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Santa Sightings Presage Christmas in Sonoma

That jolly old elf shows up three times this weekend, and all sorts of activities in town pick up as seasonal festivities approach.

Santa Sightings Presage Christmas in Sonoma Santa Sightings Presage Christmas in Sonoma


With 12/21/12 marking the putative end of the world (or at least rollover of the Mayan calendar), we have just a few days of normal holiday preparation to go. Take a look at what's headed our way in Sonoma Valley over the coming weekend.

Biggest single weekend event is the annual two-day Holiday Extravaganza at Sebastiani Theater. Matinee performances both Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 & 16, will showcase some of Sonoma Valley's fine local talent in a revue-style benefit for the children's art programs at the theater. The theater will be decked out in holiday finery, and the stage will burst with magic shows and mystics, song and dance, skits and -- guess who? -- Santa!

General seating tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for and children (12 & under) and for seniors (62+). Available in Sonoma at Readers’ Books and the Sebastiani Theatre. Doors open at 12:30 for the 1:00 p.m. shows, both days.

The Republic of Thrift is also promising a rare appearance by Santa Claus for Thursday afternoon, at 3 p.m. He'll graciously allow his photograph to be taken with you for just a $5 donation to the Altimira Leadership Program, and no doubt will consume his share of apple cider and cookies. Wear a holiday sweater, shop at 10% discount, support middle school sports, enjoy the good times in the Springs until the store closes at 6 p.m.

Other opportunities for Photos With Santa come both Saturday and Sunday at Larson Family Winery at 11:00 a.m. until  2 p.m. Kids and dogs are welcome, although the winery's winetasting is for grown-ups.

From 4:30 to 7:00 on Thursday, Dec. 13, indulge your shopping impulses at My Girlfriend's Closet (that's the name of the store), which is donating 20% of their proceeds to The Butterfly Fund in their Spirit of Giving Shopping Soiree. On sale will be products from a group of designers, authors and vendors whose original works are gift-worthy; the Butterfly Fund helps families who have a child diagnosed with any serious life altering disease or event.

Friday, Dec. 14, there's the Presentation School's Holiday Home Tour at 9:00 am, starting from The Lodge At Sonoma Renaissance & Spa. This Sonoma Valley holiday includes a tour of five exquisite homes in Sonoma Valley, beautifully decorated to celebrate the season, followed by a luncheon at The Lodge in Sonoma.  The day's activities also include a raffle and a boutique of holiday décor and gifts for all ages.  Cost is $75, call 707-935-0122, ext. 202 or visit the   Presentation School website.

Saturday, Dec. 15, make a pre-emptive strike against sloth with the Sugarloaf Park Mushroom Walk, starting at 10 a.m. Meet at the Robert Ferguson Observatory in Sugarloaf Ridge Park for an easy 1.5 to 2 mile walk to observe and learn about local fungi (sorry, no picking!) from two of the North bay’s leading mushroom experts,  Don Hughes and Monique Risch. The $5 per person fee goes to Team Sugarloaf, but remember there's also an $8 parking charge per vehicle.

Sunday Dec. 16, starting at 9 a.m., the Sonoma Shambala Meditation Center will have a Solstice and Children's Day Celebration, though both the Solstice and Children's Day are on the 21st. (Presumably they want to squeeze it in before the end of the world.) An hour's sitting will be followed by activities for all ages, including story, songs, music, poetry and other talents or offerings from the community.  There will be a delicious potluck brunch including holiday beverages as part of the morning’s festivities.

Sunday afternoon there's the Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble's annual Christmas Concert at the Sonoma Community Center's Andrews Hall at 3 p.m. Selections include pieces by Ola Gjielo, Eric Whitacre, William Byrd, John Rutter, J.S. Bach, Arvo Part, Herbert Howells, Morten Lauridsen, as well as other more traditional Christmas works. This is one of only three ensemble events this year, and ticket prices are $25 (general) and $40 (reserved) at the Sonoma Valley Box Office online.

If the live music you want is more in the dance vein than carols, check out Murphy's Irish Pub for bluegrass with Blue and Lonesome on Friday at 8, Perfect Crime on Saturday at 8, and Kith & Kin on Sunday, 6 p.m.

At the Annex Wine Bar, you can hear the davedjohn quartet on Friday at 7, Tom Martin on Saturday at 7, and Joy Ride on Sunday at 4. And downtown, the Envolve Tasting Room gets in the act with Adam Traum on Friday, at 4 p.m.

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