13 festive holiday events in and around Sacramento

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Wonder and Delight
The new Museum of Wonder and Delight in Folsom, which opened in September, hosts a Christmas Dreams show with 40 holiday-themed vignettes.

CLICK HERE to see the 2019 guide to the Sacramento holiday season!

'Tis the season to be jolly, so deck your halls and then check out one of these 13 festive events around the Sacramento region that are brimming with yuletide cheer.

Museum of Wonder and Delight

Ongoing Unleash your imagination at Folsom's new Museum of Wonder and Delight, which hosts a Christmas Dreams gallery that features themed displays of figurines and toys (some dating back to the 19th century) from toy collector and UC Davis Professor Emeritus of Design Dolph Gotelli. He has created over 40 vignettes—each housed in a display case, some measuring as large as 12 feet wide and 5 feet tall—that evoke the spirit of Christmas, including "Mother Goose’s Ball," which shows Mother Goose and Santa dancing during a festive gathering, and "Welcome Father Rabbit," in which a bunny dressed as St. Nick has just visited a rabbit family’s dwelling.  $5 ($2 for ages 6-17; free for ages 5 and under). Tues. & Weds. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 905 Leidesdorff St. Folsom. 985-4871. museumofwonderanddelight.org

Holiday in the Hills

Through Dec. 23 Sutter Street Theatre is mounting its 10th annual Christmas show, in which they bring historical local figures to life—like former Folsom Telegraph editor Peter J. Hopper, bandit Tom Bell and madam Emma Spencer—and reenact how the townsfolk celebrated the season back in the day through scenes, comedy sketches and songs. $15-$23. Times vary by day. Sutter Street Theatre. 717 Sutter St. Folsom. 353-1001. sutterstreettheatre.com

Nevada City Victorian Christmas

Through Dec. 23 Get set to be transported to the yuletide of yesteryear as Nevada City—which last year made Fodor’s Travel’s list of “Top 10 U.S. Towns with Huge Christmas Celebrations”—welcomes boisterous bagpipers and joyful carolers (dressed in traditional Victorian-era attire) and more. The historic downtown will be decked out in twinkling lights and holiday trimmings, and visitors can take part in horse-drawn carriage rides and munch on street treats like roasted chestnuts. Free. Wed. 5-9 p.m. (except Dec. 9). Sun. 1:30-6 p.m. Downtown Nevada City. 530-265-2692. nevadacitychamber.com

A Christmas Carol

Through Dec. 27 B Street Theatre presents an original adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol as part of its family series. The age-old tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser who is shown the error of his ways by three spirits on Christmas Eve, is given an offbeat comedic treatment by B Street’s producing artistic director Buck Busfield, who sets the scene two years later when Scrooge is back to his old closefisted self and has to relive the entire ghostly scenario. $20. Sat. & Sun. 1 & 4 p.m.  B Street Theatre’s B2 Stage. 2711 B St. 443-5300. bstreettheatre.org

Theatre of Lights

Through Dec. 31 Old Sacramento will be awash with sound, color and lights, as wintry scenes (such as that of falling snowflakes) get projected onto building façades while Bill Farmer, who has also served as the voice of such Disney characters as Goofy and Pluto, recites “The Night Before Christmas” as Mark Twain and other characters. Appearances will also be made by the mischievous Jack Frost and jolly old Saint Nick. Free. Thurs.-Sun. 6:15 & 7:45 p.m. (Dec. 21-23 at 6:15 & 7:45 p.m.; Dec. 24 at 6:15 p.m.; Dec. 31 at 7 & 8:30 p.m.) K St. between Front and Second streets. Old Sacramento. 442-8575. oldsacramento.com

The Biggest Show on Snow

Through Jan. 3 There’s no place like home plate for the holidays. This year Raley Field has been transformed into a winter wonderland with the addition of an ice skating rink, a 40-foot-tall Monster Ice Slide, and a flurry of man-made snow every day from 6-8 p.m. Visitors can choose their family tree at the Christmas Tree Farm, greet Kris Kringle (on select days) and jump around in the Kid’s Zone bounce houses, as well as take part in themed dress-up days like Star Wars night (Dec. 15), Ugly Sweater night (Dec. 22) and Disney night (Dec. 26). This frosty extravaganza will also boast the first ever outdoor ice hockey game in the western U.S. with a bout between the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat and the Bakersfield Condors on Dec. 18. $10-$20 (Free for ages 4 and under). Times vary by day. Raley Field. 400 Ballpark Dr. West Sacramento. 376-4700. biggestshowonsnow.com

Global Winter Wonderland

Through Jan. 3 Cal Expo is aglow with this spectacular light show, in which giant lanterns (some as tall as 70 feet) are illuminated by hundreds of thousands of LED lights. This year’s show is entitled “Magic of the Seasons” and includes scenes and characters like an autumnal harvest wizard and a summery seafaring mermaid. Other highlights of the glimmering display include an ice skating rink and culturally themed days like Slavic Day and Shah Jahan Night. $18 ($14 for ages 12 and under). Times and days vary. Cal Expo. 1600 Exposition Blvd. 510-962-8586globalwinterwonderland.com

Winter Wonderland

Dec. 10-20 Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling, too at Fairytale Town during this yuletide celebration. The park will be covered in sparkling decorations, and each night at 7 p.m., falling manmade snow flurries as well. Boys and girls on the nice list can listen to a quartet of Victorian carolers singing holiday tunes, visit Santa’s workshop and, on select days, shake paws with two of his reindeer. $4.50-$5.50. Thurs.-Sun. 1-7 p.m. Fairytale Town. 3901 Land Park Dr. 808-7462. fairytaletown.org

Hands on History: A Simple Emigrant Christmas

Dec. 12 After gold was discovered at Sutter’s Fort in the 1840s, people from all over the globe flocked to the prosperous Sacramento Valley. This event offers a glimpse into how those cultures celebrated Christmas together through activities like dipping candles, making handcrafted Christmas ornaments and stringing popcorn to decorate the Fort tree. Other highlights include live music and sampling of treats like Scandinavian braided bread. $7 ($5 for ages 6-17; free for ages 5 and under). 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park. 2701 L St. 445-4422. suttersfort.org

Holiday Magic

Dec. 12 Christmas will come early to the wild residents of the Sacramento Zoo, who will get to open their wrapped, edible gifts—like stockings stuffed with yams and carrots for the primates, edible wreaths for the giraffes and painted boxes with meaty treats for the big cats—during this annual holiday event, while docents share insights into the animals’ diets and eating habits. Zoo visitors will receive $1 off admission by bringing a nonperishable food item, which will be donated to a local charity. $11.75 ($7.75 for ages 2-11). 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sacramento Zoo. 3930 West Land Park Dr. 808-5888. saczoo.org

The Nutcracker

Dec. 12-22 Featuring choreography by co-artistic director Ron Cunningham, Sacramento Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker—the holiday tale that explores the vivid dreams of young Clara on Christmas Eve—will have 500 young dancers twirling alongside company members to Tchaikovsky’s iconic music, which will be played live by the Sacramento Philharmonic at six select performances, including Dec. 20 and 22 at 1 p.m. $19-$75 ($33-$90 for live music performances). Times vary by day. Community Center Theater. 1301 L St. 552-5800. sacballet.org

Sacramento Santa Run

Dec. 19 Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus—or thousands of racers dressed like him—right down Capitol Mall, through Old Sacramento, over the Tower Bridge and back for this holly jolly 5K fun run (less ambitious Saint Nicks can opt for the shorter Merry Mile). Runners can fuel up on Christmas cheer at candy cane and refreshment stations throughout the course, which will also feature performances by carolers dressed in Victorian garb. Milk and cookies—as well as photo-ops with the “real” Father Christmas—await at the finish line at Downtown Plaza. $30-$50. 9 a.m. race begins at California State Capitol. sacramentosantarun.com

PJ Party Christmas Eve

Dec. 24 At this annual soirée, Sacramento Zoo visitors will receive free admission and get free reign to explore the park in their pajamas. Meanwhile, staff members—including new executive director Kyle Burks—will serenade passersby with yuletide carols. Free. 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sacramento Zoo. 3930 West Land Park Dr. 808-5888. saczoo.org

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