The weather outside is delightful and except for the drought not at all frightful, but believe it or not the holiday season is upon us. And that means nearly two months of holiday fun and cheer are coming your way.
To help you navigate the season and keep your spirits bright, we present our select guide to holiday fun inside and out, from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Compiled by Jessie Janssen
Napa On Ice
A holiday favorite is back this year with Napa's outdoor skating rink—and this year, they're offering skating lessons. Nov 8-Jan 10. $12 admission. napaonice.com. 707.227.7141
Napa Valley Wine Train Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving on the Napa Valley Wine Train is a traditional Thanksgiving feast in a non-traditional, but memorable setting. Nov 27. Lunch 10:30am-3pm, dinner 4-8:30pm. $129-$159. http://winetrain.com/holiday/thanksgiving
Yountville 25th Annual Festival of Lights
Join the people of Yountville for a 25-year tradition: a food and wine festival in the holiday spirit, complete with entertainment and performances. Santa Claus leads the big finale when Yountville will be set aglow with thousands of sparkling lights adorning trees and shops all along the main drag. Nov 28, 2-7pm. Free admission, ($15-$35 for food and wine tasting by online pre-sale only). Events are all within walking distance, on Yountville's Washington Street, at V Marketplace, the Community Center and Edward James Courtyard. 707.944.0904.
Heart of Sonoma Valley 31st Annual Holiday Open House
Toast the holiday season on a tour of over 20 wineries including Imagery Estate, Valley of the Moon, and Paradise Ridge. Includes access to wineries and souvenir wine glass. Nov 28 and 29, 11am-4pm each day. $45 per person, Designated Driver $10/each. www.heartofsonomavalley.com 866.794.9463.
Napa's 52nd Annual Christmas Parade
An event to look forward to every year, this parade features floats built by Napans themselves, all focusing on the theme "Tis the Season." Ya think? Saturday, Nov 29, 5pm. First and Second Streets between Franklin and Main Streets. Free.
- FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE The Moscow Ballet performs at the Wells Fargo Center Dec. 20,
Free Thanksgiving Dinner
The Sonoma Community Center will host its 58th annual free Thanksgiving Dinner Nov. 27, starting at 3pm at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall. The free meal, prepared by an all-volunteer crew. 136 1st St. West, Sonoma. 707.938.4626.
Holiday Trolley Through Napa
Enjoy hopping on and off the seasonally decorated trolley as it makes its way through its regular stops at historic sights in Napa, while enjoying festive Christmas music. Fri-Sun, Dec 5-21, 3-6 pm. Stops at Main and Pearl, Napa River Inn, Coombs at Second (across from the ice rink) and First at Randolph. Free.
Guerneville Holiday Book and Bake Sale
Find something great to read this holiday season at Guerneville's annual homemade baked goods sale and used book drive, presented by River Friends of the Library.
• Wed, Dec 3, 4-7 pm
• Thur, Dec 4, 10 am - 5 pm
• Fri, Dec 5, 10 am - 5 pm
Sat, Dec 6, 10 am - 3 pm (Bag Sale), special deals on bags of books! Guerneville Library, 14107 Armstrong Woods Rd.
Calistoga Winter in the Wineries
Visit 14 different wineries in the Calistoga area by planning your own appointments.
Passports will go on sale Nov 15, 2014, valid Dec 6, 2014- Feb 8, 2015. $50. visitcalistoga.com
Napa B&B Tour & Taste Event
The bed and breakfasts of Napa invite you inside to savor select wines and holiday treats. Transportation and entertainment included. Dec 6, 3–7pm. $75 per person. For a list of participating inns, see www.napaholidaytour.com.
19th Annual Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade
A celebration of the holiday season and Calistoga's ag heritage: Lighted tractors are the highlight of this small-town celebration. Sat, Dec 6, 2014, 7–8 pm. Downtown Lincoln Avenue between Cedar and Stevenson, Calistoga. Free.VisitCalistoga.com
- GOOD NEIGHBORS The Sonoma Community Center hosts its 58th annual free Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 27 at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Hall.
Lighting of Sonoma City Hall
The Sonoma Plaza will light up with a visit from Santa Claus arriving on a fire truck Dec 5 at 5:30pm.
Luther Burbank Holiday Open House
A holiday tradition in its 35th year, this open house features Victorian-era finery and a tour of the home and gardens, and free rides on Rosie the Trolley to and from the Dickens Holiday Craft Fair held at the Finley Community Center. Woo-hoo!
Sat and Sun, Dec 6 and 7, 10am- 4pm. Entry: 12 and older $2. 707.524.5445.
ICB's 46th Annual Winter Open Studios
More than 100 painters, sculptors, fabric artists, jewelers, photographers, multimedia producers, and more. Dec 6-7, 11 am-6 pm. Free admission and parking. 480 Gate Five Rd, Sausalito. icbbuilding.com.
Lighting of the Snowmen at Cornerstone Sonoma
The annual lighting of the tiny snowmen at Cornerstone is a Sonoma Valley tradition. There will be live music, outdoor cinema with holiday films, photos with Santa on the iconic big blue chair, gingerbread decorating and more. Dec. 7 at 3pm. 23570 Arnold Dr. Sonoma 707.933.3010. cornerstonesonoma.com.
Ninth Annual Hanukkah Hootenanny
Enjoy a Hanukkah bash featuring wine, brisket sliders, a latke bar and, of course, jelly doughnuts. Guests are encouraged to bring unwrapped new toys and canned (non-perishable) food items for donation to local Napa charities. Sun, Dec 7, 12-2:30pm. Wine Club Members free, public, $55. Judd's Hill Winery. juddshill.com
Windsor Holiday Celebration on the Green
Annual event for kids to take photos with Santa, send letters to Santa, make crafts and ride the Polar Express before the tree lighting ceremony.
Thurs, Dec 4, 2014, 5-8 pm. Windsor Town Green. $1-$10 for a variety of rides, crafts, snacks and more.
Light Up A Life
St. Joseph Hospice honors lives lost with annual candle- and tree-lighting ceremonies.
Dec 4, 5-6:30pm. Montgomery Village Terrace, 911 Village Ct. Santa Rosa. Free.
Petaluma Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
A parade of sparkling boats shine on the Petaluma River to ring in the season. Ahoy! Dec 13, 6:30pm. Petaluma River Turning Basin, Petaluma. Free. visitpetaluma.com
31st Annual Holiday Open House
Travel between 26 wineries throughout Sonoma Valley for this annual celebration; enjoy wine tastings, meet winemakers and pick up holiday gifts. Nov 28 & 29, 11am-4pm, $45, $10 for designated drivers. heartofsonomavalley.com for list of participating wineries.
Fourth Annual Ring in the Season Holiday Kick-Off Event
The Ring in the Season event features the Katinas, a quintet of Samoan brothers and their Christian Band, plus the Napa High Chamber Choir and St. Helena Choir. Nov 20, 7pm. Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Yountville. $40. lincolntheater.com
Healdsburg Downtown Holiday Party
Downtown merchants light up their stores in this annual holiday tradition; carolers, entertainment, free horse-drawn carriage rides and pictures with Santa. Fri, Nov 28, 4-9pm, Healdsburg Town Plaza. Free.
Holidays in Carneros
Nearly 20 wineries in the Carneros region of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys will offer a variety of activities including food and wine pairings, live music, art and craft shows and special tastings. Nov 23-24, 10am-4pm. Call the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau at 866.996.1090 or visit www.sonomavalley.com
Gifts 'n Thyme Holiday Faire
Forty-two years and counting, the fair highlights more than 85 local and regional artists and makers of fine crafts, holiday pieces and food. Live music. Held at the Napa Valley Expo, 575 3rd St., Napa. Nov. 21-22 10am-6pm and Nov. 23 10am-4pm. 925.372.8691. Entry is free.
Rohnert Park Holiday Arts & Crafts Faire
35th Annual Faire features holiday decorations, music, tasty treats, jolly entertainment and holiday crafts. Nov 28- 29, 10am to 4pm. Community Center, 5401 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. Free. 707.588.3456.
The Dance Palace Holiday Crafts Fair
The Community & Cultural Center in Pt. Reyes Station rings in the holiday season with its 44th Annual Holiday Crafts Fair. Dec 5, 4-9pm, Dec 6-7, 10am-5pm. Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station. Free. dancepalace.org
40th Annual Dickens Holiday Crafts Fair
Event features over 70 local artists. Enjoy holiday goodies, entertainment, a prize drawing and trolley rides to the Luther Burbank Holiday Open House. Dec 6, 9am-5pm, Dec 7, 10am-4pm. Finley Community Center, Santa Rosa. $2. srcity.org
20th Annual Goddess Crafts Faire
Women's art, music, dance, handmade gifts by local & regional women. Dec 13 & 14, 11am-7pm. Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St, Sebastopol. Suggested Donation: $5-$13 (kids free). goddesscraftsfaire.com
29th Annual Occidental Holiday Crafts Faire
Faire features more than 35 local and regional artists, a traditional bucket raffle, food and bevies—and baked goods by students at Salmon Creek School. Dec 13, 10am-5pm, Dec 14, 10am-4pm. Occidental Community Center. Free.
Santa's Riverboat Arrival
Santa and Mrs. Claus cruise by tugboat into the Petaluma River Turning Basin and disembark at River Plaza Shopping Center on E Washington St. to take holiday photos until 2pm. Also: KZST's Brent Ferris emcee's. Nov 29, 11:30-2pm. Free.
VOENA: 'Voices of the Season' Concert
The angelic voices of this multicultural children's a cappella choir, Victorian costuming, and musical arrangements come together to create a lively holiday celebration. Audience participation encouraged. Dec 7, 4pm, Lincoln Theater, Yountville, $25. Dec 20, 7:30 pm, Napa Valley Opera House, Napa. $30-$40. voena.org
The Healdsburg Chorus Presents: 'A Wonderland of Snow'
A medley of Christmas favorites and other songs of the season from the Healdsburg Chorus. Dec 7, 3pm. $15, Glaser Center, Santa Rosa. Glasercenter.com
A Chanticleer Christmas
Telling the Christmas story in Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, traditional carols, Franz Biebl's 'Ave Maria', and a traditional medley of spirituals. Dec 14, 6pm and 8:30pm. $35-$69. Chanticleer.org
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera
The legendary adaptation of Gaston Leroux's classic novel. Nov 21, 22, 28, 29, Dec 4-6, 8pm. Nov 23, 29, 30; Dec 6, 7, 2pm. Santa Rosa Junior College, Burbank Auditorium. $12-$22. santarosa.edu/theatrearts
Symphony Pops: A Very Merry Holiday Pops
Santa Rosa Symphony and vocal quintet Five By Design in an afternoon of holiday music from trad to swing to rock. Dec 14, 3pm, $37-$80. 707.546.8742
Experience the folk culture of Mexico in this Christmas production. Free pre-show arts and crafts at 6pm.
Dec 19, 7pm, $5 for children, $10 for adults. wellsfargocenterarts.org
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian 'Nutcracker'
A Christmas tradition with 40 world-class Russian artists. Dec 20, 3pm and 7pm. $33.50-$181. 707.546.3600. wellsfargocenterarts.org
The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show
Legends of gospel music perform selections from their Christmas album and other Christmas classics. Dec 21, 8pm, $28-$35. 707.546.3600. wellsfargocenterarts.org
- TWISTED XMAS John Waters gives audiences his take on Christmas at Napa's City Winery. Dec. 6.
9th Annual Chris-MIX
Acoustic music starring American Authors, Uncle Kracker, The Voice 2013 Runner-up Jacquie Lee and more. On-site silent auction for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nov 30, 7:00pm, $20-$30. 707.546.3600. wellsfargocenterarts.org
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus Home for the Holidays!
Traditional favorites along with new works, including a world premiere by Ola Gjeilo, one of the Americas' most prominent contemporary composers. Appearances by Santa, his elves and reindeer, a 1980s nativity scene (is that Reagan in the Jesus crib?) and an ugly sweater parade; some proceeds to benefit Sonoma's Face to Face. Dec 6, 7:30pm. $25-$50. 707.546.3600. wellsfargocenterarts.org
Celtic Woman: Home For Christmas—The Symphony Tour
Multi-platinum Irish Celtic Woman presents 'Home For Christmas'–The Symphony Tour, featuring music from the all-female music ensemble. Dec 9, 8pm. $59-$85. 707.546.3600. wellsfargocenterarts.org
The Night Before Christmas
Healdsburg Ballet presents the holiday classic. Dancers perform ballet, jazz and hip-hop to classical and contemporary music. Dec 6, 7pm, Dec 7, 2pm.Adults $18, Seniors $15, 8 & under $13 (at door + $2). Raven Theater Healdsburg, 115 North St, Healdsburg. 707.433.6335. Raventheater.org
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Dec 5-21, 8pm, doors at 7:30pm. $20, $10 w/student ID. Raven Theater Windsor, 195 Windsor Road, Windsor. 707.433.6335. Raventheater.org
A Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tail
Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and their friends in the Hundred Acre Woods in a celebration of friendship, sharing and caring. Dec 13, 14, 20, 21; Sat 11 & 2; Sun 2pm. $10 at the door. Raven Theater Healdsburg, 115 North St, Healdsburg. 707.433.6335. Raventheater.org
SCROOGE, The Musical
Based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, this stage musical version has been adapted from the 1970s film. Nov 28-Dec 21. Thurs 7:30pm, Fri and Sat 8:00 pm. Sat and Sun matinees 2:00 pm. $26 Full; $24 Senior/Youth; $22 Student/Children under 12. Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, 5409 Snyder Ln, Rohnert Park. 707.588.3434.
Santa Rosa Dance Theater with Santa Rosa Youth Ballet Company presents The Nutcracker Ballet
This year the dancers get with the Sonoma County Philharmonic for three performances. Sat, Dec 20, 2:00pm and 7:00pm; Sun, Dec 21, 2pm General $30; Senior $28; Youth (12 and under) $25. Additional performances sans-Philharmonic: Sat, Dec 13 2pm and 7 pm; and Sun, Dec 14 2pm. General $25; Senior $23; Youth (12 and under) $20. Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, 5409 Snyder Ln, Rohnert Park. 707.588.3434.
NVOH Presents: Napa Valley Ballet's Wine Country Nutcracker'
It's the story of a young girl on Christmas Eve in Napa, preceded by a special dinner, prepared by City Winery. Dec 2, 7, 6pm doors, 8pm start. Dec 7, 1pm doors, 2pm start. NVOH, 1030 Main St, Napa. $20-$35.
A John Waters Christmas'
John Waters in his one-man holiday show, leave the kids with grandma. Dec 6, 8pm, doors at 6pm. $45-$64. City Winery, 1030 Main St, Napa. Also available is a post-show meet & greet with Waters. 9:45 pm, $45 upgrade, includes time for photos and autographs.
- FELIZ NAVIDAD Posada Navidena comes the Wells Fargo Center Dec. 19.
Christmas the Cowboy Way
Riders in the Sky musical holiday performance. Dec 16, 8pm, doors at 6pm. $25-$35. NVOH, 1030 Main St, Napa.
An inclusive and jolly tribute to all things holiday. Dec 14, 5:30pm, doors at 4:30. $20. City Winery, 1030 Main St, Napa./
An Irish Christmas
Music of the pipes, flutes, fiddles, button accordions and bodhráns. Dec 9, 8pm, doors at 6pm. $30-$40. At Marin Center at Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium: Marincenter.org
Just Dance Academy Winter Performance
An abbreviated version of The Nutcracker, followed by jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, and Bollywood presented by the junior and senior dance programs. Nov 23, 2pm. Adults $22, Seniors 65 and up/ $20 Children 12 & under.
Stapleton Ballet's Nutcracker'
Meet and greet with costumed characters after 1pm matinees. Dec 6-7, 1pm and 5pm both days. $34, $22 Seniors and Youth (18 & younger). Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael.
Marin Dance Theatre: Sophie and the Enchanted Toyshop
Dig the Dickensian street scene with gypsies, townspeople, aristocrats, school children, cadets and mysterious masked players. Following the 1pm performance, meet the cast, eat a little something, and take photos with the cast of Sophie dancers. Dec 20, 1pm and 5:30pm. $38 adults and $28 students and seniors. Teddy Bear Tea Party $5. Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael.
Mayflower Chorus Holiday Performance
Expect familiar holiday melodies infused with emotional content, whatever that means. Dec 12-13, 8pm. $18 general, $15 seniors 60+ and students 13-18, $5 children 12 and under. Showcase Theatre, San Rafael.
Marin Ballet Nutcracker'
This is the full-length ballet, not some holiday "pops" version. Autographs and photos with dancers at the Candy Cane Party on Sat and Sun, following 1 pm performance. Dec 13-14, 1pm and 5pm. $42, $26 seniors and youth 18 and under, $10 Candy Cane Party. Throckmorton Theatre in Yountville: Throckmortontheatre.org
Michelle Schmitt's 6th Annual Holiday Benefit Concert
Benefits ExtraFood, which helps feed the hungry in Marin. VIP tickets include a reception by Heidi Krahling/Insalatas, special seating, and Michelle's upcoming new record. Dec 4, 7:30pm. $25-$100. Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley.
Narada Michael Walden Foundation's 18th Annual Holiday Jam
Benefit supporting music programs for Bay Area youth "Making a Difference Thru Music." Dec 20, 8pm. $100-$175. Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley.142throckmortontheatre.org
Rock the Season
This Napa Valley Community Chorus event features guest performances by the Napa Valley Ballet, Napa Valley Children's Chorus, and Ballet Folklorico of Napa. Dec 4, 8pm. $20. Lincoln Theatre, 100 California Dr, Yountville.
Pink Martini with Symphony Napa Valley
It's a cross-genre blend of classical, Latin, jazz and pop in a Holiday Pops performance with Symphony Napa Valley and guest conductor Thomas Conlin. The performance highlights holiday classics and singer Storm Large. Dec 5, 7pm. Wait list for tickets. Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Yountville.
Early Music Christmas: Song of the Morning Star'
Led by Robert Worth, the Sonoma Bach Choir and the period-instrument ensemble Live Oak Baroque Orchestra, with the early brass quintet The Whole Noyse, present Christmas music themed around "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern," which does not translate into "let's invade Poland." Music by Praetorius, Scheidt, and Schütz. BachGrounders begins 35 minutes prior to each concert. Dec 13, 8pm. Schroeder Hall, Green Music Center, Rohnert Park. $22 general / $20 senior / $14 student.
American Bach Soloists interprets music of the Baroque era. Dec 21, 3pm. Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Rohnert Park. $45 and up.
Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2014
Arrangements of seasonal favorites led by multi-Grammy nominee saxophonist Dave Koz. Dec 22, 7:30pm. Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Rohnert Park. $45 and up.
Sonoma Bach's period-instrument ensemble Live Oak Baroque Orchestra with countertenor Clifton Massey.
Jan 9, 8pm. Schroeder Hall. $22 general / $20 senior / $14 student.