3rd Friday: Winterpalooza. Dec. 19. Enjoy the opening of the toy trains exhibit, make wintery crafts such as snowglobes, snowflake garlands and snuggle up to read in the cardboard castle at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. Santa Cruz. $3-5, members and children under 4 FREE.
Holiday Seasons in Berryessa. Dec. 20. Children and adults take to the stage to tell stories, sing songs, and play instruments. See the beautifully decorated Christmas trees, make crafts and play games. FREE. San Jose.
The Snow Queen. Dec. 20-21. Bayer Ballet Academy presents this journey filled with whimsy and intrigue, robbers and crows, dancing icicles and a magical flower garden. $30-40. Mountain View.
Climb with the Sun. Dec. 21. Join a park docent for a 3.6-mile moderate loop hike to the highest point in the park to enjoy views of rolling grasslands and secluded forest trails. Meet at the Coyote Lake Dam parking lot. FREE. Gilroy.
Downtown Ice. Through Jan. 11. The South Bay’s largest seasonal outdoor skating rink is located in a spectacular setting between the Fairmont Hotel and San Jose Museum of Art. $13-17. San Jose.
San Francisco, Marin & Peninsula
Zoo Lights. Dec. 19-23. Take a moonlight meander through the San Francisco Zoo as it sparkles with lights and holiday cheer. The event includes Santa Claus and his reindeer, rides, entertainment and more. $5-7, 3 and under FREE, $8 parking. San Francisco.
Sherry Studio’s Tapcracker. Dec. 20. A quirky and hilarious original take on The Nutcracker, this tap performance will take you into the realm of dancing Christmas trees, snowballs, snow moms, flaky snow flakes, dancing presents, Sugar Plum Barbies, rappin’ mice and the inhabitants of the Peppermint Palace. $12-25. San Rafael.
Bethlehem A.D. Dec. 21-23. This walk-through only event allows you to see what Bethlehem was like more than 2,000 years ago including the scene at the manger. FREE. Redwood City.
Winter Solstice Celebration. Dec. 21. Celebrate the shortest day of the year with a visit to Muir Woods Wonderland! Programs will be during the day to allow the wildlife to celebrate the longest night in the forest, on their own. Dress warmly and be prepared for a quiet walk in the woods to discover what the season has to share. $7, 15 and under FREE. Muir Woods.
Miss Sara’s Ballet School Presents The Story of the Nutcracker. Dec. 21. Join Miss Sara’s young dancers for this brand new, narrated, hour-long version of the classic holiday story featuring original costumes, scenery and choreography. $20-25. San Rafael.
Holiday Circle of Lights. Through Jan. 1. You'll be greeted by a giant Nutcracker soldier upon arrival to this eighth annual event before entering a magical storyland of lights with a reindeer sled and train of toys, snowmen, skaters, candy canes and more. Through Jan. 1. 5-9pm. FREE. Oakland.
A Christmas Carol. Dec. 17-21. Presented by Center REPertory Company, this Christmas Carol is brimming with music and dance, love and laughter, spectacular special effects and scary ghosts. Dec. 11-21. Show times vary, check website. $27-41. Walnut Creek.
Third Friday Free. Dec. 19. Celebrate the East Bay Regional Park District's 80th birthday by taking advantage of its last month of waiving fees for a variety of park services on the third Fri. These park services include parking, boat launching, entry for horses and dogs, swimming fees, district fishing permits and entry to Ardenwood Historic Farm. 10am-4pm. FREE. Fremont.
Hansel and Gretel. Dec. 20. Solo Opera will present Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, the second opera in the company’s 2014 “Storybook Opera” series for children and families. 2pm. Check website for ticket prices. Walnut Creek.
Winter Solstice Celebration. Dec. 21. Light your spirit with the warmth of the community on the shortest day of the year, and bring stories, poetry or music for the festivities. Enjoy a nature walk and then share fireside food and drink. 3:30-6pm. $6-8. Berkeley.