Holiday in the Bay Area

I’ve just now peaked above the surface to see what’s going on in the world and realized we’re half-way through the month of December, with Christmas  ‘yikes!’ just around the corner. That’s two weeks of Christmas stuff gone by, which would’ve been more if not for hearing ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’ for the 50th time (that’s how long it takes to drill something into my brain). I did get a chance to see Rudolph though, twice, somewhat distractedly, and with the magic of dvd technology I can fill every second of spare time from here to day one with nothing but Christmas classics. Which I might do. Rudolph is awesome.

A better option is to get out into the world and check out some of the wonderful goings on(s). And so, with that, here’s just a partial list of some of the best and yuletidiest stuff you can do these last few weeks of the Christmas season.

Union Square
This is such a classic big city place to go to get in the holiday spirit, no matter how commercial that may be. The ice rink and humongo Christmas tree and decorations, and all the stores with their Christmas displays, make it a tradition to visit each December.

Christmas in the Park
Every year, this big oval of a park is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with fake snow, fanciful displays, songs and performances, Santa, and a huge Christmas tree. There’s also an ice rink across the street next to the Fairmont hotel, and vendors selling tooth-ache-inducing sugary sweets and hot chocolate.

Cable Car Trolley drunken caroling tour through San Francisco.
I always see them drive by when I’m out somewhere on the weekends, and it always makes me think, ‘that looks like fun, I wish I were on there.’

Christmas shopping in actual stores not located in malls or online.
Even if I don’t buy anything, it’s still a far more Christmasy way to shop.

The Dickens Faire
Besides his story A Christmas Carol, I don’t know what Charles Dickens has to do with Christmas. But whatever, this is such an over the top total immersion experience that it should be visited at least once. It’s basically a Dickens-era London during the holidays set up inside the Cow Palace, with scores of volunteers playing the parts of tea servers, lamplighters, wags, roustabouts, wenches, fortune tellers, street performers, etc. And visitors often get in on the act too.

Holiday Snow Park
Sledding in the Tenderloin? I’m in! Okay, technically it’s the Civic Center, where this Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4:30pm, kids can sled down a man-made hill on man-made snow in the middle of San Francisco. Even if you’re too old to be allowed a slide, it’s still pretty awesome to see the Civic Center surrounded by snow.

SantaCon 2013
Drunk people dressed as Santa Clause roam the streets of the city. Hide the kids. Seriously, hide the kids, or you’ll have a lot of explaining to do.

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