Holiday

Family Holiday Performances at Marin Center

November 2, 2017

Stapleton Ballet Nutcracker at Marin Center in San RafaelSee Stapleton Ballet's Nutcracker at Marin Center on December 2 and 3.

You can always count on finding a variety of wonderful holiday performances for the whole family at Marin Center in San Rafael, and the 2017 season is no exception. There’s definitely something for everyone, so bring the family to one of these Marin holiday classics. Many of these productions sell out early, so order your tickets soon to avoid disappointment.

Marin Center is located off Civic Center Drive at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael, adjacent to the Marin County Civic Center. It comprises two of Marin County's premier performance venues: the 1,960-seat Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, which hosts major concerts, performances, and events, and the smaller, more intimate 315-seat Showcase Theater.

Family Fondue Party for New Year's Eve

December 29, 2016

fondue

Nearly everyone I know (us included) received a fondue pot as a wedding gift. If you don't have one, then your parents most certainly do, since fondue was a huge deal in the 1960s and '70s. Fondue is easy to make, if you follow the directions closely, and makes for a fun social meal—the perfect thing for a family New Year's Eve party.

On New Year's Eves past we've made the traditional Swiss style fondue using Gruyère and Emmenthaler cheeses and white wine. With its blend of wine and strong-tasting Swiss cheeses, It's never been a big hit with the kids, so last year we crafted a new, more kid-friendly version using cheddar cheese and apple cider. Needless to say, it was a big hit, and ended up being a lot less expensive to make than the authentic version, too.

Fondue is definitely a kid-friendly kind of dish, and they love being able to choose their foods and dip them into the molten cheese. Just make sure to keep little hands clear of the fondue pot, since flames are involved and metal parts can get hot.

Marinwood's Mickey Mouse Christmas House

December 12, 2016

Mickey Mouse Christmas House MarinwoodOne of my children's favorite decorated and lighted Christmas house is the Mize family's Mickey Mouse House (AKA "Mickey's Christmas House") in Marinwood. Visit it, and you'll see why it's so popular! The Mickey Mouse House, located at 417 Blackstone Drive (at Las Gallinas Avenue), looks to be just a regular lighted Christmas house at first glance. Last year, the Mize family and the Mickey Mouse Christmas House were even featured on the ABC series The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2013.

Easy Handmade Holiday Bead Ornaments

December 8, 2016

Your kids can exercise their holiday creativity by making these easy and festive bead ornaments for the Christmas tree. They also look great attached to wrapped gifts as a little holiday extra.

These ornaments are simple to make, although the candy cane ornament is easier to put together than the star and probably a better project for younger children. All you'll need to make these are pipe cleaners, plastic beads in various colors and shapes, some ribbon, and scissors.

The Rombeiro Christmas House in Novato: You Have to See It to Believe It!

December 4, 2016

 The Rombeiros' Christmas House Novato

Every December, Marin's power grid is yet again put to the test by the annual unveiling of the Rombeiro Christmas House on Devonshire Drive in Novato. Sure, every neighborhood has its decorated houses, but the Rombeiro house is a different thing altogether. Edmundo Rombeiro and his family have been putting together this Christmas house to end all Christmas houses for the past 24 years, and every year it gets bigger and more outrageous.

U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms in Petaluma

December 1, 2016

Larsen's Tree Farm Petaluma

If you want to have the experience of choosing and cutting down your own Christmas tree, you're going to have to pack up the family truckster and head north on Highway 101 to visit our neighbors in Sonoma County. There, you'll find a selection of Christmas tree farms mostly concentrated in the rural areas of western Petaluma and Sebastopol.

We made our traditional day-after-Thanksgiving trip to the three Christmas tree farms located in Petaluma—Little Hills Christmas Tree Farms 1 and 2 and Larsen's Christmas Tree Farm—to see what they had to offer this season. There's nothing that gets you in the holiday spirit more than visiting a tree farm. Did I mention that they're great places for holiday photo ops, too? You can also check out our rundown on the tree farms further north in Sebastopol.

U-Cut Christmas Tree Farms in Sebastopol

November 30, 2016

Garlock Tree Farm in SebastopolGarlock Tree Farm in Sebastopol

It's time to think about getting that must-have of the holiday season—the Christmas tree. There are those practical people who merely unpack the artificial tree from its storage boxes, and assemble it in the living room, pre-wired, perfectly shaped and sized, and flame-resistant. Then there are those of us who have to have the real deal, despite any inconvenience.

For the hopeless holiday romantics among us, nothing beats the experience of going to a honest-to-goodness genuine Christmas tree farm, getting our hands dirty, and cutting a tree down ourselves. Of course it's a great family photo op and it's usually a lot of fun, too. Those annual trips to the Christmas tree farm remain some of my fondest childhood memories, and now it's a tradition with my own family

There aren't any Christmas tree farms in Marin County anymore (the last one—in Olema—closed down years ago), so to get the real Christmas tree farm experience you have to head north to rural Sonoma County. Most tree farms are clustered around Sebastopol and Petaluma, with a few near Sonoma and Santa Rosa.

Visit Marin's Amazing Lighted Holiday Houses!

November 29, 2016

Rombeiro Holiday House Novato Marin County Christmas

Perhaps our favorite thing about the holiday season is visiting amazing lighted and decorated holiday houses here in Marin. We've been taking in the displays all of these houses for years, and visiting them again each December is like dropping in to see an old friend. We love to find out what sort of wonderful new displays have been thought up for the season!

When you're visiting these Christmas houses, feel free to drop a donation into the donation box, if there is one, since that December PG&E bill is probably a whopper. (Rumor has it that the Rombeiro House costs upwards of $4,000 each season!)

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.

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