Holiday Fun

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holiday
On five nights in December, Nevada City’s downtown comes alive with Victorian Christmas. Gas lamps, period decorations, roasted chestnuts and costumed carolers help turn the streets into a magical rendition of Dickensera cheer. Photo courtesy of Nevada City Chamber.

WHETHER YOU BELIEVE THE PANDEMIC IS OVER OR NOT, ONE THING SEEMS REAL: THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS IN FULL BLOOM IN THE SACRAMENTO REGION AFTER SEVERAL LESS THAN IDEAL HOLIDAYS. HOLIDAY SHOPPING, TREE LIGHTINGS AND CHILDREN’S
FESTIVITIES FILL THE CALENDAR. SOME EVENTS HERE ARE OLDER THAN YOUR GRANDMOTHER; OTHERS ARE NEW CELEBRATIONS WITH A CONTEMPORARY FLAIR. CLEARLY, THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.

THEATRE OF LIGHTS (SACRAMENTO)—Downtown Sacramento’s holiday light show will return from Nov. 23 to Dec. 24 in Old Sacramento Waterfront, which will transform into a 19th century winter wonderland. Drawing thousands of people, the light display has made best of lists in The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. Light shows begin at 6 p.m. every evening. godowntownsac.com/holidays

theater of lights in old sacramento waterfront
Photo by Francisco Chavira

DOCO HOLIDAY MAKERS MARKET(SACRAMENTO)—DOCO is partnering with River City Marketplace to transform DOCO plaza into an open-air market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 17 in downtown Sacramento. Peruse local vendors’ and artisans’ holiday offerings while listening to holiday music. Looking for one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts? Jewelry, artwork, candles, bath and body products are some of the offerings. docosacramento.com

holiday shopping at moppet shoppe
Photo by Francisco Chavira
holiday shopping
Photo by Francisco Chavira

TWELVE DAYS OF MIDTOWN (SACRAMENTO)—Explore the sprawling celebration that runs from Dec. 1 to 12 throughout Sacramento’s midtown, with hundreds of holiday promotions and treats. Every day, expect different goodies, like a pop-up bar, a chance to make a holiday craft or holiday performances. In years past, shoppers scored free holiday mugs with purchases or paused to sample a wintry vegan shake. exploremidtown.org

illumination in elk grove
Photo courtesy of City of Elk Grove

ILLUMINATION HOLIDAY FESTIVAL (ELK GROVE)—The festival from 1 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 will light up the city’s crown jewel, a 56-acre public space with a senior center, aquatic center and park. Known as Dictrict56, the complex will host the multicultural family celebration for the third year. Experience how other countries celebrate the holidays through the holiday marketplace, including food vendors. The Parade of Lights begins at 6 p.m., followed by the tree lighting of the contemporary Ribbon Tree, which resembles a giant ribbon in the shape of a tree. elkgrovecity.org

holiday pictures
Photo courtesy of City of Elk Grove

NATOMAS TREE LIGHTING—The South Natomas Community Center throws open the doors this year for a tree-lighting celebration after a couple years of drive-through events. The tree-lighting starts at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2. Sip hot chocolate while you browse community booths. Maybe shake hands with your councilmember or even the mayor, who have dropped in for past tree lightings. business.natomaschamber.org

Victorian Christmas in Nevada City
Photo courtesy of Nevada City Chamber

NEVADA CITY VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS—Ever wanted to don Victorian winter wear for holiday shopping? Here’s your chance. The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce will present a throwback to another era on Dec. 4, 11 and 18 from 1:30 to 6 p.m. and Dec. 7 and 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. A Victorian experience under authentic gas lights with period decorations will feature costumed carolers and a chance to sample roasted chestnuts. About 100 vendors, also costumed, will offer crafts, gifts and food. Santa is available for selfies. You might see a walking toy soldier and a Christmas tree. Check out the display of a miniature Dickens Village in the Alpha Building windows at 210 Broad St. Parking is sparse. Shuttles will be available. nevadacitychamber.com

victorian holiday celebration
Photo courtesy of Nevada City Chamber

A CORNISH CHRISTMAS (GRASS VALLEY)—Want a little small-town charm during your holiday shopping? Head up to Grass Valley for a Cornish Christmas, an homage to the early English immigrants who worked the local mines. Every Friday beginning Nov. 25 and running through Dec. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m., you can shop 100 small businesses downtown for the perfect gifts. As a Cornish choir serenades, enjoy food vendors and a visit with Santa Claus. downtowngrassvalley.com

OLD TOWN ELK GROVE DICKENS STREET FAIRE—Elk Grove’s Old Town will kick off the holiday season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 26 with craft vendors, holiday music, food and shopping. Find special activities for children in Tiny Tim Alley near the Old Town Plaza, including story time with Mrs. Claus. The fair will be followed by a tree lighting at 6 p.m. at the corner of Elk Grove Boulevard and Walnut Avenue. Stay for hot cocoa and cookies for children with Santa and Mrs. Claus. dickensstreetfaire.com

CHRISTMAS IN FAIR OAKS TREE LIGHTING—For the second year, the Fair Oaks celebration will not feature a parade because of construction in the village, but festivities will move to Fair Oaks Park for the Dec. 3 tree lighting. From 2 to 6 p.m., live music, performances, craft vendors, games for children and food trucks will lead up to the big event. forpd.org

FOLSOM CHRISTMAS ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR
Photo courtesy of Folsom Historic District Association

FOLSOM CHRISTMAS ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR—More than 200 vendors will line the streets of Folsom’s historic downtown from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 4, rain or shine. Look for handmade crafts, listen to musicians and grab some food along the street where miners once shopped. The Folsom Historic District Association encourages shoppers to use light rail, which stops in Old Folsom. During the fair, passengers can ride for free on the Gold Line, which serves Folsom. Garage parking is $2 and will be limited. historicfolsom.org

live music at the victorian holiday
Photo courtesy of Nevada City Chamber

SUTTER CREEK 45TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE—Head into nearby wine country beginning at 5 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 for an evening of browsing and shopping in this quaint Motherlode destination. On Dec. 3, come by the plaza for hot chocolate and a meet-up with Santa. suttercreek.org/suttercreek-amadorcounty-events

TREE GROVE AND NORTH POLE TAVERN (ROSEVILLE)—Stroll Vernon Street Town Square from Nov. 30 through Dec. 8 to see trees decorated by different organizations and businesses. Santa will be there, along with music and food vendors. The city’s tree on the square will be lit Dec. 1 between 6 and 8 p.m. For grown-ups, the North Pole Tavern opens on the square from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2. For $10 get six tastings of wine or beer. The evening benefits recreation programs for at-risk youth. roseville.ca.us