Sacramento Family Holiday Guide 2012

| November 29, 2012 | 104 Comments

The holiday season is a great time to spend quality time with our kids, make memories, and even create new traditions! Here are over 50 things to do in Sacramento to celebrate this special time of the year. Enjoy the magic of the season with your family!

Thank you to 0ur wonderful sponsors:


Cookies with Santa
When: Saturday, December 1; 5:30-7:30pm
Where: Fair Oaks Library
What: Enjoy cocoa and cookies, crafts and stories…and a very special visit with Santa himself. Families may take their own photos with Santa. Space is limited. Registration is required.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Breakfast with Santa
When: Saturday, December 1; 8am, 9am, and 10pm
Where: Pavilion, Elk Grove Regional Park
What: The holidays are here! Join us as we celebrate the season. Each child will have the opportunity to talk with Santa. Breakfast with Santa is co-sponsored by the Pride of Laguna Creek Lion’s Club.
Cost: $5.00 Adults, $1.00 Kids 2 and under
Info: Click here

Breakfast with Santa & Friends
When: Tuesday, December 4; 8:30-10am
Where: Westfield Galleria at Roseville
What: Come have Breakfast with Santa & Friends in the Dining Court where there will be entertainment, a vist from Mrs. Claus, a kid’s craft, meet and greet with Santa, giveaways and more!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Santa’s Secret Adventure
When: Every weekend through December 23rd
Where: Penryn Oak Stables, 2460 Del Mar Ave., Penryn
What: Ride through Santa’s secret place on one of his personal carriages.  Listen to Christmas stories around the Christmas fire.  Pony/Horse rides, petting zoo, visit Santa, hot chocolate and cookies.
Cost: $39.00 Kids (ages 2-14), $10.00 Kids under 2, $12.00 Adults with Child, [Discount Nights available $34.00 Kids]
Info: Click here

Breakfast with Santa
When: Saturday, December 8; 8-9:30am or 10-11:30pm
Where: West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue, West Sacramento
What: Eat Come eat breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Join us for yummy brunch items, pancake decorating, and hot chocolate! There wioll be tons of Christmas-themed activities for children; the opportunity to mail off letters to the North Pole, and of cours, complimentary pictures with Santa.
Cost: Pre-sale – Kids $8.00, under 2 $5.00, Adults $10.00; At door – $15.00 all ages
Info: Click here

Taylor’s Breakfast with Santa
When: Saturday, December 8; 8am, 9:30am and 11am
Where: Taylor’s Kitchen, Sacramento
What: Annual children’s breakfast with Santa. Bring the kids, appetites, and cameras.
Cost: Kids $12.99, Adults $20.99 (not including tax and gratuity)
Info: Click here or call 443-6881 for reservations

Breakfast with Santa
When: Saturday, December 8; 8-11am
Where: Cordova Senior Activities Center, Rancho Cordova
What: Pancakes, sausage, coffee, juice, and cocoa! Stop by the holiday craft fair or join Mrs. Clause and create a hand painted ornament, $3 per person.
Cost: $5.00 Adults, $2.00 Kids 8 and under
Info: Click here

Brunch with Santa
When: Saturday, December 15th; 10:30-12pm (check in at 10am)
Where: Jelly Belly Factory, Fairfield
What: Join Mr. Jelly Belly and friends for a delicious brunch with Santa.  Reservations required.
Cost: $19.99 per person, Kids 2 and under free
Info: Click here – reservations online only


Community Tree Lighting Celebration
When: Friday, November 30th; 6-8:30pm
Where: West Sacramento City Hall
What: Enjoy an evening of music and holiday refreshments. The kids can get a keepsake picture on Santa’s lap. Holiday music by River City High School Choir, Russian Baptist Church Dawn Choir, West Sacramento Community Singers.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

State Capitol Tree Lighting
When: Wednesday, December 5; 4-6pm
Where: West Lawn of the State Capitol
What: Annual tree lighting ceremony.  The tree will be decorated with hundreds of hand-crafted ornaments created by children and adults with developmental. Participants include Kitty O’Neal, Oakland School for the Arts, St. Paul’s Choir
Cost: FREE (bring a non-perishable food item for donation)
Info: Click here

Tree Lighting in Carmichael Park
When: Thursday, December 6; 6pm
Where: Carmichael Park, 5750 Grant Avenue, Carmichael
What: Tree lighting, live music, hot cider and cookies, arts and crafts, Santa.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here


Festival of Giving
When: Saturday, December 1; 12-2pm
Where: Fountains at Roseville
What: Radio Disney AM 1470 teams up with Toys for Toys and multiple charities including Coats for Kids, Local Area Food Banks, and Sacramento SPCA for their second annual Festival of Giving. The Radio Disney AM 1470 Road Crew will be on-site with holiday-themed interactive entertainment, music, and prizes including “Disney Channel’s Holiday Playlist.”
Cost: FREE; Donations accepted: new, unwrapped toys; gently used coats, clothing, blankets; dry and canned goods; all pet donations.
Info: Click here

Christmas in the Village, Tree Lighting, and Parade
When: Saturday, December 8th; 1–6pm (was originally Dec. 1st, rescheduled due to weather)
Where: Plaza Park in the Fair Oaks Village, Fair Oaks
What: Visit with Santa, sing Christmas carols, Winnie the Pooh Play, and a parade at 4:30pm and then tree lighting and caroling right after the parade.
Cost: Free Admission for 1 canned-food item (drop at base of Christmas Tree).
Info: Click here or call (916) 967-2903

Wild Nights and Holiday Lights
When: December 7th-9th and December 14-23; 5-8pm
Where: Folsom Zoo
What: Thousands of colorful LED lights adorn the zoo, enchanted forest of lighted and decorated trees, carolers and seasonal refreshments, visits from Santa Claus and our very own “Santa Paws”, animal presentations by Zoo docents, and ride on the miniature scale live steam Starlight Express Train.
Cost: $5.00 per person, under 2 free.  Train tickets $3 per person.
Info: Click here

Camellia Waldorf School’s 24th Annual Winter Faire
When: Saturday, December 8; 10am-2pm
Where: Camellia Waldorf School, 5701 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento
What: Come celebrate the magic of winter with heartwarming activities. Children will enjoy watching puppet shows, making crafts, and shopping in a special children-only store. Parents and friends can shop for unique and handcrafted gifts, as well as enjoy free live music and hearty and healthy food. There will be a Soup Competition, in addition to quesadillas and tamales, home-baked goods, mulled cider, organic gourmet coffee, and more.
Cost: Free entry; prices for activities vary
Info: Click here or call 916-427-5022

Toys for Tots Toy Drive
When: Monday, December 10th; 4-8pm
Where: Bouncetown; 5037 Robert J Mathews Pkwy, El Dorado Hills
What: Free bouncing, snacks and drinks to those who have donated! Special appearance from the local El Dorado Hills Fire Department and they will be bringing down their Fire Engine for the kids to check out and some local military service members!.(Please feel free to come in your military uniform to help support this great cause).
Cost: FREE; Please donate one toy per child to play inside Bouncetown
Info: Click here or call 916-939-8799

 Winter Wonderland
When: Saturday, December 15; 11am-3pm (was originally Dec. 1st, rescheduled due to weather)
Where: Fairytale Town
What: Join us for a day of holiday fun featuring arts and crafts, Santa Claus and his reindeer! Enjoy festive decor and holiday music throughout the park. Stop by Santa’s (temporary) workshop located in the Children’s Theater and let the big guy know what you are wishing for this holiday season. Photos with Santa will be available for purchase for an additional fee. Don’t forget to visit with two of Santa’s best reindeer in Pooh Corner as they rest up for the flight back to the North Pole.
Cost: $5.00 general admission Kids and Adults, 1 and under FREE
Info: Click here

Holiday Party
When: Saturday, December 15; 11am-12pm
Where: McKinley Library
What: Come one and all for our annual Friends of McKinley Library Holiday Party! We’re hosting a free puppet show, visit from Santa, and light refreshments. Celebrate your library this holiday season with fun and Friends!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Jingle Bounce: Cookies with Santa
When: Monday, December 17th; 6-8pm
Where: BounceU, Roseville
What: A holiday event filled with bouncing, a holiday craft, cookies, and good time! Santa will be dropping by BounceU to enjoy cookies with all good boys and girls!
Cost: $8.95 per child; kids under 2 and parents free with paying child
Info: Click here; Call to reserve your spot 916-783-4386

Jingle Bounce: Cookies with Santa
When: Tuesday, December 18th; 6-8pm
Where: BounceU, Rancho Cordova
What: A holiday event filled with bouncing, a holiday craft, cookies, and good time! Santa will be dropping by BounceU to enjoy cookies with all good boys and girls!
Cost: $8.95 per child; kids under 2 and parents free with paying child
Info: Click here; Call to reserve your spot 916-859-0559

Fairytale Town Free Admission Day
When: Monday, December 24; 10am-2pm
Where: Fairytale Town
What: Fairytale Town offers free admission as a holiday gift to guests for visiting throughout the year.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Sacramento Zoo Free Admission Day
When: Monday, December 24; 10am-1:30pm
Where: Sacramento Zoo
What: Celebrate Christmas Eve at the Zoo, and you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas! That’s right, admission is free and we will be in our best pjs. Join us! Zoo closes at 1:30 pm.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here


Santa Train
When: Sunday and Monday, December 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th; 12-4pm
Where: Live Steamers Train Yard inside Hagan Community Park behind the red barn
What: Take a ride on the Live Steamers’ miniature train.  Children of all ages are encouraged to visit with Santa and have their picture taken.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Christmas Train
When: Weekends December 1-30
Where: Sacramento River Train, Woodland
What: Family Christmas Train Trip featuring story-telling, Christmas Carols, playful elves, hot cocoa & cookies, and a visit from Santa! The trip lasts about 90-minutes. Pajamas are welcomed!
Cost: Adults $29.00, Kids $23.00??
Info: Click here


Gloria! Holiday Concert
When: December 1st-2nd; Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 4pm
Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N Street, Sacramento
What: Holiday concert featuring Sacramento Children’s Chorus.
Cost: Adults $16.00, Kids $11.00
Info: Click here

Holiday Concert
When: Tuesday, December 4; 4-5pm
Where: Arden-Dimick Library
What: Enjoy a concert of holiday music by the Bel Tempo handbell group. Ringing five-plus octaves of Schulmerich handbells, this community-based group has toured Europe and performs regularly at many Sacramento area venues.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

An American Christmas
When: Monday, December 10;7:05-9pm
Where: 10933 Progress Court, Rancho Cordova
What: Get in a holiday mood to music by the Rancho Cordova River City Concert Band!  The band will be playing more than 20 holiday selections with guest vocalists and audience sing-alongs in a show titled “An American Christmas.”
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Jingle All the Way! Holiday Concert
When: Saturday, December 15; 2pm
Where: St. Francis Catholic Church, 26th and K Streets, Sacramento
What: The Sacramento Master Singers present their annual children’s holiday concert.  A shorter, family-oriented program designed for children.
Cost: Adults $5.00, Kids $3.00
Info: Click here or call (916) 788-7464

Family Kwanzaa Concert
When: Friday, December 28; 2-3:30pm
Where: Crocker Art Museum
What: This year, the Crocker celebrates Kwanzaa with a special family-friendly performance of Crocker artist-in-residence Deborah Pittman’s original multi-media performance piece inspired by Rockwell’s iconic The Problem We All Live With. Advance registration is required.
Cost: Adults $5.00, Kids, $3.00
Info: Click here


Downtown Ice Rink
When: Open daily through January 21
Where: 7th & K Streets, Sacramento
What: Ice skate on Sacramento’s original outdoor ice skating rink outside the Westfield Downtown Plaza.  Family Night: Every Tuesday from 4-8 pm. For one adult admission and skate rental receive a FREE child admission and skate rental.
Cost: $8.00 all ages for 2 hours; $2.00 skate rental
Info: Click here

Iceland Ice Skating Rink
When: Open daily 1pm-9pm
Where: 1430 Del Paso Boulevard, Sacramento
What: Iceland open air Ice Skating Rink has been a fixture in Sacramento since 1940 and in 2010 burned down.  It has been rebuilt and is now back in operation.  This is a great place to skate, take lessons, and have parties.
Cost: $5.00 for all ages, including skate rental
Info: Click here

Folsom Ice Rink
When: Open daily 10am-10pm through January 21st
Where: Folsom’s Historic Sutter Street
What: Historic Folsom’s ice skating rink is open from November 5th through January 21st, the rink is the perfect place to bring family and friends for some nostalgic winter adventure.
Cost: Adults $10.00, Kids $8.00; $2.00 skate rental
Info:Click here

Elk Grove’s Ice Rink at Old Town
When: Open daily 10am-10pm through January 21st
Where: Southeast corner of Elk Grove Blvd. & Railroad St. in Old Town Elk Grove
What: Elk Grove’s first outdoor holiday ice rink.
Cost: Adults $11.00, Kids $9.50; includes skate rental
Info: Click here


Kids Giftmaking Workshop
When: December 1, 15, and 22; 3 hour sessions
Where: reCREATE, Roseville
What: Drop the kids at reCreate while you shop.
Your little artisans will be as busy as elves making handmade gifts for the holidays,
while you take care of your holiday errands and shopping. Kids will make at least 3 gifts and  cards.  Projects vary from week to week, so sign up for more that one program!  Past projects have been bird feeders, jewelry,  ornaments, art journals and more.
Cost: $29/session per child
Info: Click here

The Art of Giving with Artworks
When: Wednesday, December 19; 3:30-4:30pm
Where: Elk Grove Library
What: Create special gifts to give to the special people in your life during this fun class presented by ArtWorks!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Winter Ornaments
When: Friday, December 21; 3-4pm
Where: Rio Linda Library
What: Let’s get messy! With scissors, glue, felt, and sequins, you will create a one-of-a-kind ornament. Or maybe two! Let’s all join in the crafty fun together. Teen volunteers will be on hand to help. We thank the Friends of Rio Linda Library for sponsoring this event.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here


The Nutcracker
When: December 7 – December 23
Where: Community Center Theater (part of Convention Center), 1301 L St., Sacramento
What: Performed by the Sacramento Ballet.  Be part of a tradition that has become the heart of Sacramento’s holiday season. Whether a cherished family tradition or your first visit to The Nutcracker, your experience of this wonderful classic will warm your spirit and stay with you forever.
Cost: $18 – $75
Info: Click here

The Nutcracker
When: Saturday, December 15; 2pm
Where: Sheldon High School Performing Art Center, Sacramento
What: The Capitol Ballet Company performs the beloved holiday classic.
Cost: $16.00-$22.00
Info: Click here

The Nutcracker
When: Friday, December 21 and Sunday, December 18; 7:30pm
Where: Three Stages, 10 College Parkway, Folsom
What: Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet enchanted journey through the Kingdom of Sweets where you will meet the adorable Sweeties, the hilarious Mother Ginger, the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier and all of the characters you have grown to love in this timeless tale. Pamela Hayes’ “The Nutcracker” has been recognized for its unique entertainment approach and wonderful costuming.
Cost: $29-49 Adults, $15-18 Kids
Info: Click here


Downtown Santa Parade
When: Saturday, December 1; 10am
Where: 9th & I to 7th & K, Sacramento
What: The Santa Parade has a spirit of its own, embodied by the many wonderful parade entrants–from tuneful marching bands to high-stepping horses, colorful clowns to vintage vehicles, skillful twirlers to dazzling floats. (Rain or shine, barring high winds)
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Festival of Lights Parade
When: Saturday, December 8; 5:30pm
Where: Lincoln Way, Auburn
What: “The Light in a Child’s Eye” theme. Begins at 5:30pm at upper end of Lincoln Way and proceeds down to the fairgrounds.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Santa & Sirens Parade
When: December 12, 13, 14; 7pm
Where: Elk Grove – 3 different locations
What: Get in the ho…ho…holiday spirit with friends, neighbors, and your local police and fire personnel. The Cosumnes CSD Fire Department and the Elk Grove Police Department have teamed to host a series of neighborhood parades. Come out and greet Santa and his elves. New unwrapped toys for the Police/Fire toy drive will be accepted along the route.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here


Theater of Lights in Old Sac
When: Thursdays through Sundays; 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.  Ongoing through December 31st
Where: Old Sacramento
What: Old Sacramento’s Theatre of Lights is a unique state-of-the-art live staging of the classic ’Twas The Night Before Christmas hosted by Mark Twain.The show blends a symphony of lights, sounds and visual effects which will take the audience back to a time when the beloved poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas was first introduced in Sacramento in 1857 in The Sacramento Bee. The beloved poem comes to life on the balconies and rooftops of Old Sacramento’s historic buildings on K Street between Front and 2nd Street.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

A Christmas Carol
When: November 30 – December 24
Where: Sacramento Theatre Company, main stage, 1419 H Street, Sacramento
What: Sacramento Theatre Company’s own musical version of Charles Dickens’ immortal tale of redemption.
Cost: $15-$46
Info: Click here

The Magic of Christmas at Old Town Tumbleweed
When: December 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 19-22
Where: Gibson Ranch, 8556 Gibson Ranch Rd., Elverta
What: Join Old Town Tumbleweed for an evening filled with magic, songs, pony rides and much more! Santa Claus will sing Christmas carols for you, and entertainment will be provided by their dogs and ponies. Limited seating. Doors open at 5:30pm, with showtime at 7:00pm.
Cost: Adults $10, Kids $5.00, Under 4 free; Tickets can be purchase at Gibson Ranch Entrance
Info: Click here

Scrooge Family Holiday Musical
When: December 7-23
Where: Chautauqua Playhouse, 5235 Engle Road, Carmichael
What: The musical tale of joy and redemption, based on Chales Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.
Cost: Adults $17, Kids 12 and under $10.00; Opening Weekend $10.00 Adult tickets
Info: Click here

Madeline’s Christmas – The Musical
When: Saturdays and Sundays, December 8-30; 1pm
Where: Sutter Street Theatre
What: The delightful story of Madeline’s Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the adventure begins when there is a knock at the front door. Expecting to see Santa, Madeline meets the Rug Merchant who has brought twelve very special rugs. He reminds Madeline that Christmas is the time of miracles, and that these are not ordinary rugs!
Cost: Adults $17.00, Kids $13.00
Info: Click here

Reindeer Revolution
When: Saturdays, December 8-22; 12 & 2pm
Where: Chautauqua Playhouse Children’s Theatre, 5235 Engle Road, Carmichael
What: A reindeer wishes he had never  been born. And his wish is granted! Will Christmas ever come again?
Cost: $7.00 per person
Info: Click here

The Gift of the Magi
When: Saturdays & Sundays through December 30th; 1pm and 4pm
Where: B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street, Sacramento
What: Family Series show.  Local playwright Jerry R. Montoya ruefully re-imagines O’Henry’s classic tale The Gift of the Magi in a fun, whimsical world of cuddly forest friends. With the Holidays fast approaching, Della and James scramble to find that perfect gift.  When each gives up a prized possession to buy the other something special, they discover that love and true sacrifice are the greatest gifts of all.  Join them and their faithful friends Winnie and Walter for another heart-warming B Street treat. Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Cost: Tickets $18-27
Info: Click here


The North Pole Review
When: Saturday, December 1; 3:30-4:15pm
Where: Rio Linda Library
What: The Fratello Marionettes come to Rio Linda with The North Pole Review! This production will showcase dancers, a graceful ice skater, and acrobatic penguins, all performed with marionettes in the cabaret style of manipulation.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Frosty’s Magic Hat
When: Thursday, December 13; 3:30-4:30pm
Where: North Natomas Library
What: A little girl makes a wish upon a star and awakens to a yard filled with freshly fallen snow. The magic really begins once she places a hat on her snowman’s head. Join puppet Frosty and his puppet friends, along with a hatful of magic! This is a COOL show by Tony Borders!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

The Nutcracker
When: Tuesday, December 18; 4-4:45pm
Where: Arden-Dimick Library
What: Based on the tale by E.T.A. Hoffman and the music of Tchaikovsky, “The Nutcracker” tells the tale of young Clara, who rescues her toy Nutcracker from the evil Mouse King and turns him into a Prince. In doing so, she visits the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy and witnesses all kinds of holiday marvels. The show features Dancing Candies, The Snow Queen spreading snow over all the children, Prancing Clowns, Mechanical Toys, and Chinese Dragons. And of course the big battle between the Mouse King’s armies and the toys and candies. A Winter treat for all ages, featuring
over 40 puppets!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here



Holiday Cookie Decorating Party
When: Wednesday, December 19; 6pm-7pm
Where: North Sacramento-Hagginwood Library. Library
What: Kids, come decorate a pre-baked cookie to take home and enjoy. We provide the cookies and decorations. You provide the imagination!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Cookie Decorating
When: Saturday, December 22; 2pm-3pm
Where: Valley-Hi Library
What: Decorate cookies with colored icings and fancy sprinkles. Fun to make and fun to share!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here


Family Storytime: Gingerbread & Grimm
When: Saturday, December 8; 3-4:30pm
Where: Rio Linda Library
What: How can Gingerbread and Grimm possibly mix? Join us for a reading of the Grimm classic, Hansel & Gretel. Then make your very own little gingerbread house! Graham crackers, powdered sugar frosting, holiday candies, and storytelling will make for a wonderful afternoon.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Christmas Pajamas Storytime
When: Wednesday, December 12; 6:30-7:30pm
Where: South Natomas Library
What: Please join us for an evening filled with warmth and laughter! You are welcome to wear your warm and cozy pajamas, or to bring along a stuffed friend. Miss Ingrid will be reading Christmas stories, followed by holiday craft decorating. Festive snacks will be served, and the whole family is welcome to attend.
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here


What a Year!
When: Wednesday, January 2; 3:30-4:30pm
Where: Belle Cooledge Library
What: Create an accordion book for 2013 that tells a story about the year you’ve had or hope to have. This project will be suitable for all ages. Join us for an afternoon of creative fun!
Cost: FREE
Info: Click here

Noon Year’s Eve Family Festival
When: Monday, December 31; 10am-2pm
Where: Crocker Art Museum
What: At last, a New Year’s celebration everyone can stay awake for. Families can count down to the New Year at noon. At this fun and free celebration all ages will learn about New Year festivities from around the world through live music and dance performances featuring the Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association, Non Stop Bhangra, Agua de Beber Capoeira, and the City of Sacramento Pipe Band. The celebration will also present New Year’s traditions from local cultural groups and hands-on creative activities. The hand bell choir Bel Tempo Ringers will perform “Auld Lang Syne.”
Cost: FREE; The Museum will be open and free from 10 AM to 5 PM for the Holiday Monday.
Info: Click here

Thank you to another wonderful sponsor:

Written by Keilah Woodard

Keilah Woodard

Keilah Woodard is the founder of, a mom of three and a Realtor® with Lyon Real Estate. She has a passion for finding adventures with her family! She has been exploring Sacramento and sharing a firsthand perspective with fellow parents since 2009.

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Category: Blog, Christmas, Holiday