Holiday events: tree lightings, fairs, and more 

click to enlarge Bethlehem AD
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  • The little town of Bethlehem is brought to life at an outdoor staging of the Christmas story, where people can mix and mingle with Roman centurions and wise men and visit the baby in the manger.
Pier 39 Tree Lighting Celebration: Visits from Disney characters and choral performances accompany the lighting of a 60-foot tree at 6 p.m. both days. Noon to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 23-Nov. 24, free. Pier 39, Beach Street at The Embarcadero, S.F., www.pier39.com

Great Dickens Christmas Fair: The one-of-a-kind event, in its 35th season, showcases more than 3 acres of exhibition halls transformed into a facsimile of Victorian London circa 1865. Opens Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays and Nov. 29; closes Dec. 22, $12-$30. Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City, www.dickensfair.com

Bill Graham Menorah: Andy David, the Israeli consul general, and Lori Starr, director of the Contemporary Jewish Museum, preside over the first night of candle-lighting at the annual Hanukkah celebration. 5 p.m. Nov. 27 (and daily through Dec. 4), free. Union Square, Geary and Powell streets, S.F., www.billgrahammenorah.com

’Tis the Season for Science: A reindeer rendezvous — an opportunity to observe live caribou — is among the special winter activities presented for the holidays. Daily, Nov. 27-Jan. 5, $19.95-$29.95. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, S.F., www.calacademy.org

SPCA Holiday Windows: The San Francisco SPCA launches its 26th event, during which adorable adoptable cats and dogs will grace Macy’s storefront windows. 5 p.m. Nov. 22 launch, ends Jan. 5, free. Macy’s, Stockton and O’Farrell streets, S.F., http://www.sfspca.org/support/events/macys-holiday-windows

Hanukkah Candle-lighting: The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco celebrates the holiday of lights commemorating the Jews’ defeat of the Greeks in ancient times. 4:30 p.m. Nov. 27-Dec. 4, except not Nov. 28 or Nov. 30, free. Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S.F., jccsf.org/Hanukkah

Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland: In its 34th year, the event includes a marketplace with arts and crafts, snow sledding, a tree-lighting ceremony and a parade at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 29 beginning at Fourth and E streets. Noon to 8 p.m. Nov. 29, 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 30, free. Fourth Street, San Rafael, www.downtownsanrafael

Tea Under the Tree: A traditionally inspired holiday tea service for adults and children is offered on the hotel’s winter wonderland-themed mezzanine. Opens Nov. 29, 1 to 4 p.m. Fridays-Sundays, closes Dec. 22, $30-$60. Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell St., S.F., www.sirfrancisdrake.com

Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting: The 49th annual tradition includes performances by Yuletide Carolers, Kevin Toqe and Rocketship Radio. The tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. features TV meteorologist Christina Loren and Santa. 4 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29, free. Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St., S.F., www.ghirardellisq.com

Macy’s Christmas Tree Lighting: Judith Hill, finalist from “The Voice”; the S.F. Boy’s Choir; and the Glide Ensemble entertain before the 24th annual lighting of the 80-foot tree. 6 p.m. Nov. 29, free. Union Square, Powell and Geary streets, S.F., http://www.unionsquareshop.com/TreeLightingUnionSquare.html

Family Hanukkah Celebration: The event includes wine, food, music, dancing and lighting of candles. 4 p.m. Dec. 1, $5-$20. Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S.F., jccsf.org/Hanukkah

Holiday Tea: The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society hosts a festive high tea in the gilded Belle Epoque counting room at The Old Mint. Noon and 3 p.m. Dec. 4, $75-$85. 88 Fifth St., S.F., www.sfhistory.org

Christmas at Kohl Boutique: The Mercy High School Alumnae Association presents a holiday boutique featuring treasures from some 60 vendors, the decorated Kohl Mansion, music and refreshments. 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4, $10. Kohl Mansion, 2750 Adeline Drive, Burlingame, http://www.mercyhsb.com/page.cfm?p=357

Jingle and Mingle: Children of Shelter — an organization serving homeless children — hosts its annual benefit, featuring cocktails, hors d’ oeuvres and the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind designer wreaths. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5, $250 and up. Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, Presidio, S.F., http://www.childrenofshelters.org

Jack London Square Tree Lighting: Music, live reindeer, holiday parade float previews, characters — including Santa at 5:15 p.m. — and tap-dancing holiday trees precede the official 7:15 p.m. tree-lighting event. 5 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, free. Broadway and Embarcadero, Oakland, www.jacklondonsquare.com/events.php

Half Moon Bay Night of Lights: Festivities include caroling, roasted chestnuts, eggnog and a tree-lighting ceremony in Mac Dutra Park followed by a parade of lights. 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 6, free. Main and Kelly streets, Half Moon Bay, www.halfmoonbaychamber.org

Holiday Crafts Day: The family day of make-and-take crafts, ideal for seasonal decorations and gifts, includes a 2 p.m. performance of the Daniel Da Vinci Comedy Circus Show. 10 a.m. Dec. 7, $3 and up. Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, S.F., www.randallmuseum.org

Holiday Traditions from Around the World: The San Mateo County History Museum invites families to make Victorian tree treasures at the craft event. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7, free. 2200 Broadway, Redwood City, www.historysmc.org

Muir Beach Quilters’ Arts Fair: The juried show features arts and crafts as well as fun for children in a gingerbread attic and a gourmet buffet. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 8, free. Muir Beach Community Center, 19 Seascape Drive, Muir Beach, www.muirbeach.com/quiltersfair/index.html

Bazaar Bizarre: The locally produced arts and crafts show, in its sixth year, hosts a holiday edition featuring quality handmade goods, DIY workshops and a raffle. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7-8, free. Concourse Exhibition Center, East Hall, 620 Seventh St., S.F., www.bazaarbizarre.org

Union Street Fantasy of Lights: Festivities include the Snow Queen leading a charity toy drive, Santa and his elves, face painting, cupcake decorating, reindeer and the glittering Cudworth Mansion. 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7, free. Union Street between Van Ness Avenue and Steiner Street, S.F., www.unionstreetsf.com

Old Time Maritime Christmas: Visitors will experience Christmas in the year 1901, and they can meet and talk with captains and crews aboard historic ships. Lamplit guided tours leave every 20 minutes from the entrance to Hyde Street Pier. 6 to 7:40 p.m. Dec. 14, free, reservations required. Hyde Street Pier, S.F., (415) 447-5000

Bethlehem A.D.: The little town of Bethlehem is brought to life at an outdoor staging of the Christmas story, where people can mix and mingle with Roman centurions and wise men and visit the baby in the manger. 6 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 21-23, free. 1305 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, www.bethlehemad.com

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