Is there more than one way to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season? Oh, yeah, baby. Sacramento and the different corners of the north state offer so much variety and opportunity to enjoy the season in all of its forms. Here are many of the events and activities that await holiday revelers.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Dickens Christmas Fair
Strolling costumed players and vendors, music halls, dancers, staged performances, pubs and shops. Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City. $30 general, $14 children ages 5-12; free for children ages 4 and younger. 800-510-1558; dickensfair.com/.
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, through Dec. 18.
Escape to Grass Valley for street festivities, including carolers, jugglers, musicians, the Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir, Tommyknocker Cloggers, Santa Claus and handmade arts and crafts. Mill and West Main streets, Grass Valley. 530-272-8315; downtowngrassvalley.com/gvda-events/cornish-christmas/
6-9 p.m. Fridays, through Dec. 23.
‘A John Waters Christmas’
John Waters, the offbeat filmmaker (”Pink Flamingos,” “Hairspray”), performs a one-man show featuring adult-appropriate humor. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento. $36-$115. 916-476-3356.
‘Theatre of Lights’
For the eighth year, Old Sacramento hosts the annual “Macy’s Theatre of Lights,” a free outdoor narrated performance of “’The Night Before Christmas.” Takes place on the balconies and rooftops of the historic old town buildings. 916-442-8575; oldsacramento.com.
6:15, 7:45 p.m. Dec. 1-4, 8-11, 15-23; 6:15 p.m. Dec. 24.
Downtown Sacramento ice rink
Open for its 25th season. Santa’s Village, noon-2 p.m. Dec. 10; holiday carolers, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 20; ’80s Day, 6-9 p.m. Jan. 8. Rose of Lima Park, 705 K St., Sacramento. $12; $6 children ages 6 and younger; $4 lockers, gloves, socks. 916-442-8575; godowntownsac.com.
Hours: 2-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays, through Jan. 16. Holiday hours vary.
Folsom ice rink
Strap up the laces and head out on the ice. Folsom Ice Rink, Sutter Street, Folsom. $12; $10 seniors and children ages 8 and younger; skates $3. 916-985-4181; folsomicerink.com.
10 a.m.-9:30 p.m., through Jan. 16.
Global Winter Wonderland
The lantern festival and theme park continues through Jan. 8. Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento. Daily pass: $18 general, $16 seniors and children. 510-962-8586; globalwonderland.com.
5-10 p.m. Fridays, except 4:30-10 p.m. Dec. 23 and 30; 4:30-11 p.m. Saturdays; 4:30-10 p.m. Sundays,Dec. 26-29.
Carmichael’s annual event features live music, arts and crafts, vendors, food trucks and Santa Claus. Free photo with Santa with donation of canned food item to benefit Sacramento Food Bank. Carmichael Park, 5750 Grant Ave., Carmichael. Free. 916-483-7829.
Photos with Santa in Old Sacramento
Youngsters can visit with Santa Claus in the Eagle Theatre at 925 Front St. in Old Sac. Visits with Santa are free, but professionally shot photos are available for a fee. 916-323-9280; californiarailroad.museum/event/photos-with-santa/18712.
2:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 1-4, 7-11, 14-18.
Holiday Show of Hands
St. John the Evangelist School holds its 38th annual Holiday Show of Hands, an arts-and-crafts Christmas sale, featuring custom work by over 150 craftsmen and artists. New this year are the Beauty Boutique and the Man Cave. Pictures with Santa, and a silent auction with over 500 items. St. John the Evangelist School, 5701 Locust Ave., Carmichael. $5 Dec. 2; free Dec. 3-4. 916-549-8691.
5-9 p.m. Dec. 2; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 3; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 4.
Folsom Christmas tree lighting
The festivities will include Christmas carolers, train rides, live music, and a visit from Santa. Historic Sutter Street, Folsom. Free. 530-391-1999
West Sacramento Winter Wonderland
West Sacramento’s tree-lighting ceremony, with live music and entertainment, shopping with local makers, a cocktail corner with local wine and beer. Free kids’ activities include cookie decorating and games and free pictures with Santa. West Sacramento City Hall Galleria, 1110 W. Capitol Ave., West Sacramento. Free. 916-371-7042.
Roseville Winter Wonderland ice skating
Winter Wonderland ice skating event (held outdoor rink or inside). Games, prizes, Christmas songs, live DJ, laser light shows, black lights, pile of snow. Skatetown Ice Arena, 1009 Orlando Ave., Roseville. $11.50 children ages 10 and younger; $12.50 ages 11 and older. 916-783-8550.
Winterdance Celtic Christmas celebration
An evening of music, song and dance with Molly’s Revenge and vocalist Christa Burch, along with the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers. St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 2140 Mission Ave., Carmichael. $20 advance; $10 ages 14 and younger; $25 at door. 916-483-0544.
Homes for the Holidays tour & boutique
The Assistance League of Sierra Foothills’ seventh annual Homes for the Holidays Tour, featuring seven homes filled with festive ideas for holiday decorating. Plus, the Holiday Arts & Crafts Boutique. Includes a candy bar, homemade culinary delights for visitors to sample, and pictures with Santa. Pottery World will share floral design demonstrations. St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 1001 Olson Lane, El Dorado Hills. $25, $10 for children ages 12 and younger. 916-549-3869.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 3-4.
Arts and Crafts Fair
The 49th annual event features 200 vendors, live entertainment, face painting and food. Historic Sutter Street, Folsom. Free. 530-391-1999.
Candyland craft fair
The Girl Scouts host a kids’ craft fair. No items over $8, or create crafts for $1. Also a life-sized Candyland game for kids to play $1. Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, 11427 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks. Free admission. 916-715-0995.
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Loomis Congregational UCC Church will hold its 54th annual Christmas breakfast. Also music, a raffle and visits from Kris Kringle. Loomis Basin Congregational Church, 6440 King Road, Loomis. $10, free for children ages 5 and younger. 916-652-6011.
Car Show & Toy Drive
Cappuccino Cruisers’ 23rd annual Christmas Toy Run event, the Christmas is for Kids Car Show and Toy Drive, which includes a classic car show, music, vendors and Santa. Benefits the Folsom Police Department’s annual Helping Families program. Denny’s, 1011 Riley St., Folsom. One new, unwrapped toy. 916-988-6376.
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
‘A Classy Christmas’
With the Veridian Orchestra. Yuba College, Marysville, 2088 N. Beale Road, Marysville. $20; $15 seniors and students; $5 children. 530-741-6829.
‘Carols & Candy Canes’
Presented by the Colla Voce Children’s Chorus. Christmas music geared for children. Plus, candy canes and a visit from Santa. Donations of non-perishable food items for the Auburn Interfaith Food accepted. Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn. $5; children $1. 530-885-0156.
Holiday in the Park
Among the thrilling roller coasters, there will be dazzling lights and holiday cheer with Santa Claus sledding down a snow hill, synchronized dancing light show, and more. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 1001 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo. Varies. 707-644-4000; holiday.sixflags.com.
Noon Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 22-23, 31; 11 a.m. Dec. 24 and 26-30 and Jan. 1.
Naughty or nice, there will be something for everyone at the Holiday Spectacular. Midtown Barfly, 1119 21st Street, Sacramento. VIP $25; reserved cabaret seating $18 advance, $20 at the door; general: $10. 916-341-0277.
Old Fashioned Christmas
The Elk Grove Historical Society’s 11th annual Old Fashioned Christmas at the Stage Stop Museum. All rooms are lavishly decorated in Victorian themes. Santa will be there from 1 to 4:30 p.m. to meet with the children, who can decorate a cookie. Professional pictures with Santa for a fee. Bring an unwrapped toy for Santa to give to a needy Elk Grove child (up to age 5), and get $1 off admission. Elk Grove Historical Society, 9941 E. Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove. $5. 916-685-8115.
1-5 p.m. Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18.
Turn Verein Christkindlemarkt
The Sacramento Turn Verein hosts its 18th annual Christkindlmarkt, benefiting multiple Sacramento-area charities, it will feature Christmas music, arts, crafts, ornaments, cookies and cakes for sale, a Nurnberg sausage dinner, Saint Nick. In the tradition of the German outdoor Christmas markets, there also will be the annual Christkindlmarkt for holiday shopping and entertainment. Sacramento Turn Verein, 3349 J St., Sacramento. $3; free for children ages 12 and younger. family admission free with donation of child’s coat. 916-747-1192.
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 3; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4.
On the streets of Nevada City. Santa and strolling carolers, carriage rides, children’s activities, Victorian characters, roasted chestnuts, handcrafted Christmas gifts. 530-265-2692.
1:30-6 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 18; 5-9 p.m. Dec. 14, 21.
Live nativity pageant
This live nativity performance is an outdoor re-enactment, with scripture narration, sacred music and biblical characters. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Sacramento Temple, 2110 California Circle, Rancho Cordova. Free. 916-467-4292.
6:30, 7, 7:30, 8 p.m. Dec. 8-11.
The storybook park will be trimmed with festive holiday decor. Nighttime display of lights, and a flurry of snow will fall nightly at 7 p.m. On weekends, craft activities, vendors, and more. Holiday-themed puppet shows on Fridays. Meet two of Santa’s reindeer Dec. 10-11. Visit with Santa in his workshop 3-6 p.m. Dec. 10-11 and 17-18. Fairytale Town, 3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento. $4.75 weekdays; $5.75 weekends; free ages 1 and under. 916-808-7462. 916-264-5233. fairytaletown.org/events/winter-wonderland-4/.
1-7 p.m. Dec. 8-11, 15-18.
The 10th annual event includes displays, children’s activities, musical performances and a family holiday portrait studio. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 6711 Seasons Drive, Elk Grove. Free. 916-717-6684.
6-9 p.m. Dec. 9; 2-9 p.m. Dec. 10; 1-8 p.m. Dec. 11.
Historic Folsom Holiday Home Tour
The fifth annual Historic Folsom Holiday Home Tour features nine historic sites adorned for the holidays, including one home featured as the “Decorators Showcase.” To commemorate the fifth anniversary, a highlight will include entrance to the Museum of Wonder & Delight. No cameras allowed in private residences. The tour benefits the Folsom Historical Society and the Murer House Foundation. Folsom History Museum, 823 Sutter St., Folsom. $20. 916-985-2707.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9-10.
‘Holly Jolly Holiday Celebration’
The third annual “Holly Jolly Holiday Celebration,” hosted by McCoy Fatula, will benefit Children’s Choice for Hearing and Talking Center. An evening of beer and wine tasting and food; proceeds from the raffle, silent auction and sale of the limited edition CCHAT 2016 ornament will help children with hearing loss. Blue Line Arts, 405 Vernon St., Roseville. $40. 916-361-7290.
Meristem Winter Faire
Meristem presents its Winter Faire, with local craftspeople and artists, food, activities. There also will be a drawing with prizes from local restaurants, attractions, breweries and artisans. Meristem, 9200 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks. Free. 916-963-1000.
Swim with Santa
Take a dip in the pool. YMCA, 1926 V St., Sacramento. Free, with donation of canned food or school supplies. 916-452-9622.
Jingle Bell Run
The Arthritis Foundation’s 2016 Jingle Bell Run is a 5K run/walk for all ages. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Reindeer Games 1K at 8:15 a.m. and the 5K at 8:30 a.m. Crocker Park, 211 O St., Sacramento. $35; $25 children. 916-368-5599.
Sacramento Santa Parade
Soak up the spirit of the season at Sacramento’s annual Santa Parade. Held rain or shine. Map of parade route at sacholidays.com.
Kwanzaa: ‘First Fruits of the Harvest’
The Church of Scientology of Sacramento will hold its Sacramento Interfaith Kwanzaa Celebration, sharing the universal principles of the California-grown holiday. Church of Scientology of Sacramento, 1007 6th St., Sacramento. Free. 916-997-2451.
Coloma’s Historic Holiday Houses
Thirteen historic buildings will be open to the public and decorated for Christmas; interpreters will be on hand to greet guests and share the history of each building. Visitors can take wagon rides, and enjoy refreshments, carolers, music and wreath making. The historic buildings are not ADA-accessible. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, 310 Back St., Coloma. $5; free ages 5 and younger; $8 per vehicle. 530-622-3470.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 10-11.
Christmas & Wine Open House
Deaver Vineyards hosts a Saturday of wine, small bites and holiday gift ideas. Deaver Vineyards, 12455 Steiner Road, Plymouth. Free. 209-245-4099.
11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free pictures with Santa
Santa arrives in leather for free pictures. Bring your camera. Harley-Davidson of Sacramento, 1000 Arden Way, Sacramento. Free. 916-929-4680.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sutter’s Fort: A Simple Emigrant Christmas
Learn holiday traditions and cultural activities of the past with docents in period attire at Sutter’s Fort in midtown Sacramento. Vignettes showcase diverse holiday scenes, which will include food, music, decorations and other holiday traditions. A number of historical hands-on activities, plus decorating the Christmas tree, singing Christmas carols with fort musicians and more. Regular demonstrations of black-powder weaponry in action, including the firing of Sutter’s cannon. Sutter’s Fort, 2701 L St., Sacramento. $7; $3 ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and younger. 916-445-4422.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Holiday Craft Fair
Offers jewelry, soaps and candles, fiber arts and winter wear, wooden home and kitchen accessories and furniture, succulent arrangements and planters, and more. Enjoy freshly made Belgium waffles from Frenchy’s Waffles Food Truck, and complimentary coffee and hot cider from Espresso Metro. All proceeds benefit the Sierra 2 Senior Center and its programming. Sierra 2 Center for the Arts and Community, 2791 24th St., Sacramento. Free. 916-452-3005.
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Kiwanis Breakfast with Santa
The Kiwanis Club of Laguna-Elk Grove will hold its Breakfast with Santa fundraiser. Get your picture taken with Santa. Proceeds will benefit the Club Service Fund for projects such as supporting local foster youth, children’s reading programs, the Kiwanis Family House, and the Pediatric Trauma Program. Applebee’s, 9105 E. Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove. $10; free for children ages 2 and younger. 707-326-1319.
Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour
The ninth annual Loomis Basin Holiday Home Tour, a self-guided tour, includes five decorated Loomis Basin homes. Visit the holiday boutique and student art show. There’s also a gourmet luncheon. H. Clarke Powers Elementary School, 3296 Humphrey Road, Loomis. Tour: $30 advance, $35 day of event. Lunch: $15. Boutique: free. 916-652-2635.
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Rocklin tree lighting
Held on Front Street in Rocklin’s Historical District, the festivities begin with the opening procession at 4:30 p.m., and will include bounce houses, wagon and train rides, face painting, crafts, selfies with Santa, hot dogs, chili, popcorn, cookies, hot chocolate, caroling, costumed characters, performances by local musical groups, and the lighting of the Rocklin holiday tree at 7 p.m. Free. 916-415-1150.
Roseville Santa in the park
Santa will arrive on a Roseville Fire Truck at 1:30 pm. There will be cookies, punch, music, carolers and crafts. Roseville Sports Center, 1545 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville. Free. 916-248-4878.
Holiday Wonders magic show
Liberty Ranch High School will present a magic show by Jon Lopez as a fundraiser for its basketball programs. Watch holiday elves assist Jon as candy canes appear from nowhere, an audience member is levitated, and a student volunteer is cut in half. Guest appearances by Frosty, Rudolph and Santa. Tickets will be sold at the door. Liberty Ranch High School, 12945 Marengo Road, Galt. $5 for children, $4 adults. 209-744-4250.
Gingerbread house contest
Make holiday memories while building a gingerbread house and submitting it in the family, business, bakery, or nonprofit category. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with public voting open until 7:30 p.m. Rocklin Event Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin. Open house free admission; $10 per gingerbread entry. 916-625-5200.
Kids & teens make holiday treats
Young chefs ages 10-16 can create some homemade treats: double chocolate snowballs, cranberry-orange shortbread cookies, white chocolate peppermint bark and spiced apple cider. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, 2820 R St., Sacramento. $45; $35 Co-op owners. 916-868-6399.
Breakfast with Santa
This family holiday event includes a breakfast and crafts for the kids. Photos with Santa Claus from 8 to 9 a.m., 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. or 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Rocklin Event Center, 2650 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin. $8. 916-625-5200.
Holiday floral arrangements workshop
The Woodland Community College Public Education Workshop will be held in Building 400. UCCE Master Gardener of Yolo County Jim Schulte will demonstrate creating festive floral arrangements. Bring a vase and small floral pruners. Woodland Community College, 2300 East Gibson Road, Woodland. Free. 530-666-8737.
Holiday ice show
Iceland Ice Skating Rink, 1430 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. $10 general; $15 on-ice seating. 916-925-3121.
7 p.m. Dec. 17-18.
This event, a craft fair and holiday party, offers the work of more than three dozen makers and artisans. Beatnik Studios, 723 S. St., Sacramento. $2. 916-400-4281.
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
‘White Christmas’ screening
For this special screening, the Crest Theatre encourages the audience to wear Christmas sweaters – there will be a showcase on stage before the film. Sweater-wearers get $1 off popcorn. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento. $8-$10. 916-476-3356.
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ screening
Movie on the big screen. Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento. $8-$10. 916-476-3356.
New Year’s Eve sky spectacular
Old Sacramento New Year’s eve festivities include a full evening of childrens and street entertainment (superheroes, face painting, balloon twisting), live music (The Hipwaders), vendors and refreshments, plus a large fireworks display at 9 p.m. (with music simulcast on Star 106.5). 916-323-9280; nyesacramento.com.
‘Noon Year’s Eve’ party
Create your own New Year’s resolution, count down to noon and toast with apple cider, celebrate with a dance party and explore the library with a scavenger hunt. Children and families of all ages are welcome at this free program, hosted by the Franklin Community Library and supported by the Friends of Franklin Library. Sacramento Public Library – Franklin, 10055 Franklin High Road, Elk Grove. Free. 916-264-2920.
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
NYE singles gala
The Crowne Plaza Northeast Hotel will ring out 2016 with a celebration for singles (formal attire – black tie optional). The party will include a rock dance band, club DJ, light appetizers, free drink, party games, door prizes and giveaways, party favors, midnight champagne toast, and more. Crowne Plaza Northeast, 5321 Date Ave., Sacramento. $39; $89 VIP seating; $349 table of eight with champagne. Free parking. 916-204-9414.