The year is drawing to a close, and for many that means the Christmas season is upon us. However, because this is San Francisco, if you're so inclined there are plenty of delightfully naughty (and a few nice) ways to celebrate. And hey, there are also some great non-holiday-themed events to take up your time if you'd rather say "bah humbug" to the entire thing.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20
CHRISTMAS BALLET: Smuin's The Christmas Ballet delivers a mix of both the old and new. The first act brings classics to the stage, while the second focuses on modern pieces like "White Christmas" and "Santa Baby." Running for over twenty years, it's a performance for the entire family.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, 8:00 p.m., $32 - $89
CHRISTMAS CAROL: Everyone loves that classic Christmas tale of redemption as seen through the very miserly eyes of Ebenezer Scrooge, and ACT's annual production is sure to catch the eyes of even the youngest family member. The kid-friendly production is the perfect family tradition, and reminds even the adults in the room that the holiday season is more about giving than receiving.
ACT, 30 Grant Avenue, 7:00 p.m., $35 - $105
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21
HOLIDAY MOVIE: Everyone has a favorite Christmas movie. It's a Wonderful Life and Die Hard frequently take the top spots, but the 1984 classic Gremlins is not to be overlooked. Thankfully, The Castro Theatre realizes that, and is pairing it with Trading Places for an alternative Christmas double feature that is not to be missed (as long as you don't mind sad stories about Santa getting stuck in the chimney, that is).
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, 7:00 p.m., $12
CHRISTMAS CABARET: Christmas cabarets are fun, but the producers of Dirty Christmas Cabaret: Naughty & Nice, Booze & Spice! are betting they're a bit more fun when they trend to the adult-content side of things. Starring a tone-deaf elf, Santa's new queer neighbors, and Jack Frost with a very personal performance problem, this night of live performance asks you to sit back, have a drink, and imagine how things would be if the North Pole was located in San Francisco.
PianoFight, 144 Taylor Street, 7:30 p.m., $23 - $40
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22
HOLIDAY R&B: Did you know Run DMC made a Christmas song? Well, they did. Check out classic hip hop and R&B in the holiday spirit at BFF.fm's Ho, Hoe, Heaux, Holiday Bish holiday party. Drink beers and shots while you nod your head to the holiday beat.
Pop's Bar, 2800 24th Street, 9:00 p.m., Free
STATIONARY CAROLING: Caroling is great, but why walk around the neighborhood singing to neighbors when you can sing to strangers and friends in a bar? The Rite Spot has you covered, offering up an old-fashioned caroling party complete with lyric books. Songs sung will range from the classic to more modern fare, so you can even bring your parents along.
Rite Spot Cafe, 2099 Folsom Street, 8:30 p.m., Free (tips encouraged)
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23
DARK EXPLORATION: For those hoping to shut out the entire Christmas season, you can't do much better than the Exploratorium's Tactile Dome. Crawl on your hands and knees through total darkness as you make your way through the maze-like structure designed by Nicolas Cage's dad in 1971 (for real). Christmas will never seem farther away.
Exploratorium, Pier 15, 6:15 p.m., $15
LED ZOO: For a psychedelic experience that will (probably) remind you all creatures dream of freedom, head on down to the San Francisco Zoo to check out the annual ZooLights. Expect Santa Claus, reindeer, and carolers all under bright holiday-themed lights arraigned throughout the 100 acre park.
SF Zoo, Sloat Boulevard, 5:00 p.m., $6.00 - $8.00
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24
GAY MEN'S CHORUS: The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus is an institution, and their 27th annual holiday performance at the Castro Theatre is not to be missed. The Home for the Holidays show is sure to make you both laugh and cry, and is the perfect way to celebrate the season while supporting what makes San Francisco great. While there are three show times on the 24th, they all always sell out — so get on those tickets.
Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m., $25 - $40
ICE SKATING: Keep moving and stay warm while you check out the Union Square Christmas tree by ice skating on the annual temporary downtown ice rink. It's the perfect all-ages date spot (that could be hot cocoa or whiskey in your thermos — we're not asking), and gives all involved an opportunity to wear their cutest winter gear.
Union Square, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., $6.00 - $12.00
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25
DAY AT THE MUSEUM: Not feeling Christmas with the folks, or just want to get out of the house and do something but everything seems closed? Head on over to the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The museum waives the price of admission every Christmas, and spending the day there has quickly become a tradition for many Bay Area families.
Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street, 11:00 - 4:00 p.m., Free
KOSHER COMEDY: Billing itself as "THE alternative Jewish Christmas event in San Francisco," the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy is ringing in its 24th year and invites you in for a bit of Jewish comedy served up in a Chinese restaurant. Attendees are seated at tables of ten, and food is definitely served. However, be warned, "The comedy is kosher but the food is not." The performance is better suited for adults than kids, but teenagers will fit right in.
New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave, 8:30 p.m., $49