‘Tis the Season in San Joaquin!

By Copper Williams

holidays in San Joaquin

‘Tis the season, San Joaquin!

Deck those halls for spectacular snow-themed soirees, take to the lengthy backroads in search of the ultimate Christmas tree, and settle the kids into Santa’s lap so he might talk some serious sense into them about how misbehaving tots get coals in their socks! Er- I mean stockings!

We’ve got your guide on where to go to get your holly-jolly on, brimming with events along auditoriums and theatres, your favorite venues and local hotspots. So fill this December with yule-tide cheer and explore traditions new and old throughout the very last month of the year!


holidays in San Joaquin

General Events:

An Irish Christmas at Bob Hope
Bob Hope Theatre, 242 E. Main St., Stockton – (209) 373-1400
December 1
Something about our good ol’ Bob Hope Theatre just screams Christmas Magic. And on the first of the month, the soul of the Irish Isles will take center stage in a monumental performance, elegantly entwined in song and music, dance and magic. Enjoy a variety of styles, led by Scott Doherty, Tyler Schwartz, Connor Reider, and Emily MacConnell.

Festival of Trees
San Joaquin County Historical Society, 11793 N. Micke Grove Rd., Lodi
December 2 – 3
This sublime holiday tradition goes way back! Drop in during the first weekend of December and take your first step into a winter wonderland at the San Joaquin County Historical Society & Museum. Featuring over 75 decorated trees, a room for tea and dessert, entertainers aplenty and vendors galore, it’s an event that kicks off the holiday month in all the right ways!

Bay Pointe Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker at Bob Hope
Bob Hope Theatre, 242 E. Main St., Stockton – (209) 373-1400
December 9
Our favorite classic returns to Bob Hope Theatre! Bay Pointe Ballet, a professional company hailing from the Bay Area that tours regionally, is teaming with their acclaimed orchestra and local dancers to bring the magic of this special story to life! Follow along in this fantastic tale throughout Russia and the Snow Forest, Land of Sweets and more, with custom-designed costumes and sets!

Magical Christmas Train
Various Dates Throughout December
Find your way into a whimsical world where Santa Claus himself awaits when you book your ticket aboard Sierra Dinner Train’s Magical Christmas Train ride. This 90-minute holiday-themed transit begins and ends its journey in Oakdale, and features sing-alongs with hot cocoa and cookies, visits from Santa’s helper elves, and the jolly man himself. Don’t miss out on this expedition throughout the wintry months!
Fun Fact: Sierra Dinner Train hosts themed train rides throughout the year, including Murder Mysteries, Beer Trains, Zombie Evacuations, and more!
Editor’s Tip: Reserving your tickets in advance is paramount, as seating is preassigned. Make sure to purchase a few weeks before your boarding date to ensure the whole family sits together!

Stockton Symphony’s Holiday Pops
Warren Atherton Auditorium, San Joaquin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Ave., Stockton
December 10
Why listen to your holiday favorites on the radio, when the Stockton Chorale, Stockton Youth Chorale, and the Stockton Symphony Association are banding together to bring all the holiday classics and latest in seasonal hits? Holiday POPs returns this year, including sing-alongs for the little ones, iconic melodies from The Nutcracker, and selections from Disney’s masterpiece: Frozen!

Friends of the Fox Presents: White Christmas
Bob Hope Theatre, 242 E. Main St., Stockton – (209) 373-1400
December 17
Follow along in this delightful yuletide classic, as two showbiz brothers become smitten over two showbiz sisters. Along the way, they manage to salvage and even fuel the success of the pine lodge belonging to their old war commanding officer. Enjoy this masterful piece, filled with marvelous melodies and dance routines.

Holidays on the Farm
December 17 – January 2
San Joaquin’s greatest holiday tradition in the region returns for another spectacular year! Rush down icy slopes on your snow tube, zip across the slippery service of the ice skating rink, take a ride on the Dell’Osso Express Train and more! With no general admission, it’s a holiday getaway that can continue every weekend, allowing you more opportunities to take a flight down the Zip Line, enjoy the petting zoo, and visit Santa with the kids, ensuring the North Pole resident knows exactly what to get everyone for Christmas! Wrap up the evening with some s’mores and pie, before taking a drive through the holiday light show.
Fun Fact: Need to feed the kiddos during your visit? Dell’Osso offers plenty of hot bites, including hotdogs, hamburgers and more. Not in the mood for those digs? No problem! Mountain Mikes Pizza in Lathrop and Royal Pizza in Lathrop both deliver to Snow Tube Mountain!
Editor’s Tip: Purchase your tickets for select events in advance to ensure it’s not sold out when you arrive!

Sacramento Renaissance Choir at the Haggin
Haggin Museum, 1201 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton
December 21
Listen to the halls echo at the Haggin in a holiday musical ensemble like no other, brought to our community by the Sacramento Renaissance Choir and hosted by the Junior Women’s Group. 

Theatre of Lights at Old Town Sacramento
Various Dates Throughout December
You’ve never experienced Old Town Sacramento like this! Decked in lights and filled with cheer, the rustic streets along K Street and Front hail the beautiful physical form of Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas poem. Enjoy live-action retellings, a visit from Santa, and the history of this breathtaking portion of Sacramento.
Fun Fact: Moore’s fantastic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, is actually better known as the classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas”!
Editor’s Tip: Find your way to the center of K Street early! You’ll be able to view the many marvelous actors who will be performing from the balconies high above!


holidays in San Joaquin

Ice Skating Rinks

Oak Park Ice Arena
3545 Alvarado Ave., Stockton – Permanent

Iceland Ice Skating Rink
1430 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento – Permanent

Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink
Between Golden 1 Center & St. Rose of Lima Park, Sacramento – Nov. 3 through Jan. 15

Holidays on the Farm
501 Manthey Rd., Lathrop – Dec. 17 through Jan. 2

Tri Valley Ice
6611 Preston Ave D., Livermore – Permanent

Modesto On Ice
1131 11th St., Modesto – Nov. 19 through Jan. 22


holidays in San Joaquin

Tree Lightings & Parades

Manteca Christmas in the Park & Parade
Haggin Museum, 1201 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton
Dec. 1 – 2

Hospice of San Joaquin Ripon Tree Lighting
Mistlin Fountain Park
Dec. 1 @ 6 PM

City of Stockton Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
Weber Point Events Center
Dec. 2

Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting
Downtown Tracy
Dec. 2 @ 6 PM

Hospice of San Joaquin Lockeford Tree Lighting
Wells Fargo Bank
Dec. 2 @ 6 PM

City of Stockton Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
Weber Point
Dec. 2

Marina West Lighted Boat Parade in Downtown Stockton
Downtown Stockton Waterfront
Dec. 2

Hospice of San Joaquin Lodi Tree Lighting
City Hall
Dec. 7 @ 5:30 PM

Lodi Parade of Lights
Downtown Lodi
Dec. 7 @ 6 PM

Golf Cart Parade & Potluck
Rosa’s at Tower Park
Dec. 9 @ 5 PM

Ripon Christmas Light Parade
Downtown Ripon
Dec. 14 @ 6 PM


holidays in San Joaquin

For the Family

Sugar Plum Tea Party
Grand Theatre Center for the Arts, 715 Central Ave., Tracy
December 2
The Children’s Dance Theatre offers you and your little ones the sublime chance to step into the realm of the Nutcracker and the Sugar Plum Fairy! Enjoy tea sandwiches and pastries, sweets and more while visiting with some of your favorite characters from the ballet. 

Frozen at Hutchins Street Square
Hutchins St. Square, 125 S. Hutchins St., Lodi
December 8
Sometimes you need to chillax with the kids and just let all your holiday stress go. And that’s why Hutchins Street Square is offering one of Disney’s most well-known classics to free your mind and let your inner kid roam!

WoW Science Museum, 2 North Sacramento St., Lodi
December 9
Anyone living around Lodi can tell you that Makerfest has become a staple for children of all ages! Allow your little ones the chance to combine their eager minds with scientific discovery in a fun, holiday-themed day jam-packed with activities. Best of all, this event brings parents seeking special Christmas gifts to the WoW Science Store, where an abundance of goodies await. Find your stocking stuffers while your little ones play!

Haggin Family Christmas Party
Haggin Museum, 1201 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton
December 9
The Haggin welcomes your family with open arms to its annual Christmas extravaganza, courtesy of the Junior Women’s Group. Newly renovated and with halls decked out in yule-tide cheer, lights floral arrangements and more are ready to illuminate the already grand occasion. Make your reservation and spend the evening with the little ones, creating crafts and enjoying special activities with Santa’s elves. Before the night is complete, plan a commemorative photo with Santa himself, who will be available for shoots! 

Holidays at the Haggin
Haggin Museum, 1201 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton
December 9
Gather the little ones and enjoy holiday fun perfect for children ages 5 – 12 at the Haggin’s 2nd Saturdays for Families event! This first come, first serve activity hosts supplies for art projects and interactive programs that give the little ones the chance to create their very own gifts to take home.

Christmas Around the World
Tower Park Resort & Marina, 14900 W. Hwy 12, Lodi
December 9
The bears and band of rangers are ready and waiting to celebrate Christmas around the entire world with your family! Join Yogi and his friends in a weekend-long revelry, filed with fascinating information on different cultures across the globe- all from the comforts of Jellystone Park!

Stockton Heat New Year’s Eve & Fireworks
Stockton Arena, 248 W. Fremont St., Stockton
December 31
Bring in the new year while your little ones cheer for their favorite hockey team: The Stockton Heat! Enjoy special themed gifts handed out before the game, and indoor fireworks before the night is over. The perfect way to celebrate 2018 in safety and style! 

Eagal Lakes New Year’s 5K Polar Run, Dunk, and Kids Dash
Eagal Lakes Resort, 12 West Lorenzen Rd., Tracy
January 6
Need a refreshing way to kick off 2018? Why not take a dive into the chilly waters at Eagal Lakes? Their fifth year into this spectacular holiday tradition is kicking the fun up a few notches. Pumped up by the music of DJ Chago, registrants will receive their own long sleeve official event shirt, custom event medals alongside their race number and a raffle ticket. Prizes for your plunge are ready to be won, and bonfires will tickle the crisp morning air, with s’mores and a champagne toast. Kids can enjoy their very own dash, with hot cocoa for dessert, and fear not! Changing rooms are readily available to those who take a dive into the lake. 
Editor’s Tip: If you’re planning on taking the plunge, don’t forget to bring an extra pair of clothes and a towel or two! You’ll also want a plastic baggy to drive them back home in.
Fun Fact: Eagal Lakes hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year, with their Mud Run featuring muck-filled fun for the whole family!


holidays in San Joaquin

Cut Your Own Tree

Anderson Christmas Tree Farm LLC
1743 Mustang Rd., Murphys – (209) 728-1531

Cal-Sierra Tree Farm
438 Stanley Rd., West Point – (209) 293-7939

Castro Valley Christmas Tree Farm
Cross of Redwood & Miller Rd., See website – (510) 889-1992

Davis Ranch LLC
13211 Jackson Rd., Sloughouse – (916) 502-7983


holidays in San Joaquin

Visit Santa

Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting
Downtown Tracy
Dec 2

Festival of Trees
11793 N. Micke Grove Rd., Lodi
Dec 2 – 3

Mary Gillespie Photography
12 W. Pine St., Lodi
Dec 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17

Spirit of Giving Run
Corner of J & 10th St., Modesto
Dec 9

Holidays on the Farm
501 Manthey Rd., Lathrop
Dec 17 – Jan 2

Santa’s Express
Sherwood Mall, Stockton
Nov 24 – Dec 24


holidays in san joaquin


Adopt a Family
Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County
Currently accepting through Dec. 17
Donate: Adopted Family-specific items, ‘adopt’ alone or as a team. Or, individual new toys and grocery store gift cards for San Joaquin families in need.
To Adopt a Family: Jose Serrano, jserrano@nochildabuse.org, (209) 851-3469

Mary Graham Children’s Shelter
Always accepting donations
Donate: New clothing with tags, new toys, hygiene products, school supplies, and electronics for foster children from newborns to 18 years old.
For More Info: (209) 468-6966, MaryGrahamFoundation.org

Stockton 209 Cares
Dec. 9 at 11 AM, at the Motorcycle & Car Show event at Sherwood Mall.
Donate: New unwrapped toys for homeless families and children.
For More Info: Facebook.com/209StocktonCares

Stockton Heat Holiday Toy Drive
United Way
Dec. 9 at the Arena
Donate: a new toy for local children in need, and get a free ticket to that night’s game!
For More Info: StocktonHeat.com

Toys for Tots
Currently accepting through Dec. 8
Donate: New, unwrapped toys for children in need
Drop off: Five Windows Beer Co., Stockton
For more county locations: ToysforTots.org

Fox 40’s Toy Drive
Shriners Children’s Hospitals
Currently accepting through Dec. 17
Donate: New, unwrapped toys for hospitalized children
Drop off: Papa Murphy’s & Big O Tires throughout the county
For all dropoff locations: ShrinersChildrens.org/toy

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