Winding up a year that saw people returning to concert venues, theaters and public spaces, the busy 2022 arts and culture holiday season is the first in a while to resemble the pre-pandemic landscape.
There are many traditions back in full force, from "Nutcrackers" to Messiah sings, holiday markets to tree lightings. And there are also groups celebrating a little differently, with unexpected but uplifting theater, such as "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" at The Pear and TheatreWorks' update of "Little Shop of Horrors," or concerts that showcase new works like the Peninsula Women's Chorus' "Songs of Connection: The Ties that Bind" or Bay Choral Guild's "Hail, Cecilia."
There's also events like the BayLUG (Bay Area Lego User Group) annual holiday Lego show, where a new Día de los Muertos display highlights the holiday, along with other original displays of detailed miniature cityscapes and of course, a snowy holiday village. Many of the displays are encircled by electric trains — and all of it is crafted from Lego blocks.
Anticipation of the winter holidays seems to be edging up to Thanksgiving, if not before, so to capture early events, and to ensure time to plan before some events sell out, here's our roundup of holiday fun a little early this year.
Beauty and the Beast: Palo Alto Players present a musical based on the Disney animated film, featuring the original Alan Menken/Howard Ashman songs from the movie (including "Be Our Guest"). The Nov. 18 performance features an American Sign Language interpreter and a Nov. 19 matinee, sponsored by the Magical Bridge Foundation, offers a "more relaxed" theater setting for audiences of all ages and abilities.
Through Nov. 20 at the Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $30-$60. paplayers.org.
Little Shop of Horrors: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley marks the holidays with a reimagined production of the cult classic B-movie musical with an updated setting in San Francisco's Chinatown that celebrates the cross-cultural community fostered there.
Nov. 30-Dec. 24 at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Tickets start at $30. theatreworks.org.
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune: The Pear Theatre presents Terrence McNally's play about two lonely people finding each other — if they can allow themselves to be vulnerable.
Dec. 1-18 at The Pear Theatre, 1110 La Avenida, Suite A, Mountain View. Tickets are $35-$38 ($20 preview night); thepear.org.
Christmas Ballet: Smuin Ballet presents its annual touring production melding classical ballet and contemporary pieces, set to a variety of holiday-themed music.
The 2022 edition features two world premieres, a pas de deux that offers a prayer for Ukraine and a new ensemble piece.
Dec. 1-2, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 3, 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 4, 2 p.m. at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $25-$99. smuinballet.org.
The Secret Garden: Los Altos Stage Company presents a musical adaptation of the children's novel about an orphaned girl who finds happiness and friendship when she begins tending to a long-neglected garden.
Dec. 1-23 at the Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave, Los Altos; Tickets are $20-$40. losaltosstage.org.
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914: Stanford Live presents Theater Latté Da's dramatic retelling of the day during World War I when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas.
Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford; Tickets start at $32. live.stanford.edu.
Winnie the Pooh: Peninsula Youth Theatre presents a world premiere adaptation of the children's story.
Dec. 10, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. tickets.mvcpa.com.
Snow Queen: Bayer Ballet Company presents its annual production of a two-act ballet inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale about a girl who must travel through magical lands to rescue her brother from the spell of the Snow Queen. The 2022 edition features new characters, updated choreography and lighting effects.
Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m., Dec. 18, 3 p.m. at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $38-$78. bayerballet.com.
Pacific Ballet Academy Nutcracker: Students of Pacific Ballet Academy present its 31st annual performance of "The Nutcracker." On Nov. 27, the production offers a shortened performance for children, featuring just Act I, and a sensory- and autism-friendly performance of Act II.
Nov. 25, 6 p.m., Nov. 26, 1 and 6 p.m.; Nov. 27, Act I performance at noon; sensory- and autism-friendly performance at 2 p.m. at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $25-$30 for full performances; $15 for either Nov. 27 performance. Masks required. tickets.mvcpa.com.
Ballet America's Nutcracker: Academy of American Ballet features a cast of 100 local dancers in a fast-paced production of the favorite holiday ballet. The company also offers a digital download of a previous "Nutcracker" production for sale ($30-$45) on its website.
Dec. 3, 2 and 6:30 p.m. and Dec. 4, 1:30 and 4 p.m. at Cañada College Theater, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City. Tickets are $20-$50. americanballet.com.
Dance Connection Nutcracker and Hip-Hop Nutcracker: The studio marks 23 years of performances of the holiday favorite, which features young dancers ages 5-18. New for this year is the studio's "Hip-Hop Nutcracker," which puts on a modern spin on the holiday ballet.
Nutcracker Dec. 9, 7 p.m. and Dec. 10, 3 p.m.; Hip-Hop Nutcracker Dec. 10, 3 p.m. at Smithwick Theatre, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. Tickets are $25-$40. danceconnectionpaloalto.com.
Dance Magic Nutcracker: Dance Magic, a school for dancers ages 2-12, presents its annual production.
Dec 10 at Cubberley Community Center Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. dancemagic.org.
Ramon Moreno Nutcracker: Students of the Ramon Moreno School of Ballet perform a traditional production.
Dec. 10, 1:30 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 11, 1:30 p.m. at Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton. ramonmorenoballet.com.
Western Ballet Nutcracker: Western Ballet presents the traditional holiday ballet featuring Clara, a nutcracker and a journey to a magical land of toys and sweets in a production that lasts 1 ½ hours.
Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Dec. 10, 1 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 11, 1 p.m. at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $38-$43. westernballet.org.
Peninsula Ballet Theatre: Peninsula Ballet presents four different "Nutcracker" productions: "Nutcracker Sweet," an abridged production for young audiences; "Hip-Hop Nutcracker," mixing the iconic story and Tchaikovsky's score with hip-hop dance; "Hip-Hop Nutcracker Sweet" abridged for young audiences, and a full-length production of "The Nutcracker."
Nutcracker Sweet, Dec. 3-4, 11:30 a.m., 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. and Hip-Hop Nutcracker Sweet, Dec. 10-11, 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Performances for both productions take place at Peninsula Ballet Theatre, 1880 S. Grant St. San Mateo. Tickets for "Sweet" abridged performances are $25-$35. Classical Nutcracker, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. and Dec. 17, 2 p.m. and Hip-Hop Nutcracker, Dec. 17, 7 p.m. and Dec. 18, 1 p.m. Performances for both productions take place at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets for the classical or Hip-Hop Nutcracker are $50-$70. peninsulaballet.org.
Nutcracker in China: Students from New Century Dance present a Nutcracker that blends classical Chinese dance and classical ballet. The modern work "Yellow River" will also be performed.
Dec. 30-31, 7 p.m. at Mountain View Center for Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $25-$30. tickets.mvcpa.com.
Holiday Sing-along with TACO: The Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra (TACO) invites all ages to sing winter holiday favorites along with the orchestra and local chorus Peninsula Cantare, led by Jeffrey Benson. Lyrics will be provided; guests are encouraged to bring a folding chair.
Nov. 27, 3 p.m. at Mountain View Civic Center Plaza, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Admission is free. mountainview.gov.
Vienna Boys Choir: Stanford Live presents the boys' choir — which has a history dating back to 1498 — performs a holiday program of Austrian folk songs, classical works, Christmas hymns and carols.
Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m. at Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford. Tickets start at $40. live.stanford.edu.
Hail, Cecilia: The Bay Choral Guild presents a new work by Sanford Dole celebrating St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians. Also on the program are excerpts from Henry Purcell's "Hail, Bright Cecilia" and Antonín Dvořák's "Te Deum," in a chamber version Dole created for this performance. A preview lecture is offered a half hour before each performance.
Dec. 2, 8 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. The program will also be offered Dec. 3 in Campbell. Tickets are $10-$30. baychoralguild.org.
Christmas in the British Isles: California Bach Society's annual holiday choral concert features four centuries of favorites and lesser-known works from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, performed in arrangements for choir and organ
Dec. 3, 8 p.m. at All Saints' Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto. Tickets are $10-$35 in advance/$10-$40 at the door. calbach.org.
Friends of Music at Stanford Holiday Musicale: The Friends of Music at Stanford present their annual holiday concert with performances by Department of Music ensembles and guests, including the Stanford Chamber Chorale, the Stanford Philharmonia and others.
Dec. 3, 2:20 p.m. at Memorial Church, 450 Jane Stanford Way, Building 500, Stanford. Tickets are $13-18 in advance/$18-$23 at the door. music.stanford.edu.
Midnight: Soli deo Gloria choir, joined by Orchestra Gloria, performs Charpentier's carol mass, "Messe de Minuit pour Noël" (Christmas midnight mass), as well as favorites by Britten, Rutter, Bob Chilcott and others.
Dec. 3, 3:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 3149 Waverley St., Palo Alto. Tickets are $25-$30. sdgloria.org.
Magnificent Wonders: Ragazzi Boys Chorus performs holiday favorites including "Joy to the World," "Ding Dong! Merrily On High," and "I Saw Three Ships," as well as choral works such as "Ave Maria," "Non Nobis Domine," "For the Beauty of the Earth" and Nigerian carol "Betelehemu."
Dec. 3, 1 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. Tickets are $25-$45. ragazzi.org.
Woodside Village Band Winter Concert: Woodside Village Band performs classical selections, including Handel's Suite from Messiah, Sousa's "Nobles of the Mystic Shrine March" and seasonal music, such as "Carol of the Bells" and "The Christmas Song," along with uplifting tunes by Richard Rodgers and Henry Mancini. The band requests that all audience members be fully vaccinated against COVID and wear a mask.
Dec. 3, 3 p.m. at Woodside Village Church, 3154 Woodside Road, Woodside. Admission is free; donations welcome. windband.org/woodside.
Christmas at the Fox: This annual holiday concert produced and performed by Bay Area singer-songwriter Brandon Pasion, with guest artist Sofia Claire, features a 15-piece orchestra and band performing a blend of traditional Christmas songs and contemporary holiday favorites, as well as some original works. A VIP ticket also includes a gala with food and drinks that precedes the concert.
Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway St., Redwood City. Tickets are $30-$120. foxrwc.com.
CSMA Merit Scholars Holiday Concert: Community School of Music and Arts hosts its annual concert featuring ensembles of the school's merit scholar musicians playing holiday favorites.
Dec. 10, 5 p.m. at Community School of Music and Arts, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. Admission is free. arts4all.org.
Songs of Connection: The Ties that Bind: The Peninsula Women's Chorus performs contemporary and classical works, woven together with musical interludes by flutist Rachel Beetz. The concert also marks the debut of its commission by Jennifer Wilsey, "Would You Like to Have It All?"
Dec. 10, 4 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palo Alto. Tickets are $10-$40. pwchorus.org.
Palo Alto Philharmonic: The orchestra's "The Power of Nature" program features Elgar's Cello Concerto with soloist Jennifer Kloetzel, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6.
Dec. 10, 8 p.m. at Spangenberg Theatre, Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $10-$20. paphil.org.
Squirrel Nut Zippers Christmas Caravan: The Squirrel Nut Zippers play swing, klezmer and hot club-style jazz in a holiday-themed show.
Dec. 10, doors at 7 p.m. at The Guild Theatre, 949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Tickets are $43-$66. guildtheatre.com.
A Celebration of Carols: Schola Cantorum performs a choral concert for families featuring Britten's "Ceremony of Carols," carols by Alfred Burt and "A Garland of Carols" by Conrad Susa.
Dec. 11, 4 p.m. at Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave., Los Altos. Tickets are $30. scholacantorum.org.
Kitka's Wintersongs: Women's vocal ensemble Kitka performs their annual concert celebrating the holidays and winter solstice. The Wintersongs theme for 2022 is "Shchedry Vechir" (Ukrainian for "A Generous Evening"), with a performance featuring sacred and secular Ukrainian songs. The concert aims to raise awareness and funds for groups addressing the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
Dec. 11, 4 p.m. at St. Bede's Church, 2650 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park. Tickets are $25-$50. kitka.org.
Philharmonia Baroque Messiah: Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale performs Handel's masterwork, led by Music Director Richard Egarr, with Stefanie True, soprano; Rihab Chaieb, mezzo-soprano; Andrew Tortise, tenor; and Joshua Bloom, bass.
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford. Tickets are $32-$120. live.stanford.edu.
A Chanticleer Christmas: The San Francisco-based men's chorus performs their annual holiday show, with a new program every year. Presented by Stanford Live.
Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Church, Stanford. Tickets are $75. live.stanford.edu.
Charlie Brown Christmas: Stanford Jazz Workshop's annual holiday tradition features the Glen Pearson Trio with jazz pianist Glen Pearson, bassist Ruth Davies and drummer Lorca Hart playing Vince Guaraldi's contemporary jazz score for the 1965 TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
Dec. 16, 7 p.m., Dec. 17, 2 and 7 p.m., Dec. 18, 1 p.m. at Campbell Recital Hall, Stanford. Tickets TBA. stanfordjazz.org.
Stanford Messiah Sing- and Play-Along: Stephen M. Sano conducts this annual "sing and play it yourself" celebration of Handel's masterwork. Orchestral parts provided; singers may purchase scores at the door or bring their own.
Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Church, 450 Jane Stanford Way, Building 500, Stanford. Tickets are $13-18 in advance/$18-$23 at the door. music.stanford.edu.
Christmas Postcards: San Francisco Choral Artists perform a program of works from six continents that span 500 years. With selections from Peru, Kenya, Latvia, Australia, and Korea, works by Sweelinck and Vaughan Williams, four world premieres including pieces by Composer-in-Residence Samuel C. Nedel and Caroline Mallonee) and works by local favorites Roger Nixon and Henry Mollicone, in whose memory the program is dedicated.
Dec. 17, 8 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto. Tickets are $15-$35. sfca.org.
Oakland Interfaith Choir: Director Terrance Kelly leads the multicultural, interfaith choir in their annual South Bay holiday concert, which features Kelly's gospel arrangements of traditional holiday favorites.
Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. at Mountain View Center for Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Tickets are $33-$48. Masks required. tickets.mvcpa.com.
Rich May Holiday Jam '22: Allman Brothers Band tribute bandThe Freestone Peaches play a fundraising concert for the Rich May Foundation, with proceeds benefiting the 100-year endowment of Rich May Field in East Palo Alto.
Dec. 22 at The Guild Theatre, 949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Tickets are $95-$195. guildtheatre.com.
Donuts for Hanukkah: Michelle Greenebaum from Together In The Kitchen leads a hands-on cooking class for parents and kids to learn to bake Jewish holiday favorites.
Dec. 4, 2:30 p.m. (4 p.m. session sold out) at the Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. $40 per family. paloaltojcc.org.
Celebrating the Hanukkah Spirit: Oshman Family Jewish Community Center marks the first night of Hanukkah with crafts, candle-lighting, games and a concert from the Capriccio Chamber Orchestra. For families with school-age children.
Dec. 18, 3:30-6:15 p.m. Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall (Bldg. F), Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. $15 per family. paloaltojcc.org.
Festival of Lights Hanukkah Party: The Jewish Baby Network and Congregation Beth Am host a community menorah candle lighting for young families.
Dec. 11, 3:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road Los Altos Hills. Admission is free; $10 donation welcomed. eventbrite.com.
Chabad Chanukah: Chabad of Palo Alto hosts a series of celebrations and events, kicking off with the annual Menorah lighting and festival at Palo Alto City Hall on Dec. 18, and including a menorah parade on Dec. 19, Chanukah Legoland on Dec. 20, a concert on Dec. 21 with Yoel Sharabi playing modern Israeli, classic Yemenite and popular Hassidic music, and a Chinese dinner on Dec. 25.
Menorah lighting and festival Dec. 18, 4:30-6 p.m. at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. Menorah parade, Dec. 19, 6:30 p.m.; Chanukah Legoland Dec. 20, 5:30-7 p.m.; concert Dec. 21, 7 p.m. at Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Chinese dinner, Dec. 25, 5 p.m. chabadpaloalto.com.
Chanukah Festival: Redwood City hosts a celebration and Menorah lighting. With local dignitaries, music and latkes and other treats.
Dec. 18. at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City. redwoodcity.org.
Tree lightings, festivals and holiday events
Holidays at Filoli: The Filoli estate's gardens and historic mansion are decorated for the holidays, with more than 20 miles' worth of lights strung throughout the gardens. Activities include Santa Weekends (Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 and 23); and private fire pit rentals with warm drinks and wine on the terrace. Also, shopping at the Clock Tower Shop and dining and drinks at the Quail Cafe and Woodland Court holiday bar.
Open daily, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Nov. 19-Jan. 8 (closed Nov. 24 and Dec. 24-25) at Filoli, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside. Reservations are required. Admission is $26-$40. Fire pit rentals are $750 for up to eight guests, plus $75 for each additional guest up to a maximum of 15. filoli.org.
Los Altos Family Fun Days: Los Altos Parks and Recreation hosts special events for families with games and crafts, movies and more. Upcoming holiday-themed fun days include a "Giving Thanks" (Nov. 19) and "Winter Wonderland" theme (Dec. 10).
Nov. 19 and Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Los Altos Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos. losaltosca.gov.
Ernie's trains: John Bianco is continuing his late father's tradition of putting on a holiday model-train display.
Weather permitting, five tracks will run trains every evening (except Mondays) Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, through Dec. 24, from 6:30-9 p.m. at 2387 Adele Ave., Mountain View.
Après Village and Skate Rink: The Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto opened a new synthetic skate rink this year, complete with chalets for groups and comforting winter snacks for sale.
Friday-Sunday, 4-9 p.m. through Feb. 25 at Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto, 2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto. Skate sessions are $20-$30 for 45 minutes. fourseasons.com/siliconvalley.
Winter Lodge: The outdoor ice skating rink is open daily for public skating.
Monday-Tuesday, 3-5 p.m.; Wednesday, 8-10 a.m., 3-5 p.m. and 8-10 p.m.; Thursday-Friday 8-10 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.; Saturday, 3-5 p.m. and 8-10 p.m.; Sunday 3-5 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. Closed Nov. 24, Dec. 24-25, Dec. 31-Jan. 1 and 15. Through April 8 at Winter Lodge, 3009 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Admission is $17 per person and skate rental is $5 per person. winterlodge.com/public-skating.
IlluminOdyssey: CuriOdyssey hosts a winter light display inspired by the science of light, with interactive exhibits and kid-friendly glowing art.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (open until 8 p.m on Dec. 2 and Jan. 7) through Jan. 16 at CuriOdyssey, 1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo. Tickets are $15.95-$19.95 (plus $6 park entrance fee). curiodyssey.org.
Los Altos Festival of Lights: Downtown Los Altos' annual Festival of Lights Parade features floats, marching bands and more. Downtown Los Altos will also hold a tree-lighting celebration Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m. losaltosparade.org.
Parade takes place Nov. 27, 6 p.m. in downtown Los Altos. downtownlosaltos.org.
Gamble Garden Winter Festival: Gamble Garden kicks off its Winter Festival weekend with a grand opening party Dec. 1 with wine, hors d'oeuvres and a tree-lighting ceremony. Santa makes an appearance Dec. 2 for photos, along with the Redwood Grill food truck and Bayer Ballet for two performances of "The Snow Queen." At these events and during the daytime Dec. 2 and 3, the garden will host 20 vendors in the Gamble house and outdoors in a European-style marketplace, as well as a holiday edition of its popular Over the Garden Fence sale featuring holiday-themed home decor, linens and more. The Palo Alto Garden Club will also be on hand with fresh greens for decorating, homemade jams and other goods.
Winter Festival at Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. Grand Opening Party Dec. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Holiday Night with Santa Dec. 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Winter Festival Marketplace Dec. 2-3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Grand Opening Party is $75 per person. Holiday Night with Santa is $35 per person, children 8 and under free. Winter Festival Marketplace admission is $5 for adults, children 12 and under free. gamblegarden.org.
City of Palo Alto Tree Lighting: Live music and carols, bell ringers and winter treats are featured at this holiday season kickoff.
Dec. 2, 5:30-7 p.m. at Lytton Plaza, University Avenue and Emerson Street, Palo Alto. cityofpaloalto.org.
Caltrain Holiday Train: Caltrain's festive Holiday Train will stop at select stations along the Peninsula, with lights, entertainment, characters and a chance for locals to donate a new, unwrapped toy to the annual toy drive.
Dec. 3-4, train stops at different Peninsula stations on Saturday and Sunday; schedule TBA. holiday-train.org.
West Bay Model Railroad Holiday Train Show: Visitors can check out model trains of various types and club members will be on hand to answer questions.
Dec. 3, 1-4 p.m. and Dec. 4, 1 p.m. until the arrival of Caltrain Holiday Train, around 7 p.m. at south side of Menlo Park Caltrain station, 1090 Merrill St., Menlo Park. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mountain View Tree Lighting: The city of Mountain View celebrates the winter season with an event featuring performances by local groups, tributes to multicultural traditions, a train ride, games and crafts, the lighting of the community tree and an appearance from Santa.
Dec. 5, 5:30-8 p.m. in downtown Mountain View. mountainview.gov.
Christmas Tree Lane: For 81 years, Fulton Street (off Embarcadero Road) in Palo Alto has transformed into "Christmas Tree Lane," full of lights and decorations. Visitors can drive on the street and stroll along the sidewalk to view the displays.
Dec. 10-31, 5-11 p.m. on the 1700 and 1800 blocks of Fulton Street, Palo Alto. christmastreelane.org.
Holiday Traditions from Around the World: San Mateo County History Museum hosts a day of crafts activities celebrating a variety of holiday traditions, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Free admission. historysmc.org.
Hometown Holidays: Redwood City Downtown Business Group marks the festive season with this annual event featuring photos with Santa, food and drink, entertainment, local vendors and community groups and a parade.
Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Courthouse Square, Redwood City. redwoodcitydowntown.com.
Bethlehem A.D.: Visitors can take a walk-through of a re-creation of the town of Bethlehem on the night of the first Christmas, including live animals and a cast of costumed volunteer actors.
Dec. 21-23, 6-9:30 p.m. at Rise City Church, 1300 Middlefield Road, Redwood City. Free. bethlehemad.com.
Holiday Markets & Galleries
Art on the Square Holiday Show: Visitors can find jewelry, textile art, handmade clothing, accessories, ceramics, paintings and prints by nearly 30 local artists.
Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Admission is free. Masks required. artonthesquarerwc.com.
Gallery House: "Enchantment," a show and sale of jewelry, paintings, ceramics, cards and more by 29 local artists.
Through Jan. 8, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., plus Friday 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. at 320 S. California Ave., Palo Alto. galleryhouse.art.
The Main Gallery: "The Holiday Show," featuring paintings, photography, drawings, ceramics, woodworking, sculptures and mixed-media pieces by 16 local artists.
Through Dec. 23, Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at 883 Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 1, Menlo Park. themaingallery.org.
Allied Arts Christmas Market: Shops and vendors at the guild offer gifts and holiday decor. The event also includes an auction of mini Christmas trees, a visit from Santa and drawings and treats for visitors.
Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Admission is free. alliedartsguild.org.
Art Center Studio Holiday Sale: The Palo Alto Art Center holds its annual sale featuring jewelry, functional and fine art ceramics, paintings, prints and other artwork created by local artists working in the Art Center's studios at the Palo Alto Art Center. The sale raises funds to benefit the artists, studios, and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation.
Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto. (Foundation members-only presale held Dec. 2, 5-7 p.m.). cityofpaloalto.org.
German Holiday Market: The German International School of Silicon Valley hosts its annual holiday marketplace, with traditional German holiday treats such as stollen, gingerbread and chocolate, and gifts such as wooden ornaments and nutcrackers, plus food and music. Proceeds benefit the school.
Dec. 10, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at Mountain View Caltrain Station, 456 W. Evelyn Ave. Mountain View. Free admission. germanholidaymarket.org.
Palo Alto High School Winter Glass Sale: Paly Fiery Arts holds a sale of hand-crafted ornaments, candy canes, seasonal decor and other items. Proceeds benefit the Palo Alto High School sculpture program.
Dec. 16, 3:30-6:30 p.m. and Dec. 17, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Palo Alto High School, Room 105, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. sites.google.com/site/palyglass.
Editor's note: Although public health measures have been lifted, we have noted where possible if venues or organizations have specific COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as mask or vaccine requirements. Guidelines do occasionally change; calling ahead is recommended.