A Wine Country Winter Wonderland

With the turkey leftovers almost finished and the cold weather upon us, it’s definitely time to get into the holiday spirit! And although winters in Sonoma don’t mean snow on the streets or sledding in the park, Sonoma County offers plenty of activities and events that will help remind us that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. From gingerbread to ice skating to Christmas trees, here are just a few of the unique holiday activities that will get you into the holiday spirit no matter what the temperature.

The Annual Lighting of the Snowmen at Cornerstone Sonomasnowmen, now in its 11th year, has become a Sonoma Valley holiday tradition. The Lighting of the Snowmen kicks off with a festival and actual “lighting” on December 6 from 4-8pm, but the Snowmen display remains up through December 29 for everyone to enjoy. The festival features live music, Santa photos, holiday movies, wine and beer tasting, and crafts for kids. Be sure to come see what these crazy snowmen are up to this year.

And if holiday lights are your thing, one of the best places to view them is in the riverside town of Petaluma. Each year houses and businesses throughout town deck the halls with a lighted extravaganza of decorations. You can take a self-guided driving tour of the lighted displays. Maps are available at the Petaluma Visitors Center, 210 Lakeville Street, Petaluma.

Now while the modern holiday season may start with Thanksgiving, for many of us, it doesn’t really feel like the holidays until we’ve seen ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ And in Sonoma County, where Charles Schulz lived and worked for over 40 years, it’s not Christmas without a tour of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove. The Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove is an annual holiday event located on Windsor’s Town Green. The event features 200 lighted and individually decorated holiday trees lining the walkways of the Green. Special holiday events (with accompanying treats!) occur on Friday nights in December from 5-7pm, while Saturday and Sunday days feature scavenger hunts for all ages.

charliebrownOf course, The Christmas Tree Grove isn’t the only way to get your Peanuts fix during the Holidays. Lace up your skates and take a few laps around Snoopy’s Home Ice to get your family in the holiday spirit. With public skating nearly every day of the month, this is the perfect activity for your family whether you’re visiting Sonoma County or you live here year ‘round.

While lights are lovely and skating is fun, it’s hard to deny that the holidays—beginning with Thanksgiving celebrations and ending with a New Years Day filled with football and feasting—often seem to revolve around the stomach. For those that wouldn’t have it any other way, be sure not to miss the Sonoma Valley Winery Gingerbread Competition heldgingerbread at participating wineries throughout December. Tasting room guests are invited to vote for their favorite Gingerbread creations and with each vote you are entered to win a case of fabulous Sonoma Valley wines!  It’s a wonderful holiday outing for the whole family. Visit the wineries, taste some of Sonoma Valley’s world-class wines, do a little holiday shopping and, of course, vote for your favorite Gingerbread creation! Participating wineries:

  • B.R. Cohen
  • Benziger Family Winery
  • Bryter Estates
  • Buena Vista Winery
  • Chateau St. Jean
  • Hamel Family Wines
  • Imagery Estate Winery
  • Madrone Vineyards Estate
  • Muscardini Cellars

You can view all the houses and vote online at Sonoma Valley Wines Facebook Page. But should you want to plan a day of wine tasting, private transportation can be booked by calling 800.626.5466, Pure Luxury Transportation. Mention ‘Sonoma Valley Winery Gingerbread Competition’ and receive special corporate preferred pricing!

Ajoytotheworld-transcendencend if a day of wine tasting and staring greedily at delicious gingerbread creations doesn’t leave you looking forward to a long winters nap, our friends at Transcendence Theater are back again this year with a spectacular holiday concert at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. Join the extraordinary cast of Broadway professionals for Joy to the World, a concert filled with Broadway showstoppers, holiday favorites and modern twists on some of the worlds most uplifting & cherished songs. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it’s time to celebrate Transcendence-style with this breathtaking holiday revue for all ages sprinkled with the song and dance you’ve come to expect from Transcendence. Friday and Saturday, December 4th and 5th.


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