Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas By the Bay

Each year, Christmas lights and decorations are the highlight of the holiday season for me and a great way to opt outside as REI touts for Black Friday.  Unfortunately, this year, the Bay Area was hit with a bomb cyclone followed by an atmospheric river, terms I have only heard of recently and rain that never seemed to go away since Thanksgiving.  That meant barely a break in the weather especially on the weekends for me to enjoy those lights including a planned day trip up to Nevada City that was supposedly THE Christmas town to visit in Northern California.  As each week went by, I made the most of my favorites that never gets old for me. 

Sunday after Thanksgiving is my favorite day to go into the city as it will be the quietest weekend day of the holiday season.  Luckily my plans are mainly indoors starting with the Gingerbread House at the Fairmont, 

followed by the Sugar Castle at the Westin St. Francis 

and a quick picture of the Macy’s Christmas Tree at Union Square 

before heading indoors for afternoon tea at the Rotunda 

where a request for a window seat with your reservation affords you a view of that tree while staying dry. 

I did brave the rain for a glimpse of the Macy’s Window Display 

before our last stop of the day at the Ferry Building for its inaugural gingerbread display

It would be a full week later before we get a break in the rain just in time for me to head down to Christmas in the Park in San Jose.  

Expecting a big crowd with like-minded people taking advantage of the first dry chance, I found it pleasantly uncrowded and warmer than expected that I did not even need the Snowman Hot Chocolate to keep me warm, but got one anyways. 


With two weekends come and gone and one less weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, I had to bite the bullet and get ourselves up to Nevada City before the season is over.  With their annual Victorian Christmas planned over 3 Sundays (12/8, 12/15, 12/22) for visitors to enjoy the holiday spirit including those roasted chestnuts, Sunday would’ve been the perfect day to head up.  However, with a 3 ½ hour drive each way and the lack of parking during the event, I opted to go up on Saturday instead so I can enjoy it at a leisurely pace.  Even with a stop in Old Sacramento

on the way there, an afternoon and dinner in Nevada City was sufficient for me.  

Nothing can compare to Leavenworth - but it does have its own charm as we got to experience it during the day 

and early evening.  

Last chance for that Victorian Christmas is this Sunday, the 22nd but rain is forecasted yet again.   

With that dry Sunday that followed, the Christmas Tree Lanes over at the Peninsula was on my agenda, but just like everything in life, nothing is permanent, including how vibrant the Chestnut Lit Houses in South SF use to be.  What use to span three blocks is now down to just a handful of houses at the corner and only one or two in the other blocks.  

Still an impressive display by those who decorate but at the same time sad in comparison to what it used to be.  So sad that I immediately headed over to the one in San Carlos to lift my holiday spirits. 

A dry Tuesday evening this past week was perfect to complete my trifecta of Christmas Tree Lanes, with a stroll at the one closest to me, Alameda’s Thompson Street before the kids are out for Christmas break.  

My wish for all of you is a chance to get out and enjoy what is Merry and Bright this season so you do not cry when it is over but smile because it happened. 

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