Happy Holidays! Local festivities
Be Kind 4 simple ways
COVID & Kids Expert advice Global Citizens Teach unity
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Every Issue 6
Cooking with Kids Squash & Shells
Windsor at the Holidays Not Your Everyday Gingerbread House
Features 10 COVID & Kids Who should and shouldn’t get the vaccine.
12 Keep It Light How to create peaceful holiday celebrations.
14 Multiculti Holidays Learn about different traditions.
Bits and Pieces
Floating Colors Little Naturalists
16 All in One Boat
Scrooge Lookin’ for Love
Teach kids to become global citizens.
Ugly Critters for the Win
18 Pack Your Bags Tips for hassle-free travel with kids.
20 Stop Stinkin’ Thinkin’
26 Calendar of Events 32 Humor Break Holidaze Happy
How to curb the negative influence of social media.
22 Kindness for Kids Advice for children on how to be a good person.
8 7 4 SonomaFamilyLife
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
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ight in the darkness. It’s the focus of many spiritual traditions during this time of year. Christina Sharon Gowan Katz explores Publisher/Editor Sharon@family-life.us some of those celebrations—and offers a great latke recipe to boot— in “Multiculti Holidays” (page 14). Kindness is also in the December spotlight. Nuanprang Snitbhan, a clinical psychologist and author, teaches children what it really means to be kind. Hint: It’s not just about being nice. It also requires responsibility, courage, empathy, and compassion. Children can read her words of wisdom in “Kindness for Kids” (page 22).
As we cultivate compassion and kindness we may feel more connection to our fellow humans, no matter where they live. Constanze Niedermaier offers a pint-sized explanation of this perspective, and the idea of global citizenship, in “All in One Boat” (page 16). No matter how or what we celebrate, the isolation of the last couple of years has most of us itching to do something with other people. Thanks to growing vaccination rates, in-person activities are slowly coming back. Find a slew of them in our Calendar of Events (page 26). Happy Holidays!
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Cooking with Kids
Squash & Shells A Healthy Version of an Old Favorite
By America’s Test Kitchen
utternut squash and pasta have gotten along for years (ravioli, anyone?), so we thought we’d deconstruct the often butter-coated duo in a healthier way, without skimping on the decadence. We started with an aromatic base full of pepper flakes, garlic, and lots of leeks (even the often-thrown-awayyet-nutrient-rich green parts), then pressure-cooked our pasta with lots of little gem-size pieces of butternut squash. To balance the rich aspect of this sauce, we contrasted with a healthy amount of lemon zest and fresh tarragon. The savory, subtle anise flavor of tarragon was a surprise alternative to the more common match of butternut squash and sage. Arranging creamy burrata on top turned this dish into a more sophisticated and luxurious meal. If using traditional pasta, decrease the water to 1 cup. Do not substitute other pasta shapes in this recipe. If burrata is unavailable, substitute fresh mozzarella. ¶ Reprinted, with permission, from Healthy & Delicious: Inspired Meals with a World of Flavor (America’s Test Kitchen, 2021), americastestkitchen.com.
Shells with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and Burrata 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound leeks, halved length-wise, sliced 1-inch thick, and washed thoroughly 4 garlic cloves, minced ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth 2 cups water 1 pound 100 percent whole-wheat medium pasta shells 1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces (5 cups) ¾ teaspoon table salt 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided, plus 1 tablespoon juice 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon, divided 8 ounces burrata cheese, room temperature ¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts 1. Using highest sauté function, heat oil in Instant Pot until shimmering. Add leeks and cook until softened
and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and water, scraping up any browned bits, then stir in pasta, squash, and salt. 2. Lock lid into place and close pressure-release valve. Select high pressure-cook function and cook for 6 minutes. Turn off Instant Pot and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you. 3. Stir shells and sauce to combine. Partially cover pot and let sit until shells are tender and sauce is thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest and juice and 1 tablespoon tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pasta to serving platter. 4. Cut burrata into rough 1 ½-inch pieces, collecting creamy liquid. Arrange burrata on top of pasta and drizzle with creamy liquid. Sprinkle with walnuts, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon. Serve.
Bits & Pieces
Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove
Windsor at the Holidays
wo hundred trees, all decorated for Christmas. That’s what winter visitors to the Town Green in Windsor will discover. And they’ll see playful statues of various characters in the Peanuts gang, too. Both are part of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove, an annual event that draws thousands of people ever year. Local businesses, families, and schools spruce up the trees; colorful lighting displays complete the festive decorations. Check it out December 2–31. For more information, go to people4parkswindsor.org. ¶
Not Your Everyday Gingerbread House
Gingerbread Doghouse Workshop
ecember brings houses and trees glimmering with holiday lights. In Petaluma, even the boats get dressed up for the occasion, their twinkling colors reflected in the waters of the Petaluma River. See the display of decorated vessels—from yachts to kayaks to one-person paddle boards—at the free Lighted Boat Parade at the Petaluma Turning Basin in Petaluma on December 11, 6:30–7:30 p.m. Find out more at visitpetaluma.com. ¶
he little red house atop which Snoopy sleeps and daydreams is almost as famous as the dog himself. And it’s this humble abode that kids will reconstruct at the Gingerbread Doghouse Workshop at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Their gingerbread creations will even include a little marshmallow Snoopy, which will be placed—where else?— but on top of the doghouse roof. There will be two workshops, one for pre-K and older on December 11, 10 a.m.–noon, and another for grades kindergarten and up on December 12, 1–4 p.m. Admission is $35 per child. Spots fill up quickly; register at schulzmuseum.org. ¶
Lighted Boat Parade
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
hat animals walk among the redwoods? This is one of the questions that will be answered at the Little Parkies: Marvelous Mammals program. This half-day Sonoma County Regional Parks program will use nature games, hands-on learning activities, and crafts to teach kids ages 4–6 about the wildlife at Riverfront Regional Park in Healdsburg. The event will be held at the park on December 18, 9 a.m.–noon, and costs $15 per family of four ($17 for those who are not residents of Sonoma County). Registration is required; go to tinyurl.com/3ucw5z6a. ¶
Scrooge Lookin’ for Love Scrooge in Love
Foothill Regional Park
harles Dickens’s tale The Christmas Carol is a holiday classic, with several adaptations for film and stage. Each tells the story of Scrooge, a miser who, after visits from four ghosts, discovers his humanity and the power of forgiveness. The play Scrooge In Love imagines the former curmudgeon one year after his redemption, when the ghosts of past, present, and future visit him once again. But this time the apparitions want the old man to discover romantic love. Local players will perform the comedy Fridays—Sundays, December 3–19, at Sixth Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa. Shows will be at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $22–$38 and may be purchased at 6thstreetplayhouse.com. ¶
Ugly Critters for the Win
umans generally like their animals cute and cuddly. But Sonoma County Regional Parks staff think that the not-so-cute critters are pretty interesting, too. At the Ugliest Animal Countdown, kids can participate in a funny roast of the least attractive animals in Sonoma County, and learn why, despite their appearances, they are important to the ecosystem. This free event will be held on December 4, 10 a.m.– noon, at Foothill Regional Park in Windsor. Parking is $7. Go to tinyurl.com/9rn296t6 to learn more. ¶
COVID & Kids Get the Facts About the COVID-19 Vaccine UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals answer parents’ questions about the vaccine. Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine? Which one? Yes, if your child is at least 5 years of age. Currently, the only vaccine option for kids is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (also known by its brand name, Comirnaty). My child is under 5. When can younger kids get vaccinated? Clinical trials are currently evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in children as young as 6 months. These trials must be completed and reviewed before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can determine whether the vaccines are safe and effective for younger kids. 10 SonomaFamilyLife
In the meantime, younger kids should continue taking precautions, such as wearing a mask (ages 2+), avoiding crowds (particularly indoors), and maintaining a safe distance from anyone not in their household. Making sure older kids and adults in the home get vaccinated also protects children from the virus. Who shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine?
We don’t recommend giving pain relief medication before the shot to prevent side effects. minutes after getting their injection, instead of the 15 minutes that most people are asked to wait. There are some reasons for delaying your child’s vaccination, such as the following circumstances: • Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should wait until the symptoms have resolved and self-isolation is no longer required.
Anyone who’s had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of a COVID vaccine—or to any of its ingredients—shouldn’t get that type of vaccine.
• Kids who recently had COVID-19 and were treated with antibody-based therapies (such as monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma) should wait 90 days after treatment.
Children who have allergies—such as to pollen, specific medications, or pet dander—should get the vaccine when they’re eligible but should remain at the vaccination site for 30
• People diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome should wait until they are recovered and at least 90 days have passed since their diagnosis.
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
• People with a known COVID-19 exposure should wait until their quarantine is over. However, if they live in a group setting, such as a homeless shelter, they may be vaccinated during the quarantine period. What side effects might my child have from the vaccine? Adolescents appear to experience side effects similar to those of adults. Some have no side effects, while others develop one or more of the following: • Pain at the injection site • Fatigue • Headache • Fever • Muscle or joint pain
As with adults, kids are more likely to have side effects after the second dose, and the symptoms typically fade within a day or two. If your child is uncomfortable after getting the vaccine, it’s fine to give a dose
Clinical trials are currently evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in children as young as 6 months. of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. We don’t recommend giving pain relief medication before the shot to prevent side effects. Does my fully vaccinated child need to continue taking precautions?
The rapid spread of the Delta variant led many public health agencies to update their guidance on this issue. The California Department of Public Health currently advises everyone to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends indoor masking in areas of “substantial or high transmission.” Masks continue to be mandatory in health care facilities and on public transportation, such as planes and buses. ¶ More information is available on the California Department of Public Health website and the CDC website. Reprinted, with permission, from ucsfbenioffchildrens.org.
LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUTH VACCINES Clinics hosted in partnership between County of Sonoma, Sonoma County Office of Education, and local school districts
December 2, 2021 to January 1, 2022
Learn more at scoe.org/vaccines December 2021
Parents, guardians, and youth interested to learn more about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to visit our website
COVID-19 vaccine clinics are currently available at school sites around Sonoma County for students ages 5+ and their families SonomaFamilyLife 11
don’t feel guilty if you can’t commit to every Zoom party or virtual fundraiser. 3. Let go of Martha. One of the most stress-relieving things you can do at the holidays is set the bar a little lower. Martha Stewart is an elegant hostess, but you don’t have to do everything the way she would to have a beautiful season. Embrace simpler
Keep It Light 10 Ways to Simplify the Season
By Janeen Lewis
t’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but research confirms a different reality: Most Americans have elevated stress levels during the holiday season. And with the challenges of the last two years, instead of being full of good tidings and cheer, families may feel drained of peace. Even if you are staying in or are paring down your family festivities this year, keeping things as light and easy as possible will make the end of the year more enjoyable. Here are ten tips that will simplify the season and make it merry and bright. 1. Focus on your reason for the season. Why are you celebrating? Is it for spiritual reasons? Maybe you want to focus on family and friends or enjoy the spirit of giving during the holidays. Keep what is most important about the holidays at the center of your celebration. Reconsider any task or commitment that takes your time, energy, enjoyment, or finances away from your reason for celebrating. 12 SonomaFamilyLife
2. Set firm boundaries around your time. Even during a year in which gatherings may be fewer, it’s easy to get caught up in organizing donations, planning for your family celebration, or connecting virtually with clubs and associates. This year, pick one project you want to volunteer your time to, or pick a variety of simple acts of kindness. Spend time with your friends and loved ones, but
Keep what is most important about the holidays at the center of your celebration. decorations, meals, and gift-giving than you have in the past. If you let go of expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised. 4. Farm out your to-do list. Make a to-do list of what you want to accomplish. If you find that it is too long, consider delegating some of the items. Have groceries delivered or use curbside pick-up, and buy gifts online. Grocery stores also have a plethora of pre-packaged holiday foods that make delicious sides, cutting down on your time in the kitchen. Buy desserts from your local bakery. No time to clean the house? Hire a cleaning service just for the holiday season or ask for this service as a gift for a later time. 5. Gift others with experiences. Shopping at the holidays can be time-consuming and nerve-wracking, even if you shop online. If you don’t start early, coveted items sell out, leaving you scrambling for another gift. Ask those you give gifts to if there is an experience they would like to have. Tickets to the theater? Family passes
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
to an amusement park or aquarium? A relaxing day at the spa? 6. Set a holiday tea time. Herbal teas help with anxiety and stress. In keeping with the holiday spirit, sip some calming peppermint tea, or try chamomile, lemon balm, or passionflower. 7. Take a hike. One way to tell your stress to take a hike might be to actually take one yourself. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a happier, more relaxed mood. 8. Reconnect with long lost friends and relatives. Meet with an old friend you haven’t talked to for years, and catch up. Take some time off and visit relatives you miss seeing on a regular basis. If you are staying
home this holiday season, connect via Zoom or FaceTime. Surrounding yourself with people you enjoy is powerful when you want to combat holiday stress.
Christmas card with cash or a gift card to a financially struggling college student or elderly person. Fill up Little Free Libraries with gently used books.
9. Do something kind for someone else. You don’t have to overcommit yourself to a charity
10. Celebrate memories more than material possessions. Material gifts are nice, but most of us quickly forget gifts we have received in past years. The thing that we remember the most are the memories we make with friends and family. At the end of another unusual year, make some happy memories this holiday season and bid stress good-bye. ¶
If you let go of expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised. or fundraiser to be kind. Small random acts of kindness can make someone’s day. Let someone in front of you at the supermarket line or let someone pull in front of your car at the parking lot. Send an anonymous
Janeen Lewis is a freelance journalist, teacher, and mom. She has been published in several parenting publications and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic.
WINTER CLASSES FOR KIDS DECEMBER 11–30 In-Person and Online Options Art, Cartooning, Coding, Cooking, LEGO Animation, Winter-themed Science, and more! REGISTER TODAY! ONLINE: schulzmuseum.org/classes-camps PHONE: (707) 284–1272 FEE ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE 2301 Hardies Lane Santa Rosa, California 95403 (707) 579-4452 schulzmuseum.org
3 large eggs 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon grated onions 1 ¼ teaspoons salt Tips: Wrap grated potatoes in a clean dishtowel and squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can. You may also substitute up to a half cup of another grated root vegetable for potatoes. If so, squeeze the moisture out of them, as well.
Multiculti Holidays Celebrating Light, Joy, and Good Food
By Christina Katz
hile you are gathering everyone together for holiday adventures, why not introduce some new cultural experiences? While traditions can be comforting during the darker months, introducing variety into your holiday routines can spice up future memories. pancakes, your family is in for a treat! Latkes are traditional fare during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. The story of Hanukkah involves lantern oil miraculously lasting much longer than expected, which is why oil-centric foods are featured throughout the eight days and nights of this holiday.
1. Carry some green into the gloom. Most people are familiar with the Christmas tradition of bringing cut trees and evergreen branches into homes as a symbol of the anticipation of earth’s re-greening after winter. Why not visit a tree farm this year, even if you have a plastic tree? You could always bring home a less-than-perfect tree and deconstruct it into boughs to deck your halls.
¼-inch vegetable oil for frying
2. Try a taste of Hanukkah. If you have never made fresh potato
2 cups coarsely grated baking potatoes, peeled
Potato Latke Recipe
Directions: Put a ¼-inch layer of frying oil in a flat skillet over medium-high heat. Mix all the prepared ingredients together. Drop batter into oil in 3-inch cakes about ¼-inch thick. Fry until browned on the bottom then flip and repeat browning. If oil starts to scorch, turn it down. Pancakes should be crisp and can be kept warm in an oven on the lowest setting. Place paper towels between layers to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve with organic applesauce and high-quality sour cream. Makes 12 latkes. 3. Knock on the door of enlightenment. Teaching your children how to meditate may be the single-best thing you can do to help them manage stress throughout their lives. In Japan every December 8, Buddhists celebrate the moment when the Buddha reached enlightenment. This holy day is typically observed quietly with chanting and meditation. Give meditation a try at home. Invite your kids to sit on the ground with legs comfortably crossed, back straight, eyes closed, and attention gently focused on the space just above the center of the eyebrows. Use the image of the famous Bodhi (fig) tree to help
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
children imagine that they have roots reaching down from the base of their spines and branches reaching up into the sky from the top of their heads. Try “sitting like a tree” as a family for just five or ten minutes. I think most parents would agree that any amount of time holding completely still would constitute a small holiday miracle. 4. Banish some darkness from the world. In India, Diwali, a five-day holiday of lights, usually happens in the middle of autumn, but the generous spirit of this holiday is perfect for families to imitate throughout December. Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. Coming up with a way to celebrate this holiday gives families a unique opportunity
to discuss real suffering throughout the world. When approached with a problem-solving slant, even very young children can feel inspired to help other children who lack adequate food, clothing, or shelter. Help kids
If you have never made fresh potato pancakes, your family is in for a treat! understand that some of the most concerning problems can be soothed when approached with a helpful, compassionate attitude. 5. Sparkle up your feast. Most winter holidays and festivals have two things in common: lighting up the
space and feasting. Why not create a focus on both of these traditions on the Winter Solstice, the shortest, darkest day of the year? Choose one spot in your home, like a fireplace hearth, and gather all of your candles around it for an impactful display. Or scatter little lights and candles throughout a room or even throughout an entire floor of your home. When it’s time to eat, turn off most of the lights inside and enjoy your evening meals in the glimmer. Nothing turns up the winter magic like relaxing into the almost darkness. Christina Katz wants to live in a world where all cultures and traditions are embraced and enjoyed. You can learn more about her at ChristinaKatz.com.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
HILARIOUS CHRISTMAS CLASSIC
December 10–19 ADMISSION: ADULT $25 • SENIOR 65+ $20 • STUDENT W/ID $10
In this hilarious Christmas classic, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids—probably the most inventively awful kids in history. Bring the whole family to enjoy the mayhem (and the fun) when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head-on! Told from a child’s point of view, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is funny, irreverent, and will fill you and your family with true holiday spirit.
115 North Street • Healdsburg www.raventheater.org www.sonomafamilylife.com
someone in a cabin became ill with an infectious disease? Aboard this giant ship, what the people of one cabin do affects everyone else on board, in both good and bad ways. The same is true for each country in the world. Countries can no longer pretend that what happens elsewhere in the world doesn’t affect them.
All in One Boat A Kids’ Guide to Global Citizenship
By Constanze Niedermaier
wise man from Singapore1 compared the countries of the world with a cruise ship. He said that in the past people lived in 193 different “boats”—that’s how many countries there are in the 2 world. Each boat had a captain and crew who set the rules and made sure their boat didn’t collide with others. Now that the world has become so connected and its countries so dependent on each other, it is as if the people from the 193 countries live in one big boat with 193 different cabins. Everyone on board must learn to get along. They have to agree on the direction the ship is heading, and they must agree not to destroy the boat they all share. Think about what would happen if a few cabins locked their doors and refused to communicate with everyone else. What if those cabins had the keys for the kitchen, fuel for the engines, or medical supplies? What if the people in one cabin decided to cook on open fires? What if people in others started fighting with each other? What if residents 16 SonomaFamilyLife
Countries can no longer pretend that what happens elsewhere in the world doesn’t affect them. of one cabin poured toxic waste in the ship’s water supply? What if
The world is interconnected: its economies, currencies, food supplies, and natural resources. International alliances such as the United Nations, NATO, and the
Be respectful and mindful of every person and animal, and the environment. Hague Convention demand that countries help each other if there is a war. Diseases travel around the globe faster than they might be detected. Through the Internet, people all over the world get real-time information about what is happening in other countries. And damage to the environment affects all of us. We need to remember that we are all in one boat, and we mustn’t destroy it. Global Citizen Being global citizens means being citizens of the world who know that they are part of one community. It means being aware that everything they do has an impact on the whole planet and all its people. Global citizens, no matter their age, know that they can make a difference in the world!
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
What You Can Do Learn as much as you can about the world and its challenges. Be respectful and mindful of every person and animal, and the environment. Discuss with your friends what it means to be a global citizen and how all of you can join to make the world a better place. ¶ Notes Kishore Mahbubani, The Great Convergence (Public Affairs, Perseus Book Company: 2013). 1
Numbers of countries in the world differ: There are 196 countries; the United Nations has 193 members; and the United States officially recognizes 195 countries. 2
Bring the whole family to Weill Hall for musical afternoons with the Symphony! Gershwin’s Magic Key Sunday, January 23 – 3 pm Bobby Rogers, conductor; Classical Kids Live!
A poor newspaper boy meets George Gershwin on the streets of New York. While the orchestra performs 20 of Gershwin’s hits like I Got Rhythm and Rhapsody in Blue, the boy discovers the vast melting pot of American music and his own musical potential.
Francesco at Bat Sunday, April 3 – 3 pm Francesco Lecce-Chong, conductor
Coach Francesco strikes up the orchestra with his bat(on) for this fun, interactive concert. Sing along with Take Me Out to the Ballgame and discover how musicians train like athletes. Wear a sports jersey and show your team spirit!
Sources agenda.weforum.org/2015/01/ idea-of-a-nation-state-past-itssell-by-date un.org/esa/ffd/ffd3/blog/ sailing-on-the-same-boat.html
Classical Rocks! Sunday, May 1 – 3 pm
Reprinted, with permission, from Whyzz: 33 Family Conversations about Global Challenges by Constanze Niedermaier (Whyzz, 2021), whyzz.com. Constanze Niedermaier is the mother of two beautiful, curious kids and the founder and CEO of Whyzz, a media company that provides parents with tools for honest family conversations. Constanze is a refugee, immigrant, mom, wife, animal lover, award-winning author, and global citizen. She started Whyzz when her first daughter was born. She realized that she needed creative tools to answer her little girl’s questions and raise a curious, global-minded child of the 21st century. Her approach to parenting can be best described as “Passport Parenting,” which means she aspires for her family to explore the world together and to understand how everything in it is interconnected.
Bobby Rogers, conductor; Matthew Worth, baritone
Excerpts of masterful works by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Dvořák, Mozart, Rossini and more will delight and intrigue young music lovers, as they meet the orchestra and its instruments. They may even recognize music that has crossed over into pop culture.
Instrument Petting Zoo begins one hour before each performance. 3-concert package $54 / adult, $27 / child (age 12 and under)
Family packages from $144 (must include 2 child subscriptions)
Single tickets $20/adult, $10/youth (ages 12 and under)
All performances at Weill Hall, Green Music Center See srsymphony.org for current COVID protocols.
srsymphony.org December 2021
(707) 54-MUSIC SonomaFamilyLife 17
emergency essentials like a first aid kit as well as over-the-counter-medication for colds, headaches, motion sickness, and upset stomach. Bring plenty of snacks. One exception to this “rule” is to pack lots of nutritious snacks. Kids get cranky or “hangry” when they need something to eat and they need it ASAP! Snacks will keep the kids
Pack lots of distractions, such as tablets loaded with their favorite movies and games.
Pack Your Bags 8 Keys to a Stress-Free Family Vacation By Tanni Haas
family vacation is a wonderful opportunity to take a break from our busy, daily lives and do fun and exciting things together. But how do you ensure the vacation ends up being as relaxing as you’d hoped? Based on my own experiences as well as conversations with other parents, I’ve pulled together a list of ten keys to a stress-free family vacation.
Take it slowly. If you want to have a stress-free vacation, take it slowly and leave plenty of time for everything. If you’re flying somewhere and need to be at the airport two hours before departure, give yourself an extra hour. If you’d originally planned to visit two or three local attractions a day, spread them out over two or three days. Schedule some downtime every day. 18 SonomaFamilyLife
A good rule of thumb is that the pace of the trip should be set by what your youngest kid can handle. Pack only the absolute essentials. Don’t do what our family used to do, which was to lug around heavy suitcases. Even in the smallest of towns, chances are you can buy most things that you need. It’s always a good idea, however, to pack
satisfied at all times, and the truth is that you never really know when you’ll be able to feed them their next proper meal. Whether you’re waiting in line at the airport or you’re stuck in traffic on the highway, snacks always come in handy. Sometimes, you may arrive at your destination only to discover that the kids don’t like, or won’t even try, any of the local food. Bring entertainment, lots of it. In an ideal world, the kids will spend hours quietly looking out the car window, mesmerized by what they see, or be so excited to be on a plane that they won’t need any other entertainment. That’s rarely the case, though. Kids often get bored by things adults find fascinating, and vice-versa. So, pack lots of distractions, such as tablets loaded with their favorite movies and games. Make reservations in advance. Most people like to be spontaneous. There’s nothing more satisfying than doing what you want to do whenever you feel like it.
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
But, when it comes to vacationing with kids, uncertainty can also be stressful. Consider pre-booking not just your transportation and hotel, but also the local attractions you want to see and restaurants where you want to eat. When things are booked in advance, you can just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Let the kids own the trip. Kids can get restless and needy when they’re taken out of their usual routines, constantly asking what they’ll be doing next and why. One way to avoid this from happening is to include them in planning the trip, from choosing the destination to discussing how best to get there and what to do when you arrive.
When kids take joint ownership of the vacation, everything becomes so much more fun and exciting to them.
The pace of the trip should be set by what your youngest kid can handle. Split your duties. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your partner is to divide the labor. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, which can be stressful, take on different responsibilities or rotate them during the trip. For example, one of you can be responsible for making
restaurant reservations, and the other for figuring out how to get to and from the hotel and local attractions. Keep everyone safe. It can be hard to keep track of the whole family. If the kids have their own smartphones, make them download tracking apps so you always know where they are. For younger kids, write down your contact information and secure it in a safe, concealed place on their body, like sewn into a pant pocket. When you’re boarding a local bus or train, decide who’s going on first and who’s going on last to ensure that no one gets left behind. ¶ Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.
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Stop Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Keep Social Media from Messing with Your Head
By Paula Durlofsky
et’s take a moment now to review three cognitive distortions commonly associated with social-media use.
1. Polarized thinking (black-and-white thinking). A person with polarized thinking categorizes people and situations as either/or, all/none, and good/bad. Cognitive distortions of this kind lead to emotional distress, because this kind of thinking doesn’t take into account the complexity of most people and most situations. In addition, black-and-white thinking causes a person to experience life and feel emotions in extremes. Black-and-white thinking or all-or-none thinking is often what lurks underneath feelings of FOMO, envy, or low self-esteem triggered from social-media use. One way to avoid this pitfall while on social media is to learn how to be more 20 SonomaFamilyLife
flexible in your thinking and skillful at finding a middle ground. For example, if black-and-white thinking causes you to feel envious while scrolling through your friends’ news-feeds or Instagram posts, remind yourself that life is complex and multilayered. This means that, in reality, no one’s life can be perfect all the time. Make a list of at least three things you feel grateful for in your life and three positive qualities you love about yourself that you can refer to whenever you’re feeling bad about yourself. 2. Jumping to conclusions. At the heart of this cognitive distortion is the belief that we know exactly what another person is feeling and
thinking—and exactly why they act the way they do. It’s a kin to being a mind reader. It’s not hard to imagine how communicating via text, e-mail, and social-media messaging makes this kind of cognitive distortion more likely to manifest. This is because when important communication clues are missing, like body language and vocal tone, we’re more likely to misunderstand what people are trying to communicate and therefore fill in the gaps by jumping to conclusions. Misunderstandings often lead to online drama, disagreements, and conflict. One way to counteract this cognitive distortion is to simply ask yourself, “Do I have enough evidence to support my conclusion?” 3. Should statements. Many people use should statements like, “I should do this” or “I must do that” as a way to motivate themselves. But did you know this kind of thinking often causes the opposite result? This is because should, ought, and must statements can cause us to feel angry, pressured, resentful, and depressed. For example, someone might feel they should, ought, or must get married because they’re at an age where many of their friends are getting married. This person notices that after being on social media they question their direction in life. But in actuality, this person just completed graduate training in a field they love. Doing what they thought they should do, based on what their friends are doing, might have prevented them from pursuing their passions. And it’s important to remember that what we say to ourselves influences how we feel!
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
SKILL-BUILDING STRATEGIES Below are four ways you can challenge and change cognitive distortions when logged on and in real life. • Keep a daily thought journal. The first step in making changes of any kind is to identify what exactly needs changing. Get in the habit of jotting down all the negative and troublesome thoughts you have when scrolling through social media. Extend this to include all the negative thoughts you have in real life as well. • Make a habit of regularly examining your thoughts. Set aside a time each day to read over all the negative thoughts written down in your journal. When reviewing them, practice being as objective as possible. The purpose of this exercise is to learn to identify the most common cognitive
distortions affecting your thinking and in what context or circumstances they are most likely to occur. • Reflect, reflect, reflect. Get into the habit of closely examining your negative thoughts. For example, do you find that you often make
It’s important to remember that what we say to ourselves influences how we feel!
• Get outside of yourself. You can do this by simply asking yourself, “Would I think and feel the same way about a friend in the exact same situation?” All too often we are much harder on ourselves than we are with family and friends. Learning to be loving and compassionate with ourselves is a huge step toward being able to diminish cognitive distortions. ¶
negative generalizations? Or are you always jumping to conclusions about the lives of your friends on social media based on the pictures they post? Ask yourself, “Are my negative thoughts simply my personal opinions or hard-and-fast facts?
Excerpted, with permission from the author and publisher, from Logged In and Stressed Out: How Social Media Is Affecting Your Mental Health and What You Can Do About It by Paula Durlofsky, PhD. Paula Durflosky, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Device Management and Digital Intelligence committee. Find her at drpauladurlofsky.com.
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Kindness is… Compassion Having compassion means caring for how someone is feeling or what they are going through—even when that someone is you. Having self-compassion means caring for yourself when you are going through something difficult. Many scientists and psychologists believe that if you have self-compassion, you are likely to grow up being happier and more
You have to be brave to act on your compassion and empathy for others.
Kindness for 4 Ways to Take Care Kids of Yourself & Others By Nuanprang Snitbhan
ou may have heard the grown-ups in your life say, “Be kind to others!” But what does that mean? Some people think being kind is the same thing as being nice. It’s not! Kindness requires four big things: 1) compassion, 2) empathy, 3) courage, and 4) responsibility. And kindness takes time to blossom, just like a tree takes time to grow from a small seed. So what is kindness? 22 SonomaFamilyLife
successful in life. After all, when you are unhappy, worried, or scared, it’s easier to give up and harder to be friendly to other people. Take care of yourself, and then we can take care of each other! Empathy When you have self-compassion and are understanding toward yourself, you are able to be understanding toward your family, friends, and other people around you. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. When you pay attention and try your best to learn about other people, you might be able to imagine how they feel and what they need. Courage Courage is one of the biggest ingredients in kindness. You have to be brave to act on your compassion and empathy for others. You need determination to speak
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
Celebrating up when someone is being mean or uncaring. You need courage to make mistakes, apologize when you’re wrong, and try again. Responsibility Everyone is responsible for making this earth a happier and kinder place. You probably have some responsibilities right now—maybe you’re responsible for setting the table or making your bed in the morning. But your best friend might have different responsibilities— maybe they are responsible for walking the dog! Kindness, however,
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Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. is a responsibility we all share. A kind person cares for people they already know and love and extends that kindness to strangers, animals, and the planet we live on. We all have kindness in us. But it is like a muscle that needs to be used in order to grow strong. The Kindness Cards for Kids deck shares different ways you can practice being kind to yourself, to your family, to your community, and to the earth any and every day. ¶ Excerpted from Kindness Cards for Kids: 52 Ways to Make Every Day a Little Better by Nuanprang Snitbhan (Bala Kids, 2020), shambhala.com/bala-kids. Nuanprang Snitbhan was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a clinical psychologist specializing in working with children, adolescents, and their families.
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family dinner the game early holiday shopping Happy Hour specials through the week
and all day sunday December 2021
Calendar of Events
FREE Santa at Oliver’s Market
Santa Photo Hours. Take
pictures with Santa. Thru Dec. 24. Coddingtown Mall. 733 Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa. Find schedule at facebook.com/ coddingtownmall. FREE Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove. More
than 200 decorated trees. Thru Dec. 31. Windsor Town Green. 701 McClelland Dr., Windsor. people4parkswindsor.org. FREE Sebastopol Holiday Tree Lighting. 5–8 p.m. Sebastopol Town Plaza. Sebastopol. seb.org. FREE Storytime in the Children’s Garden. Ages
3 mos.–5 yrs. Thursdays. 10:15–10:45 a.m. Petaluma Library. 100 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma. Registration required: tinyurl.com/6xu4tjnd.
with Santa and Windsor’s Grumpy Green Guy. Thursdays–Sundays & Dec. 21–23: 2–6 p.m. Oliver’s Market. 9230 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor. By appointment only. Register: windsor-santa.com. FREE Windsor Holiday Celebration.
Musical performances, gingerbread cookie decorating, elves craft workshop, letters to Santa. 5–8 p.m. Tree lighting at 7 p.m. Windsor Town Green. 701 McLelland Dr., Windsor. townofwindsor.com/347/ holiday-celebration.
Friday 3 FREE Cotati Holiday Tree Lighting.
Music, coffee, hot cocoa & more. Crafts & storytime for kids. Food & craft vendors. 4–8 p.m. Horse & carriage rides start at 4:30 p.m. LaPlaza Park. Cotati. facebook.com/ cityofcotati.
Scrooge in Love. What
happened after A Christmas Carol? This musical, presented by 6th Street Players, answers that question. $22–$38. Fridays & Saturdays: 7:30 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays: 2 p.m. Thru Dec. 19. 6th Street Playhouse. 52 W. 6th St., Santa Rosa. 6thstreetplayhouse.com.
Saturday 4 Cirque de Bohème. Old-style
Parisian circus. $28–$38. Saturdays & Sundays. Thru Dec. 26. 1, 3 & 5 p.m. Cornerstone Sonoma. 23570 Arnold Dr., Sonoma. cirquedeboheme.com. Magical Christmas Train. Featuring
children’s storybook reading & socially distanced visits with Santa. 90-minute round-trip. $10.95–$52.95. Departures from Willits & Fort Bragg. Runs thru Dec. 23. 299 E. Commercial St., Willits. 100 W. Laurel St., Fort Bragg. skunktrain.com. Winter Lights Rink.
Keep the kids busy over winter break! Kick It Outdoor Adventure Camp (Age 6-12) 12/20-12/24: Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm
Winter Camp Wa-Tam (Age 6-12) 12/27-12/30: Mon-Thu, 8am-3pm Extended Hours Available
Empire Volleyball Winter Camp (Age 3-14) 12/27-12/30: Mon-Thu Age 3-6: 9-10am
FREE Holidays Along the Farm
Age 7-9: 10-11am Age 10-14: 12-5pm
For more info & to register visit SantaRosaRec.com or call 707-543-3737.
Drought-conscious synthetic rink functions just like a conventional rink & uses no water or power. Tickets start at $8.50. Weekends thru Jan. 9 & during the week of holidays. Old Courthouse Square. Downtown Santa Rosa. tinyurl. com/59t7dnmd. Old Courthouse Square. Santa Rosa. Visit eventbrite. com for session times. Trails. Visit farms in Sonoma County for farm-fresh food & drink, ag-centric gifts, wreaths & décor.
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
Cut your own X-mas tree. Weekends thru Dec. 26. Most venues free. farmtrails.org. FREE Stress Reduction for Teens.
Virtual class. Sonoma State University psychology professor Dr. Glenn Brassington & his teenage son teach teens tools to create a relaxed state of mind & body. Learn about local & national resources. 3–4:30 p.m. Advance registration required. tinyurl.com/2p26vjrm. Slothmas Holiday Celebration. Kids
get photos taken with sloth, alligator, snake & more. Ugly sweater contest, games, prizes & silent auction. Ages 5 & older: $5. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Petaluma Wildlife Museum. 201 Fair St., Petaluma. classroomsafari.com. petalumawildlifemuseum.org.
FREE Holidaze at Bees & Blooms.
animals in Sonoma County. Event: free. Parking: $7. 10 a.m.–noon. Foothill Regional Park. 1351 Arata Ln., Windsor. tinyurl.com/9rn296t6.
Tour flower fields, walk labyrinth, purchase lavender products. Dec. 4–5 & 11–12: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Bees & Blooms. 3883 Petaluma Hill Rd., Santa Rosa. beesnblooms.com.
Monday 6 Mud Lab. Create
Ugliest Animal Countdown Hike. A
silly, educational roast of the ugliest
mud sculptures & “cook” with mud. Smocks
An old style circus based on the French tradition of the 1920`s
Cirque de Boheme PRESENTS
Holiday Open House. Visit historic
home & gardens. Games & activities for kids, scavenger hunt, clay tile painting, leaf rubbings & more. Masks required inside & outside. Ages 12 & older: $3. Dec. 4 & 5: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Luther Burbank Home & Gardens. Santa Rosa & Sonoma Avenues, Santa Rosa. lutherburbank.org.
Handmade Holiday Crafts Fair.
Featuring 90 artisans. $3 admission fee gets you in for both days. Ages 12 & younger: free. Dec. 4 & 5: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Finley Community Complex. 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. srcity.org. FREE Healdsburg Holiday Arts & Craft Market. Saturdays.
8:30 a.m.– noon. Runs thru Dec. 18. Farmers Market. North & Vine Streets, Healdsburg. healdsburgfarmers market.org.
The New 2021 Circus Holiday Spectacle November 26, 27, 28 December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 Shows Daily at 1pm. 3pm. 5pm.
Tickets on sale www.cirquedeboheme.com
$28 Kids (15 or Younger)
Cornerstone Sonoma. 23570 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA A portion of all ticket sales to benefit The Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance
provided. $11–$14. Babies 0–11 mos.: free. Mondays. 2–3 p.m. Children’s Museum of Sonoma County. 1835 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa. cmosc.org.
Tuesday 7 FREE Virtual Pride Club for Teens.
Teens discuss books & other media that showcase queer voices & experiences. Ages 13–18. Sponsored by the Sonoma County Library. Tuesdays. 4–5 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/5cahmuu4 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday 9 The Weary World Rejoices: Petaluma Chorale December Concert. $12–$15.
Masks required. Dec. 9–10: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12: 3 p.m. St. John’s Episcopal Church. Cram
Hall. 30 C St., Petaluma. Tickets: email Lmanuilow1@gmail.com.
Museum of Sonoma County. 1835 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa. cmosc.org.
Joy to the World: A Christmas
The Nutcracker 35th Anniversary.
Musical Journey with Damien
Featuring the Petaluma School of Ballet & North Coast Ballet. $22–$32. Dec. 10: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11: 1:30 & 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12: 1:30 p.m. Spreckels Performing Arts Center. 5409 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park. Tickets: petalumaschoolofballet. com/nutcracker2021.
Sneed. Ten singers & musicians perform well-known holiday classics. $25–$55. 7:30 p.m. Green Music Center. 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. gmc.sonoma.edu.
Friday 10 FREE Posada Navideña. Virtual
dance performance by Calidanza. Viewing starts on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. Runs thru Dec. 12. tinyurl. com/6vhnj5vx. Toddler Time. Ages: 10 mos.–2 yrs. $11–$14. Babies 0–11 mos: free. Fridays. 10–11 a.m. Children’s
MAKE A NEW HOLIDAY TRADITION
CUT YOUR OWN TREE At Pronzini Christmas Tree Farm
Saturday 11 FREE Petaluma Lighted Boat Parade. 6:30–7:30 p.m. Turning Basin. 12 C St., Petaluma. visitpetaluma.com. FREE Callinan Sports & Fitness Center: 35-Year Celebration.
Photos with Santa, CYO exhibition games, Santa skills competitions & more. Free use of gym with guest trainer. Noon–4 p.m. Callinan Sports & Fitness Center. 5405 Synder Ln., Rohnert Park. tinyurl. com/26skprn5. FREE Holiday Crafts Faire. 35 local & regional artists. Food & craft vendors. Dec. 11: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 12: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Occidental Community Center. 3920 Bohemian Hwy., Occidental. occidental-ca.org. Gingerbread Doghouse Workshops.
Wreaths, garlands & holiday decorations SILVERTIP • DOUGLAS • NORDMANN • NOBLE • GRAND • FRASER • MONTEREY 3795 Adobe Road, Petaluma • 707-778-3871 • www.pronzinifarms.com 28 SonomaFamilyLife
Decorate Snoopy’s doghouse. $35. Dec. 11 (pre-K & older): 10 a.m.–noon. Dec. 12 (kindergarten & older): 1–4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Registration required: schulzmuseum.org/gbdh21.
Monday 13 FREE Mindful Monday Teen Yoga.
Virtual class. Ages 12–18 only.
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
Dec. 13 & 27: 4 p.m. Registration required: sonomalibrary.org.
Tuesday 14 FREE Sensory Friendly Afternoon. Exclusive
to families of children ages 0–12 with special needs. Hands-on exhibits, art studio. Safe, accessible environment. Noon–5 p.m. Children’s Museum of Sonoma County. 1835 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa. Pre-registration required. cmosc.org.
Thursday 16 Secret Santa Shop for a Cause.
Participating Montgomery Village businesses donate a percentage of profits to Sonoma County’s Secret Santa, a program that helps those in need. 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Montgomery Village. 911 Village Ct., Santa Rosa. mvshops.com.
Friday 17 FREE Gingerbread House Showcase & Competition. Dec. 17: 1–9 p.m. Dec. 18: 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Dec. 19: 1–5 p.m. Hotel Petaluma. 205 Kentucky St., Petaluma. facebook. com/hotelpetaluma/events. Dancing through the Snow.
Performed by the Santa Rosa Dance Theater. $27–$33. Dec. 17: 7 p.m. Dec. 18: 2 & 7 p.m. Dec 19: 2 p.m. Spreckels Performing Arts Center. 5409 Snyder Ln., Rohnert Park. tinyurl.com/wvvd9b7k. A Christmas Carol, the Musical.
Performed by the Apprentice Program of Roustabout Theater. $16–$26. Dec. 17: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18: 3 & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19: 3 p.m. Luther Burbank Center. 50 Mark www.sonomafamilylife.com
West Springs Rd., Santa Rosa. lutherburbankcenter.org. Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble. Vocal
holiday performance. Dec. 17 (dress rehearsal): $25, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18: $75, 5 p.m. Dec. 19: $35, 3 p.m. Sonoma Valley Community Church. 181 Chase St., Sonoma. vomce.com.
Saturday 18 Kids Night at the Museum. Pizza,
games, cartooning & holidays crafts. Ages 5–10. $35. 5–9 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Registration required: tinyurl.com/avu68uny.
di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. 5200 Sonoma Hwy., Santa Rosa. Tickets: dirosaart.org/ di-rosa-family-holiday-workshop. Little Parkies: Marvelous Mammals. For
ages 4-6. Exploratory walkabouts in the park, hands-on learning, nature-based games & unique crafts to take home. $15–$17 per family (up to 4 people). Parking: $7. 9 a.m.–noon. Riverfront Regional Park. 7821 Eastside Rd., Healdsburg. Registration required: tinyurl.com/3ucw5z6a. The Snow Maiden. Choreographed
Kids make creative crafts. $35. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Registration required: tinyurl. com/pvrxj9ud.
Russian folktale performed by the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance. Masks required. Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required. $12–$22. Dec. 18 & 19: 1 p.m. Sebastiani Theatre. 476 1st St. E., Sonoma. Tickets: sonoma conservatoryofdance.org.
di Rosa Family Holiday Workshop.
The Nutcracker. Performed
Holiday activities, music, cookies & cider. Free with admission ($20 or free for ages 17 & younger). 2–4 p.m.
by Sebastopol Ballet. Advance: $17–$27. Door: $20–$30. Lap tickets for kids younger than 3 are
Holiday Gift-Making Workshop.
free. Masks required. Dec. 18 & 19: 11 a.m. & 2 & 5 p.m. (5 p.m. show is only for vaccinated audience.) West County High School Theater. 6950 Analy Ave., Sebastopol. Tickets: brownpapertickets.com/ event/5310891.
Sunday 19 FREE Penngrove Holiday Lights Parade. See
tractor trailers & farm vehicles covered in lights. 6–7 p.m. Penngrove Park. 11800 Main St., Penngrove. visitpetaluma.com/event.
Monday 20 Holiday Hooray! Learn
about winter holidays around the world & make crafts for the Fiesta of Our Lady Guadalupe, Diwali & more. $35. 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. Registration required: tinyurl. com/3jaa8xps.
Monday 27 FREE E Street Studios Virtual Media Maker Meetup. Connect
with other videographers, photographers, podcasters, designers & sound artists who are curious about making media. 6–7 p.m. Registration required: tinyurl.com/ y2czwzk8.
Friday 31 Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
Up-Down Balloon Drop: noon & 3 p.m. Baby Balloon Drop: 3 p.m. Included in price of admission ($5–$12; free for ages 3 & younger). 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Charles M. Schulz Museum. 2301 Hardies Ln., Santa Rosa. schulzmuseum.org/hny2021.
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
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Humor Break in our matching flannel jammies, I noticed a 9-month-old holding a very real candle next to my highly flammable children. I guess that’s why the fire department is featured in the parade.
Holidaze Happy The Creative Chaos of Kids By Jessica Guerrieri
urry! It’s time to stand in line for hours so a jolly stranger can hold our crying kids. What are the holidays without a #santafail social media post?
But, really, having children during December is actually kind of spectacular. (It’s the other 11 months when things can get dicey.) If there is a holiday-themed park, tree lot, or reindeer sleigh within a 15-mile radius of our house, we are so there! My three little elves believe in the magic of Christmas so much that if I didn’t know any better I, too, would swear that a fat man is going to scoot down my chimney. This year, we’ve jumped right into the holidaze, as I like to call them. Though things rarely have gone according to plan, of course. When we headed to our local Boy 32 SonomaFamilyLife
I learned that the fastest way to get my girls to eat broccoli is to pretend it’s a “tiny tree” and put “snow” (aka frosting) on it. Scout tree lot, we aimed to get one 10-foot tree. But, instead, we found ourselves with a 12-foot tree, and three 4-foot trees that my girls hauled off the lot all by themselves. Incidentally, the girls’ new favorite game is “How many pine needles can we shove up each other’s noses before sneezing them out?” So far, they’ve made it to five. We also ventured out to a Christmas tree lighting and candlelight parade. Call me over-protective, but I assumed everyone would be using flameless candles. When we arrived
Besides escaping Christmas parades with our lives, we also like to make sugar cookies. We have decorated no less than a dozen every day for the past seven days. And—guess what?—I learned that the fastest way to get my girls to eat broccoli is to pretend it’s a “tiny tree” and put “snow” (aka frosting) on it. Yes, cookie baking taught me that the unexpected can actually be a treat. And so did our visit to the Tree Farm, where we were riding to Santa’s workshop in a sleigh pulled by horses dressed up as reindeer. Trying to chase away the chill of the wind, the girls leaned in close and grabbed hold of each other, their baby sister snuggled between them. Without prompting, each of them planted a kiss on their littlest sibling. My heart exploded with so much love I almost didn’t remember to remind Santa that we belong on the Nice List. The holidaze are crazy, it’s true. But when things don’t go our way, remember there’s plenty of magic to be had, like learning the many uses of pine needles, that frosting is a parental ally, and that we don’t need a holiday to make our love for our children burn as bright as the Christmas star. ¶ Jessica Guerrieri is a mom and a freelance writer/blogger. Find her at witandspitup.com and on Instagram @witandspitup.
December 2021 www.sonomafamilylife.com
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
DROUGHT IS HERE
Celebrate the New Year with Snoopy
ust like adults, kids want to celebrate the New Year. But most festivities happen way after their bedtime. That’s why the Charles M. Schulz Museum holds its annual Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! celebration—so little ones can join in on the fun. The party will feature an Up Down Balloon Drop and a Baby Balloon Drop; Snoopy-balloon making; and a big-screen viewing of Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! Snoopy will make an appearance, too. The party happens on December 31, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., at the museum in Santa Rosa. The event is free with admission, which is $5–$12 or free for ages 3 and younger. Find out more at schulzmuseum.org. ¶
Stretch It Out
dults aren’t the only ones who feel the stress of the season. So do kids. The virtual Mindful Monday Yoga for Teens class aims to help youth settle their minds and slow their breathing, through the practice of yoga. Hosted by the Sonoma County Library, the hour-long beginner class is only for kids ages 12–18 and is held via Zoom. The next one is on December 27 at 4 p.m. Register at tinyurl.com/m2xz7n79. ¶
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