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.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Molly Blue Dawn's List of Yule-y Events for 2016

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 19-December 18
and Friday, November 25,
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.

Ainsley House Holiday Tours & Holiday Boutique
Thursdays-Sundays, November 17-December 18, 12:00-4:00PM
Ainsley House, 51 N Central Avenue, Campbell
Adults $10, Seniors $8, Children $6

The Holidays will be coming to the historical Ainsley House in Campbell November through December 2016. This year’s theme is inspired by the classic holiday songs such as Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, and more. Come enjoy a holiday tea and tour, take a photo with Santa, shop the holiday boutique or simply come to enjoy the seasonal decorations on display in each room of the House.

Docent led tours of the Ainsley House and its festive holiday decorations are offered 12:00-4:00PM, Thursday-Sunday, November 17-December 18, 2016. Tour admission is $10, seniors $8, youth age 7-17 $6, Museum members are free. Holiday tours feature the Ainsley House decorated for the Holidays inspired by classic holiday songs. The Holiday Boutique, located inside the Ainsley House, as well as the Carriage House, will be offering seasonal gifts, ornaments, jewelry, scarves, plus more. The Boutique will be open during touring hours.

The Christmas Ballet Uncorked!: Smuin Ballet’s Holiday Favorite
playing at various Bay Area venues in November and December
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!

Let It Snow!
presented by Un-Scripted Theater
Fridays-Saturdays, November 25-December 17, 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.

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!

Holiday Tea and Tours at the Ainsley House
various dates, December 1-11,
see website for detailed schedule
Ainsley House, 51 N Central Avenue, Campbell
Reservations required, please call  408-460-7048

The Museum Foundation’s annual Holiday fundraiser, Holiday Teas and Tours, is back! Seating will be offered at 12:00PM. Champagne and sparkling cider will be served in addition to a tea made from a special Ainsley House blend from Steepers Tea in Downtown Campbell. Finger sandwiches and other snacks will also be served.

The tea will be held at the Carriage House followed by a docent led tour of the Ainsley House. This year’s Holiday Tea and Tours will be more elegant and organized than ever! Admission proceeds go toward supporting education programs and exhibits at the Campbell Historical Museum and Ainsley House and 75% of Tea admissions is tax deductible.

There will also be a raffle to win holiday quilts or table runners. Reservations are required. Please contact Laura Moore at laura@campbellshowroom.com or 408-460-7048 to reserve a spot.

The Velveteen Rabbit
presented by ODC
Various dates December 1-11,
See website for detailed schedule
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!

Holiday Frolic and Snow Park in Downtown Martinez
Various dates December 2-23,
See website for detailed schedule
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.

Not your typical Santa visit! We strive for at least 4 unique shots to choose from; a full length traditional portrait, one close up and wide and at least 2 candid poses. Our themes are non-commercial and we keep the feeling at the Santa House simple and homey.

A Christmas Carol
Various dates December 2-24,
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!

23rd Annual Free Scottish Holiday Concerts
with The Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums

Saturday, December 3, 3:00PM
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 13601 Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga

Saturday, December 10, 3:00PM
Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1106 Alameda de Las Pulgas, San Carlos

The Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums of Saratoga will present their 23rd Annual Free Holiday Scottish Concerts on Saturday, December 3 in Saratoga, and again on Saturday, December 10 in San Carlos.

The concert features bagpipes & drums, Scottish ballads, caroling and special guest appearances by the Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers, vocalist Burr Nissen and the San Jose School of Highland Dancing (Saratoga) or Piedmont Highlanders Dancing School (San Carlos).

For a video of Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums marching in the San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 2013, Click Here.

Families are welcome (and encouraged to come). At Saratoga Only, Coffee, juice and shortbread will be served following the concert.

Other notable band performances include a mix of parades, shows, birthdays, weddings and special events, Disneyland, PGA's The President's Cup golf tournament, Silicon Valley Open, SF Giants pre-game, Oakland Raiders pre-game, Davies Symphony Hall, Grace Cathedral, FaceBook and the Mountain Winery with the Chieftains and The Piano Guys.  The Holiday Concert is the highlight of the season.

Donations gratefully accepted. The Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair
Saturday-Sunday, December 3-4,
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 80 local artists. Shop for quality, hand-crafted holiday decor, home goods, jewelry, bath and body products, edibles and more all sold by the artists!

Holiday tree & Snowman photo spots!

Kids Activity craft area on Saturday

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 3-4, 10:00AM-4:00PM
Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, 204 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
Adults $3, Children 12 and under free

The public is invited to this popular annual community event! Enjoy a 37-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 3-4 and December 10-11, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Guglielmo Winery, 1480 East Main Avenue, Morgan Hill, 408-779-2145
$10 Admission Fee includes Wine Tasting

Shop 'til you drop at our 28th Annual Holiday Faire!  Decorations, ornaments, stocking stuffers, home decor items and gifts for everyone on your list.  $10 admission fee includes wine tasting and food sampling.  Or, visit our Gift Shop during the week when the crowds are smaller - open every day from 10:00AM-5:00PM until December 23 (we close at 3:00PM on Christmas Eve).

Holiday Tree Walk
Saturdays-Sundays, December 3-4 and 10-11, 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.

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes
10th Annual All Drag Xmas Exdrag-a-ganza
Various dates December 3-23,
See website for detailed schedule
Victoria Theater, 2961 16th Street, San Francisco, 415-863-7576

Take 4 talented drag performers, cast them in two new Xmas episodes of the uproariously funny TV show: The Golden Girls, and you have an assured night of theatre for the entire family.  Now a yearly tradition, this loving tribute to the characters the entire world has come to know and love, features local drag stars: Heklina (Dorothy), Matthew Martin (Blanche), D’Arcy Drollinger (Rose), and Holotta Tymes (Sophia).  

Holiday Open Studio at Slow Burn Glass
Saturdays & Sundays, December 3-25, 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.

Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto!
Sunday, December 4, 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 Shattuck Avenue between Rose and Vine Streets in Berkeley on Sunday, December 4, 10:00AM-3:00PM. (Rain date is December 11) Bring you donations for Toys 4 Tots and One Warm Coat.

Visit with the Snow Queen as she listens to all of your holiday wishes, ride the live ponies, make free DIY crafts for kids, then warm up with hot cider and ginger snaps.

Making Merry at Healdsburg SHED
Sunday, December 4, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Healdsburg SHED, 25 North Street, Healdsburg
Free admission, some activities require paid registration

On Sunday, December 4, join us in holiday merriment at SHED. With demonstrations, tastings, and classes throughout the day, there’s something for everyone! Check back as more events and activities are posted.

In the Pantry:
10:00AM Cassoulet Demo with Chef Perry
11:30AM Pie Dough Demo with Pastry Chef Lorrette
1:00PM Panettone Tasting with From Roy
2:00PM Chocolate Tasting with Farm Chocolate
3:00PM Spiced Cider and Hot Chocolate Tasting
5:00PM Holiday Cheese Board Demo

11:00AM Winter Floral Demonstration
12:00PM Felting Wooly Acorn Ornaments with Siobhan Lougney (For children of all ages.)
1:00PM Winter Squash and Mushrooms
3:00PM Oyster Tasting with Chef Perry

At the Mill:
1:00PM Live Milling of Bolero Wheat and Flint Corn

In Housewares:
10:30AM & 2:30PM Live Demonstrations on Wrapping, Gift Box Making, and Place Settings

In the Modern Grange:
10:30AM Craft Your Own Herbal Skincare Gifts
5:30PM Craft Cocktails with Duke’s Spirited Cocktails

Craft Your Own Herb-Based Gifts
with Trinity Ava
Sunday, December 4, 10:30AM-12:00PM
Healdsburg SHED, 25 North Street, Healdsburg

This year, make your own holiday gifts while nourishing your friends and family with homemade herbal skincare products including infused oils and creams. In this hands-on workshop, herbalist Trinity Ava will teach participants how to use herbs to create effective and delicious herbal self-care remedies to improve skin and vitality. With the holiday season around the corner, you can give the gift of health to your loved ones and empower yourself with knowledge of seasonal western herbalism. Participants will go home with samples and come away knowing how to use food and herbal medicine to promote vitality, immunity, and longevity of your largest organ.

Trinity Ava is an artist, mother, mover, gardener, and lover of food as medicine. She is trained in Eastern and Western herbalism with an emphasis on using essential oils as medicine. Trinity offers over 20 years of teaching and clinical experience and sits on the core faculty at the California School of Herbal Studies. She also teaches at Bastyr University and is a consultant to the natural products industry.

Ashkenaz International Holiday Bazaar
Sunday, December 4, 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, beer & wine, hot & cold beverages, and organic vegetarian food from our café. This year, we will also feature workshops in maraca-making, self-healing with acupressure, art, and drumming.

Box of Dreams - Blooming Gift Box
With Charlene McNally
Sunday, December 4, 11:00AM–5:00PM
Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, 510-204-9801
$105 includes materials, limited to 8 students

Create a magical box that explodes into layers of color and texture whenever you open it. You will construct the box from heavy art paper and create small collages for each face. While the Box of Dreams is a multi-layered thing of beauty on its own, it also makes the perfect enclosure for a special tiny gift! It’s not likely that you will have time to finish a collage for each of the many faces of your Box of Dreams, but you will leave class with the skills, materials, and inspiration to carry on and finish the project at home. Includes all materials.

with Denise Marshall
Wednesday, December 7, 11:00AM–5:00PM
Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, 510-204-9801
$105 includes materials, limited to 8 students

Create this adorable felted tomten who’ll look after your hearth and home as you slumber. He only requires a small bowl of julegrot (Christmas porridge with butter) on Christmas Eve.

In this class you’ll first learn to create a moveable “half-penny” doll with cotton-wrapped wire and embroidery floss. Next you’ll fashion his head with simple needle-felting techniques and learn a few basic embroidery stitches to embellish the Tomten’s clothing. To finish your trusted protector, you’ll add the Fimo wooden shoes that Denise provides for you. Your completed gnomish gentleman will work for you tirelessly - just don’t forget the julegrot! Includes all materials.

Holiday Letterpress & Gift Wrap
with the Ladies of Western Editions
Wednesday, December 7, 7:30-9:30PM
*** This class does NOT take place at the normal Handcraft Studio location.
It is held off-site at Western Editions Studio, 1420 45th Street, #40, Emeryville
$75, Limit 10 students

Up your holiday card and gift wrap game! Come join Western Editions in our letterpress studio to create a set of letterpress cards, custom gift wrap and gift tags using watercolor paints.

In this class, Erin Fong and Taylor Reid of Western Editions Letterpress will guide you through the set-up and printing on an 800 pound Vandercook Proofing Press. As a class, you will pick one ink color and learn how to hand mix one of Pantone’s 1700 colors from 20 base cans of ink. Each participant will letterpress 10 holiday cards reading "Happy Holidays" and another message set in woodtype that the group collaborates on. Create 5 sheets of watercolor gift wrap and 5 gift tags. You'll also be sent home with a cute washi tape to wrap it all up!

Western Editions is a letterpress studio that creates and prints one-of-a-kind designs for a variety of needs. We specialize in custom wedding invitations to personalized designs for correspondence and business. We hand feed each sheet of paper through our 1960s Vandercook Press that results in an impression you can both see and feel.

Evergreen Wreath and Garland Workshop
Wednesday, December 7, 6:00-8:00PM
UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley
$50 includes some materials

Create a beautiful and festive wreath or garland to add to your holiday decorations. Greens from the Garden and other materials are included, but be sure to bring your own hand pruners.

Garden Holiday Pop-Up Shop
Thursday-Sunday, December 8-11, 11:00AM-4:00PM
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
Various dates, December 8-18,
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.

Winterdance Celtic Christmas Celebration
featuring Molly's Revenge, Christa Burch, and The Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers
Friday, December 9, 7:00PM
Trinity Cathedral, 81 North Second Street, San Jose
$20 in advance, $24 at the door

With the holiday season underway, the Annual Winterdance Tour is on, and to raise funds for their scholarship program, the San José - Dublin Sister City Program again offers a fourth year at Trinity Cathedral.

Molly's Revenge, starring David Brewer, John Weed, and Stu Mason with stunning vocalist Christa Burch of the Syncopaths, and the award winning Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers will present an evening of music, song and dance associated with the festive season. The performance will include Christmas songs both old and new, all played with a Celtic twist, and something new for our regulars.

Molly's Revenge, whose lineup includes bagpipes, fiddle, whistle, guitar, mandola, and bodhran, have toured the world with their unique and infectious on-stage enthusiasm. Their arrangements of traditional jigs and reels bring these dance tunes up to date with a driving, hard-edged accent that always leaves audiences shouting for more.

Guest vocalist Christa Burch possesses a singular voice: warm, supple, expressive, intimate, and instantly recognizable. Part of a vibrant new generation of American folk singers, Christa deftly marries intuitive musicianship and storytelling through song, and to balance the gentle beauty of Christa's songs, the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers bring a percussive, joyful, and colorful exuberance to the stage.

California-based Molly's Revenge has toured since 2000 as a four and five-piece acoustic band, releasing eleven CDs along the way, and last year Molly's Revenge and Christa Burch recorded a collection of Celtic Christmas and winter-themed music at a remote windswept retreat in the redwoods of the Mendocino coast. This beautiful Winterdance holiday album will be available at the shows.

As always, this 11th Annual Celtic Christmas Celebration will capture the traditional spirit of the season and warm the hearts of all who attend.

Christmas Revels: A Theatrical Celebration of the Winter Solstice
Friday-Sunday, December 9-11 and 16-18,
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 31st Annual Christmas Revels: A Revels Christmas In Wales

Each mid-winter, the Revels brings to life a grand celebration of traditions and cultures from around the world. We create joy with the songs, dances, and stories - present in every culture - that mark the turning of the year in all its forms. We build community and connection through our unique theatrical production, connecting audience and performers, and reminding us that, within our diversity and across generations, there is a beautiful continuity of human experience!

This year, the California Revels is “coming home” to Wales. Even though we've never been there before, there is much about Welsh culture and customs that feels familiar and comforting. Set in the 1920s childhood village of the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, our show will evoke the spirit of family gathered ‘round the hearth, and villagers singing in the glow of the blazing yule log.

Of course, we'll venture from the warmth of the parlor for adventures out and about in the chill winter night as we follow mummers and carolers from house to house through the village. As we do, we will encounter the rich tapestry of characters that make the Welsh people so famously colorful. The children of the village are central to our visit as they embrace and reflect the traditions of old in their games, songs and dances. And, speaking of dances, it wouldn't be a trip to Wales without energetic clogging, graceful couples dances, and a fierce dose of Border Morris.

There will surely be mummers, and a bit of Welsh Bardic storytelling - the Welsh, of course, are a nation of poets - and harps, pipes and fiddles. We even expect a visit from a dark and mysterious ghost horse, the Mari Lwyd. As you may expect, all of this tuneful excitement comes studded with the Revels touchstones including The Abbots Bromley Antler Dance, Sussex Mummers' Carol, and The Lord of the Dance. And one thing more... there will be dragons!

Featured performers this year include Robert Sicular, Kevin Carr, Susan Rode Morris, James Galileo and Margaret Davis.

Join us at the breathtaking Scottish Rite Theater on Lake Merritt in Oakland, and fill your holiday season with celebration and joy!

Alameda Holiday Home Tour
Saturday, December 10, 9:30AM-4:00PM
around the city of Alameda - locations will be provided with ticket purchase
$35 in advance, $40 on the day

Alameda Family Services League presents the 46th Annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour a fundraiser to benefit Alameda Family Services on Saturday, December 10, 2016

Guests will follow their heart as the Alameda Family Services League presents 46 Years of Holiday Magic Alameda Holiday Home Tour.  The Holiday Home Tour will feature a variety of Alameda’s architectural style homes decorated for the holidays.

The tour, Alameda’s premier fundraising event, will be held Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM. 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.

Always in early December, the date is early enough for guests to include gifts and holiday décor 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.

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

A Garden tradition, create gifts and decorations inspired by nature and the Garden's collection. Mini evergreen wreaths, greeting cards from pressed botanicals, felt projects, nature-filled ornaments, and so much more!

Christmas Parade and Holiday Market
Saturday, December 10, 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.

Grinch-Mas At Gamble Garden
Saturday, December 10, 10:30AM-12:00PM
Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley Street, Palo Alto
Adults $30 in advance, Children $35 in advance

Grow your heart 3 sizes this holiday season with Gamble Garden’s Grinch-Mas! Good deeds, a short reading of the classic story How the Grinch Stole Christmas, face painting, holiday treats and other fun Seuss-ical activities.

Don’t miss this holiday event your children will sure to love.

Heritage Holiday Champagne Tea
Saturday, December 10, Seatings at 11:00AM and 2:00PM
History Park, 635 Phelan Avenue, San Jose

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.

Please contact Juanita Lara at jlara@historysanjose.org or 408-918-1045 to purchase tickets.

Holiday on the Farm
Saturday, December 10, 11:00AM-3:00PM
Forest Home Farms Historic Park, 19953 San Ramon Valley Boulevard, San Ramon

Free Admission
Visit Santa & his reindeer
Holiday Puppet Show at 11:30AM and 1:30PM
Make old-fashioned holiday crafts to take home
Enjoy free hot cocoa & cookie decorating
Victorian Christmas tour and make-your-own calling card at the Glass House Museum ($5)
Stuff a teddy bear & shop for unique holiday gifts, vintage toys & gently used ornaments
Sheep dog demonstrations
Tractor rides
Food available for purchase

Holiday Cracker Surprises
with Lynn Dolan
Saturday, December 10, 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 see the 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. Includes all materials.

Weihnachtsmarkt: German Holiday Market
hosted by German International School of Silicon Valley
Saturday, December 10, 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 10, 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 10, 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 10, 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

Our menu of Festivities…
Coloring for all ages! Books and pens provided.
Storytime! The lovely Beth will be regaling us with an epic yarn about the Season. Snuggle up and be captivated!
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...

Dinner! Yes! What would you like? Then...bring it!!
Potluck Offerings:
Air Signs: Drinks
Fire Signs: Desserts
Water Signs: Main Dishes
Earth Signs: Veggies
Please bring enough for 6 small servings, and label your ingredients.

We’ll see you and your clan at 5:30PM on Saturday, December 10th!

(All Community Seed events are clean and sober.)

Old Time Maritime Christmas
with the Hyde Street Living History Players
Saturday, December 10, 6:00-9:00PM
aboard the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco
included with vessel admission, Adults $5, 15 and under free

The Hyde Street Living History Players join the rangers, staff, and other volunteers in a day-long round of crafts and events, culminating the appearance of Santa Claus to the full-rigged sailing ship ship Balclutha in this maritime celebration of the Christmas season.

Christmas in Cambridge - A Festival of Lessons & Carols
a Free Family Concert with San Francisco Renaissance Voices
Saturday, December 10, 7:30PM
Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1329 Seventh Avenue, San Francisco

Our annual holiday gift to our audiences, this traditional Lessons & Carols is modeled after the event first performed at King's College Cambridge,England, in 1918 and performed every year there, and around the world, since.  We again honor a tradition of the festival and will debut a commissioned carol by Bay Area composer Angela Kraft Cross, using text by Bay Area poet Elisabeth Eliassen.  

This year we invite children of all ages to join us beforehand to create Christmas cookies that will be served at the reception after the concert and, as always, there will be lots of opportunities for you to sing Christmas carols along with us as part of the evening.  This is a free event, our Christmas gift to you - no tickets or reservations are required - just come and enjoy the evening!

Crucible Gifty Holiday Sale
Saturday-Sunday, December 10-11, 11:00-5:00PM
The Crucible, 1260 7th Street, Oakland, 510-444-0919
Free admission

Dozens of leading artists, craftspeople, and Crucible faculty members will be selling their best hand-made pieces in a holiday celebration of local creative culture. With works of glass, metal, wood, ceramics, and more, you will find the perfect gifts for all the people on your list.
Seasonal treats, beverages, and entertainment make this an event all ages will enjoy. Parents of small children will need to pay special attention, as this space does have rough edges.

On Saturday and Sunday, we’ll have music, food, and drinks for sale, as well as demonstrations of Crucible areas of study. Our themed Open House events are a great way to learn more about our 56,000 square foot studio and seasonal class offerings.

Magic Toy Box Tea
Saturday and Sunday, December 10-11, 12:00PM and 3:00PM seatings available
Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael, 415-485-3328
$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 10-11,
Saturday 7:00PM, Sunday 2:00PM
Campbell Heritage Theatre, 1 W Campbell Avenue, Campbell

Come see the new A Winter Wonderland for 2016. We have added new characters and expanded the story into a full length ballet with two acts. We can't wait to introduce you to Mistletoe Maiden, Snowflakes, and Gingerbread Men new to this year's production.

Join our young heroine Beatrice as she goes on an adventure through the enchanted woods where she encounters Penguins, Reindeer, and other animals. Come along as she discovers a Winter Wonderland where she meets magical creatures like the Winter Fairy, the Peppermint Princess, and Jack Frost. Be amazed as her adventure unfolds before your eyes and brings all the smiles and fun that follow. You've never seen a winter wonderland quite like this.

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker
Various dates, December 10-29, 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.

with Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble

Saturday, December 10, 8:00PM
Kanbar Center for the Performing Arts, Osher Marin JCC,
200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael

Sunday, December 11, 4:00PM
St. Bede's Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park

Thursday, December 15, 8:00PM
Louden Nelson Center, 301 Center Street Santa Cruz

Friday, December 16, 8:00PM
St. Paul's Church, 114 Montecito Avenue, Oakland

Saturday, December 17, 8:00PM
Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento Street, San Francisco

Saturday, January 14, 7:00PM
Gualala Arts, 46501 Old State Highway Gualala

Wintersongs is Kitka's critically-acclaimed and wildly popular winter holiday program showcasing seasonal music from a wide variety of Eastern European ethnic and spiritual traditions. For countless centuries, people around the world have utilized the power or community singing to infuse warmth, cheer, spirituality, wishes for peace, health, and good fortune into the long, dark, cold and difficult winter season. Eastern Europe's geographic position as a crossroads between Europe and the Orient has produced an astonishingly rich and varied array of seasonal musical rituals.

Kitka's program features songs ranging from rousing Slavic folk carols; to lush meditative Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works; to Baltic pagan incantations for the return of the Sun Goddess, to Caucasus Georgian Alilos (hallelujahs); to Yiddish, Sephardic, and Hebrew songs for Chanukah; to Bosnian-Muslim ilahijas (devotional hymns); to rhythmic Balkan Romany tunes for the winter festivals of Vasilica and Kurban Bajram.

Traditional pieces will be woven together with new folk song arrangements and original compositions by Kitka members and contemporary American and Eastern European composers, all inspired by the customs, beauty, and mystery of wintertime.

Botanical Crafting for the Holidays
Sunday, December 11, 1:00-4:00PM
UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley
$35 includes materials

Come enjoy the holidays at the Garden with our fun and festive room filled with botanical craft stations. You can create a host of gifts and decorations for yourself and family for the holidays. You can make mini wreaths, nature filled globes, ornaments, botanical cards and gift tags, and get creative at our succulent craft station. We'll also have seasonal drinks and nibbles. Bring a friend and enjoy the afternoon at the Botanical Garden.

Kepler’s Books Literary Circle Annual Holiday Party
Sunday, December 11, 3:00-6:00PM
Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, 650-324-4321
Free, RSVP required

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.

Kepler’s 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!

Winter Solstice Drum Circle
Sunday, December 11, 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.

Tree Trimming Party and Meditation for Those of All Faiths
Tuesday, December 13, 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.

O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories
Livermore Shakespeare Holiday Celebration
Wednesdays, December 14 and December 21, 5:30PM and 7:30PM
Swirl on the Square, 21 S. Livermore Avenue, Livermore, 925-447-1400
$85 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 stories. Guests will enjoy delicious wine and tapas from Swirl on the Square as the artists perform. The indoor venue only seats 40 people so it will be an intimate holiday celebration!

The Lobster Before Christmas
presented by Killing My Lobster
Thursday-Saturday, December 15-17, 8:00PM
Z Below, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco
see website for ticket information

How much do you really know about the holidays?

Think about it. Sure, most holidays seem like they're full of fun and togetherness now, but that's definitely not how they started. For the first time in history, we delve deep into the underworld of holiday origin stories. Join us as we investigate the hilarious and twisted truth behind our 'precious' holidays. This is KMLZ: The Lobster Before Christmas.

Guest Acts include McPuzo & Trotsky and Baloney.

Z Space and Killing My Lobster reprise their collaboration in what is quickly becoming an essential holiday tradition.

The Biggest Gift
presented by Fantasy Forum
Thursday-Saturday, December 15-18,
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.

Songs of the Open Heart: Winter Solstice Ceremony, Transmission, and Celebration
with Sanctuary of the Open Heart
Friday, December 16, 6:00-10:00PM
Rudramandir Temple , 830 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
$50 in advance, $65 at the door

High Holy Day of Winter Solstice

Raise your Light High in the Darkness!

Join the Sanctuary of the Open Heart for an evening of stunning beauty and potent ceremonial magic with heart-expanding sound and song, mythic transmissions, deepening gateways to support you in releasing that which is ready to be shed, and loving, alchemical focus to draw forth your inner light so that we, as a community, may anchor Her love in the collective heart of humanity.
Sumptuous appetizers and champagne served.

All genders welcome and children 10 or older who can hold ceremonial space.

Santa Visits Alden Lane Nursery
Saturday, December 17, 11:00AM-1:00PM
Alden Lane Nursery, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore

Santa and his elves visit on Saturday, December 17 from 11:00AM-1:00PM. Bring the kids, pets and the whole family for a fun photo op! He’ll be accompanied by his 8′ larger-than-life Bear whose paw you can sit on!

Petaluma Lighted Boat Parade
with the Petaluma Yacht Club
Saturday, December 17, 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 6:00PM. The lighted boats remain docked in downtown throughout the night behind the Great Petaluma Mill.

East Bay Reclaiming Winter Solstice Ritual
Saturday, December 17, 6:30PM
Terras Temple, 3051 Adeline, Berkeley
Suggested donation $5
For more information, please contact ReclaimingEastBay@gmail.com

Join Reclaiming's Campfire Chorus, Rite Here, and East Bay Reclaiming friends for a Solstice ritual in Berkeley!

We'll weave Winter Magic, build East Bay community, and sing a bunch of seasonal songs.

All are welcome. Kids circle 6:30PM. Ritual 7:30-9:00PM, with social time after.

Please bring finger-snacks to share. No drugs or alcohol before or during event. No scents or pets please.

Wacky Winter Wonderland
at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach
Every day, December 17-January 2, 10:00AM-5:00PM
Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito
Adults $15, Children and Seniors $10

Playland-Not-at-the-Beach is open every weekend and most holidays, but for the last two weeks of the year, we let visitors in all week long. Join us for special activities and family fun for every generation, and pack a bit more fun into the year before it is over. (Sorry, closed Sunday, December 25th for the Christmas holiday.)

South Bay Circles  Yule Celebration & Feast of Sol Invictus
Sunday, December 18, 4:30-7:00PM
OddFellows Hall, 20589 W. Homestead Road, Cupertino
Suggested Donation $10-$18

South Bay Circles invites you to join us at Winter Solstice to celebrate Yule & the Feast Sol of Invictus - The Invincible Sun!

Experience the Four Gifts

Suggested Donation $10-$18 All Welcome
Ample Free parking

For more information, please contact Steven Grundy at steven.grundy@gmail.com or 917-763-8356.

Kitka's Annual Wintersongs Community Sing
Sunday, December 18, 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.

O Holi Night - A Festival of Lights
Winter Solstice Celebration at The dhyana Center
Sunday, December 18, 6:00-10:00PM
The dhyana Center, 186 N. Main Street, Sebastopol

Featuring the music of Baraka Moon

Celebrate the Return of Light!
Feast! A Southern Indian meal, farm-to-table style, made with love by Scott and DeAnna, the founders of the dhyana Center!
Dance - Come & Express Yourself!
Experience Lights, Community, Action!

Come dressed in the color that most reflects you!
Raffles, gifts, treasure hunt, henna, mocktails, and so much more!

North Bay Reclaiming’s Winter Solstice Ritual
Sunday, December 18, 7:00PM
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.

Bay Area Reclaiming Winter Solstice Ritual
Tuesday, 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!

Mittens and Mistletoe, A Winter Circus Cabaret
presented by Sweet Can Circus
Various dates, December 21-31,
see website for detailed schedule of performances
Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street, San Francisco, 415-826-4441
see website for ticket details

The Bay Area's homegrown Sweet Can Productions presents an intimate theatrical circus experience for the holidays with the seventh edition of Mittens and Mistletoe: A Winter Circus Cabaret. This astonishing production, a charming, light-hearted, variety program suitable for all ages, features innovative clowning, spectacular circus feats, and holiday high jinks from some of the most talented Bay Area circus artists in an unforgettable program that will amaze, delight, and inspire the entire family. Mittens and Mistletoe, directed by award-winning clown duo Coventry & Kaluza, features live music on the charango from Clay Letson, comedy performances, and performances on slack rope, aerial hoop, hula hoop, and juggling. Jasper Patterson emcee's this year's holiday revelry.

presented by African-American Shakespeare Company
Thursday-Saturday, December 22-24, see website for detailed schedule
Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, 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.

Sing Along Sound of Music
Monday-Sunday, December 26-January 1,
See website for detailed schedule
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)

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

Friday, January 6, 7:30PM
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Adults $45, Students & Seniors $40, Children $25

Saturday, January 7, 7:30PM
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco
Adults $45, Students & Seniors $40, Children $25

Sunday, January 8, 4:00PM
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 3 Bayview Avenue, Belvedere/Tiburon
Adults $45, Students & Seniors $40, Children $25

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 and our dance troupe San Francisco Renaissance Dancers taking the stage as well.   In addition to the music of Medieval through Contemporary England, this year Robin Hood and his band of Merrie Men visit Her Majesty for an evening of hijinks, bawdy songs, and an entertaining surprise or two!

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!

Victorian Twelfth Night Ball
presented by PEERS
Saturday, January 7, 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 31), $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).

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!

‘Tis the Season for Science
December 1-January 8
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.

Lumination at Gilroy Gardens
December 1-January 8, see website for detailed schedule
See website for admission details

As the sun sets, Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park is transformed into a dramatic display of spectacular sights and sounds from ancient China. You will be whisked away to another time and place as you stroll through colossal light displays that illuminate over 2,000 years of Chinese history and culture.

These incredible displays - some towering as high as 6 stories into the night sky - include giant dragons, mythical Qilin, and playful pandas, as well as historic landmarks like the Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, and Terracotta Warriors.

Lumination also includes a bustling artisan marketplace and live performances. During the holiday season, you can also visit Santa’s Workshop and go ice skating under the stars!
But the lights of Lumination go out on January 8, 2017. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Casa del Pomba
352 Hillcrest Avenue, Livermore
December 2-January 1, see website for detailed schedule
Free, donations accepted

Deacon Dave’s House of the Dove 34th Annual Christmas Display will open Friday December 2 at 6:30PM with a colorful Christmas Procession down Hillcrest Avenue from Fordham Way to the House of the Dove, where opening ceremonies will take place.  Deacon Dave is attempting to break last year’s Light Count. Will he do it?  What do you think the Light Count will be?  

Want to avoid the crowds?  Mondays and Tuesdays are the slow nights, usually no lines.

A Holiday Tradition at Dunsmuir House
Various dates, December 3-18, 12:00-4:00PM
Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, 510-615-5555
Free admission

City of Oakland Parks & 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 16,000 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 December 3-18 (Saturday and Sunday only).

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 enjoy a light lunch or snack at the Winter Café, 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. The Holiday High Tea for adults and children is a special treat and wonderful way for families and friends to begin their own tradition and celebrate the holiday season.

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train
selected dates December 3-23,
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.


Shadelands Holiday Faire and Victorian Tea
Various dates, December 4-11, 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.

Photographs with Victorian Santa at Rengstorff House
Saturday-Sunday, December 10-11, 12:00-4:00PM
Rengstorff House, 3070 North Shoreline Boulevard, Mountain View

Families return year after year to have their holiday family pictures taken, here at the Rengstorff House, with Victorian Santa - aka Father Christmas.

Forgo the hustle and bustle of the mall and take advantage of this truly unique venue.  Not only will your photographs be different from everyone else’s, the proceeds will support the Rengstorff House.

We provide the setting and Santa, you take the pictures with your camera for a small donation.

Fairy Winterland
selected dates December 16-23, 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 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).

The Spirit of Christmas at Winchester Mystery House
selected dates December 16-30, tours between 5:20-9:00PM
Winchester Mystery House, 525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose
see website for schedule and ticket details

Tickets are on-sale now for the all-new The Spirit of Christmas - Featuring A Taste of the Holidays nighttime tour experience at the legendary Winchester Mystery House, one of America’s most celebrated grand mansions. As festive party-goers, guests will sample freshly made holiday treats and beverages, delight at 20 whimsically themed Christmas trees, hear beloved carols resonating through the house and hear tales of Christmas’ of long ago.

Imagine turning the clock back and in an act of holiday good cheer, Mrs. Winchester has thrown open the doors of her legendary residence, inviting friends from near and far into her home for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration. With gracious hospitality, Mrs. Winchester’s trusted and beloved house staff greet guests and take them on a multi-story tour through the curious manor before joining fellow revelers at a holiday “Open House” in the front parlors of the home.

Even more events can be found here:

You may enjoy Letters From Wonderland
A Delightful Advent Calendar of Curiosities

As they say at The Revels, Welcome Yule!

Have a ridiculously fun and sublimely moving December!

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

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