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Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

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Wetaskiwin, Canada
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Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

Ok let me try this again... This will be our first Christmas away from home. Any suggestions on how to keep the holiday spirit high for a family of 5 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day while in San Francisco? I'm getting nervous that I won't be able to pull this off.... A Christmas holiday.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

that is a different question as I read it from the previous one. As you will see the more info you proved the better we can help .

Christmas for us over the holidays is shopping with Santa in union Square. Plenty of places where Santa appears, ice skating in one of the rinks (Union sq or Embarcadero ) watching a show - normally the Nutcracker and for visitors a nice brunch on Christmas Day at the. Palace . There are other shows as well around town

http://events.sfgate.com/search?cat=1089&city=San+Francisco&st=event

www.sfpalace.com/san-francisco-holiday-events

We have spent a few Christmases away from home but they were at a nice hotel where there was something going on and Santa was there but as our boys are older it is a little less frantic

Where are you staying ?

Edited: 23 November 2013, 11:03
San Francisco
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2. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

Welcome to TA and the Forums!

It would be helpful to know where you are coming from ... ?

Whether Christmas in San Francisco can rival what you're used to at home is hard to say when we can't compare it to what you're used to. However, I think Christmas in cities is a blast. I've spent a number of holiday seasons in NYC and DC (not to mention SF) and I love to see a city get decked out for the holiday. We don't get snow however, so no "white Christmas" here.

belo has mentioned many of these but in no particular order:

1. Ice Skating at Union Square or Embarcadero Center

2. Hotels do a fabulous job of decorating their lobbies. The Fairmont on Nob Hill has an enormous gingerbread house. The atrium lobby at the Hyatt Regency has a great display, so does the Palace Hotel.

3. SPCA at Macy's. Macy's hosts the SF/SPCA at Christmas and adoptable kittens (and some puppies) romp in specially designed windows during Macy's opening hours. While you're probably not looking for a new addition to the family, the SPCA has adoption staff on site and the animals can be adopted directly from there. "Holiday Windows" is a long standing tradition at the SF/SPCA.

4. Other department store windows. Neimans (across the street from Macy's) has a great display. All stores generally pull out the stops with their holiday window displays.

5. Big Christmas trees -- in addition to the one at Union Square there are trees at Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square.

6. SF Ballet's Nutcracker. World class company, their Nutcracker production is always very popular. You may find discounted tickets at Goldstar.

7. SF Symphony has fun Christmas programs as well including "Deck the Hall," "Colors of Christmas" and more sfsymphony.org/Buy-Tickets/…12

8. Grace Cathedral has many Christmas programs also: gracecathedral.org/visit/…

9. Union Street merchants decorate the trees that line the street with small white lights which turns the street into a magical fairyland of light and (some) Victorian buildings.

If you give us a bit more specifics about what you're looking for our response can be a bit more targeted.

San Diego
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3. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

Hi TerrinessP,

In your profile there is a place to put in your home location.

It will then appear under your screen name so folks will know if you are coming from a large city/small town/country other than the USA which might have different customs etc.

It will help folks give you better advice to know where you live.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

As a family away from home at Christmas, I'm sure it will be a different experience than you're used to. Different doesn't mean bad, though, and I'm guessing it will be one of the most memorable Christmases you've ever had. Imo, part of being in a family is building good memories with each other and passing those memories and values along to the kids.

I can tell you that as much as I wanted new toys and the typical Christmas stuff as a kid, those things break and are outgrown and other things make more difference in the long run. It sounds like you're giving the family the gift of time together and new experiences which is something even better.

Why not focus on things that the family will enjoy. White Dahlia gave a bunch of great ideas to start.

If Christmas is a religious holiday to you, then perhaps look at the local branches of that religion. If you have other positive values (peace, nature, compassion) that you want to express then find activities that will express those.

Christmas away for the first time is a challenge since you might not have the standard traditions to fall back on. But it's an opportunity to express those traditions in a different way which might even be more meaningful because it's not the same thing again this year.

Have a great trip and let us know how it went and what we can do to help you plan a great, memorable Christmas that works for what you want to get from it.

Wetaskiwin, Canada
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5. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

Sorry! Still new to using the forums. Ive updated my profile, hopefully it gives a little more background on where Im coming from! Thanks for the feedback on helping me get going with this!

San Francisco
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6. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

So being from Canada I'm going to guess that a "white Christmas" isn't required (we get many Aussies who are looking to experience snow at the holiday).

You mentioned family of 5. So 2 adults and 3 kids? What are the ages and genders of the kids? Do you enjoy walking and are you fairly mobile?

The more information you provide us about your travel group, your lodging budget, how long you intend on staying, what kinds of things you like to do, etc. the more help we can be. If you're just here Christmas Eve and Christmas Day you won't have a lot of time to see things and, of course, stores will mostly be closed on Christmas Day.

Wetaskiwin, Canada
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7. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

A little more background. We're coming from a small city in central Alberta, Canada. where it snows, and gets icy and stays below 32F for about 6 months out of the year. I dont mind having a brown Christmas, any thing above the freezing mark is glorious!! Im coming with my 3 older children aged 20, 17, 15 and a 5 year old. Family time and making memories is what we'll be doing. My 17 year old is also turning 18 on Christmas Eve, so something special with him in mind is also what im looking for. All suggestions thus far are awesome! thank you!!

Wetaskiwin, Canada
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8. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

My 15 year old is the my only daughter. We already have a hotel booked in South of Market area. Well be in San Francisco for 5 days, dec 23-28. I have booked a tour to Muir Woods, Alkatraz, at the beginning and end of our visit. the in between days i have the SF City pass and hop on hop off passes.. so transportation to popular areas shouldnt be much of an issue

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

What fun. With the older kids it sounds like maybe they can be pretty self sufficient and even help with the younger.

If it were me, I'd probably go to a Carol service or other thing at Grace cathedral for a "religion lite" experience perhaps on Christmas eve. It's in a beautiful location on top of Nob Hill and it's a beautiful building and the doors are replicas of the baptistry in Florence. …wikipedia.org/wiki/…_San_Francisco

I'd also hope for clear and sunny weather on Christmas day as it can be glorious when it happens (it could be rain, though). I'm fond of walking around the Golden Gate Park, the presidio, chrissy field on days like Christmas since there are lots of people around relaxing and enjoying the outdoors and they're often in happy moods and good spirits. Bring along snacks and things to eat (perhaps a picnic) to keep the blood sugar up and prevent fights from cranky, tired, hungry people. Even adults get cantankerous when tired and hungry. Stop and smell the roses (both literally and figuratively and there is a rose garden in the park).

If you're looking to walk and explore parts of the city, there are sfcityguides.org tours for free. There are probably fewer or none on Christmas Day, though. If you like urban hiking and seeing interesting neighborhoods perhaps look at the book Stairway Walks in San Francisco add it has interesting explorations of stairways and less known street and paths. The Moraga tiled steps to Grand View park seem to be becoming more popular with some people visiting.

San Francisco
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10. Re: Christmas 2013 in San Francisco

<<We already have a hotel booked in South of Market area.>>

Could you tell us the name of it? There are some parts of South of Market that I would not recommend. There are some motels along 9th Street that, while the lodgings themselves look OK, the general area is not.

What is your lodging budget?