1. The conclusion of the prequel to the Lord of the Rings is finally here. With a release date of December 16, this movie makes for a great break from the stresses of the holiday season. Though, admittedly, the first movie got the series off to a slow start, each movie has been progressively better. Bilbo and company’s journey comes to a thrilling end with a battle of epic of a lifetime – until, you know, the whole fight for Middle Earth thing happens.
2.While the holidays are really about spending quality time of family and friends and being thankful, there’s no harm in scoring an awesome present or two. Elfster helps with Secret Santa, making it easier for groups large and small to draw names. For people who have a propensity to draw their own name, this website takes the fun frustration out of that. There’s also a wish list feature that allows users to put down what they want which should make the shopping experience a bit easier.
3. An annual San Francisco tradition is back again! Come for the shopping but get distracted by the kittens adorning the Macy’s windows. Each cat on display is available for adoption and volunteers are nearby ready answer questions and collect donations benefiting SF SPCA. Last year nearly 300 animals found homes during the event and nearly $80,000 was raised. If you can’t make the trip, head on over the SF SPCA webpage for live streaming.
4. If you ever wanted to experience a Victorian Christmas first hand, then look no further than the Great Dicken’s Christmas Fair. From November 22 through December 21, the Cow Palace in Daly City is transformed into a Victorian city. Volunteers, merchants, and guests alike embrace the time of the era, walking around the streets in waistcoats and petticoats. You may even be lucky enough to catch Ebenezer Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Present or Queen Victoria with her royal entourage.
5. Downtown San Jose’s Christmas in the Park is another Bay Area tradition. Christmas trees decorated by school children and other various organizations line the streets. The best time to visit is at night, when the Christmas lights are in full effect. There are rides for the kids and novelty foods to be consumed. A skating rink is also nearby and located under a few palm trees for that “only in California” vibe.