By Lisa Adams Walter
Options for celebrating the holiday season are abundant in the Napa Valley! What a gift for those of us that live in this region. Read on to discover some activities that have been long-standing traditions, as well as some that are new. All take place in the month of December and I encourage you to visit each listed website for more information.
Get out there across the valley, feel merry, share a warm beverage, sip on a glass of wine, make a reservation at one of our many phenomenal restaurants, support our community, spend time with those that you hold close, celebrate, and enjoy!
Holidays in American Canyon
Events throughout the holiday season in American Canyon include a tree lighting, a snow day with real snow, a reindeer fun run / walk and several visits from Santa in his sleigh. Visit ExploreAmCan.com for complete details, dates and times.
Downtown Napa Events
Free holiday trolley rides, a traditional tuba concert in Veteran’s Park, tree lighting ceremonies, gingerbread decorating at The Village at Vista Collina and the opportunity to go back in time at Napa’s historic Victorian home, The Ackerman Heritage House, to enjoy a Charles Dickens Christmas are just some of the festive events set for Napa proper. Visit DoNapa.com for complete details, dates and times.
Holidays in Yountville
What was once known as the “Festival of Lights” still features tiny white lights that blanket the entire town, yet a schedule of additional events has expanded the holiday season in Yountville with more than 100 holiday-themed offerings such as carriage rides through town, holiday movies, photos with Santa, holiday sign making classes, a Broadway holiday spectacular, ugly sweater parties, SantaCon Yountville and more. Visit Yountville.com for complete details, dates and times.
Jingle All The Way
The holiday season in St. Helena features a holiday trolley, and is centered around a winter wonderland roller rink with a vibrant line-up of food trucks, wineries and other participants such as DJs and themed events to keep it festive every Thursday through Sunday at Lyman Park throughout the month. Visit StHelena.com for complete details, dates and times.
Calistoga Holiday Village
At the northern end of the valley, Calistoga kicks off the month with the Calistoga Holiday Village December 6-8 all over town. Highlights include a tree lighting, street fair, holiday shopping, wine tasting, Santa at the Calistoga Welcome Center, holiday brunch menus all around town and the signature event of the season, the 24th annual Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade (which takes place the evening of Saturday, December 7 right down Lincoln Avenue, the main street in town). Visit VisitCalistoga.com for complete details, dates and times.
Pioneer Christmas at Old Bale Mill
3369 St Helena Highway, St. Helena
Dec. 7 • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A 19th century Christmas celebration is hosted by the Old Bale Grist Mill annually, in the style of old-fashioned pioneers. Attendees can make a clove pomander or wreath of rosemary for the home, string popcorn and cranberries for decoration, decorate cookies, cut paper snowflakes or even make dolls out of fabric scraps while sipping on cider and savoring cookies! Demonstrations throughout the day will include lace making, wool spinning, waxed egg decorating and milling. This event, which is almost a living history experience, is affordable too at $5 per person, and free for kids 5 and under. Visit NapaValleyStateParks.org for more info.
Santa’s Helpers and Holiday Gift Faire
Napa Valley Exposition - 575 Third Street, Napa
Dec. 14 • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 15 • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hot cider will be served at the Napa Valley Exposition for attendees who can shop and mingle with artisans that will fill more than 90 booths at this free annual event where gifts for everyone can be found including holiday-themed goods, art, crafts, home décor, gourmet items and jewelry. Santa is expected to stop by and there may be some treats served. Save some room for the cuisine at Santa’s Helpers Café as the banana cream pie is delish! Visit SantasHelpersNapa.com for more info.
Fun for All
Napa On Ice
Napa Valley Exposition 575 Third Street, Napa
All of December (into January)
Daily 12 to 9 p.m., hours may vary.
What has become an annual tradition, and super fun for all, is Napa’s own seasonal, outdoor ice skating rink: Napa on Ice. This year, again at the Napa Valley Exposition, a spacious 6,300 square feet of ice has been built and maintained for skaters of all ages and levels of ability. Skate for an hour or two, or the entire day (the VIP Admission includes all day skating access with in and out privileges). Visit OnIceRinks.com/napa-on-ice-tickets.com for more info.
Hanukkah Hootenanny at Judd’s Hill Winery
2332 Silverado Trail, Napa
December 6-22 • 12 to 2:30 p.m.
Do good while having fun at Judd’s Hill Winery’s 13th annual Hanukkah Hootenanny! Tasty fare such as beef brisket sliders and a latke bar, will be paired with current and library wine releases. The event will benefit the Community Health Initiative of Napa County. Attendees are encouraged to bring unwrapped new toys, as well as canned and non-perishable food donations. The winery will in turn distribute to Napa charities. The celebration is free for wine club members. Visit JuddsHill.com.
Gingerbread House Decorating
The Village – 850 Bordeaux Way, Napa
December 8, 15, 22 • 1 to 3 p.m.
Gather the little ones to decorate this favorite holiday treat – gingerbread houses! Our culinary team will supply all the toppings; just bring your child’s imagination. After, your little ones will take home their festive creation. $35 per kit. Stick around to hear Christmas carolers singing out on The Village Lawn from 2 to 5 p.m. Visit VillageNapaValley.com.
Holidays in the Spotlight
Chris Isaak Holiday Tour 2019
Uptown Theatre – 1030 Main St., Napa
Dec. 11 • 8 p.m.
Fans are in for a night filled with Chris Isaak favorites and for this timely tour, classic holiday songs. In the course of his career, Chris has released nine extraordinary albums, twelve singles, been nominated for two Grammy awards, acted in several motion pictures and starred in his own critically acclaimed TV series. Best known for his top ten hit “Wicked Game” he has entertained audiences for more than twenty years. Visit UptownTheatreNapa.com for more info.
Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical
Lucky Penny - 1758 Industrial Way St. 208, Napa
Based on the beloved, timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaptation features music by Meredith Wilson, creator of “The Music Man.” It’s the story of a little girl who believes in the magic of Christmas, a man who believes he is the real Kris Kringle, and a mother who needs to believe in love again. Featuring the classic scene of Santa on trial in a Manhattan courtroom! Visit LuckyPennyNapa.com for more info.
Transcendence Theatre’s Broadway Holiday Spectacular
Lincoln Theater – Napa Valley Performing Arts Center
100 California Drive, Yountville
Dec. 14-15 •2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Broadway comes to Yountville with performers from shows such as Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins, Hair, An American in Paris and Wicked who will stage a spectacular show of song and dance packed with showstoppers, holiday favorites, and modern twists on some of the world’s most uplifting and cherished songs. The show is a creation of “Broadway Under the Stars.” Visit TranscendenceTheatre.org or LincolnTheater.com for more info.
Lincoln Theater – Napa Valley Performing Arts Center
100 California Drive, Yountville
Dec. 21-22 • 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Napa Regional Dance Company’s beloved production of The Nutcracker is back for its 19th season. Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on an enchanted journey through the Snow Flake Forest to The Land of Sweets with the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier in this timeless holiday classic. Lincoln Theater is partnering with Napa Regional Dance Company and guest Conductor Steven Thompson to bring Tchaikovsky’s music to life with Symphony Napa Valley. With more than 30 dancers, 50 musicians, 12 actors, elaborate scenery and incredible costumes, The Nutcracker promises to be a heartwarming experience for audiences young and old. Visit LincolnTheater.com for more info.
Napa Valley Wine Trolley Holiday Light Tours
Oxbow Public Market –
610 & 644 First Street, Napa
Dec. 6-22 • 6:30 p.m. (Fridays – Sundays)
Take off from Oxbow Public Market in a vintage, open-air Cable Car for a fun-filled ride around the city of Napa including Downtown, Browns Valley and North Napa. For an hour and one-half, riders will enjoy music, treats and warmly lit, as well as vibrant, holiday displays throughout the historic Victorian neighborhoods as well as contemporary districts of town. Visit NapaValleyWineTrolley.com for more info.