Holidays in Marin

Marin on Ice

Our annual guide to Christmas and holiday events for families in Marin and the Bay Area

Sponsored by Marin on Ice.

Try Cross Country Skiing With the Family This Winter

November 5, 2016

cross country skiing

With more snow moving into the Sierras, it's time to start thinking about winter sports family fun in the mountains. While downhill skiing and snowboarding are synonymous with snow sports to many people, cross country skiing is a fun and low-key alternative to the lift lines. Cross country skiing is fun, easy to learn, and requires a minimum of equipment. Dress in warm active clothing, put on your boots and skis, grab your poles, and you're good to go!

We tried out cross country last winter, and had a great time. My kids picked it up right away—after 20 minutes on the practice loop they were off and hitting the trails. The whole family can join in, too—you can even get a jogging stroller on skis and pull your little one along, and many cross country trails allow dogs, too. An added bonus: cross country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercise activities you can do. It's a great way to get active and enjoy the beauty of the mountains in winter.

Help Feed the World's Largest Turkey at Town Center Corte Madera

November 1, 2016

Giant Turkey Town Center Corte Madera

This holiday season, Town Center Corte Madera proudly welcomes back the World’s Largest Turkey, who will gratefully collect your donations of canned food, non-perishable items, and toiletries. Donations will be distributed by the SF-Marin Food Bank to Marin families in need this holiday season. This year marks the Giant Turkey’s 25th annual appearance at Town Center—this year the Turkey will be “roosting” in the Center Court under the clock tower across from Blue Barn.

The Giant Turkey delights Marin families every holiday season with its bobbing head and hatch for donations. Over the years, the turkey has collected 33,100 pounds of donations!  These donations will help the Food Bank fill holiday baskets with useful items for those in need. Visiting the Giant Turkey has become a holiday tradition for families who find it a wonderful way to support their community with donations for Marin County residents who need assistance.

Fun Mid-Winter Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

February 9, 2016

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming midwinter break? Check out some of the great day camp programs here in Marin. Many of these camps offer drop-in sessions for last-minute fun over the break, as well as before- and after-care.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue
    Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Camp takes place from February 15–19 from camp times 9 am–noon (ages 4–14) or 9 am–3 pm (ages 7–14). Campers will have the choice of many different projects each day that include painting, drawing, ceramics, mixed media and printmaking, students will create a variety of fine art projects in different art mediums. A sibling discount is offered. Cost: $265. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rolling Hills Club
    351 San Andreas Drive

    Novato
    (415) 897-2185

    The Junior Polar Bear Camp (ages 3–5) takes place February 16 and 18 from 9 am–1 pm, and Polar Beach Camp (ages 6–12) takes place February 15–19 from 9 am-4 pm. This year's theme is "Random Acts of Kindness". Activities include: stories, sensory crafts, and games. Prices start at $60/day. For more info, visit their website.

A Family Tradition Full of Love and Thought... But No Cost

December 22, 2015

Buoncristiani christmas tree with letters Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Marin mom and photographer Danielle Buoncristiani, who shares her family's tradition of holiday letter writing. Danielle specializes in photos of families and children. Learn more about her and her photography studio, Buoncristiani Photography, at www.buonphoto.com.

16 years ago when we were soon to be celebrating the holiday season with our newborn son we wanted to start our own family tradition. A tradition that could be done every year and that would cost nothing but thought and love.

The tradition of holiday letter writing began. Both my husband and I wrote a letter to our 9 month old son; we told him his first words, we talked about how he changed our lives, and he heard stories of what had occurred during these months that he came into our lives. My husband and I also wrote to each other. Life gets so crazy busy that often we don’t tell the people we love what makes them so special to us, tell them why we are so proud of them, and talk about some goals for the upcoming year.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

December 15, 2015

Tanya SteinhoferMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Tanya Steinhofer, CFA,CFP®.

With the holidays upon us, my thoughts have turned to gift giving. My kids are already preparing their lists for Santa. While it can be tempting to fulfill their every request, have you ever noticed how quickly they become bored with the toys and games you buy them? How about giving them a gift with longer-term benefits? Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Fund a 529. You could allocate a portion of your gift budget for your kids to a 529 plan for college. You can even get grandparents and other close family members involved. Some 529s even offer a gift link that you can email out to family members to make their contribution easy. 529 contributions grow tax-deferred and distributions are not taxed if used to pay for qualified education expenses. Paying for college is a great way to give your child a gift they’ll remember long after they’ve broken the plastic toy from China you gave them when they were young.

Lights, Camera, Santa! in Downtown Novato

December 11, 2015

Lights, Camera, Santa!This holiday season, visit the Novato Theater for Lights, Camera, Santa!, featuring photos with St. Nick himself! Santa will be on hand at the theater every Saturday until Christmas (December 12 and 19) from 11 am to 3 pm for holiday photos against the coolest Santa photo backdrop in Marin County.

In addition to photo ops with Santa, there will be holiday music, entertainment by your favorite princesses, and snacks. Photos cost $5 or two for $8. All proceeds support the ongoing restoration of the Novato Theater. For more information, visit the Downtown Novato Business Association website.

Just in Time for the Holidays: Best Kids' Books 2015 from Diesel

December 6, 2015

Diva and FleaThe holidays are here, and great books always make fantastic gifts for kids! Clare Doornbos, the children's book expert at Diesel bookstore in Larkspur, saves us all a lot of time and stress by highlighting her picks for best kids' books in 2015.

You can join Clare for storytime at the bookstore every Thursday morning at 10:30 am, where she reads classics, new kids' books, and hidden treasures. It's perfect for families with children 5 and under. Diesel is located in Marin Country Mart at 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle in Larkspur. For more information about Diesel and a complete schedule of events, visit www.dieselbookstore.com/larkspur or call the store at (415) 785-8177.

Board Books

Through the Town by Craig Shuttlewood
A sweet rhyming journey through a jolly cartoon town. There's an indented line which runs through the board book which you can trace with your finger. So, you and your little one get a really interactive experience.

50 Years of Family Tradition at Larsen’s Christmas Tree Farm

December 5, 2015

Larsen's Christmas Tree Farm Petaluma Every year we love to pay a visit to Larsen’s Christmas Tree Farm in Petaluma. With its beautiful country setting, acres of green trees, and festive holiday spirit, it’s really a fun place for a December family outing. This year, Larsen’s celebrates 50 years of making the holidays bright for Bay Area families!

Like many places in rural Petaluma, Larsen’s Christmas Tree Farm began life as a chicken farm started by the Larsen family back in 1918. In 1963, the first Christmas trees were planted, and the choose-and-cut tree farm was opened to the public for the 1965 holiday season by Bob and Marilyn Larsen. Bob and Marilyn still live on the property, but now their grandson Richard runs the farm.

Stapleton Ballet's Nutcracker: A Marin Holiday Tradition

November 30, 2015

Stapleton Ballet NutcrackerThe Stapleton Ballet's annual production of the Nutcracker has been a Marin County tradition for 27 years, and it returns to Marin Center in San Rafael this holiday season for performances on Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6 only.

With over 250 talented dancers from San Anselmo's Stapleton School of the Performing Arts as well as professional guest stars, a visit to this production marks the start of the holiday season for many Marin families.This production features inspired dancing, stunning imagery and beautifully crafted sets and costumes. The timeless tale of Clara and her wondrous adventure with the Nutcracker opens with the lavish Victorian holiday party, featuring exquisite, period-authentic costumes created in 2013. The captivating, mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer makes a grand entrance, weaving his magic into the festivities and placing a spell on Clara’s wooden toy.

ODC/Dance's The Velveteen Rabbit is a Holiday Family Favorite. Win Tickets!

November 24, 2015

ODC/Dance Velveteen RabbitODC/Dance's adaptation of the classic children's story The Velveteen Rabbit has been a holiday tradition in the Bay Area for 29 years. With music, dance, and powerful narrative, ODC/Dance tells this classic tale of a well-worn stuffed rabbit who become real, and the little boy who loves him.

This popular production brims with wit, festive costumes, colorful characters—including the 10-foot-tall Nana, a skin-horse, toy soldiers, a crocodile, dolls, and a pack of "real" rabbits, and, of course, plenty of holiday cheer. The Velveteen Rabbit features ODC's renowned company of dancers, 10 young dancers from the ODC school, a score by Benjamin Britten. This production is suitable for children ages 3 and up. Running time is 90 minutes, including one intermission.