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Sonoma County Kid's Fun Family Holiday Traditions

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Starting and continuing family traditions during the holidays can be so rewarding. Our family has our own set of holiday traditions and our kids look forward to them every year!


We have compiled a list of things you and your family might find fun to do during the holidays. Maybe you do it once, maybe you will start an annual tradition. Either way, have some fun experimenting!

 

 

  • Go see The Nutcracker. There are at least 5 local versions of The Nutcracker that I can think of right now in Petaluma, Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, San Rafael, and Santa Rosa (Wells Fargo Center for the Arts). We love this story and our kids love the dancing and all the fancy costumes. Some of the performances feature a "Sugar Plum" party before the show.

  • Cut your own Christmas Tree. Lots of local Christmas Tree Farms to choose from where you can pick a locally grown tree and they will cut it down and bring it to your car for you. Some of these farms have family-friendly activities (especially on weekends) including Santa Claus himself, holiday refreshments, hay rides or horse-drawn carriage rides, and a petting zoo.

     


 

 

Larsen's Christmas Tree Farm, Petaluma

 

Reindeer Ridge, Sebastopol

 

Garlock Tree Farm, Sebastopol

 

Victorian Christmas Tree Ranch, Sebastopol

 

Grandma Buddy's Christmas Trees, Sebastopol

 

Frosty Mountain Tree Farm, Sebastopol

 

Santa's Trees, Sebastopol

 

Celesta Farm, Sebastopol

 

Moon Mountain, Sonoma

 

  • Go visit Santa Claus. Santa's annual arrival by Riverboat on the Petaluma River is November 28. He will be in the LanMart Building downtown Petaluma every Sat & Sun through December 20. FREE visits, FREE photo opportunity! Santa can also be found at Montgomery Village, Santa Rosa Plaza, and Coddingtown in Santa Rosa.

 

 

  • Write a letter to Santa Claus. Our kids tell Santa about at least 1 good deed they did that year and then ask him for what they want. You can send them to Santa Claus in Santa Claus, Indiana (yes, there is a town called Santa Claus) and they will answer your child's letter. Or there are lots of sites out there where you can get personalized responses from Santa but you might have to pay.

  • Buy a new Christmas ornament. We try to buy a new ornament for the tree each year. Christmas Fantasia in Petaluma has a wonderful selection to choose from.

  • Have your kids grant a Secret Santa Wish. Take your kids to go pick a wish from the Secret Santa tree, help them purchase the gift, wrap it, and turn it in. It's amazing how much they get into "giving" more than "receiving."

  • Camp out in front of the Christmas Tree. Lay the kids sleeping bags around the tree and tell Holiday stories as a family. Parents can camp too!

 

 

  • Host a Gingerbread House Decorating Party. Buy the pre-assembled ones at Costco to save time or get the less expensive ones and have your husband and his friends assemble them : ) Then just let the kids do the decorating.

 

 

  • Homeade Secret Santa. Each member of the family draws a name (keep it secret) and gives that person something homeade for Christmas.

  • Pay it Forward. Buy someone's coffee or meal, make someone's layaway payment, buy someone's gas. Kids can do it too ~ buy someone's hot lunch at school.

  • Elf on the Shelf. The Elf is always loads of fun, but its a bit of work! The kids enjoy finding the Elf getting into mischief! HERE is a site with some fun ideas.

 

 

  • Make Gingerbread Man Cookies. Easy to make and fun to decorate. Make a batch for your child's class.

 

 

  • Go check out Christmas lights. Every year we make hot cocoa and popcorn and pile in the car to check out everyone's decorations. Petaluma puts out a map of homes to look at on December 1st. There are a couple of crazy homes in Rohnert Park that are a must see. And don't forget Candy Cane Lane in Santa Rosa. Check out our Christmas Lights Article with a list of local decorated homes.

 

 

  • Donate old toys. Help your child sort through their old toys and donate them. Makes room for new Christmas toys too.

 

Christmas Eve Traditions:

  • Open 1 Christmas Eve Gift. The kids get to open 1 Christmas Eve gift; ours always contains the same thing: pair of new jammies, a book, a Christmas movie, hot cocoa, and a candy cane.

  • Make cookies for Santa. Leave them out with a note. Don't forget to take some bites!

  • Make reindeer food. Reindeer food = oats + sprinkles + glitter; sprinkle out on the front lawn.

  • Track Santa's progress. NORAD (starts Dec 1) is a popular site. Or ReindeerCam.

  • Draw names for Christmas jobs. Draw names for who will play Santa Claus on Christmas morning, who gets to pick the Christmas movie, who gets to read Twas the Night Before Christmas, etc.


Happy Holidays to all the wonderful families out there!!

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