Campbell will be transformed into a magical holiday wonderland! Please join us for one of two special nighttime open houses (December 15 and December 19), where the lights and the decorations can be fully enjoyed in all their splendor. Visitors will take a self-guided tour through the decorated Ainsley House and be treated to refreshments in the Carriage House.

In the beautiful, historic Ainsley House in Downtown Campbell, all of its 15 rooms will be transformed into a warm, enchanting celebration of Christmas.  The house will be decorated by local interior designers, house decorators, florists, and volunteers and feature a special holiday boutique, full of unique delights for holiday shoppers.”

A Winter Gift
Legends of the Celtic Harp
with Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynn and Aryeh Frankfurter
Thursday, December 19, 8:00PM
Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, 510-644-2020
$22.50 in advance, $24.50 at the door

“Legends of the Celtic Harp is an ensemble of three of the most celebrated celtic harp players in the world. Their concerts takes their audiences on a joyous, dramatic musical journey deep into the myths, legends and history of the Celtic Harp.

In A Winter’s Gift, Patrick Ball, Lisa Lynne and Aryeh Frankfurter step into a magical world of Irish and English literature, Celtic legend and traditional folk beliefs and draw out tales such as A Child's Christmas in Wales, chapters from The Wind in the Willows, and passages from Shakespeare, William Butler Yeats, and Thomas Hardy, and mingle them with beloved pieces of seasonal music. All of the music and all of the stories touch on the central message of the Christmas/Winter season. Hope. Hope for something wondrous. Hope for a light in the darkness.”

A Christmas Carol staged reading
by Charles Dickens, adapted for B8 by Maureen-Theresa Williams
Thursday-Friday, December 19-20, 8:00PM
Cue Productions Live, 1835 Colfax Street, Concord

“A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
adapted for the stage by Maureen-Theresa Williams
directed by John Butterfield

Dickens’ novella, arguably the best-know secular tale of Christmas, comes to life as Butterfield 8’s sold-out production returns for a second year.

This abridged reading of the story (created specifically for B8) tells the tale of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits who change his life as few productions do - using only the author’s own words. This year B8 incorporates puppets as the spirits to expand the storytelling experience.”

Scrooge: The Haunting of Ebenezer
Wednesdays-Sundays, December 19-December 30,
Wednesday-Saturday 8:00PM, Sunday 5:00PM
The Boxcar Theatre Studios , 125A Hyde Street, San Francisco

“Boxcar Theatre brings their brand of the Christmas spirit to the tenderloin with this reimagining of Dickens iconic Holiday tale.

On a cold Christmas eve a solitary man journeys into the darkness of his haunted soul to confront the ghosts of his past, and the source of his self imposed misery. Will a chilling brush with his own mortality be enough to earn his redemption? With but one small ember of humanity still burning within his cold heart, he must find a way to free himself from the chains of his own making before it is too late.

This one-man performance strips away the sentimentality while remaining true to the wit and fire of Dickens' masterpiece of storytelling - his glorious language, vivid characterization and compelling social conscience.

Make a pilgrimage to the tenderloin for a story that still resonates even in the most hardened, unsentimental of us Scrooges.”

Sonoma County Pagan Network Yule Celebration
Friday, December 20, 7:00PM
Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Avenue, Santa Rosa
$5-$10 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds

“Driving Away the Darkness
a ritual facilitated by Leeanen Sidhe and members of the SCPN

In ancient times, our ancestors would gather on Yuletide Eve to feast, sing, and dance so to cheer on the Oak King as he defeats the Holly King and therefore ensuring the sun would rise again. But perhaps it is not solely the darkness of winter that we need to drive way. Gloom, ill or despair can creep into our hearts, minds and spirit while we live in uncertain times. In this kind of environment a darkness of another kind can thrive.

So come and join us for a night of light heartedness, singing, feasting, giving and sharing. Together let us shine a light of joy and love out on to the world. For it is light and love that can drive the darkness away.

Leeanen Sidhe says of herself:
In my heart I feel I've always been Pagan but I began my path of study as solitary practitioner of the Celtic Wiccan faith in 1991. In 2003 I joined the Sonoma Pagan Network as a result of search to find others of like mind. Currently I am the SCPN Web Mistress and I serve on their board of directors. In 2005 I joined a an eclectic coven made up members who practice primarily the Dianic tradition and remained a member of that coven for 7 years. I have also have been leading and co-creating public rituals since 2004. I am now teaching Paganism to my spouse of 5 years.

Food Drive
Please bring a donation of canned or dried boxed food items. (Fresh produce, home made foods or food in glass jars cannot be accepted.) to contribute to the SCPN food drive. All donations will be given to the Redwood Food Bank.

Potluck Feast
To add to the fun of the evening, there will be a potluck dinner. We ask that you bring a dish and/or non-alcoholic brew to share that serves 4-6 people. Let's treat ourselves to a good meal. Please bring your own place setting. There will be hot water available for tea.

Gift Exchange
There will be a gift exchange for those who wish to participate. We encourage you to re-gift treasures that you are willing to pass on to another fortunate soul (please choose something you'd actually like to receive and not last year's fruit cake). Make or bake a special treat or, bring something new (under $10) which is nicely gift-wrapped. If it's gender- or age-specific, please attach a note to that effect.”

The Sound of Music Sing-Along
presented by the RetroDome
Friday-Sunday, December 20-22,
Friday 7:00PM, Saturday 2:00PM and 7:00PM, Sunday 2:00PM
The Retro Dome at Century 21, 741 Winchester Boulevard, San Jose

“The Sound of Music Sing-Along

This special event includes a Prop Pack for each guest, a costumed Host and additional costumed talent, Pre-show Activities, Trivia and Prizes, Post-show discussion and on-screen lyrics.

1965, Rated G, 174 minutes

Join us for The Sound of Music, winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In this true-life story, Julie Andrews stars as Maria, a spirited young woman who leaves the convent to bring love and music to Austrian widower Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) and his seven children. The breathtaking landscapes, the dazzling performances, and the world's best-loved songs all look and sound better than ever. Presented at The Retro Dome on the super screen, come and sing along to the most popular family film of all time!”

Sherehe Ya Mwedzi: A Ceremony for the Solstice Moon
with Iya Mahea of The Sacred Forest
Thursday, December 21, 12:00-8:00PM
Hillside Community Church, 1422 Navellier St, El Cerrito
Free, please RSVP to iyamahea@thesacredforest.org

“The Winter Solstice is a time for reflection and renewal. Join us for a day of workshops to prepare us for the year to come and for an evening ritual to welcome the Return of the Light.”

Winter Solstice Concert
with Solstice Women’s Vocal Ensemble
Saturday, December 21, 7:00PM
Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft, Berkeley

“Solstice will present a Winter concert of traditional and non-traditional seasonal music.  Join us to relax and refresh during this busy time of year.

Founded in 1996, Solstice is a female vocal ensemble specializing in music written by women or for women's voices. Our music spans many different genres with an emphasis on world, classical, pop, and jazz. We are also committed to performing new works for women's voices and regularly compose, commission, and arrange new songs.”

Gaskell Victorian Holiday Ball
Saturday, December 21, 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 7:45PM 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."

A Service of Lessons and Carols
a Free Family Concert with San Francisco Renaissance Voices
Saturday, December 21, 7:30PM
Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1329 Seventh Avenue, San Francisco

“Members of San Francisco Renaissance Voices, our Artists-in-Residence join the group's lead tenor Corey Head and students from his vocal studio for a traditional service of lessons and carols.  The service began in 1918 at King's College (Cambridge, England) and we are delighted to bring this Christmas-time tradition to you, with plenty of audience sing-a-long.  A festive reception of holiday treats follows the service.”

Alameda Civic Ballet's The Nutcracker
Saturday-Sunday December 21-22, 2:00PM
Kofman Theater, 2200 Central Avenue, Alameda
see website for tickets details

“This holiday season prepare to be transported on a magical journey with Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. From the heroic battle against the Mouse King, travel through the Land of the Snowflakes and on to the Kingdom of the Sweets. There you will meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and be entertained by the wonders of the Land of Enchantment. Choreographed by Artistic Director Abra Rudisill with gorgeous costumes and beautiful sets - all to the classic Tchaikovsky score - this is a production sure to bring out the child in all of us. Whether this is your first time seeing a Nutcracker production or it is a time honored holiday tradition, make ACB's 9th Annual Nutcracker part of your holiday festivities.”

Mittens and Mistletoe, A Winter Circus Cabaret
presented by Sweet Can Circus
Friday-Monday, December 21-24,
Friday 8:00PM, Saturday 4:00PM, Sunday-Monday 2:00Pm and 4:00PM
Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street, San Francisco, 415-826-4441
see website for ticket details

“Back by popular demand - it's the third annual Mittens and Mistletoe: A Winter Circus Cabaret. Come in from the cold, and join our circus family for an hour of glad tidings and cheer! Celebrate winter and the return of light with a light-hearted, charming, and funny variety program suitable for all ages. Produced and directed by San Francisco's beloved Sweet Can Productions, and starring bay area's finest circus artists, you're sure to be enchanted.”

Wacky Winter Wonderland
at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach
December 21-January 5, 10:00AM-5:00PM
(closed on December 25)
Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
see website for admission details

“Playland-Not-at-the-Beach is open every weekend and most holidays, but for the last two weeks of this year, we're going to let visitors in Monday through Friday. Join us for special activities and family fun during the week, so come see us more than once if you can. A great way to pack a bit more fun into the year before it is over. Whether you are 5 or 65, you deserve to have a bit more fun - and we have a lot of it here at Playland! (Sorry, closed Christmas Day.) ”

Kitka's 2nd Annual Wintersongs Community Sing
Sunday, December 22, 5:00-7:00PM
Nile Hall in Historic Preservation Park, 668 13th Street, Oakland
Donations accepted

“Join Kitka and the Kitka Community Chorus in a celebratory circle of song! Experience the magic of raising your voice to create lush Eastern European seasonal harmonies as they were originally intended to be sung by many voices in community! Kitka singers will lead the group in some fun ‘open voice’ warm-ups, and will teach a varied selection of favorite tunes from our Wintersongs repertoire. The songs presented promise to be accessible, beautiful, and interesting. This Community Sing is designed to be very inclusive. Singers of all ages are welcome and no experience is necessary.”

North Bay Reclaiming’s Yule Ritual
Sunday, December 22, 7:00PM
Sebastopol Grange Hall, 6000 Sebastopol Avenue, Sebastopol
Suggested donations of $7-$21, no one turned away for lack of funds
for more information, please call 707-484-7786 or e-mail northbayreclaiming@yahoo.com

“"In the deep dark of winter, we come together to find hope with the return of the light."

Join us for the 26th annual North Bay Winter Solstice Ritual We'll dance on the longest night of the year as we celebrate the return of the light.

Reclaiming respects healthy relationships with traditional medicines but out of respect for those in recovery, all Reclaiming rituals are clean and sober - so please, no recreational drugs or alcohol at or prior to the event.”

The Christmas Ballet: Smuin Ballet’s Holiday Favorite
playing at various Bay Area venues November 22-December 28
see website for schedule, location, and ticket details

Between traditional and radical blooms a Smuin Dance classic.

Each holiday season brings a new menu of delights in a kaleidoscope of styles, and this year promises to be one of our most exciting yet. Following Smuin tradition, the first half of our performance will showcase our celebrated, much-loved standards, while the second half will let loose, with rollicking, playful numbers that flirt with the holiday’s sexier and humorous side.”

Victorian Tweflth Night Ball
presented by PEERS
Saturday, January 4, 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).”

Boar's Head Festival and Mid-Winter Gala

Saturday, January 4, 7:00PM
Seventh Avenue Performances, 1329 Seventh Avenue, San Francisco

Sunday, January 5, 3:30PM
First Lutheran Church of Palo Alto, 600 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto

“Don’t miss our most popular event of every season with this  grand celebration of Twelfth Night and Mid-Winter presided over by her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I!  

The evening begins with a silent auction accompanied by the most delicious appetizers in the shire washed down with mead and wine and continues with an invitation from her Majesty to a musical celebration at her court, conducted by Assistant Music Director Katherine McKee.  

This festive end to the Yuletide  season - The Boar’s Head - is the world’s oldest continuously celebrated Yuletide feast.  Legend has it that a scholar was studying a book of  Aristotle whilst walking through the forest on his way to Midnight Mass.  Suddenly, he was confronted by an angry wild boar.  Having no other weapon, the resourceful Oxonian rammed his metal-bound philosophy book down the throat of the charging animal, whereupon the brute choked to death.  That night the boar's head, finely dressed and garnished, was borne in procession to the dining room, accompanied by carolers singing ‘in honor of the King of bliss.’  We continue this 650 year old tradition with the music and dance of Medieval through Contemporary England, as well as a mysterious, magical guest or two to complete the evening’s entertainment. Our program includes abundant opportunities for you to sing along, and after the concert you’ll enjoy a traditional feast featuring wassail, king’s cake and, meat and vegetable pies.”

Section Two - Places Decorated for the Holidays

A Silver Bells Holiday at Ainsley House
Thursdays-Sundays, November 14-December 19, 12:00-4:00PM
Ainsley House, 300 Grant Street, Campbell, 408-866-2757
Adults $8, Seniors $6, Youth 7-17 $4.50, Children Under 7 Free

“In the beautiful, historical Ainsley House in Downtown Campbell, all of its 15 rooms will be transformed into a warm, inviting home for the holidays with the theme of A Silver Bells Holiday.  The entire house will be decorated by local interior designers, house decorators, florists, and volunteers and will feature a special holiday boutique, full of unique delights for holiday shoppers.

Tours will be offered November 14-17, November 21-24, and November 29-December 19, 12:00-4:00PM. Proceeds from the tours as well as sales at the holiday boutique will benefit the non-profit Campbell Historical Museum and Ainsley House Foundation.”

‘Tis the Season for Science
November 27-January 5
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 415-379-8000
Included with museum admission - see website for details

“Celebrate the festive winter season with live reindeer, indoor snow flurries, and a giant Snowman Theater - all part of the Academy’s annual holiday exhibit. Along the way, discover amazing adaptations that enable reindeer to survive and thrive in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.

’Tis the Season for Science returns for a fourth year to celebrate reindeer and their unique adaptations. Made famous through countless fairytale depictions, these animals are no less remarkable in reality. From their powerful, resilient feet and fast-growing antlers to their ultraviolet vision and marvelous migratory exploits, find out just how perfectly adapted these creatures are to environments most of us consider uninhabitable.

Interactive Reindeer Discovery
Guest and children at the California Academy of Sciences At four separate interactive zones, take a moment to stand in a reindeer’s tracks. See, feel, and experience for yourself the extraordinary traits that enable reindeer to attract mates, stay warm, find food, and travel farther each year than any other land mammal.
Control the growth of reindeer antlers - some of the world’s fastest growing bone.
Feel the astounding insulating properties of reindeer fur.
See the world in ultraviolet light to get a sense of how reindeer view the world, including their favorite winter food- even when it’s buried beneath the snow.
Spin a device called a phenakistoscope to see how reindeer run.

Snowman Theater
Step inside the giant Snowman Theater and enjoy an immersive, kid-friendly show that explores the science behind this extraordinary species in a fun and memorable way. Created by the talented team that produces our planetarium shows, Roaming with Reindeer explores what life on the Arctic tundra is like for these magnificent Nomads of the North.

Live Reindeer
reindeer Meet five-year-old reindeer Willow and Yukon. Both fully grown, the two already have distinct personalities. Willow, a female and the smaller of the pair, is full of energy and has recently taken to pushing Yukon around. Having just finished growing a new set of antlers, Yukon, a male, is larger but more docile. He tends to let Willow go first when their handlers offer treats.

P Is For Penguin: Daily at 11:30AM
Learn about African penguins and their marine adaptations - including an explanation for their tuxedo-colored feathers and why they’re such great swimmers. Play a fun spelling game and learn a new mystery word of the day. This program is recommended for children 12 and under.

Reindeer Rendezvous: Daily at 12:00PM
Ever wonder how reindeer are able to travel so far? Get up close with live caribou and discover why these animals are known as the Nomads of the North, migrating up to 3,000 miles every year. Learn about their unique adaptations and what makes them such an important part of the northern ecosystems.

Holiday Migration Quest: Daily at 1:30PM
Team up and investigate the migration patterns of a variety of animals by participating in a friendly game show-style trivia contest. Learn how animals prepare for or relocate during the coldest season of the year - and how they’re unique physical and behavioral traits enable them to perform these feats.”

Holiday Traditions at Filoli
Let There Be Magic!
Friday, November 29-Saturday, December 7
See website for schedule and admission details
Filoli Center, 86 Canada Road, Woodside

“Each year Filoli’s historic House and Visitor and Education Center are transformed into a magical showcase of holiday decor and merchandise, gifts and exceptional personal and household items. Come to enjoy a delicious meal and then be delighted by the sights and sounds of Ice Fantasy themed decorations and musical groups while you shop. Guests to Holiday Traditions leave feeling the wonder and joy of the holiday season.

Ice Fantasy
There is an elegance in the simplicity of winter. Layers of white contrast sharply with the starkness of bare branches, matted textures, shadows, and sunlight. Light reflects off icy surfaces, winsome and majestic animals blend in. This year’s theme, Ice Fantasy, will take you to this world; New Traditions reflects the spirit of Holiday Traditions 2013.

With much thought, consideration and appreciation to our supporters who have made the Saturday Evening Dinner party your own tradition over the years, we have decided not to include the event in this year’s festivities. We have, instead, chosen to introduce some new traditions for 2013. Holiday Traditions opens in grand style Friday evening, November 29 with an Opening Night - Premiere Shopping event. Be one of the first to see the beautifully decorated House while live music, hors d’oeuvres and wine take you far away from the hustle and bustle outside Filoli’s gates. We expect the Opening Night celebration, as well as an added Saturday boutique shopping, expanded buffet luncheons throughout the week, and two evenings of Bistros in the Cafe will be warmly embraced as new traditions for your families.

The very popular Children’s Parties, held on the last day of Holiday Traditions, sold out again last year. We’ve added a third seating so that more of our youngest visitors will enjoy fun food, a warm welcome from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and special children’s entertainment during the parties in the Visitor and Education Center. Plan ahead as this special event sells out fast.“

Christmas at McConaghy House: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
November 30-December 22,
Saturdays 10:00AM-4:00 PM, Sundays 1:00-4:00PM
McConaghy House, 18701 Hesperian Boulevard, Hayward
Adults $5, Children Under 10 Free

“Get in the mood for the Holidays! Visit historic McConaghy House where the decorations in each room are inspired by a different Christmas song. From O Christmas Tree to Blue Christmas, there is something for everyone; from the classics to the more obscure.”

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train
Saturdays-Sundays, November 29-December 23
Departs from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz
see website for schedule admission details

“Choo, Choo, Santa Claus is coming to town, not by sleigh, not by snow but by Train!

Vintage excursion cars, adorned with thousands of colorful lights, roll through the streets of Santa Cruz as passengers lend their voices to holiday carols, sip hot spiced cider and listen to musical entertainment while Santa visits the little ones, or the young at heart! Continue the merriment with your choice of arcade games, mini-golf or laser tag at Santa's Kingdom at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Bring the whole family for festive fun. Happy Holidays!”

Holiday Train of Lights
Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, November 29-December 29
see website for detailed schedule
boarding at Niles Station, 37001 Mission Boulevard, Fremont
or at Sunol Depot, 6 Kilkare Road, Sunol
$25 (see website for discount offers)

“Bring your entire family on an enchanting holiday excursion!

The Pacific Locomotive Association, Inc., operators of the Niles Canyon Railway, present the 2013 Niles Canyon Railway Train of Lights.

The Niles trains will depart at 4:30PM, you can see the canyon and sunset.
The Sunol trains will depart at 7:30PM, and this ride is all about the lights.

Experience the magic of our brightly decorated holiday train, covered with thousands of lights, as it winds through Niles Canyon on a round-trip ride of approximately one hour from Sunol to the Niles district of Fremont.

Trains also leave Niles at 4:30PM. See our website for details.

This annual fundraising event is presented to benefit the non-profit Niles Canyon Railway. We are sincerely grateful for all of our supporters who help our living history museum continue to operate and grow.”

Shadelands Holiday Faire and Victorian Tea
Saturdays and Sundays, November 30-December 13, 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 10:00AM-4:00PM. Admission and parking are free.

Coinciding with the Holiday Faire, Shadelands also hosts three-course tea luncheons with seatings at 11:30AM and 1:30PM. Tickets are $30 per person. Groups are welcome. Many families and friends maintain an annual tradition of attending the teas. Call the Shadelands office at 925-935-7871 for reservations from October 1.”

Casa del Pomba
352 Hillcrest Avenue, Livermore
Friday, November 30-Tuesday, January 1,
see website for detailed schedule

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 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Livermore-Donut-Wheel/111787845729
at The Donut Wheel, 2017 1st Street, Livermore, 925-447-8190.
Livermore is a festive place!

The Spirit of Christmas at Winchester Mystery House
various dates, December 6-29,
see website for schedule and ticket details
Winchester Mystery House, 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose

“Come celebrate the wonder of Christmas at Sarah Winchester's fabulous 160-room mansion, elegantly decorated for the holidays.
Sparkling lights dance off of priceless art glass windows
Garlands, wreaths and candles grace the mantels of 13 fireplaces
The gardens and gables are aglow with thousands of twinkling lights
Music fills the air and lifts the spirits
Over 30 festive trees are abundantly adorned with hand-crafted ornaments, collected from around the world and created by local artisans. Each tree is designed to complement the room's character and decor, while reflecting the heritage of Santa Clara Valley and the Bay Area.
Silver Snowy Owls, Daisies, Citrus, Art Glass Ornaments, Peacocks, Cherry Blossoms, Fleur De Lis and Blue Velvet… and the ultra glitzy $25K Storage room!
More Fun Activities (not included with admission)
Half-acre outdoor straw labyrinth for kids of all ages
Train Rides
Wine Tasting and Toasting
Family Christmas Photos

An all new Mansion Tour experience with exquisite, designer Christmas trees, decorations, shimmering lights and all new information about Mrs. Winchester's priceless art glass windows.

Multiple live performers on each event night, from youth choirs, brass trios, roving carolers, solo violinists and more! Explore the Mansion by candlelight, as exquisite, designer trees paint the rooms with a festive glow. Holiday music fills the mansion. Evening entertainment on select nights.”

Holidays at Dunsmuir
Saturdays-Sundays, December 7-22, 11:00AM - 4:30PM
Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland
see website for detailed schedule of events

"A Holiday Tradition is one of Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate’s premier events.  For three consecutive weekends, visitors tour the magnificent 37-room mansion, which features turn-of-the-century holiday decorations. Guests enjoy strolling the lovely 50-acre estate.

Visitors can indulge in the Adult or Children’s Holiday Teas, ride the romantic horse-drawn carriage, and sip something warm while being entertained by holiday performers. They also can enjoy a light lunch or snack located in the Carriage House Cafe, while filling their holiday shopping list by purchasing from the mansion gift shop or the Carriage House crafters. The kids enjoy the Kid’s Zone with pony-rides, holiday face-painting, crafts and the Breakfast with Santa.”

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

Holiday Open House at Rengstorff House
Thursday, December 10, 7;00-9:00PM
Rengstorff House, 3070 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View

“Come to our annual Holiday Open House at the Historic Rengstorff House and find yourself utterly delighted by the sights, sounds and magic of the season. Enjoy refreshments and even a special visit from Father Christmas. RSVPs are not needed and we look forward to seeing you.

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 14-23, 12:00PM-7:00PM
Children's Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland

“In December, Fairy Winterland celebrates the winter holidays of many cultures: Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali, and Chinese New Year. Join us for stories, crafts, a festival of lights, and a visit from Santa.

For one modest admission fee - $8 for each adult and child over the age of 1 - you’ll enjoy:
Performances by our renowned Storybook Puppet Theater
A Festival of Lights Parade each day at 6:30PM
Special holiday storytelling, magic, and entertainment
A daily visit from Santa Claus
Holiday-themed arts and crafts
Unlimited rides
And many more special surprises!

The park is open from noon to 7:00PM during Fairy Winterland (weather permitting).”

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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