Holiday Events you won’t want to miss


It’s just a couple days after Thanksgiving and the holiday lights are already shining bright, trees are going up and wreaths are adorning the doors of many homes. Yes, the holidays are coming fast, so it’s important to get a jump-start on your planning. From San Jose to San Francisco and just about each in between, there will be lights, parties, celebrations and tree lightings. While the list is long, it’s thorough… Here are some family favorites you won’t want to miss: 

Belmont: The Carlmont Choir will be performing a free Holiday Sing-a-long on Dec. 2 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Carlmont Performing Arts Center, 1400 Alameda de las Pulgas. Kids of all ages welcome. 

Burlingame: The city’s annual tree lighting and Holiday Parade will take place Friday at 5 p.m. in downtown Burlingame. The parade will begin in the 1400 block of Burlingame Avenue and end in the 1100 block. Rides for the kids and live entertainment for adults goes til 8:30 p.m. 

Dec. 12: Chanukah Celebration: Menorah Lighting: This free celebration will feature live music and more and will take place near the Apple Store on Burlingame Avenue at 6 p.m., 240 Park Road, Burlingame. Contact the Chabad of the North Peninsula for more information.

Foster City:  On Dec. 6, families will come together with city neighbors to see the Tree Lighting and celebration at the Foster City Recreation Center, 650 Shell Blvd. from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

San Carlos: This Friday night, Dec. 1, be sure to come on out to the intersection of Laurel and Cherry streets in downtown San Carlos for its annual Night of Holiday Lights. The fun begins at 5 p.m. and runs through 8 p.m. There will be wine, hot chocolate, carolers, kids crafts, carnival lights, performances and more! 

Dec. 16: The San Carlos Parks and Recreation Department will host a Breakfast with Santa event for all ages from 10 a.m. to noon at the Adult Community Center. Pancakes will be served. For more information, call (650) 802-4384.

San Mateo: Dec. 7: Kris Kringle Kookie Decorating at Hillsdale Shopping Center – This one-hour event is free and appropriate for kids 12 and under. 

Dec. 9: Santa’s Craft Workshop at Hillsdale Shopping Center – This one-hour event is free and appropriate for kids 12 and under. 

For more information about both events, call Hillsdale Concierge at 650-571-1029.

Dec. 9 and 10: The 45th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights and Dance: More than 500 dancers will perform a holiday show at San Mateo High School. There will be two shows, both at 5:30 p.m. For ticket information, call 650-522-7444.

Redwood City: Come on down this Saturday, Dec. 2 for the city of Redwood City’s Hometown Holidays beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. there will be a parade, live entertainments, Santa photos, snow and more, all at Courthouse Square! The Caltrain Holiday Train will stop in Redwood City station at 6:15 just after fireworks. For more information visit

Dec. 17: Annual Chanukah Festival – Latkes, Donuts and Music: The fun begins at 4:30 p.m. at Courthouse Square. 

Woodside: Come and visit the Filoli Gardens at its holiday finest! Santa Saturdays began in mid November and end Dec. 23. Come see Santa and enjoy activities geared to the entire family! For more information, visit or call (650) 364-8300.

San Francisco:  Dec. 2: The 33rd Annual Cable Car Caroling. Holiday cheer and seasonal songs are sung to brighten the days of isolated adults and adults with disabilities at assisted living centers and skilled nursing facilities across San Francisco. Carolers should meet at 12:30 on Saturday, Dec. 2 to board a cable car, but you must register first at

Dec. 13 – 30: The San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker: Come see the Nutcracker eloquently come to life with this San Francisco holiday tradition. Composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. Run time is two hours and 20 minutes and this is not an event for children under 3 and under.  For tickets, go to

San Francisco Tree Lightings: While the Pier 39 and Union Square both held their tree lightings on Nov. 25, you can still hit the following tree lighting and menorah lightings: 

Presidio Holiday Tree Lighting: Dec. 2: There will be crafts, caroling and guided lantern tours throughout the forest. 

Jack London Square Lights up for the Holidays: Dec. 2: Oakland: Come for live music, reindeer and tap dancing Christmas Trees.

Chanukah Festival of Lights in Union Square: Dec. 6: Come see Bill Graham’s Union Square Menorah Project – the first big menorah public celebration of Hanukkah outside of Israel. 

San Jose:  Christmas in Park is one event you won’t want miss! Beginning on Nov. 25 and through New Year’s Day, San Jose’s Christmas in the Park transforms San Jose’s downtown 2-acre park into a magical holiday fantasy with more than 60 musical animated exhibits, sparkling lights and a 60-foot Community Giving Tree. There are many activities including Holiday movie nights with cocoa, Toys for Tots Stuff the Bus, Breakfast with Santa, Dog Day in the Park and the Santa Run Silicon Valley. For more information, go to

Caltrain Holiday Train: On Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, the Caltrain Holiday Train, a glittering show train, will make its way down the Peninsula on both Saturday and Sunday, stopping in various cities along the way to collect toys for disadvantaged, local children. Decorated with more than 75,000 lights, the train will visit nine Caltrain stations during the weekend. To see when the train will stop in your city, visit

Ice Skating: If you want to take your family on a seasonal skate, visit one of these amazing holiday rinks:

San Mateo on Ice:

San Francisco’s Union Square Ice Rink:

Downtown Ice in San Jose: 

Winter Lodge in Palo Alto:

Holiday Teas:  There are several fancy teas for little lads and ladesses to enjoy this holiday season. Check out the Teddy Bear tea at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, Holiday Gingerbread Tea at the Fairmont San Francisco, Princess and Prince Tea at the Palace Hotel and The Nutcracker Tea at the San Jose Fairmont. Visit each hotel’s website for specific times and prices.