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This Website Has the Ultimate List of Holiday Events in SF

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Guest post by Trevor McNeil, creator of Holidays in SF

I love the holidays. I love San Francisco. But both can be hard: The consumerism, stress, and family drama then the rent, more stress, and a feeling that the high you’re getting from this city is transitory or illusive (and I say that as a native San Franciscan).

My love of the Christmas Season stems from my mother’s – she always went overboard and always included people in her celebrations. When she passed almost a decade ago I took it upon myself to really “do” the holiday season in SF right. But I didn’t have any money. That said, I kept finding great free community events – tree lightings, etc. But also great events with free drinks, swag, arts ‘n’ crafts, live music etc. Some things like the Santa collection of Marlena’s have moved, some things like Santa Con have taken a life of their own.

The city ebbs and flows, but marking the holiday season (however you define that) I started compiling everything I could find in a google sheet. This year I turned it into a website. The goal is to build community. The goal is to shine a little light into the stress that is present in holding on to our dear city. My goal is to highlight free events, events that celebrate San Francisco’s diversity, and events that bring people together. I hope you enjoy it, help me add to it, and have a great holiday season!

Christmas, the Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanza, all-you-can-eat crab feeds – there’s a lot to love in the season. There’s also some variety. I like the sensory-Santas for kids with autism who might get overwhelmed with the usual noise/lights of a mall Santa. There’s a holiday cannabis give-away, free vodkas and latkes, Parol lantern-making workshops, and a zero-waste holiday craft fair.

Everyone seems to get into the season and while there’s a lot that’s free, most of the events that cost are basically fundraisers for great causes. For example there’s the famous cable-car caroling where families jump on a cable car (the ones with tires…) and go around to different senior homes to sing to them. How lovely is that? But there are also great LGBTQ extendend-family events, homeless care events, and interfaith gatherings (I saw one Methodist church celebrating “Muslim holidays” in December since Ramadan and Eid were so early this year). Just like the city can bring out great love and great eyerolls/hand wringing, the holidays can be times of stress and crass consumption but also great progressive community-building and kindness. It can only help to focus on the latter once and while: artificially, I choose the holidays for such a pick-me-up.

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