It’s beginning to look a lot like Winter, everywhere you go! Celebrate on a Christmas tree lot at The Guardsmen Kid’s Day in San Francisco. See the zoo aglow at ZooLights in Oakland. Watch The Nutcracker Abbreviated in San Rafael, for a glimpse at this holiday tradition.

San Francisco

The Guardsmen Kid’s Day
Have fun while bouncing in the jumpy houses, cookie decorating, creative craft making and getting your face painted by Suzie Q. You can also sing and dance along with James K and Friends as they perform live on stage! Enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks too, for an evening full of festive fun! Fri., 4:00pm – 7:00pm. San Francisco. Free. Ages 2 – 8. Event details.

San Francisco Youth Ballet: “The Nutcracker”
Capture the magic in this full length version of “The Nutcracker,” featuring dancers from California Ballet Company, the students of San Francisco Youth Ballet and guest dancers from the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. The enchanting story is brought to life in a unique and child-friendly way! There will be photo opportunities with different characters after the family shows on Saturday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 5:00 pm, and the first 200 children to arrive will go home with a Nutcracker gift bag. Sat., 2:00pm & 7:00pm.  Sun., 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm. San Francisco. $23 in advance. $25 at the door  All ages. Event details.

San Francisco Waldorf School Winter Fair
The Winter Fair is a great way to start your holiday season, while enjoying food and drinks. Come watch a puppet show, play games, create winter crafts, and shop for unique goods. Parking will be available at the UCSF parking lot on California and Walnut Streets, with regular shuttle service. Sun., 10:00am – 3:00pm. San Francisco. Free. All ages. Event details.

East Bay

Visit ZooLights to get the holiday season started! See the meadow show orchestrated by Impact Lighting and holiday music. Enjoy a fantasyland of giant toy soldiers, with over-sized candy canes, lollipops and gingerbread cookies in the rides area. Ride the train at night for a festive look at the zoo. Nightly Fri., Dec.  2 – Sun., Jan. 1, 5:30pm – 9:00pm. Oakland. $7.50/Adult non-member. $5.50/Senior & child non-member. Members are $1 less. All ages. Event details.

Holiday Market
Immerse yourself in old-fashioned warmth and cheer by participating in hands-on workshops. Create gifts including spiced pine cones, popcorn and cranberry garlands and gingerbread ornaments. Festivities also include a holiday sing-along, cookies and hot cider. Old St. Nick will be on hand for visits and photographs. Sat., 2:00pm – 7:00pm. Dublin. Free. All ages. Event details.


Tiburon Holiday Festival
The Tiburon Holiday Festival 2011 will feature an outdoor ice skating rink for everyone to enjoy! The evening’s festivities will also include the traditional Fountain Plaza Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6:00 pm, classic holiday carolers, holiday treats, yummy gingerbread house decorating, Winterland Snow Globe Making for kids, and more! There are additional fees for ice skating and gingerbread house decorating. Fri., 5:30pm. Tiburon. Free. All ages. Event details.

“The Nutcracker” Abbreviated
Just Dance Academy’s production will be an abbreviated version of the classic ballet, with all of the traditional costumes and ballet choreography. They will also present jazz, tap and hip hop performances from the junior and senior dance programs and dance teams. A little production for little kids! Sat., 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 5:00pm & 6:30pm. San Rafael. $11/Adult. $9/Senior & students 12 & under. All ages. Event details.


Hometown Holidays
Come to this great holiday party! Celebrate with a parade, live entertainment, snow, a visit from Santa Claus, a fireworks show and a late night holiday movie!  Sat., 10:00am – 8:00pm. Redwood City. Free. All ages. Event details.

Children’s Holiday Tea
The Burlingame Library Foundation presents their second annual Children’s Holiday Tea! Celebrate the holidays with delicious tea fare and musical entertainment in a festive winter wonderland setting. Children’s author and illustrator LeUyen Pham will be at the first tea seating, and Bob Barner will be at the second. Eat, read and be merry! Sun., 10:00am & 2:00pm. Burlingame. $35 per adult. $15 per child. All ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Holiday Out with Thomas
This year’s Holiday Out With Thomas marks the first time everyone’s favorite Number 1 engine rolls into the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! Take a Thomas train ride featuring Santa and his elves, candy canes, holiday carols and a souvenir song book. Ride the Boardwalk Carousel, and play mini-golf, laser tag, or get twelve arcade tokens! Make a Thomas ornament, and take photos with Sir Topham Hatt and Thomas the Tank Engine. You can also enjoy face painting, temporary tattoos, bounce houses and activity tables. Sat. – Sun., 9:00am – 4:00pm. Santa Cruz. $28 per person. Under 2, free. All ages. Event details.

–Rachel Teichman