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, December 3, 2015

Molly Blue Dawn's List of Yule-y Events for 2015

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 future postings.  

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!
Saturdays-Sundays, November 21-December 20
and Friday, November 27,
Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City
see website for ticket details
Parking fees are $12 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 2015, including the Friday after Thanksgiving, from Saturday, November 21 through Sunday, December 20, 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 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.

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 Christmas Ballet Uncorked!: Smuin Ballet’s Holiday Favorite
playing at various Bay Area venues November 22-December 27
see website for schedule, location, and ticket details

Smuin Ballet lights up the holidays with its annual yuletide treat, The Christmas Ballet, sure to please both the naughty and nice. Dazzling audiences for more than 20 years, this enormously popular holiday celebration offers something for everyone, from ballet, tap, and swing to a wealth of other genres drawn from holiday traditions from around the world.

The first act, Classical Christmas, features white-clad dancers performing holiday favorites including Michael Smuin’s The Gloucestershire Wassail and Ave Maria. The Cool Christmas second act features a red-hot costume change, with dancers performing a modern mash-up of numbers including White Christmas, a flirty Baby, It’s Cold Outside, and the iconic Santa Baby.

This year’s festivities will feature two new works that promise to enchant and envelop audiences in the holiday spirit. Smuin Ballet dancer Nicole Haskins will debut a new work in the first act set to the jubilant Joy to the World. Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert will present a new piece in the second act set to the classic Home for the Holidays.

Don’t miss this essential holiday tradition. Order now to secure the best seats to Smuin Ballet’s most popular show of the year!

Holiday High Jinx: Bums, Broads, and Broadway
presented by Word for Word
select days, November 25-December 24,
see website for detailed schedule
Z Below, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco
see website for ticket information

Stories by:
Damon Runyon - Dancing Dan's Christmas
Joseph Mitchell - The Cave Dwellers
E.B. White - Christmas and Relative Pronouns
and Notes and Comment - from The New Yorker, 12/17/32

All three of these writers were journalists, and all three were journalists in New York, in the 1920s, 1930s, and beyond. Their stories give us the poetry of the city and its uncelebrated people. The warmth of these writers in a cold world - winter cold and ‘30s Depression cold - glows with holiday spirit. Runyon, Mitchell, and White show us people drawn together in community, celebrating the season, and bringing us all a cup of good cheer. Come have a Tom & Jerry with us (that's the cocktail, not the famed cartoon duo) and join the spirit of the Winter holidays.

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.
Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1:00-4:00PM
$25 for this experience includes:
A Pot of Fine Tea
Tea Sandwiches
Petit Fours
Cookies and Scones

The Belrose Theatre is a beautiful and truly magical place!

Tilden Park Christmas Fantasy In the Woods
December 1-23, see website for detailed schedule
CAYA Sprouts will be there on Sunday, December 21
Tilden Park Merry Go Round, Shasta Road, Berkeley
$2 per ride or $10 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 Mardi 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.

Holiday Tea and Tours at the Ainsley House
various dates, December 2-13,
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 & 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, all of its 15 rooms will be transformed into an enchanting celebration of Christmas decorated by local interior designers, house decorators, florists, and volunteers. The Ainsley House's Holiday Boutique, full of unique delights for holiday shoppers, will feature seasonal gifts, ornaments, tea accessories, and more.

All proceeds benefit the Campbell Historical Museum & 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.

Sing Along Sound of Music
Thursday-Friday, December 3-4, 7:00PM
and Sunday, December 6, 1:00PM and 7:00PM
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco
Adults $16, Children and Seniors $11  

An annual Castro Theatre event, 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!

The movie stars Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Eleanor Parker. Directed by Robert Wise. (1965, full program including intermission runs approx. 240 min, DCP 'Scope)

The Velveteen Rabbit
presented by ODC
Thursdays-Sundays, December 3-13,
Thursday-Friday 11:00AM, Saturday 11:00AM and 2:00PM, Sunday 2:00PM
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco
see website for 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 27th season of the beloved Bay Area production!

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes
9th Annual All Drag Xmas Exdrag-a-ganza
Thursdays-Sundays, December 3-20,
Thursdays-Saturdays 8:00PM, Sundays 7:00PM
Victoria Theater, 2961 16th Street, San Francisco, 415-863-7576

Starring San Francisco’s four top drag luminaries, as we ring in the Holiday with, hilarity and heart. The formula is reasonably straightforward. Take 4 talented drag performers, cast them in two classic Xmas episodes of the ground-breaking and uproarious TV show: The Golden Girls, and joviality will ensue.

Holiday Frolic and Snow Park in Downtown Martinez
Friday, December 4, 3:00-9:00PM
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
Visit with Santa at Santa's little red house at the Main Street Plaza.

Free Activities 3:00-5:00PM
Candy Cane Lane Crafts
Reindeer Stop Flight School
Gingerbread House Crafts
Recyclable Art
Hot Cocoa with Frosty

Tree Lighting at 5:00PM

Children's Light Parade at 6:30PM
This family-friendly light parade begins at City Hall and ends on Main Street at Ferry Street.
Everyone is invited to participate!
Free parade lighted wands will be handed out to the first 600 children that register in advance for the parade.
Musicians, performers, lighted vehicles, and floats are needed! Little ones, decorate and drive your electric ride-on vehicle, tricycle, or wagon in the parade!

Holiday Open House In Downtown Benicia
Friday, December 4, 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 4, 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!

Beloved Strangers
presented by Un-Scripted Theater
Friday-Saturdays, December 4-19, 8:00PM
Un-Scripted Theater, 533 Sutter Street, Second Floor, San Francisco
Adults $20, Students and Seniors $10

Un-Scripted Theater Company’s beloved classic returns! There’s no other holiday entertainment like it. Each night, Un-Scripted’s skilled improvisors create a brand-new, wholly original ensemble musical from audience suggestions. The show serves up classic holiday themes in fresh combinations you’ve never seen before. The result is a little familiar and a lot magical… just like the holidays themselves.

A Christmas Carol
December 4-27, see website for detailed schedule
American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary Street, San Francisco, 415-749-2228
see website ticket details

Featuring a lively cast of dozens, gorgeous costumes, and those deliciously spooky ghosts, the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition returns with a sparkling, music-infused production of A Christmas Carol. Bring your family, bring your friends, and check your "humbugs" at the door!

Children's Holiday Festival at History San Jose
Saturday, December 5, 11:00AM-3:00PM
History Park, 635 Phelan Avenue, San Jose

Join us for the annual Children’s Holiday Festival! Celebrate the holidays strolling through History Park, listening to the sounds of carolers; ride the trolley, listen in on story time, and visit with Santa, who will be on-hand for photo opportunities!

Petaluma Downtown Merchants Holiday Open House
Saturday, December 5, 11:00AM-5:00PM
Putnam Plaza, 129 Petaluma Boulevard North, Petaluma

Join us on December 5 from 11:00AM-5:00PM for our annual Merchant's Holiday Open House, From Petaluma With Love.  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!

2015 Activities Include:
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
Face painting
Balloon Art

Harps for the Holidays
featuring Patrick Ball
Saturday, December 5, 4:00PM
Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Avenue, Los Altos
Adults $15, Children 4-12 and Seniors 60+ $12

Come and enjoy an afternoon of festive holiday harp music at our seventeenth annual concert!

The program will include a festive selection of music, including traditional carols and popular holiday music. We will feature harp solos and our enormously popular studio ensemble of more than twenty harps.

We are delighted that our guest artist this year will be Patrick Ball, one of the premier Celtic harp players in the world and a captivating storyteller. Patrick plays the ancient, legendary brass-strung harp of Ireland with its crystalline, bell-like tones and performs marvelous tales of wit and enchantment, bringing new life to two cherished traditions and blending them in concert to create a richly theatrical and hauntingly beautiful performance.

Patrick has recorded nine instrumental and three spoken word albums which have sold well over one-half million copies internationally and won national awards in both the music and spoken word categories. We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming Patrick to this year’s concert.

Campbell Carol of Lights Festival
Saturday, December 5, 5:00-8:00PM
Downtown Campbell, E. Campbell Avenue and Central, Campbell

This year's Carol of Lights is scheduled for Saturday, December 5 from 5:00-8:00PM with bounce houses, a petting zoo, pony rides, musical entertainment, Santa Claus and SNOW!

Petaluma Lighted Boat Parade
with the Petaluma Yacht Club
Saturday, December 5, 6:00PM
Turning Basin, 10 C Street, Petaluma, 707-769-0429

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.

Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair
Saturday-Sunday, December 5-6,
Saturday 9:00AM-5:00PM, Sunday 10:00AM-4:00PM
Finley Community Center, 2060 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa
$2, Children 12 and under free

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!

Live entertainment both days!

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 $1,500 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 a local restaurant.

Luther Burbank Home and Gardens Holiday Open House
Saturday-Sunday, December 5-6, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
Adults $2, Children 12 and under free

The public is invited to this popular annual community event! Enjoy a 35-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 Handmade Holiday Craft Fair held at the Finley Community Center.

Guglielmo Winery's 26th Annual Holiday Faire
Saturday-Sunday, December 5-6 and December 12-13, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Guglielmo Winery, 1480 East Main Avenue, Morgan Hill, 408-779-2145
$10 Admission Fee includes Wine Tasting

Join us for our 27th Annual Christmas at the Winery!

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 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!

Holiday Tree Walk
Saturdays-Sundays, December 5-6 & 12-13, 11:00AM-7:00PM
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 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.

Holiday Open Studio at Slow Burn Glass
Saturdays & Sundays, December 5-20, 9:00AM-5:00PM,
Slow Burn Glass, 2690 Union Street, Oakland, 510-832-2007
Free admission, workshops $100

Join us this holiday season at our Open Studio! We will be teaching a Make Your Own Ornament workshop where you blow your own sparkling glass orb ornament, and Build A Snowman workshop where you can sculpt a personable solid glass snowman. We hold our workshops during our studios Open House, where you can shop and support local glass artists and pick up beautiful, one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones this holiday season.

presented by African-American Shakespeare Company
December 5-20, see website for detailed schedule
Buriel Clay Theatre, African-American Art and Culture Complex,
762 Fulton Street, San Francisco

This classic production of Cinderella is a timeless tale, brought to whimsical, magical life just in time for the holidays, is an uplifting re-telling of the classic fairytale, featuring all of the pageantry, hilarity, and charm of the original, but with a soulful twist.

This heartwarming story finds Cinderella, a young, beautiful dreamer, toiling away as a lowly scullery maid for her evil stepmother and stepsisters. With the help of a fabulous Fairy Godmother who makes the magic happen, Cinderella finds her Prince Charming and learns that anything is possible, even miracles.

Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto!
Sunday, December 6, 10:00AM-3:00PM
Gourmet Ghetto, 1450-1500 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

Take a snow day in the Gourmet Ghetto! Bring your boots and mittens to play in the snow that is predicted to gently fall on the frontage road of Shattuck Avenue between Rose and Vine Streets.

Visit with the Snow Queen who will listen to all of your holiday wishes, ride the decorated live ponies, make holiday crafts, and warm up with hot cider and chewy treats courtesy of Kind Snacks and Andronico’s. Find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts from local craft vendors.
Find the ‘ice’ in a snowball - one has a real diamond ring inside - sponsored by M. Lowe & Co. as a benefit for the Berkeley Schools. There are singers, trumpets, and a balloon twister to make the day fun!

Bring a large container 3:00-5:00PM to take home some snow of your own. Use it to water your garden!

Ashkenaz International Holiday Bazaar
Sunday, December 6, 11:00AM-5:00PM
Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
Free admission

Come enjoy this festive day as we transform Ashkenaz into an exotic marketplace! Ashkenaz’s Holiday Bazaar reflects our community center’s global perspective, exhibiting arts and crafts that are handmade, sustainable, recycled, related to music and dance themes, or representing cultures and traditions from around the world. Items to be offered include pottery, jewelry, handmade and ethnic clothing, leather crafts, African masks and baskets, books, photography, and more. Most are priced at $25 or less.

Admission is free! The event also features live acoustic music, and beer & wine, hot & cold beverages, and organic vegetarian food will be available from our café. Support local artisans this holiday season, and your home for world music and dance!

Holiday Cracker Surprises
with Lynn Dolan
Sunday, December 6, 11:00AM–5:00PM
Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, 510-204-9801
$105 includes materials, limited to 8 students

A tradition since the 1840s, Christmas crackers are a treat for everyone at the holidays. A joke, a crown, and a small toy can delight even the most jaded adult as they pull the cracker and surprises pop out. In this class, you’ll begin by covering cardboard tubes with crepe and choosing Victorian and Dresden paper trim to decorate the bonbons. Then you’ll cut and decorate crowns out of the fine crepe. Some treats to include inside the tube will be provided, along with the popping strip, although you are welcome to bring a few trinkets you may want to include. Write a little note on a card you create in class to personalize the bonbons. Lynn will also bring a surprise you may choose to include in your cracker. You’ll leave Castle in the Air with at least eight party favors and materials to make a few more.

Kepler’s Books Literary Circle Annual Holiday Party
Sunday, December 6, 3:00-6:00PM
Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-324-4321

We're chilling the champagne and getting ready to unwrap the chocolate for our annual holiday member party!
This is our chance to thank our loyal Literary Circle Members and to welcome the new members who sign up during our annual membership drive.

Our booksellers will be out in force to help you select perfect gifts for everyone on your list.

We'll have community volunteers on hand to wrap everything up while you enjoy some champagne and chocolate.

We look forward to this party every year and we hope you'll make it one of your holiday traditions as well!

The Jewelry Box
with Brian Copeland
Two performances only!
Sunday, December 6 & 13, 7:00PM
Altarena Playhouse, 1409 High Street, Alameda

Altarena Playhouse is honored to welcome back Brian Copeland with his Christmas show, The Jewelry Box. After sold-out runs of The Scion and The Waiting Period earlier this year, Brian brings us into the holiday season with this hilariously heartwarming prequel to his hit show Not a Genuine Black Man.

In The Jewelry Box, a young Brian heads to the “mean streets” of Oakland to buy his mom a Christmas present. When he finds the perfect gift - a jewelry box in the White Front store - six-year-old Brian sets out to earn the required $11.97 by Christmas Eve. Rife with references to 1970s Oakland, The Jewelry Box follows Brian’s adventures as he scours the “help wanted” ads, applies for jobs, and collects bottles, inching his way toward the perfect Christmas gift. After premiering in 2013, the show was an instant success, selling out performances and proving popular with audiences and critics alike. Join us at Altarena as Brian tells his enchanting tale just twice, December 6 & 13.

Tree Trimming Party and Meditation for Those of All Faiths
Tuesday, December 8, 7:00-9:00PM
Anubhuti Meditation and Retreat Center, 820 Bel Marin Keys Boulevard, Novato
donations accepted
Please RSVP to 415-884-231 or anubhuti@bkwsu.org

People of all cultures and backgrounds are invited 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.

Livermore Shakespeare Holiday Celebration
Wednesday, December 9 and December 16, 5:30PM and 7:30PM
Swirl on the Square, 21 S. Livermore Avenue, Livermore, 925-447-1400
$35 per person includes performance, tapas sampler and one glass of wine

Celebrate the season with friends, family or co-workers and Livermore Shakespeare Festival artists as they present a staged reading of classic holiday short stories including stories by Charles Dickens. Guests will enjoy delicious wine and tapas from Swirl on the Square as the artists perform. The venue only seats 40 people so it will be an intimate holiday celebration!

Garden Holiday Pop-Up Shop
Thursday, December 10, 11:00AM-3:00PM
UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley
Free admission

Come have a fabulous time finding beautiful and unusual gifts for the holidays at our special holiday shopping party in the Garden’s Julia Morgan Hall. Choose from a unique selection of gifts from local vendors as well as unique hand-crafted gifts from the Garden. Proceeds from your holiday purchases will directly benefit the Botanical Garden.

Center REP’s A Christmas Carol
December 10-20, see website for schedule details
Hofmann Theatre, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek
see website for ticket details

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.

The Eternal Return of the Cosmic Star Child from the Songbook of the Invisible Sky
an Interstellar Operetta
presented by The Imaginists
various dates, December 10-20, 8:00PM
see website for detailed schedule
The Imaginists, 461 Sebastopol Avenue, Santa Rosa, 707-528-7554
sliding scale $15- $25

A Pink Floyd and Sunn0))) inspired musically-driven piece of heartstring-tugging storytelling, based on the concepts of ancient astrology and faith in the unfolding of the universe.

Slavic Choral Christmas Concert
with Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble
Friday, December 11, 7:30PM
Church of The Nativity, 240 Fell Street, San Francisco
$15 in advance, $18 at the door

The 12th annual Slavic Choral Christmas Concert delivers a glorious tapestry of traditional carols and winter songs sourced from the rich textures of East European folk and sacred holiday music, sung and played in styles ranging from simple time-honored folk themes to sacred carols rendered in four-part harmonies.

Professional sand Community artists, dressed in authentic regional costumes, perform beloved seasonal repertoire from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Jewish traditional music from Eastern Europe, Moldova, Poland, and Ukraine.

Concert-goers can arrive early to enjoy a complimentary glass of hot mulled cider or wine (grzaniec in Polish), as well as rich Polish hunters' stew (Bigos), and homemade pastries, priced by item, and may secure a seat under one of the hand-made stragany, the replica Christmas market stalls of Eastern Europe. A small folklore table offers holiday shopping opportunities including hand-crocheted tree ornaments from Poland.

The Slavic Christmas Concert is produced by Lowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble of San Francisco, in 2015 celebrating 40 years of community service. The mission of Lowiczanie is to entertain and educate audiences through presentations of traditional Polish folk and gentry's music, song and dance.

Christmas Revels: A Theatrical Celebration of the Winter Solstice
Friday-Sunday, December 11-13 and 18-20,
Fridays at 8:00PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00PM and 5:00PM
Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, 510-451-1903
See website for detailed ticket prices and parking information.

The 30th Annual Christmas Revels: A Venetian Masque

It is the end of 1620 when a troupe of ragged Commedia Dell’Arte players arrive in Venice. They are fleeing a less-than-successful European tour and are hoping for an upturn in their fortunes. The Doge, Antonio Priuli, is preparing an elaborate festival to celebrate the new year. It is to feature the finest of elegant Renaissance music and courtly masque drama as well as guest performers invited from around the Mediterranean. There is no place in his plans for the low comedy of the players. Relying on their wit and ingenuity, the Commedians manage to infiltrate the festivities, and before long the Most Serene Republic of Venice is reduced to comic chaos. The show brings together high and low art with vibrant costuming, multiple masks and even a gondola race as audience and performers join together in an uproarious Revels celebration of the turning of the year.

Featured performers include Jeff Raz and Robert Sicular, last seen in the 2013 Ghosts of Haddon Hall Christmas Revels, last year's female lead, Tristan Cunningham, newcomer Slater Penney, and Revels regulars Shira Kammen, James Galileo, and Brass West.

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

Alameda Holiday Home Tour
Saturday, December 12, 9:30AM-4:00PM
around the city of Alameda - locations will be provided with ticket purchase
$35 in advance, $40 on the day

Guests will follow their heart through the 45th Annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour! 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 will feature 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 gifts 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.

Booklets are presented once tickets are purchased to each guest, providing a map of the tour and description of each home.

Holiday Nature Crafts
Saturday, December 12, 10:00AM-2:00PM
UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley
$20 includes materials

Join the Garden for this family program as we create gifts and festive decorations inspired by the Garden’s diverse collection of plants. Make beautiful nature-inspired crafts, including: Nature-filled globes, Mini evergreen wreaths, Greeting cards from pressed botanicals, Garden animal ornaments, and Pine cone bird feeders, Plus refreshments and good cheer! All materials provided.

Christmas Parade and Holiday Market
Saturday, December 12, 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.

Holiday on the Farm
Saturday, December 12, 11:00AM-3:00PM
Forest Home Farms Historic Park, 19953 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, San Ramon

Enjoy a traditional holiday family experience including visits with a Victorian Santa and his reindeer, old-fashioned ornament making, a puppet show, holiday entertainment and refreshments. The Victorian Glass House Museum will be decorated for the holidays and open for docent led tours for $5 per person. In partnership with the San Ramon Historic Foundation.

San Jose Heritage Holiday Champagne Tea
Saturday, December 12, 11:00AM-4:00PM
Tea seatings at 11:00AM and 2:00PM
Pacific Hotel, History Park, 635 Phelan Avenue, San Jose
see website for reservation details

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 Silicon Valley Shakespeare Theatre Company.  Tour historic houses decorated for the holidays.

Weihnachtsmarkt: German Holiday Market
hosted by German International School of Silicon Valley
Saturday, December 12, 11:00AM-9:00PM
Civic Center Plaza, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View

Come indulge in German food and drinks and browse our eclectic selection of handcrafted gifts from Germany and local artists for purchase. The day will also include musical performances by GISSV students, and, new this year, an ice rink where you can have a stab at your ice skating skills!
Run by a volunteer committee of parents at the German International School of Silicon Valley, the event offers an opportunity to explore the famous tradition of German Holiday Markets right here in Silicon Valley. All proceeds will benefit GISSV’s high-quality bilingual programs.

Santa Beer Crawl in Downtown Martinez
Saturday, December 12, 2:30-5:30PM
along Main Street from Ferry Street to Alhambra Avenue, Martinez

Dust off your Santa suits and ugly Christmas sweaters because it's time to head to Downtown Martinez for some holiday cheer!

Main Street Martinez hosts the annual Santa Beer Crawl on the streets of Martinez, Saturday, December 12, from 2:30-5:30PM. Come join the jolliest bunch of Santas this side of the bay as they walk around the downtown corridor of Martinez, sampling beers from over 20 great craft breweries stationed inside some of the small businesses along Main Street.

Community Seed Yule Social
Saturday, December 12, 5:30-10:30PM
Clubhouse, Harvey West Park, 326 Evergreen Street, Santa Cruz
suggested donation of $9-$20, no one turned away for lack of funds
for more information, call 831-469-0336 or e-mail info@communityseed.org

Come one, come all! Bring the family to A Yule Celebration!
In celebration. In joy. In merriment.

Gather at 5:30PM, Feasting at 6:00PM

Festivities to follow…..
Dancing with an awesome DJ, 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...

Potluck to follow after the ritual. Please bring a dish to share and label the ingredients.
Earth signs - Greens, Air Signs - Main Dish Meat,
Fire Signs - Main Dish Vegetable, Water Signs - Dessert
Drinks will be provided

This is a child friendly event.  All CS events are Clean and Sober.

Old Time Maritime Christmas
with the Hyde Street Living History Players
Saturday, December 12, 6:00-9:00PM
aboard the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco
included with vessel admission, Adults $5, 15 and under free

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 at this magical evening program, with sea music performed by Richard Adrianowicz and Peter Kasin. Lamplit tours by a costumed nightwatchmen 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, open daily.

Christmas in Cambridge - A Festival of Lessons & Carols
a Free Family Concert with San Francisco Renaissance Voices
Saturday, December 12, 7:30PM
Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1329 Seventh Avenue, San Francisco

Don't miss this traditional Festival of Lessons & Carols, including a jolly holiday reception afterwards!  This event is modeled after the Festival of Lessons & Carols first performed in 1918 at King's College, Cambridge, England, where it has been performed every year since.  There will be plenty of opportunity for you to sing carols along with us to get you into the holiday spirit and, in the tradition of the Festival, you'll enjoy a new composition especially written for the evening.

Holiday Classics Weekend
at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach
Saturday-Sunday, December 12-13, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
see website for admission details

Come help us celebrate every holiday of this special season with all the classic characters, including Rudolph, Frosty, Hanukah Charlie and more. Spot them all and win special prizes!

Crucible Gifty Holiday Sale
Saturday-Sunday, December 12-13,
Saturday 11:00-6:00PM, Sunday 12:00-5:00PM
The Crucible, 1260 7th Street, Oakland, 510-444-0919
Free admission

Dozens of leading East Bay artists, craftspeople and Crucible faculty members will be selling their best hand-made pieces in a holiday celebration of local creative culture. From glass to metal, wood, ceramics, clothing and much more, you’ll find the perfect gifts for the toughest people on your list. Seasonal treats, beverages and holiday entertainers make this an event all ages can enjoy.

Live industrial art demonstrations like glass-blowing, foundry pouring and opportunities to get hands-on in ceramics.

Magic Toy Box Tea
Saturday and Sunday, December 12-13, 12:00PM and 3:00PM seatings available
Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, 415-485-3328
$28 Adults, $24 Children, $50 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 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!)

A Winter Wonderland
Saturday-Sunday, December 12-13,
Saturday 7:00PM, Sunday 2:00PM
Campbell Heritage Theatre, 1 W Campbell Avenue, Campbell

We are pleased to invite you to the holiday performances of our original ballet, A Winter Wonderland. We are glad to bring something new to the theater that celebrates the beautiful season of winter, as well as the holiday spirit. We couldn't be more elated to perform for you and offer a ballet that's a bit different from the typical holiday season offering.

Follow our young heroine Beatrice as she goes on her adventure through the enchanted woods where she encounters penguins, reindeer, and other animals. She discovers Winter Wonderland where she meets magical creatures including the Winter Fairy, the Peppermint Princess and Jack Frost. Be amazed as the season unfolds before your eyes and brings all the smiles and fun that come with it. You've never seen a winter quite like this.

A Winter Wonderland is for all ages and open to everyone with a fun and festive holiday spirit.

with Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble

Saturday, December 12, 8:00PM
Kanbar Center for the Performing Arts, Osher Marin JCC,
200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael

Sunday, December 13, 4:00PM
St. Bede's Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park

Friday, December 18, 8:00PM
St. Paul's Church, 114 Montecito Avenue, Oakland

Saturday, December 19, 8:00PM
Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento Street, San Francisco

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.

Winter Solstice Drum Circle
Sunday, December 13, 6:00-7:00PM
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.

Buche de Noel
with Lynn Dolan
Tuesday, December 15, 11:00AM–5:00PM
Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, 510-204-9801
$105 includes materials, limited to 8 students

Using Castle in the Airʼs unique materials, including our richly colored imported florist crepe paper, you will create a charming Buche de Noel that you can fill with holiday treats and treasures for your family or guests. Under Lynnʼs expert guidance, you will decorate your Yule log with an assortment of mushrooms, leaves, holly sprigs, and even a dusting of sparkling “frost,” using our imported German glitter. Use your Buche de Noel to bring woodland cheer to your holiday table, or as unique packaging for an extra-special gift.

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker
December 16-31, see website for schedule details
The War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
see website for ticket details

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.

Holiday Evening Tour of Ainsley House
Thursday, December 17, 5:30-8:00PM
Ainsley House, 51 N Central Avenue, Campbell

This December, the historic Ainsley House will be transformed into a holiday wonderland! Join us for our evening open house, 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, 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.

The Biggest Gift
presented by Fantasy Forum
Thursday-Saturday, December 17-20,
see website for detailed schedule
Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, 925-943-7469
see website for ticket information

Did you send your letter to Santa? Then why has he not received it? No letters - No Christmas. Join the fun and laughter as Tucker the elf and the toys set out to save Christmas.

The Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble is a non-profit organization of men and women who strive to entertain, educate and enrich families, and endeavor to present the highest form of entertainment to the young and young at heart.

At Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble many of our audience members are able to sit right on the stage and interact directly with the performers. We produce four musicals at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts each year drawing up to 2,700 patrons to each production. Our performances are scheduled throughout the day and early evenings on weekends to accommodate patrons bringing families for their first live theatre experience. Many of our shows are also scheduled on Fridays to accommodate school groups.

Mittens and Mistletoe, A Winter Circus Cabaret
presented by Sweet Can Circus
December 18-27,
see website for detailed schedule of performances
Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street, San Francisco, 415-826-4441
see website for ticket details

Sweet Can Productions is proud to announce the 6th Annual Mittens and Mistletoe: A Winter Circus Cabaret! Now a holiday tradition, Mittens is back with more comedy, music, spectacular circus feats, and holiday high jinks. This year's cast includes veterans from Sweet Can, Cirque du Soleil, Teatro ZinZanni, New Pickle Circus, The New Eccentrics, and Circus Bella. Packed with variety entertainment for all ages, Mittens & Mistletoe is the holiday show that everyone loves.

Image Transfer Ornaments
with Courtney Cerruti
Saturday, December 19, 10:00AM-1:00PM
Handcraft Studio School, 5885 Doyle Street, Emeryville, 510-332-6101
$75, Limit 12 students

Use image transfers to create a dozen beautiful and bright ornaments in time for decorating the tree or topping gifts. Paint wooden shapes, transfer found images and text then add tassels, ribbons, and pompoms to complete the look. Join Maker Extraordinaire and Author Courtney Cerruti as she demonstrates the best method for transferring images on wood and creating festive holiday ornaments.

Maker extraordinaire, Courtney is the author of Playing with Image Transfers, Washi Tape 101, and Playing With Surface Design published by Quarry Books. Courtney teaches workshops all over the country and online at Creativebug.com. Her work has been featured on Oh Happy Day, Design Sponge, the SF Chronicle, Instagram, and BuzzFeed. She makes something everyday and can be found on instagram as @ccerruti

Paper Pinecone Ornament
with Tiffanie Turner
Saturday, December 19, 2:30-5:30PM
Handcraft Studio School, 5885 Doyle Street, Emeryville, 510-332-6101
$75, Limit 15 students

Using blown-out chicken eggs and gorgeous Italian crepe paper, Tiffanie will teach you to make a unique and beautiful pine cone ornament to use for yourself or give as a gift. The workshop fee includes extra blown-out eggs and crepe paper for you to use at home. We will be working in shades of brown, but there will be a variety of paper colors available for you to experiment with in the class or at home. Scissors will be provided, but if you have a favorite pair of scissors you like to work with, feel free to bring with you.

Light snacks and beverages will be provided.

Tiffanie Turner is an artist who explores nature and botany in large and small scales in paper. She is a wife, mother of two young children, and a licensed California architect. Her work in paper stems from her background as an architect, particularly her interest in construction and repetitive motifs, along with her lifelong passion for flowers and botanical drawings. Her work can be seen around the Bay Area when she is exhibiting, including next spring at the de Young Museum where she will be the artist in residence for the month of May 2016.

Songs of the Open Heart: Winter Solstice Ceremony, Transmission, and Celebration
Saturday, December 19, 6:30-10:00PM
Sacred Stream Center, 2149 Byron Street, Berkeley
$50 in advance, $65 at the door

The wheel turns. Daylight lessens. Night stretches Her graceful arms of darkness out to envelop and embrace us. Winter Solstice is coming; a potent time to turn inward and welcome the invitation to slow down, reflect and release… to settle into breath and bone.

You are invited into the magic of this time of year, to honor in ceremony and song, the movement of our Mother. To name all that has come into completion over the course of this year and release that which is ready to be shed.

We come together to raise the vibration of our planet, joining hearts and voices as we sing the songs of the Open Heart! Let us celebrate, rejoice, and play together in the promise of light and the joyful beat of life that pulses within!

You will be received in love, guided in ceremony, and connected with other like-hearted beings to be held in the promise of the coming light!

Ceremony, Food, Refreshment and Fun Will Be Provided in Abundance!

Children 12 and older who can hold ceremonial space are happily received!

We invite you to dress in ceremonial/mythic wear; white attire is encouraged.

North Bay Reclaiming’s Winter Solstice Ritual
Saturday, December 19, 7:30PM
Sebastopol Grange Hall, 6000 Sebastopol Avenue, Sebastopol
Suggested donations of $10-$30, no one turned away for lack of funds
for more information, please call 707-484-7786 or e-mail northbayreclaiming@yahoo.com

Join us to celebrate Winter Solstice with Starhawk.
Intention: In the darkness of winter, we arise and call back the sun.

Alameda Civic Ballet's The Nutcracker
Saturday-Sunday December 19-20, 2:00PM
Kofman Theater, 2200 Central Avenue, Alameda, 510-522-7101
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 Alameda Civic Ballet's Nutcracker part of your holiday festivities.

Mr. Music Holiday Sing-Along
Sunday, December 20, 2:30-4:30PM
Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, 390 Morris Street, Sebastopol

For warm-hearted family fun, nothing will beat this event. Spend the afternoon singing your holiday favorites and enjoying good company. Food, drink, and song. What more do we need?!
This event is free to the community, donations are welcome!

The Mr. Music Foundation has been bringing quality music programs to schools throughout Sonoma County for over 25 years. The Foundation provides classroom music, after school music instruction, and high quality music assemblies. It is the mission of the Foundation to bring more music education to more children in the local area. We also present and promote live music programs in the communities, and help and encourage local musicians and music teachers.

Bay Area Reclaiming Winter Solstice Ritual
Sunday, December 20, 3:30PM
Ocean Beach, near Quintara Street and Great Highway, San Francisco
Donations accepted
For more information, please contact sfrpc@yahoogroups.com

Join us on the eve of Winter Solstice as we gather to celebrate the longest night of the year. We honor the time of darkness as well as the turning of the Wheel of the Year back toward the light.

Wear warm clothes, and bring food or non-alcoholic drink to share, and a towel if you want to plunge. Flashlights and dry socks are handy. Drums and other instruments are welcome for post-ritual music. Trash bags are a great way to show special love for the beach!

Kitka's Annual Wintersongs Community Sing
Sunday, December 20, 5:00-7:00PM
Nile Hall in Historic Preservation Park, 668 13th Street, Oakland
Donations accepted

Join Kitka 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.

East Bay Sing Up the Sun
Monday, December 21, 6:40AM (yes, AM!)
Inspiration Point, Tilden Park, Berkeley
Donations accepted
For more information, please contact vibraw@aol.com

Join us again in the East Bay hills to greet the sun on Solstice morning! Wear layers and bring drums, shakers, tambourines, flutes, tubas, etc. and maybe a thermos of hot beverage. If you have a favorite sun-song, bring lyrics to share, and we usually do a spiral dance just after dawn.

Steady rain cancels. Fog or misty rain, we'll be there.

Victorian Twelfth Night Ball
presented by PEERS
Saturday, January 2, Doors Open 6:45PM, Dance Lesson: 7:00PM, Dancing
Begins: 8:00PM
Alameda Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda
$20 in advance (by December 26), $25 at the door

Dance, sing, and play at the season's loveliest old-fashioned holiday party 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. As usual, there will be other special guests at the ball, including a number of Mr. Dickens' most popular characters.

There will be an excellent no host bar and a light Olde English snack buffet (As usual, your potluck contributions to Mrs. Fezziwig's kitchen are very welcome).

Boar's Head Festival and Mid-Winter Gala
presented by San Francisco Renaissance Voices

Saturday, January 9, 7:30PM
Seventh Avenue Performances, 1329 Seventh Avenue, San Francisco

Sunday, January 10, 4:00PM
St. Bede's Episcopal Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park

Join us for this 650 year old tradition celebrating Twelfth Night… Our sixth annual Boar’s Head Festival delights audiences young and old alike and is our most popular event of each and every season!  This evening of feasting, libations, music, and dramatic surprises takes place at the court of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth I, with audience-favorites Phantom of the Opera's soprano Susan Gundunas joining us once again as our Queen, the Celtic/Early Music band Broceliande providing instrumental music for the evening with guest percussionist Geneva Harrison, and our dance troupe, San Francisco Renaissance Dancers, taking the stage as well.

During this year's Festival, the Bard himself, Master Will Shakespeare, visits the court, bringing with him a new play he has written for her majesty… and of course Shakespeare songs!  Any attire you choose for her majesty's court is fine... however those of you who choose to come in period costume or masque will be especially welcomed!

Section Two - Places Decorated for the Holidays

Holiday Train of Lights
selected dates in December,
see website for detailed schedule
boarding at Niles Station, 37001 Mission Boulevard, Fremont
or at Sunol Depot, 6 Kilkare Road, Sunol
see website for ticket details

Bring the whole family on an enchanting holiday excursion!

Enjoy an hour-long round trip through Niles Canyon filled with refreshments, music, and cheer
aboard our antique coaches and open cars that feature holiday lights and decorations inside and out.

The Train of Lights offers a rare opportunity to experience a train ride through Niles Canyon at night.  With one departure from Niles at dusk and a second departure from Sunol after dark, you can choose your favorite time to ride.

The Train of Lights has been an annual tradition for many Bay Area families for more than a decade.  Make it yours too!

The Spirit of Christmas at Winchester Mystery House
selected dates in December, tours between 5:20-9:00PM
Winchester Mystery House, 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose
see website for schedule and ticket details

Come and experience the Spirit of Christmas from a by-gone era - only at Winchester Mystery House!

The majestic Winchester Mystery House opens its doors and decks its winding halls with sparkling lights, garlands, wreaths and candles for our special holiday evening tours!
Join our 50-minute guided tours developed specifically for the holidays, and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of a Victorian Christmas, surrounded by the jolly sights and heart-warming sounds of the season. You will see over 100,000 twinkling lights, thousands of feet of festive garland, and over 20 elegant Christmas trees adorned with nearly 1,000 hand-crafted ornaments collected from around the world and created by local artisans.

Before or after your tour, enjoy the holiday cheer of the Central Gardens with snowfall, caroling singers, wine and chocolate pairings, handmade candy specialties, appearances by Mrs. Claus, hot beverages and spirits and much more.

More Fun Activities:
Santa Claus
Christmas Carolers
Victorian Characters
Family Christmas Photos
Balloon Artist

This is the perfect place to start a wonderful holiday tradition for the whole family. Our special holiday tours start at 5:20PM and are offered on selected evenings in December.

‘Tis the Season for Science
December 1-January 3
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Included with museum admission - see website for details

Revel in the wonder of ’Tis the Season for Science, the Academy's annual holiday exhibit showcasing the science behind the festive season!

This interactive exhibit invites you to explore some of the most awe-inspiring details of reindeer adaptation, from how they stay warm - and afloat - when crossing icy rivers to what they eat and how they find food in the harsh Arctic winter. Step inside the Snowman Theater to learn how snowflakes form, and then settle in and enjoy a variety of holiday-themed programs, including quiz shows and live musical performances.

Make ’Tis the Season your new holiday tradition - it's a perfect way to celebrate with family and friends.

Holiday Traditions at Filoli
Let There Be Magic!
Friday-Saturday, December 4-5
See website for schedule and admission details
Filoli Center, 86 Canada Road, Woodside

Step into a world of understated elegance, combining rustic and vintage elements engaging to the eye and pleasing to the senses. Each room will entice and delight you with rich jewel tones; ruby red, emerald green, amethyst, and topaz accented with dazzling gold, shimmering silver, and deep copper. The divine décor will captivate you with exquisitely decorated trees, mantles brimming with fresh flowers and greenery, wreaths embellishing windows, and sconces with touches of sparkle sprinkled throughout. Warm holiday scents drift softly through the rooms awakening fond memories.

Shadelands Holiday Faire and Victorian Tea
Friday-Saturday, December 4-5, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Shadelands Ranch Historical Museum, 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek
Free admission, luncheon $35

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 $35 per person. Groups are welcome. Many families and friends maintain an annual tradition of attending the teas.

Fairy Winterland
selected dates December 4-23, 12:00PM-7:00PM
Children's Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, 510-452-2259

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 6:15PM
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).

Casa del Pomba
352 Hillcrest Avenue, Livermore
December 4-31,  see website for detailed schedule
Free, donations accepted

“For the past 28 years Deacon Dave Rezendes has sponsored a celebration of Christmas at his home located at 352 Hillcrest Avenue. There is no entrance fee, it is Rev. Deacon Dave’s gift to the community. We invite you to walk through the display so that you may enjoy the greater detail and design.  Just driving by does not even begin to view what in built inside the gates of the House of the Dove.  Dress according to the weather.  Wheel Chair access.  Parents are asked to control their children.  We do reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone. Note:  The display is often closed in inclement weather.  When conditions become unsafe, such as a slippery bridge, we must for safety reasons, keep the gates locked.  If we can, we will leave the lights on for you to view from the street.

A Holiday Tradition at Dunsmuir House
Saturdays-Sundays, December 5-20, 12:00-4:00PM
Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, 510-615-5555
Free admission

City of Oakland Parks and Recreation invites you to step back in time and experience a turn-of-the-century Holiday Tradition at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate. The magnificent 16,224 square foot, 37-room mansion that volunteers would have put in more than 2,000 hours to transform into a breathtaking masterpiece of an Edwardian holiday will be open for only one weekend this year December 13th and 14th (Saturday and Sunday).

Each room is decorated with elegant holiday trees, garlands, antique furnishings and festive decorations to provide you with ideas for your own home decorations. Visitors can also enjoy a light lunch or snack at the Winter Cafe, while filling their holiday shopping list by purchasing from the Mansion Gift Shop Kids and families can begin the morning with Brunch with Santa, and afterwards enjoy games, face-painting and other activities. A Holiday Tradition is a wonderful way for families and friends to begin their own tradition and celebrate the holiday season.

This year's Special Attraction: is The Oakland Ballet's Holiday Performance on Saturday. Come enjoy the season with us!

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train
selected dates December 5-23,
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!

Print out your letter to Santa Claus and have Roaring Camp Deliver it by train to the North Pole. Write your letter and bring it with you to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, there will be a North Pole mailbox just outside of the entrance to Neptune's Kingdom by the first car of the train. Roaring Camp will be making a special trip each evening after the Holiday Lights Train to drop off your letters to Santa's Home in the North Pole.

Holiday Open House at Rengstorff House
Thursday, December 10, 5:00-9:00PM
Rengstorff House, 3070 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View

Experience the Rengstorff House dressed in all its holiday finery. Enjoy cookies, carols, and even a special visit from Father Christmas. Find yourself utterly delighted by the sights, sounds and magic of the season. This event is free and a gift to from us to our community.

Holiday Toy and Pajama Drive
Help the Friends of R House fill the donation box at the Rengstorff House. Once again the Friends of R House is teaming up with Community Services Agency of Mountain View to help bring some holiday cheer to our community. We are looking for donations of all kinds, but most especially gifts of new and unwrapped toys or pajamas for kids and teens, or gift cards. Gifts for teens especially sought after so if you can, help us fill the box and give something back this holiday season.

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…

No comments:

Post a Comment