Christmas season brings an exceptional selection of holiday events and live entertainment to the Bay Area in 2022. Take advantage of the merry and bright offerings that local arts organizations are hosting to count down to the big day Sunday, Dec. 25.
Check out The Chronicle’s guide to the best holiday events and performances celebrating Christmas this year:
San Jose Metropolitan Band: “The Snowman”
A holiday concert featuring the 1982 British animated television film and symphonic poem by Howard Blake, about the magical adventures of a boy and his snowman. The program will include works by Steve Danyew, Karl King and symphonic highlights from “Frozen.”
3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. $5-$20, reservations required. Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose. 408-924-8501. sjmetroband.org
Visitacion Valley Holiday Light Festival 2022
An outdoor community art event where families can explore and interact with light art by local Bay Area artists. Businesses will stay open late and there will be family-friendly activities, including a photo booth, history film screening, Christmas carol karaoke and live jazz along the Visitacion Valley Greenway.
5-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Free. Visitacion Valley Greenway, Leland Ave. & Peabody St. to Campbell Ave. & Rutland St., S.F. revoltlabs.co/vvhlf2022
Winchester Mystery House: Holidays with a Historian
Step back in time to a Victorian Christmas with historian Janan Boehme on a special tour of the mansion. Learn about Victorian-era holiday traditions, sing carols and enjoy a holiday treat in the house’s Venetian dining room. Victorian attire encouraged.
5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. $150, reservations required. Winchester Mystery House, 525 S Winchester Blvd., San Jose. 408-247-2000. winchestermysteryhouse.com/holidays
Prayer: A Solo Concert with Jai Uttal
Grammy Award nominee Jai Uttal will present a solo acoustic performance of inspiring songs and devotional chants for a meditative and heart-opening event celebrating a season of love.
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. $30-$59, reservations recommended. Showcase Theater, Marin Civic Center, 10 Ave. of the Flags, San Rafael. marincounty.org
Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz-Carlton
In partnership with Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, the teatime event will help to raise funds for both organizations. The popular holiday tradition offers attendees aged 2-11 a fluffy teddy bear, festive seasonal entertainment, photo opportunities and more. The menu will include hot chocolate, scones, tea cakes, teddy bear sweets and assorted sandwiches appealing to all ages. Guests are encouraged to donate a new, wrapped toy for a holiday gift drive benefiting the young patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.
10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday-Saturday, Dec. 18-23. $172, includes food, drinks and a teddy bear; reservations required. Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St., S.F. 415-296-7465. ritzcarlton.com
Castro Winter Wonderland Block Party and Elf Contest
Castro Merchants presents a holiday street festival with something for everyone, including free photos with Santa, a petting zoo, drag queen story time and performances, live music and entertainment, a holiday art marketplace, Santa’s little helper elf and sexy elf contests, and more.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. Free. Noe Street between Market and Beaver streets, S.F. 415-980-0011. castromerchants.com
BayLUG and LTC Holiday Show
Bay Area Lego Users Group and L-Gauge Train Club members present an exhibition featuring holiday trains, miniature cities with holiday decor and more.
11 a.m.-3:30 p.m Sunday, Dec. 18, Saturday, Dec. 23, and Dec. 30-31; Jan. 7-8 and 14-15. $4, cash at door; reservation required. Museum of American Heritage, 351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto. 650-321-1004. moah.org
Dollie and Me Holiday Tea at the St. Francis
Bring your favorite doll or stuffed animal and get dressed up for the holidays with Kit & Sis, for a mother-daughter afternoon tea. The experience includes holiday doll crafts along with tea, hot chocolate, sweets and sandwiches.
Noon Sunday, Dec. 18. $90, reservations required. Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell St., S.F. 408-455-9617. kitandsis.com
The Golden Girls Live: “The Christmas Episodes”
Take four San Francisco drag legends, cast them in two parody Christmas episodes of “The Golden Girls” and enjoy a great holiday event suitable for the whole family. Featuring local drag stars: Heklina (Dorothy), Matthew Martin (Blanche), D’Arcy Drollinger (Rose) and Holotta Tymes (Sophia). Also featuring Manuel Caneri and Michael Phillis with Tom Shaw on the piano.
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18.; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 19-23. $35-$55, reservations required. Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., S.F. 415-795-3180. sfoasis.com/the-golden-girls-live
Golden Gate Men’s Chorus: “Voices Singing, Let’s Be Jolly”
Come experience a four-decade-long tradition with the San Francisco-based male choral ensemble celebrating the season with winter anthems, carols and sentimental holiday classics.
3 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18; 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20. $30-$50, reservations recommended. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 3281 16th St., S.F. 415-668-4462. ggmc.org
Christmas at Grace Cathedral
3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23: “A Cathedral Christmas,” Grace Cathedral’s Choir of Men and Boys will perform classic carols and sacred masterpieces with live orchestra and organ accompaniment.
7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19: “Soulful Joy,” harpist-vocalist Destiny Muhammad leads the hour-long holiday performance, featuring drummer Leon Joyce Jr., pianist Tammy-Lynn Hall, bassist Ron Belcher, vocalists Leberta Lorál, Nicolas Bearde and Will Hammond Jr., and dancers Carla Service and Victor Temple.
3 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, Dec. 21-22: “Sing You a Merry Christmas” is an hour-long family-friendly sing-along featuring favorite Christmas carols, led by characters dressed as toys of St. Nicholas’ workshop.
$8-$86, reservations required. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F. 415-749-6300. gracecathedral.org
S.F. Choral Artists: “Christmas Postcards”
The ensemble will present multicultural seasonal music from the past 500 years in a program featuring works by Sweelinck, Vaughan Williams and Mollicone, along with world premieres from Composer-in-Residence Samuel C. Nedel and Composer-Not-in-Residence Caroline Mallonee.
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. $5-$35, masks required; reservations recommended. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 114 Montecito Ave., Oakland. 415-494-8149. sfca.org
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale: Handel’s “Messiah”
Music Director Richard Egarr conducts a holiday program featuring the Handel masterwork with soprano Stefanie True, mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, tenor Andrew Tortise and bass Joshua Bloom.
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. $32-$130, $30-$50, vaccination proof, masks and reservations required. First Congregational Church Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley. 415-252-1288. philharmonia.org
Kitka: “Wintersongs—Shchedry Vechir/A Generous Evening”
Bask in the harmonic warmth of Kitka vocal ensemble as they celebrate health, hope and peace for the winter holiday season. The program will feature sacred and secular Ukrainian songs of the season, raising awareness and funds for organizations addressing the current humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18 $15-$50, vaccination proof, masks and reservations required; live stream available. Old First Concerts, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F. 510-444-0323. kitka.org
31st Annual Mission Dolores Basilica Choir Candlelight Christmas Concert
Jerome Lenk will conduct a performance by the Mission Dolores Basilica Choir accompanied by the Mission Dolores Chamber Orchestra and organ. The program will feature “Dixit Dominus” by Marianna Martines (1744-1812) and works by Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704), and will conclude with a caroling sing-along.
5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. $20-$30, reservations required. Mission Dolores Basilica, 3321 16th St., S.F. 415-621-8203. missiondolores.org
Cookies and Carols
St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir and St. Brigid School Honor Choir present a performance of seasonal music, followed by cookie reception.
7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. $15-$25, under 5 free. St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1111 Gough St., S.F. 415-567-2020. smcsf.org/events
The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol: Carolizing Christmas
The soulful, all-age-friendly holiday music show is set to include the singer and her all-star trio, featuring drummer Mike Clark, bassist Essiet Essiet, pianist Joe Warner. Patrons can also expect Miss Faye’s Bangin’ Black String Quartet with violinists Christina Walton and Yeri Caesar, violist Tristan Williams and cellist Byron Hogan.
6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18. $40, reservations recommended. Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, 410 14th St., Oakland. 510-839-4644. geoffreyslive.com
A Chanticleer Christmas
From an opening candlelit chant to the rousing gospel conclusion, a diverse holiday program led by music director Tim Keele will be presented by the multiple Grammy-winning vocal ensemble. This year’s program will feature new arrangements of well-known tunes, presented with style and virtuosity.
8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, at St. Ignatius Church, 650 Parker St., S.F.; 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2o, at Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th St., Sacramento; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, at First Church Berkeley, 2330 Durant Ave., Berkeley. $36-$80, reservations required. 415-252-8589. chanticleer.org
Matt Rogers: “Have You Heard of Christmas?”
Based on his popular long-running show of the same name, the comedian will perform original songs and comedic takes on holiday classics with musical director and co-composer/pianist Henry Koperski and special guests.
8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19. $35, reservations recommended. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St., S.F. 415-855-1607. palaceoffinearts.org
Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory”
Theatre Rhinoceros celebrates its 45th anniversary with a one-night-only benefit performance of Capote’s evocative fable focused on country life, friendship and the joy of giving during the holiday season, by Sandra Schlechter and directed by Rica Anderson. A celebratory reception will follow with food, drinks and raffle ticket included.
7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20. $20, reservations recommended. Theatre Rhinoceros, 4229 18th St., S.F. 415-552-4100. therhino.org
Smuin Ballet: ‘The Christmas Ballet’
Choreographer Michael Smuin’s annual show returns with new works from guest dance makers. On Tuesday, Dec. 20, join in the annual Christmas Ballet LGBTQ+ Night, featuring special guest Lady Camden, who will host the evening and step into the heels of the “Santa Baby” role for the evening. An afterparty is to benefit Project Open Hand.
7:30 pm. Tuesday, Dec. 20. $35-$134, reservations required. YBCA Theatre, 700 Howard St., S.F. 912-1899. smuinballet.org
Holidays with the San Francisco Symphony
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec: 20: Edwin Outwater conducts members of the Symphony brass and percussion sections, and vocalist Sharon Rietkerk, for a program of classical and popular holiday favorites in “Holiday Brass.”
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21, and 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22: John Jesensky conducts the orchestra performing the John Debney score accompanying a screening of the hilarious Jon Favreau film “Elf.”
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24: A familiar face on the stage and screen, Grammy-winning performer Harry Connick Jr. and his band will perform arrangements of Christmas classics, original works and fan favorites for a festive Christmas Eve holiday event.
Reservations required. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-864-6000. sfsymphony.org
Back Porch Jug Band Christmas with Shana Morrison
This year’s shows will feature members of the original Christmas Jug Band, Back pOrchEstra and Holidaze in Hicksville band including Duke Dewey, Tim Eschliman, Snakebite Jacobs, violinist Candy Girard, pianist Henry Salvia, bassist Paul Olguin, Paul Robinson and vocalist Shana Morrison.
8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20. $10-$24, vaccination proof required; masks and reservations recommended. Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. 510-644-2020. thefreight.org
Unique Derique: “Fool La La: Holiday Gift!”
Full of goofy fun and circus surprises, the annual holiday show invites audience members to follow along with the “Clown Prince of Fools” as he embarks on a fanciful adventure. After the show, attendees can opt to participate in a hambone and juggling workshop suitable for all ages. In-person and live stream options are available.
2 p.m. Wednesday-Dec. 21, through Dec. 24, and Dec. 27-30. In-person shows $10-$100, reservations recommended; live stream $20 per device. The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. 415-282-3055. themarsh.org
Bethlehem A.D. 2022
An all-volunteer South Bay Christmas tradition, the lively walk-through event will feature a large-scale re-creation of the ancient village of Bethlehem, on the night of the first Christmas. Free parking available at Kaiser Permanente Center lot, 1250 Veterans Blvd., Redwood City, with shuttle service to and from the event.
6-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, Dec. 21-23. Free. 1300 Middlefield Road, Redwood City. 650-503-8305. bethlehemad.com
Feinstein’s at the Nikko holiday shows
8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, Dec. 21-22: Franc D’Ambrosio is “Home for the Holidays.” Celebrate the holiday season with a nostalgic journey through the sights and sounds of Christmas. Sing along to favorite classics in a tribute to ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,’ with Broadway standards with pianist Matt Smart.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23: Compete for ugliest holiday sweater at “Cocktails and Carols,” a festive evening hosted by San Francisco pianist and sing-along host Joe Wicht. Tickets include a tasting-flight of holiday themed cocktails.
8 p.m. Dec. 28-29: “A Very Liberace and Liza Holiday Concert.” David Saffert and Jillian Snow Harris share the stage in a night of music and comedy. Enjoy the costumes, music and glamour of show business’s wildest entertainers, at this holiday-cabaret extravaganza.
$35-$80, vaccination proof and reservations required. Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F. 415-394-1111. feinsteinssf.com
Irish Christmas in America
Get in the holiday spirit with a program of music, song and dance from the Emerald Isle, produced by fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada. The popular, family-friendly holiday performance will feature songstress Caitríona Sherlock, Irish harpist/concertina player Gráinne Hambly, Uillean pipes/flautist Seán Gavin, guitarist Patrick Doocey and dancer/pianist Samantha Harvey.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21. $11-$26, vaccination proof required; masks and reservations recommended. Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. 510-644-2020. thefreight.org
Kellie Fuller and the Mike Greensill Trio: “Cool Yule”
Celebrate the season with cozy tunes, winter jazz classics and holiday fun from the all-star band featuring vocalist Kellie Fuller, pianist Mike Greensill, bassist Ruth Davies and drummer Jack Dorsey in an intimate club performance.
6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22. $15-$30, reservations recommended. Blue Note Napa, Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St., Napa. 707-880-2300. bluenotenapa.com
Kat Robichaud’s “Very Merry Misfit Cabaret”
This year’s resident musical director Brendan Getzell will join magical holiday fairy Candy Sprinkles to bring you holiday cheer in a variety show featuring Frankie Fictitious, Shadow Circus Creature Theater, pole dance artist Aurora Rose, original, live music and more.
8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Dec. 22-23. $25-$450, reservations recommended. Alcazar Theatre, 650 Geary St., S.F. 415-606-7121. krmisfitcabaret.com
Candlelight Christmas Recital in St. Peter’s Chapel
A jazzy mix of holiday favorites, along with some lesser-known Christmas songs, performed in the historic St. Peter’s Chapel on Mare Island. The performance will feature vocalist Lynn Anderson, pianist Mike Greensill and Dominique Embry on marimba.
6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. Free, donations encouraged. St. Peter’s Chapel, 1181 Walnut Ave., Mare Island, Vallejo. visitvallejo.com
“A Merry-Achi Christmas” with Mariachi Sol de Mexico
The ensemble, led by José Hernández, will present a program of holiday music, featuring Mexican and American Christmas songs and carols.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. $79-$200, reservations required. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-864-6000. sfsymphony.org
Old First Concert: Golden Bough
Share laughter and song as Margie Butler, Paul Espinoza and Kathy Sierra perform lesser-known Celtic songs of winter, as well as their take on favorite Christmas carols.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. $5-$25, reservations required; live stream available on the Old First Concerts YouTube channel. Old First Concerts, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F. 415-474-1608. oldfirstconcerts.org
The Fabulous Bud E. Luv Christmas Spectacular
San Francisco’s retro Vegas crooner brings his annual holiday show back to the Chapel, with swingin’ takes on Christmas standards and telling tales about Martin and Sinatra.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23. $25, reservations recomnended. The Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F. 415-551-5157. thechapelsf.com
Ghirardelli Square’s Winter Wonderland
Events and activities at the square include family-friendly holiday film screenings, cocoa and cookies, wine tastings, live music, Santa sightings and more. See website for schedule.
Through Friday, Dec. 23. Free. Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St., S.F. 415-474-3938. ghirardellisq.com
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Christmas Eve Gospel Concert
Experience a joyful holiday spirit with this award-winning multicultural choir, united through Black gospel and spiritual music. Director Terrance Kelly offers signature arrangements of traditional holiday favorites.
7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. $22-$25, reservations recommended. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F. 510-839-4361. oigc.org
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular
Create lasting holiday memories and join the celebration with the chorus’ annual holiday concert, featuring classic holiday songs with an LGBTQ+ twist, glitzy live entertainment, joyous music, fabulous costumes and dancing.
5, 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. $40-$50, reservations required. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F. 415-864-0815. sfgmc.org
Children’s Fairyland: “Fairy Winterland”
Get the family together and share in the seasonal festivities at the park. Explore halls bedecked with thousands of twinkly lights; visit with Black Santa for photos, wishes and a treat; join the Festival of Lights Parade daily at 6:30 p.m. Drop off a letter to Santa in a special mailbox and enjoy a culturally inclusive holiday scavenger hunt, live performances, and “snow” flurries as you cozy up with a cup of hot cocoa or cider.
4-7 p.m. daily, through Dec. 30. $9-$18, reservations recommended. Children’s Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland. 510-452-2259. fairyland.org/fairy-winterland
‘Tis the Season for Science at the Cal Academy
Explore the wonders of winter with a seasonal celebration at one of the city’s favorite natural science museums. Investigate properties of ice and learn about animals from cold climates. Enjoy indoor “snow” flurries, holiday performances and more.
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Through Jan. 8. California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, S.F. 415-379-8000. calacademy.org
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