Dickens and drag queens and dreidels (oh my!)

HOLIDAY GUIDE 2011: Guide your sleigh's runners towards these concerts, parties, bazaars, and bizarre

Is there a more festive event than a youth mariachi concert? We think not. (Dec. 16 at Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts)


HOLIDAY GUIDE 2011 You know what would be a good present to yourself this holiday season? Some ankle weights. Imagine all the almond cake and vegan eggnog you'll have shoved into your belly by this time next month, you soon-to-be-less-svelte snowy sexpot. Not into approximating a house arrest prisoner? How about pledging to run about to as many as the Bay's holiday hotspots as possible this year — you'll be a Kwanzaa cutie in no time a'tall. And with such jingling gems — from costume fairs to drag queens in Union Square and free chamber orchestra performances — you'll come out on the other side (2012) cut and cultured. 


Union Square iceskating rink Good news for nervous wall-grabbers and double axel spinners alike: the holiday ice rink is back at Union Square. Cue icicle lights, grand romantic gestures, and seizing onto strangers for suddenly-needed support.

Through Jan. 16. 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. except for when closed for private parties, $10 for 90-minute session. Union Square, SF. www.unionsquareicerink.com


Great Dickens Fair Before Harry Potter and Kate Middleton transformed young Americans into full-blown Anglophiles, a whole different conception of Britain flourished stateside: the Dickensian version, replete with scones and hot toddies. Walk off your burgeoning middle with a jaunt through the Cow Palace's temporary lamp-lit alleys.

Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., $25. Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva, SF. www.dickensfair.com


"The Best Time of Year" SF Symphony Christmas special concert The San Francisco Symphony and Chorus exhale classical Christmas picks and carols to a fully-bedecked Davies Symphony Hall.

Nov.30-Dec.1, 8 p.m., $25–$68. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF. (451) 864-6000, www.sfsymphony.org


Working Solutions holiday gift fair Showcasing San Francisco businesses assisted by Working Solutions' micro loan programs, this fair lets shoppers pick up everything from Bernal Heights-wrought knives to chunks of Mission-crafted chocolate.

Dec. 1, 5-8 p.m., free. 101 Second St., SF. (415) 655-5433, www.tmcworkingsolutions.org


The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes Trannyshack takes on the blue-haired wonder that was The Golden Girls in a glitzy, raucous yearly San Francisco tradition.

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays Dec. 1-23, 8 p.m., $25–$30. Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St., SF. www.trannyshack.com


A Christmas Carol There's no better way to get in the mistletoe mood than to watch old Ebenezer slowly thaw out his icy, pinched heart in the Deco glory of the ACT Theatre.

Dec. 1-24, 7 p.m., $20–$75. American Conservatory Theatre, 415 Geary, SF. (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org


Holiday tree-lighting ceremony Jack London Square becomes a Bay-side holiday crèche two hours with live reindeer, snow, wintry tunes, and a tree-lighting to launch the flurry of the holidays.

Dec. 2, 5-7 p.m., free. Jack London Square, Oakl. www.jacklondonsquare.com

Oakland-Alameda Estuary lighted yacht parade How can yachts parade, you ask? With style, we answer — East Bay boat owners trick out their vessels with festive lights visible from the shore.

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m., free. Visible from Jack London Square, Oakl. www.lightedyachtparade.com


Fantasy of Lights celebration 'Tis the season for brilliant night-time lights, and Union Street will not be an exception. Stately Victorians provide the glowing background for a holiday gathering featuring everything from a monkey to Santa and his elves.