Holiday Events

Dec. 15-26

Smuin Ballet Christmas Ballet: The 2004 edition ofThe Christmas Ballet takes the stage with even more classical sizzle and Broadway pizzazz than ever. With beloved favorites set to traditional Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas music, this is a treat to be savored by all ages.
Call for show times. Yerba Buena Center, 701 Mission St., 978-2787.

Dec. 15-Jan. 2

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Birdhouse Factory: Featuring an internationally acclaimed cast of circus performers, Birdhouse Factory promises to be this year's hottest ticket during the holiday season.
Call for show times. $15-$38, Circus Center, 755 Frederick St. (at Lincoln), 759-8123.

Dec. 16-17

A Christmas Carol: Gerald Charles Dickens, great-great grandson of novelist Charles Dickens, will interpret his ancestor's timeless tale, portraying every character in the story from Scrooge to Tiny Tim, while guests enjoy traditional holiday fare.
$65, The Fairmont, 950 Mason St. (at California), 772-5000.

Dec. 16"Home for the Holidays": Now in its 15th season, the annual San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus holiday show will feature traditional favorites: songs for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, and Kwanzaa; sing-along carols; and, of course, the nuns.
7 p.m. $20, Castro Theater, 429 Castro St. (at Market), 865-3650.

Dec. 17

The Sonos Handbell Ensemble: There is nothing more appropriate to Christmas than the celestial sound of handbells, and no one does it like the highly acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble. A carol chime and sing-along will round out a program that all ages can enjoy.
Call for show times. $9-$15, Old First Church, 1725 Sacramento St. (at Van Ness), 474-1608.

Dec. 17-19

"Choral Christmas Spectacular": The glorious sound of the San Francisco Symphony and the sheer power of the 120-voice chorus join forces to bring you traditional works like Silent Night and Ave Maria. Plus, you'll enjoy audience sing-alongs to the popular favorites.
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $29-$62, Davies Symphony Hall, Grove & Van Ness, 864-6000.

Dec. 17-31

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker: This timeless tale is a San Francisco holiday tradition and fun for the entire family. Captivating music, dance, and costumes of over 170 storybook characters.
Call for show times. $22-$135, War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness (at Grove), 865-2000.

Dec. 18

"Lusty Harmonies": Twelve-voice choir Creative Voices presents Lusty Harmonies, featuring music by Biebl, Britten, excerpts from Rachmaninoff's "Vespers," and the stunning choral version of Barber's "Adagio for Strings." Don't miss this unforgettable holiday concert by candlelight.
8 p.m. Saturday. $15-$18, Presidio Chapel, Bldg. 130, Fisher Loop, Creativevoices.org.

Dec. 19

"A Gospel Christmas": The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers of Los Angeles has been called "one of the best vocal ensembles in the world." Their program of traditional spirituals, gospel choruses, and holiday music promises to bring the audience to its feet.
7 p.m. $10-$50, Davies Symphony Hall, Grove & Van Ness, 864-6000.

Dec. 19

"The Wondrous Sounds of Christmas": The Bay Brass joins members of the S.F. Symphony to blend the majesty of trumpets, French horns, trombones, and tuba with the angelic sound of harps and the power of the mighty Ruffatti organ. Includes audience sing-alongs.
2 p.m. $10-$50, Davies Symphony Hall, Grove & Van Ness, 864-6000.

Dec. 21

"A Brass & Organ Christmas": Trumpets, French horns, trombones, and tubas join with Grace Cathedral's world-renowned Aeolian-Skinner organ for an unforgettable evening of magnificent sound.
7 p.m. $15-$40, Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St. (at Taylor), 749-6350.

Dec. 24

"A Celtic Christmas": Golden Bough presents a Christmas Eve concert of rare traditional Scots, Irish, and Welsh carols and songs of winter.
8 p.m. $9-$15, Old First Church, 1725 Sacramento St. (at Van Ness), 474-1608.

Holiday Activities and Celebrations

Through Jan. 2

Outdoor Ice Skating: The Kristi Yamaguchi Embarcadero Center Ice Rink is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
$3.50 children 8 and under, $7 adults, Justin Herman Plaza, Embarcadero (at Market), 956-2688.

Ongoing

Indoor Ice Skating: Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center; call for public skating hours.
$5.50 children 12 and under, $7 adults, 750 Folsom Street (at 3rd Street), 777-3727.

Ongoing

Indoor Ice Skating: Oakland Ice Center; call for public skating hours.
$6.50 children 12 and under, $7.50 adults, 519 18th St. (at Telegraph), Oakland, (510) 268-9000.

Nov. 26-Dec. 24

Teddy Bear Tea: Hosted by Mr. Ritz E. Bear; includes holiday songs and storytelling.
10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. $58, Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St. (at California), 773-6198.

Nov. 27-Dec. 19

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train: A Christmas light-bedecked antique Pullman train rolls through Victorian Santa Cruz as passengers enjoy caroling, hot-spiced cider, and a visit from Santa. Advance reservations required. Call for 888-25-EVENTS for tickets.
$14, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz.

Nov. 28-Dec 28

Metreon Winterland: A snow machine creates indoor snow five times each day at the Metreon Center.
Noon, 2, 4, 6, and 8 p.m. Metreon Center (Fourth and Mission streets).

Nov. 28-Dec. 23

Christmas Fantasy in the Woods: Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round's annual holiday celebration features $1 rides on the 91-year-old carousel, light and decorated tree displays, a crafts boutique, sweets, and visits from Santa on Mondays and Tuesdays.
5:30-8:30 p.m. Central Park and Lake Anza Drives, Berkeley, 510-524-8773.

Dec. 1-23

Holiday Tea at the Top of the Mark: Enjoy a 360-degree view of the city as you partake in a scrumptious buffet. Children's tea on Mondays in December features a storyteller and magician.
Noon to 4 p.m. $17-$34, InterContinental Mark Hopkins, 999 California St. (at Mason), 616-6940.

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