Christmas music: It can conjure a host of different Proustian involuntary memories. For example, it reminds my wife of Black Friday hell—because one year she worked a holiday shift at a department store and had to listen to the stuff non-stop. For me, it’s sort of a mix of emotions. There are the good memories I have of performing Christmas tunes as a kid learning to play the saxophone. There’s also the constant memory of feeling like “the other”—having been raised Jewish in a predominantly Christian society.
But in the end, it’s just music. And we all have to face the fact that Christmas music (and maybe even those one or two Hanukkah songs out there) will be everywhere these next few weeks, whether we like it or not. Here’s a quick rundown of a few highlights—in case you want to hear some holiday tunes that aren’t completely lame.
The Yule Logs bring a mix of rocking—and funny—original holiday music to the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink ($8, 6 p.m. on Friday, December 12 at St. Rose of Lima Park, 701 K Street; http://downtownsac.org/events/ice-rink). Jazz vocalist Vivian Lee and her quartet put their own take on seasonal songs in an intimate setting ($15, 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 14, at Fire Rock Grill, 11275 Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova; www.facebook.com/VivianLeeQuartet).
The Vocal Art Ensemble (www.vae.trug.com) performs three shows at different venues over the weekend, blending choral music with world music. And, Close to You: A Live Tribute to the Carpenters performs holiday tunes in a nightclub in the style of the famous pop group ($15-$18, 7 p.m. at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J Street; www.carpenterstributegroup.com). Want more? Other good holiday musical events abound at the Crocker Art Museum, Harris Center for the Arts and the Mondavi Center. Be sure to look them up—and listen.
Even more holiday stuff right after this page break.
Folsom Historic Holiday Home Tour
Friday, December 12, through Saturday, December 13
Take a much-needed, mid-month break to tour nine historic sites with architectural styles from the 1850s through the Roaring 1920s. Sites include a church, the Folsom History Museum and Murer House, home to a boutique featuring finely crafted items. Music, entertainment and costumed greeters will be on hand throughout both days. This annual event benefits the Folsom Historical Society and Murer House Foundation. $20, 10 a.m. daily at the Folsom History Museum, 823 Sutter Street; www.folsomhistorymuseum.org
—Trina L. Drotar
Nubian Crafters of Sacramento Holiday Gift Expo
Saturday, December 13
You need not be of Nubian heritage to attend this gift expo in Oak Park. Although the hallowed Brickhouse Gallery has hosted many artists and events, this one is extremely timely and special. Shop for both Christmas and Kwanzaa gifts ranging from ornate jewelry to special accessories to adorn your house and more. Free, 10 a.m. at the Brickhouse Gallery, 2837 36th Street.
Pictures with Santa
Saturday, December 13
Santa seems to be everywhere (the mall, flea market, etc.) waiting for people to sit on his lap and take pictures. The best option is Harley-Davidson of Sacramento. Why? Because Harley-Davidson! We’re not saying that the Harley-Davidson Santa is a cooler, tougher Santa, but we’re not not
saying that either. Free, noon at Harley-Davidson of Sacramento, 1000 Arden Way, www.hdsac.com
Victorian Holiday Ball
Saturday, December 13
If you’re yearning to head back to the days where men and women alike donned fabulous clothes and had impeccable dance moves, look no further. For a brief couple of hours, Old Sacramento will be transformed back to the Victorian times and children will be able to experience the magic of the Pony Express. If you have some bills to mail or some letters to friends and family, bring ‘em with you as mail will be collected the old fashioned way (by horse and carriage). Free, 1 p.m. in Old Sacramento; www.historicoldsac.org
Christmas Jug Band
Wednesday, December 17
This group tours annually around Christmas time, and its comedic take on the Holidays always makes for a raucous evening—as evident on such fan favorites as “Santa Lost A Ho,” “Rudolph the Bald-Headed Reindeer,” and “Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit.” CJB’s latest compilation, Jugology: Greatest Near Misses (Best Of … )
is a great listen, but much better live. $20, 7:30 p.m. at the Palms Playhouse, 13 Main Street in Winters; www.christmasjugband.com