’Tis the season, boys and girls—Santa’s waiting and watching. If your littles are having a hard time staying out trouble, take them past some of these holiday distractions and maybe they’ll remember the reason for the season—Presents! ACT shakes the dust off its annual spectacle, “A Christmas Carol.” Those ghosts are ghostly so watch out for your itty-bitties; maybe they’d prefer checking out the holiday train exhibit at SF’s main library. The exhibit features electric trains modeled after popular children’s literature steamers such as the Hogwarts Express and Thomas the Tank Engine. Or, if the littles want the real deal, the holiday Caltrain is pulling into stations this weekend with all its 40,000 lights. Break out the sunglasses! Take a trip to Candy Cane Lane for a three-day holiday extravaganza, including a Saturday breakfast with Santa. Finally, run by the Marin JCC for the Festival of Lights celebration with latkes, a book fair, and candle-making. And this is just the beginning of the holiday season. Pace yourself!

A Curious Celebration

Paxton Gate, full of curios and eccentricities, is holding a birthday/holiday party this weekend with tons of entertainment. Puppet shows, prizes, and refreshments—this party promises something for everyone. Sat., 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., Paxton Gate, SF, Free! Read more


Seasonal Symphony

Deck the halls with SF Symphony’s annual children’s holiday concert featuring holiday tunes from around the globe. Take it up a notch and grab one of the Angel Packages which includes an invite to the pre-concert reception. Sing-along carols add to the fun and memories. Sun., 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Davies Symphony Hall, SF, $15 – $65, Read more

EXPLORE: Cesar E. Chavez Park in BerkeleyCesarEChavezPark

When you want to get the kids outside, but putting on a pair of hiking boots and trekking through the forest seems too big an excursion, there’s a happy medium out there. Cesar E. Chavez Park in the Berkeley Marina is paved all around, with gorgeous views of the city and the bay, and plenty of green hills to romp upon. Bring a jacket and a kite, because the wind likes it here, too, and you’ll often see decorated skies with colorful kite-tails flapping in anticipation of the annual festival in July.

Yule Love Christmas at Ardenwood!

Do Christmas the “old school” way at Ardenwood’s Patterson House where they’ll have all the Victorian trimmings including carols and Christmas cookies. Make sure to stroll the grounds soaking in the holiday feeling. Sat. and Sun., 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Fremont, $8/adult, $5/seniors and children (4 – 17), kids 3 and under are free. For info, call 1-888-327-2757, ext. 4504.


A Great Time in the Garden

Celebrate the holidays with the locals at Ruby’s Garden, while picking up some adorable kids’ togs for your gifts. Live music and tasty treats from Bakesale Betty make for a (holiday) spirited good time. Fri., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Temescal, Oakland, Free! Read more

In the Spotlight

”Consider Yourself” invited to see the classic musical, “Oliver!”, put on by the Children’s Musical Theatre of San Jose. Make sure you take the kiddos to eat first so they’re not joining in on “Food Glorious Food.” Dec. 4 – 13, San Jose, see website for showtimes.
Home for the Holidays

It’s a Party (with a capital “P”) in Redwood City this Saturday with a day-long holiday celebration including snow, a parade, rides, a petting zoo, and culminating in fireworks and a holiday movie. Be sure to eat your Wheaties—you’re not going to want to miss a minute of this! Sat., 10:00 a.m., Redwood City, Free (tickets req. for rides, petting zoo, and food), Read more


Royal Tannenbaums

Add a little more fun to your search for “just the right tree”: many of the North Bay tree farms offer close encounters with farm animals, refreshments, and meetings with the Clauses. Check out some of these farms: Liberty Christmas Tree Farm; Little Hill Christmas Tree Farm; Frosty Mountain Tree Farm; and Garlock Tree Farm.

Holiday Hoopla

Winter Magic Weekend at the Tamalpais Community Center will have you jing, jing, jingling all the way to Xmas. Sing-alongs, Santa breakfasts, ice skating, and Santa on a firetruck—bring the littles for some holiday helpings of happiness. Fri. – Sun., Tamalpais Community Center, Marin, events start at 9 a.m.,  Read more