The winter holiday season is officially upon us, as the long Thanksgiving weekend ushers in the start of the special event schedule -- many recurring, some brand new -- synonymous with the spirit of joy and reverence of this time of year. Here's our review of the events calendar in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville now through New Year's weekend:
Treat yourself to the everlasting joy of Pacific Chamber Orchestra's presentation of Handel's "Messiah", as presented by conductor Lawrence Kohl. Shows are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday (Nov. 25) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Pleasanton; and 3 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 27) at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. Visit pacificchamberorchestra.org.
Danville Lighting of the Old Oak Tree
Watch as Father Christmas and the Snow Angel sprinkle a little magic dust on the old oak tree and bring it to light. Stroll downtown Danville and enjoy refreshments, entertainment and holiday shopping through the festively decorated streets 5-8 p.m. Friday (Nov. 25).
Photos with Santa at Stoneridge
The ultimate holiday tradition -- pictures with Santa Claus -- awaits now through Dec. 24 at Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton. For available dates and times, visit simon.com.
Holiday Ice Rink
The Kristi Yamaguchi Holiday Ice Rink at City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon is open 12-9:30 p.m., now through Jan. 8. Tickets are purchased per 90-minute sessions. Visit citycenterbishopranch.com/events.
Letters to Santa
Write a letter to Santa and drop off at Robert Livermore Community Center at 4446 East Ave. Write the child's name and address clearly so Santa knows where to mail his letter. Now through Dec 16. For more information, call 925-373-5700.
Visits with Santa at Bishop Ranch
Santa's calendar has him landing back in the festively decorated Alexander Square at City Center, 12-4 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday, now through Dec. 18. at 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road in San Ramon.
Holiday Youth Music Festival
The High School Music Collaborative shares the stage with the Creatures of Impulse and "Elf Jr." cast members to ring in the holiday season with live, local and youthful musical expression. The show is set for 2 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 26). Visit firehousearts.org.
Free Winter Concert
The Pleasanton Community Concert Band presents holiday music from this special season. No ticket required; 1:30 p.m. this Sunday (Nov. 27). Visit firehousearts.org.
Experience the Christmas fantasy of Widmer World. Bring friends and family for an enjoyable start or end to the evening in Pleasanton, on Chelsea Court at 6-9 p.m. from Dec. 1-31. For more holiday homes in the Tri-Valley, visit widmer-world.com.
Dublin's Holiday Tree Lighting
Take a stroll and enjoy the multicolored lights, grab a bite to eat at one of the food trucks and enjoy performances by local music and dance schools. Be on the lookout for a special guest from the North Pole. The festivities start at 5:30 p.m. next Thursday (Dec. 1) at Dublin Civic Center, 100 Civic Plaza.
Senior Center Holiday Kick-off
Join at the Pleasanton Senior Center to light up the Christmas tree in the lobby and enjoy the musical talents of Pierre Bierre. Free gift wrapping available while supplies last. 10 a.m. Thursday (Dec. 1).
City Center Tree Lighting Ceremony
Join for the annual tree lighting celebration countdown with Santa while enjoying live music performances from Monte Vista High School Marching Band and San Ramon Voices, beginning at 6-6:30 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 1) at City Center Bishop Ranch in San Ramon.
Tri-Valley Haven Holiday Program
Registration for the holiday program is open now and closes next Thursday (Dec. 1). Register Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 12-3 p.m. at Tri-Valley Haven's Food Pantry, 150 North L St., Livermore. The holiday bundle is Dec. 10 at location given to registered participants. Visit trivalleyhaven.org or call 925-449-5845.
Creatures of Impulse take audience suggestions to inspire holiday themed games, scenes, and improv fun next Thursday and Friday (Dec. 1-2) at the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton. Visit firehousearts.org.
Deacon Dave's Christmas Display
The 39th annual Deacon Dave's Christmas Display begins at 6:30 p.m. next Friday (Dec. 2) with the Christmas procession down Hillcrest Avenue. Open through Jan. 1. Visit casadelpomba.com.
Holiday Village at Carnegie Park
A magical evening of holiday cheer, like a Hallmark Christmas movie, only real. Holiday shopping with local vendors, food, fun and a visit from Santa 4-8 p.m. next Friday (Dec. 2) in downtown Livermore. Visit livermoredowntown.com.
Join for the return of "Sing-It-Yourself Messiah" with the Valley Concert Chorale. Sing along with part 1 of Handel's "Messiah" plus the Hallelujah Chorus. 7:30 p.m. next Friday (Dec. 2). Asbury United Methodist Church. Visit valleyconcertchorale.
Pleasanton Hometown Holiday Celebration
The city of Pleasanton Hometown Holiday Celebration begins with a parade of floats, marching bands, community groups and more. Tree lighting ceremony to follow in front of the Museum on Main. The parade starts at 5 p.m. next Saturday (Dec. 3).
Livermore Sights and Sounds Parade
Enjoy floats and performances by local businesses, bands, schools, clubs and more. A Livermore tradition not to be missed. 6-8:30 p.m. next Saturday (Dec. 3). Visit the Livermore Downtown, Inc. website.
Free Family Concert
Livermore-Amador Symphony presents its seventh free-admission family concert at the Bankhead Theater. There is no cost to attend, but tickets are required. Visit livermorearts.org. The show starts at 3 p.m. next Saturday (Dec. 3).
Holiday Joy - Livermore Amador Symphony
Music celebrating the season at the Bankhead with holiday favorites including "A Christmas Overture" and "Greensleeves" at 8:15 p.m. next Saturday (Dec. 3). Visit livermorearts.org.
Holidays in the Vineyard
Wineries showcase decorated tasting rooms with special wines, arts, crafts, holiday music, activities and more. Admission is free, however tasting fees may apply. The event runs from 12-4:30 p.m., next Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 3-4). Visit lvwine.org/events.
Caring Santa - Children with Special Needs
Make a reservation for a private photo experience for children with special needs at Stoneridge Shopping Center, from 9-10:30 a.m. next Sunday (Dec. 4). Visit simon.com.
Doo Wop Project Christmas
Tracing the evolution of Doo Wop from the classic sound of five guys singing harmonies on a street corner to the biggest hits on the radio Friday, set for 3 p.m. next Sunday (Dec. 4). Visit livermorearts.org.
U.S. Air Force Band
The Band of the West celebrates the season with their annual "Holiday in Blue" concert. This free, family-friendly performance at the Bankhead features a variety of music showcasing the talents of Airman-musicians at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Visit livermorearts.org.
Handling the Holidays
For those who have experienced the death of a loved one the winter holiday season can be painful. Hope Hospice offers a free Zoom workshop to discuss healthy coping strategies. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Dec. 7. Call 925-829-8770 or visit hopehospice.com.
Holiday Stocking Drive
Tri-Valley Haven is requesting filled stockings for children and adults in need. Suggested items and drop off information can be found at trivalleyhaven.org. Drop off by Dec. 7.
Holiday Shopping Stroll
Shop local for books and beautifully handcrafted gifts at the Pleasanton Senior Center, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m on Dec. 8.
Holiday Dance Escape
Join at the Dublin Senior Center for the return of this wonderful event celebrating the holiday season with friends. Dance the night away to the sounds of a live big band orchestra; 7-9 p.m., Dec. 9. Visit dublin.ca.gov/1053/Senior-Center.
Deck the Homes in Dublin
Registration for Dublin's "Deck the Homes" holiday decorating contest is open until 4 p.m., Dec. 9. Winners receive a gift card to a local business, yard sign and certificate of recognition from the Dublin City Council. Visit dublin.ca.gov.
Elf the Musical Jr.
The production of "Elf the Musical Jr." by the Pleasanton Youth Theatre Company stars Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The show is being performed Dec. 9-11 and Dec. 16-18 at Amador Theater. Visit firehousearts.org.
A Very Follies Holiday
Join The Golden Follies at the Firehouse Arts Center as these talented and energetic senior performers brighten the holiday season. 2 p.m., Dec. 10. Visit firehousearts.org.
Diablo Women's Chorale
Join the Diablo Women's Chorale, a lively social group of singers from around the East Bay, for "Bells and Noels" to ring in the holiday season with good cheer; 3 p.m., Dec. 10-11 at Walnut Creek United Methodist Church. Visit diablowomenschorale.org/concert.
Valley Concert Chorale's annual concert features joyous music for the holiday season including carols and a fun arrangement of "Jingle Bells". The audience is invited to sing along. The shows start at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 10-11. Visit valleyconcertchorale.org.
Spirit & Sweater Stroll
Visit, sip and shop in your ugliest holiday sweater while strolling through downtown Pleasanton from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 10. Santa will be present. Visit pleasantondowntown.net.
Valley Dance Theatre's full production of "The Nutcracker", accompanied by the Valley Dance Theatre Pit Orchestra, entertains with elaborate sets, skilled dancers and beautiful costumes. Performances are Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 16-18 at the Bankhead Theater. Visit livermorearts.org.
Pet Photos With Santa
Bring your pets to pose with Santa at Stoneridge Shopping Center, located on the lower level. All pets must be on leash. 6-7 p.m., Dec. 11. Visit simon.com.
Impressions of the Nutcracker Sweet
The San Ramon Valley Dance Company puts a fun new spin on this timeless classic by incorporating multiple dance styles, storytelling and vignettes for a truly unique "Nutcracker" experience -- at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Dec. 11. Visit srvda.com.
Elf movie screening
In the Christmas classic movie "Elf", Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. The screening at the Firehouse Arts Center is set for 6 p.m., Dec. 15. Visit firehousearts.org.
Drive-in Holiday Movies
Holiday movie nights coming to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. Dec. 16, "Elf"; Dec. 17, "Nightmare Before Christmas"; Dec. 27, "Frozen"; Dec. 28, "Hook". Gates open at 4:30 p.m. $35 per vehicle. The food court will be open to purchase fun meals and movie treats. Visit alamedacountyfair.com/drive-in-movies.
Nutcracker at Stoneridge
En Pointe Dance Studio performs "The Nutcracker" at Stoneridge Shopping Center, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Dec. 17, in the mall's grand court.
Chanukah Under the Stars
Usher in the first night of Chanukah by lighting up Livermore's menorah. Enjoy hot latkes and Chanukah donuts with a concert, city dignitaries and glow in the dark fun. Set for 7:30-8:30 p.m., Dec. 18. Bankhead Theater. Visit jewishtrivalley.com.
Community Chanukah Celebration
Join for the annual community Chanukah Celebration at City Center Bishop Ranch. Festivities include chocolate gelt drop, glass blowing dreidels demo, live music, crafts, face painting, cookie decorating and a selfie station. Set for 4-6 p.m. Dec. 18.
A Jazzy Christmas
Jeff Bordes & Friends return to the Firehouse Arts Center for their annual holiday celebration. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Dec. 18. Visit firehousearts.org.
Christmas in Hawaii
Ukulele master and jolly ambassador of aloha, Jake Shimabukuro, brings joy to the world this upcoming season by delivering a special gift at a highly anticipated holiday show at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19. Visit livermorearts.org.
Nochebuena: A Christmas Spectacular
Nochebuena returns to the Bankhead for a traditional Mexican Christmas spectacular featuring Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20. Visit livermorearts.org.
Chanukah Wonderland at Stoneridge
Celebrate the festival of lights with live music, a holiday game court, balloon entertainment and Chanukah face paint while kindling the 9-foot menorah in the mall's grand court from 5:30-7 p.m. on Dec. 20. Visit jewishtrivalley.com.
Rockin' Holiday Revue
Jared Freiburg returns to The Firehouse with his holiday celebration of the early years of rock 'n' roll at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22. Visit firehousearts.org.
All Is Calm
This is the remarkable true story of The Western Front on Christmas 1914, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. The performance at the Bankhead is set for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22. Visit livermorearts.org.
Chanukah Community Dinner
A Chanukah Shabbat dinner with gourmet cuisines. Celebrate with friends and family over a three-course Shabbat feast. $25 per person; 6 p.m., Dec. 23, at Chabad of the Tri-Valley, 3370 Hopyard Road in Pleasanton. Visit jewishtrivalley.com.
New Year's Eve with Meredith McHenry
Spend New Year's Eve at the Bankhead with Livermore native Meredith McHenry as she sings selections from Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald and The Weeknd. The evening on Dec. 31 concludes with a sparkling wine toast and desserts in the lobby. Visit livermorearts.org.
Spread Cheer With Beer
Visit Tri-Valley is challenging residents and visitors to take part in the "Spread Cheer with Beer" campaign by participating at any five locations and sampling the best breweries, alehouses and taprooms in the Tri-Valley. Proceeds will help raise funds for the Livermore Valley Craft Beer Foundation and participants will earn a limited-edition, 64-ounce growler along the way. Now through Jan. 1. Visit visittrivalley.com.
Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund
The 21st annual Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund campaign is now underway and will run until mid-January. With your contributions, the Weekly, in partnership with Three Valleys Community Foundation, will give grants to nonprofits serving the needs of children and families in the Pleasanton area. All funds will be held by 3VCF and will be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Donate at PleasantonWeekly.com/holiday_fund.