It’s the time of year for gifts, treats and more. But if you’re looking for a really special way to celebrate give the gift of quality time. From the spectacular Charlie Brown Christmas at the symphony to a budding new garden in Oakland and a community day at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, sometimes the best things don’t come wrapped. Scroll down to what’s topping our weekend wish list.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

San Francisco

It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas with the San Francisco Symphony
Guest conductor Randall Craig Fleischer will lead the young and young-at-heart on a journey through Vince Guaraldi’s score for A Charlie Brown Christmas. In this special stage show, live singers, actors, and dancers bring the beloved Christmas television special to life. Benson sings additional holiday classics with the Orchestra and Chorus followed by sing-along Christmas carols. The decked-out lobby of Davies Symphony Hall featuring kid-friendly refreshments and Peanuts-themed activities round out this musical experience that has already become a holiday tradition. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Chug Over to the Disney Museum for a Holiday Fave
The Walt Disney Family Museum is chugging along its holiday tradition of Home for the Holidays at Carolwood, an immersive seasonal installation celebrating Walt’s family and love of trains. The installation includes an elaborate three-dimensional model of the Disney Family home on Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles—featuring Walt’s personal steam locomotive, the Lilly Belle, chugging along his Carolwood Pacific Fair Weather Route. Fri.-Sat. Event details.

CJM Community Free Day
The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Community Day is an admission-free, fun-for-all extravaganza that has become an annual tradition for Bay Area families. Explore the galleries, create art, and move and groove to live music! Bring your family and friends and enjoy an exciting day at The Museum. Mon. Event details.

East Bay

The Sun Will Come Out at this Musical
Your favorite red head orphan and her gang of singing, silly cohorts is playing at the Berkeley Rep. Your favorite tunes, about the sun and a hard knocked life will bring back memories and generate new ones for a new generation of Annie fans. Fri.-Sat. Event details.

Catch the Gardening Bug at OMCA
Take Root Oakland Grows Food, is a new family-friendly exhibition that explores Oakland’s food communities and what factors determine where, how, why, and what is grown by residents throughout the city. Interactive elements include video footage of insect predators in action; a microscope to explore beneficial insects in gardens; opportunities to draw your own garden inspired by local crops and plants; an animation station based on organisms in urban gardens and more. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Walk in a Mini Winter LEGO Wonderland
What kid (and, uh, adult) doesn’t love LEGOS? Well make your way to the Museum of American Heritage for its annual BayLUG LEGO Holiday Show. Check out festive holiday scenes and amazing miniature cities. Fri.-Sat. Event details.

Make a Holiday Ornament at Hidden Villa
Christmas may be just around the corner but one more ornament won’t hurt! So take a break from shopping and sugary treats and spend and take a deep breath at Hidden Villa Farm where you’ll make a holiday ornament using natural materials. Sat. Event details.

South Bay

Ice Skate Beach Front at the Boardwalk
Now you can twirl under the flashing lights of the Big Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Play some games, treat yourself to some cotton candy then go for a cool spin on the ocean front ice. The new ice skating rink is open rain or shine. (The $12 one-hour session included ice skate rental.) Fri.-Mon. Event details.

Visit Christmas in the Park
San Jose’s most famous holiday lights and Christmas party is open every day and even on Christmas Day! From 9 a.m. to midnight you can cruise the attractions including the Lima Train, a Victorian Village featuring an animated Nutcracker Suite exhibit and Santa’s Photo Den. Guests enter a winter wonderland of lights, songs and local entertainment while strolling through an enchanted forest of trees and Christmas houses decorated by San Jose schools, community. Fri.-Mon. Event details.

North Bay

The Reindeer Have Landed at BADM
Come and meet Snowflake and Blizzard, two live reindeer that will be visiting BADM! Watch them roam about in Lookout Cove and learn from their experienced handlers about their diet, migration patterns and unique characteristics that have allowed them to thrive in extreme environments. Sat. Event details.

Visit Santa at the Marin Country Mart
Meet Santa Claus at the Mart each Saturday in December before Christmas! Be sure to bring your list to ask Santa for the present you want – and put your best smile on for the complimentary photo. Sat. Event details.

What holiday outing is on your wish list? Tell us in the comments below!

–Chantal Lamers