In the Realm of Winter

Our annual guide to holiday arts and events, T-day forward

the arts

Photograph by David Wilson
SPIRITED: Comic Marga Gomez is among the special presenters gathered for ‘Twisted Christmas 6.’

Compiled by Hallie O’Donnell

Bring on the Figgy Pudding: Events

Festival of Lights Yountville is magnificently illuminated as Washington Street is closed to traffic—with the exception of horse-drawn buggies—for this open-air festival. Costumed caroling characters, dancers and food booths complete the evening’s glitter. Friday, Nov. 28, 2–6pm. Downtown Yountville, Washington Street. Free. 707.944.0904.

Heart of Sonoma Valley Open HouseHeart of Sonoma Valley Association kicks off its 25th annual open house celebration this year, showcasing 19 Sonoma Valley wineries. Friday–Saturday, Nov. 28–29, 11am–4:30pm. $30 per person both days; $10, designated driver. 866.794.9463.

Gourmet Shopping Walking Tour Explore “hidden” Healdsburg with a hometown guide who will take you to all of the fantastic out-of-the-way places for shopping. Saturdays, Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, 13 and 21; also, Sunday, Dec. 22. 11am–1 pm. $30. 707.484.6249.

Bob Burke’s Christmas Party Join local volunteer extraordinaire Bob Burke for great food and company as he helps to raise money for children with cancer at annual bash. Wednesday, Dec. 3, 5–9:30pm. The Union Hotel, 3731 Main St., Occidental. Admission for the pasta feed and fun is free; donations appreciated. 707.887.2222.

Sebastopol Tree Lighting Cookie decorating, musical entertainment and refreshments abound when the Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce and VNA Hospice Foundation host their annual tree-lighting celebration on Thursday, Dec. 4, 5–8pm. Downtown Plaza, the corner of McKinley Street and Petaluma Avenue, Sebastopol. Free. 707.823.3032.

Zen FestJust when you thought reaching satori in Sebastopol was just an urban legend, the Stone Creek Zen Center helps to make that a possibility this year during its annual Zen Fest. This fundraising event includes items such as meditation supplies, altar materials and other Zen paraphernalia. Sunday, Dec. 4, 10am–4pm. Masonic Center, 373 N. Main St., Sebastopol. Free. 707.887.1514.

Old-Fashioned Holiday Home Tour Catch a glimpse of what the days of old would have looked like in Santa Rosa’s historic McDonald district during a guided tour of select homes on Friday, Dec. 5, 6:30–9 pm, and Saturday, Dec. 8, 10am–5pm. $100 per person; $175 per couple. 707.545.5567.

Light Up a Life St. Joseph’s hospices help to honor lives lost. The hospice of Petaluma has its ceremony on Friday, Dec. 5, at 7pm, Center Park (the strip of trees outside McNear’s and the Mystic Theatre on Petaluma Boulevard South), Petaluma. Santa Rosa tree lighting events will be held at 6pm on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Lodge at Paulin Creek; Saturday, Dec. 13, at  Railroad Square; Sunday, Dec. 14, at the Star of Valley at Oakmont. Events free. 707.778.6242 or 707.568.1094.

Petaluma Lighted Boat Parade Watch as lights combine with water at the annual Lighted Boat Parade in Petaluma, on Saturday, Dec. 6. The parade commences at the Petaluma marina around 6pm and arrives at the Turning Basin around 7pm. (Pssst: the best place to watch is the launch at Papa’s Taverna.) 707.769.0429.

The Blessing of the Olives Blessed be the olives! Olives are sanctified at the Mission San Francisco de Solano, which is open to the public on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 10am. Music and refreshments will also be included. East Spain and First Street East, Sonoma. Free. 707.996.1090.

Holiday Celebration Downtown Windsor plays holiday host with its annual celebration, which includes horse-drawn carriage and trolley rides, children’s crafts and a visit from St. Nick, and the woman behind the man, Mrs. Claus, when they light the tree on the town green Thursday, Dec. 6, 5–8pm. Free. 707.838.1260.

Luther Burbank Open House Step into the spirit of famed horticulturist Luther Burbank as his home and gardens are opened up to the public for a two-day holiday event. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 6–7, 10–4pm. Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues, Santa Rosa. Free. 707.524.5445.

Victorian Tea Slip into character as you imagine sitting among the Victorian era’s most esteemed thinkers, writers and her royal majesty at the Petaluma Historical Society and Museum. Sunday, Dec. 7. Two seatings, at noon and 4pm. $25. 20 Fourth St., Petaluma. 707.778.4398.

Christmas at the Mission Light a candle and sing sacred and secular songs in this charming free event for families that combines the holiday spirit with community history. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Barracks and the Mission San Francisco Solano, Spain Street on the Plaza, Sonoma. Three programs: 5pm, 6pm, 7pm; 5pm is specifically for little ones. Free, but tickets are required. RSVP at 707.938.1519.

Jangle Jingle Bells: Shopping

Gifts ‘n’ Tyme Holiday FaireNow in its 35th year, the fair features 82 booths and home-baked goodies by the greater Napa Valley Lion’s Club. Start your shopping with handmade craft items. Nov. 14–16. Friday, 10am–7pm; Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Napa Valley Exposition, 575 Third St., Napa. Free. 925.372.8961.

Dance Palace Holiday Crafts Fair This shopping mecca gathers some 40 upper-echelon craftspeople under one roof for some early-season shopping. Friday–Sunday, Dec. 5–7, 3–9pm. Dance Palace, Fifth and B streets, Point Reyes Station. Free. 415.663.1075.

Holiday Arts & Crafts Boutique The Petaluma Farmers Market hosts a holiday arts and crafts boutique with handmade arts and crafts items, hot foods and drinks, baked goods and live entertainment. Great holiday gift items are for sale on Saturday, Dec. 6, 10am–5pm. Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Ave., Petaluma. Free. 707.762.0344.

December in Calistoga Community Christmas bazaar. Santa will also be there for photographic opportunities. Saturday, Dec. 6, 9am–4pm. Crafts fair, Napa County Fairgrounds, 1435 Oak St., Calistoga. Parade, down Lincoln Avenue, 6–7pm. Both events free. 707.942.4232.

Alexander Valley Ladies Aid Christmas Bazaar Wreaths, cookies, jams, one-of-a-kind handmade items, hand-painted ornaments and decorated gourds and a raffle enliven this one-day crafts fair on Saturday, Dec. 6, 10am–2pm. Alexander Valley Church, 6650 Hwy. 128, Healdsburg. Free. 707.433.4504.

Muir Beach Quilters Quilt artists and other artisans gather with handicrafts of all kinds and free activities for the kids. Free shuttle from Muir Beach parking lot. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 6–7. Saturday, 11am–5pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Muir Beach Community Center, 19 Seascape Drive. Free. 415.383.6762.

Goddess Crafts Faire Winter solstice Goddess Crafts Faire celebrates handmade gifts by local and regional women, as well as live music, tarot readings and food. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 6–7, 11am–7pm. Sebastopol Community Center, 390 Morris St., Sebastopol. 707.829.3938.

A Dickens of a Holiday Crafts Faire Over 60 booths of juried handcrafted goodies, jewelry, household goods, ceramics and lots more. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 6–7. Saturday, 9am–5pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Finley Community Center, 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. $2; under 18, free. 707.543.3737.

Holiday Craftacular Petaluma Craft Mafia presents hipster craft show replete with music by Gabby Lala, the Bluebellies and Ted Baggett. Bring new toy for extra raffle ticket. Saturday, Dec. 13, 11am–5pm. Petaluma Veteran’s Hall, 1094 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma. $2.

Occidental Holiday Crafts FaireJoin Mr. and Mrs. Claus plus 35 crafters and plenty of fun. Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 13–14. Saturday, 10am–5pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Occidental Community Center, corner of Bohemian Highway and Graton Road. Free. 707.874.1673.

Away in a Manger: Little Ones

  ‘A Christmas Carol’ Consider this play a primer for morality for the young ones, plus an introduction to the fine display of a master storyteller’s imagination in Sonoma County Repertory Theater’s production. Wednesday–Saturday, Nov. 21–Dec. 23. 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol. $20–$25; Thursday, pay what you will. 707.823.0177.

Santa’s Riverboat Arrival Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the Petaluma Riverfront on board the town’s eponymous tug to greet the children and distribute candy canes followed by a horse-drawn procession through downtown to kick off the holiday season. Saturday, Nov. 29, at noon. Turning basin, Golden Eagle Shopping Center, on Washington Boulevard, Petaluma. Free. 707.762.9348.

Bay Area Discovery Museum Blizzard of events for the young ones with special activities run almost daily and include Gingerbread Architectural Extravaganza (Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and 13) and The Snow Cat (Dec. 13, 20 and 27). Discovery Museum, Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. $8–$10. 415.927.0960.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Catch a glimpse of Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey reincarnated in a younger version of himself when Cinnabar Young Rep players present a musical version of the heart-warmer. Friday–Sunday, Dec. 5–Dec. 21. Friday–Saturday at 7:30pm; Sundays at 2pm. Cinnabar Theater, 333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. $10–$15. 707.763.8920.

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater Pets rescued from 26 animal shelters around the country perform amazing and wondrous acts of derring-do with international circus star and juggler Gregory Popovich. Thursday–Sunday, Dec. 11–14. Thursday–Saturday at 7pm; also, Saturday–Sunday at 2pm. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. 707.226.7372.

‘The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe’ C. S. Lewis’ beloved story is presented by the Sixth Street Playhouse’s student thespians. Friday–Sunday, Dec. 12–21. Friday–Saturday at 7pm; Saturday–Sunday matinees at 2pm; no performances Dec. 13 and 20. $10. 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 707.523.4185.

A Storybook Christmas Marin Youth Performers present Santa’s elves as they prepare for the happy day with Pinocchio, Little Red Riding Hood, the Cowardly Lion and other storybook faves. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 20–21 at 2pm. 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 415.383.9600.

Ghosts of Xmas Present: Stage

‘Posada Navideña’ The Instituto Mazatlán Bellas Artes de Sacramento present a music and dance show celebrating the traditions of a Mexican Christmas, focusing on Joseph and Mary’s pastorela, or journey, before the birth of baby Jesus. Friday, Dec. 5, at 7pm. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $10–$15. 707.546.3600.

Twisted Christmas Live No. 6 TheBohemian’s own David Templeton assembles a welcome and offbeat alternative to the usual holiday fare. Comic Marga Gomez, NPR’s Sedge Thomson and Reed Martin of the Reduced Shakespeare Company help to craft the evening’s event based on stories having to do with survivalist gingerbread cookies, snowmen from the Twilight Zone and aliens at the Enterprise Christmas party. Saturday, Dec 6, at 7:30pm. The Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. $20–$25. 707.338.6013.

Christmas MemoriesWoman’s Will, an all-female Shakespeare Company, present readings of Christmas classics by Dylan Thomas, Truman Capote and Laura Ingalls Wilder, as well as music and songs and treats. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 6–7. Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm. Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael. $10–$15. 510.420.0813.

‘The Night Before Christmas’The Healdsburg Ballet presents a holiday favorite in which Christmas Eve comes to life to the strains of ballet, jazz and hip-hop. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 6–7, at the Raven Theater. Saturday at 7pm; Sunday at 2pm. 115 North St., Healdsburg. $10–$15. 707.431.7617.

Kay Ryan U.S. Poet Laureate and modest Marin resident reads from and discusses her work. Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7pm. Olney Hall, College of Marin, 835 College Ave., Kentfield. Free. 415.485.9648.

The Christmas Rose Harps and poetry coalesce as Patrick Ball creates a tapestry woven out of his harp playing, traditional Celtic legend and folk beliefs, and passages from Yeats, Thomas Hardy and the Bard himself. Thursday–Sunday, Dec. 11–14 and 18–21. Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday–Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2:30pm. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $19–$24. 707.588.3430.

‘The HollyDay Show’ Pegasus Theater Company cooks up some tomfoolery for the holidays. Thursday–Sunday, Dec. 11–21. Thursday–Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm. 20347 Hwy. 116, Monte Rio. 707.52.9043.

‘The Nutcracker’Petaluma City Ballet dances this holiday classic. Friday–Sunday, Dec. 12–14, at the Evert B. Person Theater. Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 11:30am and 3pm. SSU, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. $12–$23. 707.762.3972.

‘The Nutcracker’ Ballet Califia under the direction of David McNaughton, features lavish costumes and reliable spectacle. Friday–Sunday, Dec. 12–14. Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2:30pm and 8pm; Sunday at 2:30pm. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $15–$18. 707.588.3430.

Sing Along Messiah Ever-popular group event raises joyful noise, on-key and otherwise, to Handel’s indelible holiday tone poem. Dec. 13 at 3pm. Sebastopol United Methodist Church, 500 N. Main St., Sebastopol. $6, individual; $15, family. 707.829.4797.

‘The Nutcracker’ The Marin Ballet brings Tchaikovsky’s time-tested and beloved ballet to life once again. An after-show Candy Cane Party will give participants a chance to meet the cast. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 13–14, at 1pm and 5pm; Candy Cane parties follow 1pm performances. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $23–$35; Candy Cane Party, $10 extra. 415.499.6800.

Rasta Thomas, Bad Boys of Dance Classically trained ballet artist rips it up with blend of Broadway, hip-hop, jazz, tango and ballet that emphasizes the athletic prowess of dancers and the thrill of male bodies. Dec. 19 at 8pm. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $25–$45. 707.546.3600.

‘The Nutcracker’ Santa Rosa Dance Theater has the sugar plums dancing and the mice stirring under capable hands of artistic director Tamara Statkoun. Friday–Sunday, Dec. 19–21; Friday–Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 2:3pm; also, Saturday at 2:30pm. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. 707.588.3430.

‘The Nutcracker’ Marin Dance Theatre presents full-length, two-act children’s ballet. A cast of 150 performers includes several special guest artists. Saturday, Dec. 20, at 1pm and 5pm; special Teddy Bear Tea Party after 1pm performance. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $20–$30; Teddy Bear Tea Party, $10. 415.499.6800.

‘Tap Cracker’ Come see an alternate version of The Nutcracker as performed by Dance with Sherry Studio’s version, a jazzier more modern take on the original. Saturday, Dec. 20, at 2pm and 5:30pm. Marin Center Showcase Theater, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. $12–$20. 415.499.6800.

‘The Nutcracker’ Rasta Thomas premieres his new dance company performing with professional dancers Adrienne Canterna and Tina Kay Bohnstedt under the artistic direction of the venerable Maria Vegh with live accompaniment by the American Philharmonic Orchestra Sonoma County. Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 20–21. Saturday at 2pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 2pm. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $25–$45. 707.546.3600.

Fa La La La La: Music

Occidental Community Choir This year’s show features new original compositions and guest artist Allaudin Mathieu. Friday, Dec. 5 at 8pm, United Church of Christ (825 Middlefield Drive, Petaluma). Saturday, Dec. 6, at 8pm, Community Church of Sebastopol (1000 Gravenstein Hwy. N.), Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3pm, Glaser Center (547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa). Family-friendly shows, Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7pm and Sunday, Dec. 14, at 4:30pm, St. Philips Church (Bohemian Highway, Occidental). $10–$15; under 13, free. 707.547.0204.

The Christmas Jug Band Stalwart purveyors of the jugabilly mystique present their annual tongue-in-cheek seasonal convergence featuring appearances by such as Dan Hicks, Commander Cody alumni and other San Francisco Bay Area luminaries. Friday, Dec. 5, at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre (142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. 415.383.9600). Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Larkspur Cafe Theater (500 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur. 7pm. 415.460.9127). Friday, Dec. 19, at the Mystic Theater (23 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 8pm. 707.765.2121). Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 21–22, at the Masonic Hall of Mill Valley (19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley).

Chamber Singers Sonoma County Chamber Singers chorale ensemble present work under the theme “Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind: Christmas Music Old and New.” Friday–Sunday, Dec. 5–7. Friday at 7pm, at the Glaser Center (547 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa). Saturday at 7pm, at the United Methodist Church, (825 Middlefield Drive, Petaluma). Sunday at 4pm, at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church (1300 St. Francis Road, Santa Rosa). All performances free; donations accepted. 707.837.8984.

Spencer Day Informed by Harry Connick Jr. and even Norah Jones, Day opened for Rufus Wainwright the last time our boy came through town. A nice way to start the holidays. Saturday, Dec. 6, at 8pm. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. $25–$30. 707.226.7372.

Concerts by Candlelight Stephen McKersie conducts the Marin Symphony Chamber Chorus in an interesting sensorial and aural experience, as chorus members will be situated in various points around the church, creating an antiphonal experience. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 6–7. Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 4pm. Church of Saint Raphael, 104 Fifth Ave., San Rafael. $25–$30. 415.479.8100.

Kitka Eastern European traditional songs as well as sacred and secular holiday tunes inform this spiritual night of sound. Sunday, Dec. 7, at 5pm. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. $5–$10. 415.444.8000.

The Irish Show The Blacks are joined by the Celtic Dance Ensemble for a full night of Erin Go Bragh. Monday, Dec. 8, at 7:30pm. Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley. $20-$34; traditional Irish “hearth” supper available, $20. 415.388.5200.

Wynonna, Christmas Style Wynonna Judd comes to belt out songs from her new album, A Classic Christmas. Friday, Dec. 12, at 8pm. Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $15–$85. 707.546.3600.

Sonoma Valley Chorale The Chorale performs “A Magnificent Christmas,” performing Magnificat, a piece written by Italian composer, Giovanni Pergolesi, as well as others. Saturday–Sunday, Dec. 13–14. Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm and 7pm. Sonoma Vet’s Bldg., 1261 First St. W., Sonoma. $12–$18. 707.935.1576.

Oakland Interfaith Gospel ChoirThe award-winning Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Ensemble perform in the historic Bartholomew Park winery museum. Saturday, Dec. 13, at 4:30pm and 7:30pm. 1000 Vineyard Lane, Sonoma. $45–$125. 707.939.2274.

Cinnabar Choral Ensemble Mixing traditional yuletide tunes with ancient and modern music directed by Nina Shuman. Saturday, Dec. 13, at 8pm. 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. $8–$12. 707.763.8920.

The Sonoma Hometown Band “Holiday Festival of Music,” a family-friendly show offering traditional music from opera to popular holiday tunes. Saturday, Dec. 13, at 11am. Sebastiani Theatre, 474 First St. E., Sonoma. Free. 707.933.8989.

Winter Dance Party A 1950s concert review of some of the era’s most famous and memorable performers such as Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. A special appearance will be made by the Big Bopper’s son, Jay P. Richardson. Sunday, Dec. 14, at 5pm. Lincoln Theater, 100 California Ave., Yountville. $39–$49. 707.944.1300.

New Century Chamber Orchestra Innovative ensemble celebrate holidays with music by Handel and Bach plus songs and chorales by soprano Melody Moore. Sunday, Dec. 14, at 5pm. 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. $32–$54. 415.444.8000.

Angels Are Everywhere Cinnabar Choral Ensemble mix traditional yuletide tunes with ancient and modern music. Saturday, Dec. 15, at 8pm. 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. $8–$12. 707.763.8920.


Piano Bar . . . For the Holidays Interactive cabaret-style performance led by singer and pianist Steve Saari changes nightly. Tuesday–Sunday, Dec. 16–21. Tuesday–Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. $28. 707.226.7372.

A Chanticleer Christmas Medieval and Renaissance works, traditional carols and moving spirituals. Friday, Dec. 19, at 6pm and 8:30pm. St. Vincent Church, 35 Liberty St. Petaluma. $30–$48. 415.252.8589.

‘Tis the Season, Winter Celebration Over a hundred joyful singers from  Singers Marin present a holiday choral concert with familiar Christmas and Hanukkah songs. Sunday, Dec. 21, at the Marin Center. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 4pm. $20–$30. 415.499.6800. 

View All

Museums and gallery notes.

Reviews of new book releases.

Reviews and previews of new plays, operas and symphony performances.

Reviews and previews of new dance performances and events.