By Linda Bottjer

Even the grumpiest of Scrooges will have a tough time being a curmudgeon with all the spirit-lifting
activities offered throughout Sacramento over the next few weeks.

Photo Credit: California State Parks

An Emigrant Christmas at Sutter’s Fort
Saturday, December 10, 2011 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
2701 L Street
Sacramento, CA
(916) 445-4422

Being a pioneer might have been full of hardships most of the year, but when it came to celebrating the Christmas season the emigrants to California could party. John Sutter was known as a gracious host to all those who crossed mountains and oceans to reach his fort. Today the fort is portrayed as it was in 1846, two years before the discovery of gold. Volunteers don clothing of gingham and leather to allow participants to travel effortlessly back in time. Candles will be dipped and popcorn strings strung. Guests can transform cornhusks into heavenly angels while whip up 3D stars from multiple folds of a sheet of paper. There are sing-alongs all day long and everyone goes home with a craft.


Old Sacramento
Activities vary
925 Front Street
Sacramento, CA 94203
(916) 808-7059

Old Sacramento gives their Victorian Americana holidays a special sparkle with the Theatre of Lights. Every year the theatre uses special effects, lights and sound to make the beloved Clement Clark Moore’s poem “T’was the Night Before Christmas” come to life. As sugarplums dance and eight tiny reindeer prance narrators, including a former Sacramentan – Mark Twain, tell the famous Christmas tale. You’ll find Santa Claus strolling around the streets spreading holiday cheer and you can buy warm drinks at various locations.

On Saturday, December 10. From 1 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the annual 19th Century Living History Holiday Ball will be held at the Stanford Gallery. Visitors can take dance lessons and the Pony Express will make the Christmas Card Ride just like they did in real life during the holiday season on 1860. Father Christmas resplendent in his green velvet Victorian garb will be spreading joy to children of all ages accompanied by a troupe of carolers.

Photo Credit: Robert Rohwer

Polar Express
California Railroad Museum
Nov 25 – Dec 18, 2011, everyday except Mon and Tues; 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m.
125 I Street
CA 95814
(916) 445-6645
Ticket required
Directory listing

Dress in your best PJ’s and hurry because the Polar Express is about to leave the platform. This highly popular holiday activity brings together multiple generations for the train trip of a lifetime. Book a ticket online for a seat in a series of cars including the 1950s Southern Pacific Audubon Dining Car. Once aboard dancing waiters bring cups of hot chocolate and a cookie treat as a mysterious conductor roams the aisles. Excitement builds upon arrival at the North Pole where Santa can be seen as the engine switches for the return trip home. While chugging back to the Central Pacific Passenger Station everyone can sign carols as Santa delivers a special gift to each passenger. Once at the depot Santa is available for individual chats and photo ops.

Linda J. Bottjer is a full-time writer who believes fully in the power of Santa Claus. Follow her at Words 4 Sail.


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