2012 Holiday Guide for Family Fun in the Bay Area

Here in Sonoma, it’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year.  From crafts and carolers to parades featuring lit tractors and boats, our community offers so many kid friendly celebrations this time of year.  Many activities also benefit meaningful charities like Make a Wish Foundation, Toys for Tots and the local Sonomans Offering Support.  Others like the tree lighting at the Boys and Girls Club offer the opportunity to enjoy the season while seeing the amazing operation in action.  Venture a little further outside of Sonoma and you’ll be able to observe romping reindeer and dancing sugarplum fairies.  On my short list are having my boys see Santa arrive by helicopter, train or boat as well as introducing them to Santa’s reindeer rumored to be resting up at the San Francisco Zoo.

Of course Sonoma offers plentiful events for parents as well.  Why not tour local homes decorated for the holidays on the Holiday Home Tour by Presentation School or enjoy a 1920s themed gala benefiting the Mentoring Alliance?  The list below focuses on festive activities to delight both parents and children alike.

Wishing you and yours a magical season filled with making memories.

November 23, 5 pm, Treelighting, Santa Rosa offering photos with Santa, candle lighting, crafts and more.

November, 23, 4 -9 pm, Holiday Party, Healdsburg featuring shopping, carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides and photos with Santa

November 24, 4-6:30 pm, Lighting of the Snowmen, Cornerstone, Sonoma showcasing ballerinas, music, outdoor films and the popular snowman lighting. For more information visit http://www.cornerstonesonoma.com/explore/projects/the-lighting-of-the-snowmen/

November 24, 12-1:30pm, Santa’s Riverboat Arrival, Petaluma.  See Santa and Mrs. Claus on a riverboat adventure while strolling down the riverfront.

November 25, San Francisco, The Velveteen Rabbit  http://www.odcdance.org/performance.php?param=2

November 30, 5pm, Tree Lighting, Sonoma Square, Sonoma.  With hot coco, music and Santa, who could ask for anything more.

December 1, 11am, Blessing of the Olives, Sonoma Mission, Sonoma.

December 1, 6pm, Inaugural Tree Lighting, Sonoma Mission Inn including caroling, hot coco and holiday treats.

December 1, 5pm, Tractor Parade, Calistoga featuring nibbles, hot coco and the unique tractor parade.  Visit http://www.visitnapavalley.com/event-calistoga_tractor_parade_10.htm for more information

December 1, 7 & 8, Festival of Trees, Petaluma featuring music, dance and decorated trees. Rumor has it that Santa will be stopping by.

December 1 & 2, Dickens Holiday Craft Fair, Santa Rosa offering crafts, activities, trolley rides and even a jumpy house (need I say more).

December 1,5pm, Family Friendly Winter Concert, San Francisco.  For more information visit http://events.sfgate.com/san_francisco_ca/events/show/292941285-family-friendly-winter-concert

December 2, 10am, Winter Wonderland, Ramekins, Sonoma.  This child centric event will have crafts, cookie decorating and more.  Proceeds will support Sonomans Offering Support.  For more information visit http://asewinterwonderland2012.eventbrite.com/

December 2, 11am, Deck the Hall, San Francisco Symphony.  For more information visit http://www.sfsymphony.org/Buy-Tickets/2012-13/Deck-the-Hall.aspx

December 5, 4pm. Puppet Show: The Nutcracker, Healdsburg Library

December 7, 6pm – Snoopy on Ice Tree Lighting and Show, Snoopy Ice Arena, Santa Rosa.  Hot cider and cookies are a small treat when compared to the free ice skating show that follows.  For more information visit http://www.snoopyshomeice.com/pdfs/Xmas-Flyer-12-WebFlyer.pdf

December 8, 1-3pm, Tree Lighting, Boys and Girls Club, Sonoma.  With activities for all ages including crafts, singing and treats, this tree lighting is worth a stop!  Plus you’ll be able to see the impressive state of the art facilities that Boys and Girls Club has to offer young ones in our community.  If your kids are like mine, they’ll like the place so much, that they will want to stay.

December 8, Christmas at the Mission, Sonoma.  Enjoy an old fashioned holiday service.  For more information visit http://www.sonomanews.com/News-2012/Christmas-at-the-Mission-tickets-available-Saturday/

December 8, 4pm,Toys for Tots featuring the Pixar film: “BRAVE”, Sebastiani Theatre, Sonoma, Let the kids enjoy the movie BRAVE while also supporting Toys for Tots.  Admission is free in exchange for one new unwrapped toy

December 8 & 9, 1:00pm; Sonoma Ballet Conservatory presents: THE SNOW MAIDEN, Sebastiani Theatre, Sonoma, Adults $22; Seniors (62+)/Students $17; Children (12 & under) $12; reserved seating; 707/938-1424 or 996-9756

December 8, 6:00 pm, Lighted Boat Parade, Petaluma.  Relax at a café or walk along the Petaluma river and watch the lit boats float by.

December 9, Let it Snow! Let it Snow.  Music, crafts, food, raffle and auction for members of the Sonoma Valley Mothers Club.  http://www.sonomamothersclub.org/.

December 9, 11 am. Brunch with Santa, Ramekins.  Celebrate the season in style at a Holiday Family Brunch with Santa! Featuring cookie and ornament decorating for the kids and a great photo opportunity with Santa, this is an event not to be missed.  Tickets are $50 adults, $25 kids 12-18, kids under 12 are free. For more information visit  https://www.ramekins.com/component/content/article/736

December 9, Safari West Open House, Safari West, Santa Rosa.  Free admission for kids with and reduced prices for adults.  By reservation only, so visit  http://www.safariwest.com/httpsafariwestcomopenhouse/

December 9, Hanukkah Hootenanny, Judd Hill Winery, Napa, Latkes and libations.  For more information call (707) 255.2332.

December 11, 11am-1pm, Kids Gingerbread Workshop, Ramekins, Sonoma.  Interactive workshop where kids will build and take home a gingerbread house. Suggested ages 6-12, cost $70

December 11 & 18, Holiday Nights at the Academy, Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. Academy members only, https://www.calacademy.org/join/membership/index.php?t=3

December 15 & 16, 11am-2pm, Santa visits Larson Family Winery, Sonoma.  Wine tasting and Santa, need I say more.  For more information visit http://www.larsonfamilywinery.com/

Dec 15 & 16, 2pm; Holiday Extravaganza:  Music, Magic & More!, Sebastiani Theatre, Sonoma, Adults $10; Seniors (62+) & Children (12 & under) $8;

December 15, 11am, Santa Fly In, Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa, While waiting for Santa to arrive via helicopter, let your little one(s) enjoy crafts, a petting zoo and face painting.

December 15, Dream Circle Holiday Concert with Tim Cain, Judy Nee, Cindy Cohen and Christopher Smith, Discovery Museum, Sausalito.  If you haven’t seen these performers, then give it a shot – completely captivating.

Dec 17, 7pm; Dec 19, 1pm; White Christmas (1954), Sebsatiani Theatre, Sonoma, $8; 707/996-9756

December 19:   Extreme Gingerbread House Makeover, Napa Valley Museum.  Kids can design, create and build gingerbread houses. For more information visit http://napavalleymuseum.org/?page_id=378

December 20, 5-7pm, Kids Can Bake Holiday Cookies, Ramekins, Sonoma.  Let your kids bake cookies at Ramekins.  With Gingerbread House Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Vanilla Crescents, Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies and Peppermint Chocolate “Truffles” this cooking event is not to be missed.  Suggested ages 6-12, Cost $55.

December 21, Victorian Egg Ornaments, Napa Valley Museum, teach your kids a bit about the Victorian era while letting them create a Christmas tree egg ornament.  For more information visit  http://napavalleymuseum.org/?page_id=378

December 21 & 22, 4-6pm, Carolers, Sonoma Mission Inn, Sonoma.

December 23, Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa.  For tickets visit http://tickets.wellsfargocenterarts.org/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=859

December 24, 4pm, Festive Activities at the Sonoma Mission Inn, Sonoma. Join carolers as they welcome Mrs. Claus to the Sonoma Mission Inn.

December 26 – 9-4 pm, Kwanzaa Celebration, Discovery Museum, Sausalito including a kids concert.

December 31, 9-12, Noon Years Eve, Discovery Museum, Sausalito


Saturdays in December, Lunch with Santa, Big 3 Restaurant, Sonoma.  Have Santa literally come by your table to visit with you and your tot(s).  Call (707) 938-9000 for reservations.

Sundays in December, Safari West Open House, kids explore free at Safari West, by reservation only.  For more information visit http://www.safariwest.com/httpsafariwestcomopenhouse/

November 23-December 23, 5:30 pm, Christmas Fantasy, Tilden Park, Oakland, Ride the Merry Go Round and steam train, see Santa and visit animals.  For more information visit http://www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden.htm

Teddy Bear Tea, Ritz Carlton, San Francisco.  Let your tots bring their favorite stuffed friends to tea.  Some of the proceeds benefit The Greater Bay Area Make A Wish Foundation

Get some culture; see The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Keats exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, kid friendly exhibit and even drop in art projects on various days.  Visit website for more information http://www.thecjm.org/about/press/press-releases/246-the-snowy-day-and-the-art-of-ezra-jack-keats.

Ice skate outdoors in Napa, http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/ice-skating-returns-to-napa-next-week/article_e37397e0-29f0-11e2-a700-001a4bcf887a.html or venture further to Union Square, San Francisco.

Make Christmas cards, gingerbread houses or hear winter themed stories at libraries throughout the county.  Check the Sonoma County Library website for more details.  http://sonomalibrary.org/cgi-bin/webevent.cgi?y=2012&m=12&d=14&cmd=calmonth&de=1&tf=0&sib=1&sb=0&sa=0&ws=0&stz=Default&sort=e,m,t&cat=5,2&swe=1&cf=cal&set=1&cal=cal13

Napa Valley Wine Train Santa Express, Ride the express train with Santa.  For more information visit http://winetrain.com/holiday/santa-trains

Nutcracker, San Francisco – http://www.sfballet.org/tickets/production/overview/nutcracker

Reindeer Romp, San Francisco Zoo November 17 to January 1, see reindeer, enjoy hot chocolate and carousel rides.  http://www.sfzoo.org/announcements/opening-reindeer-romp

Wild Lights, SF Zoo, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, beginning December 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30; 4:00 – 8:00 pm. http://www.sfzoo.org/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=141419

Zoolights, Oakland Zoo, 5:30 pm, visit the zoo, take kids on rides and see some reptiles.  Santa too.  http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Calendar_Item.php?i=245


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