December 1 – 23 | Fillmore & Western Railroad
On Saturdays and Sundays in December, a train ride with Santa through picturesque Heritage Valley culminates in a visit to the Christmas Tree Farm, where passengers can cut down their own tree. Trains depart at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. $22, adults; $20, seniors 60+; $12, kids 4-12; $8, kids 1-3; infants under 1 free on lap. For more information, visit www.FWRY.com or call 800.773.TRAIN.
Victorian Holiday Boutique
December 1 – 9 | Dudley House, Ventura
Celebrate the spirit of holidays past at the historic Victorian Dudley House by joining their 2007 Annual Victorian Holiday Boutique. Shoppers can browse through an assortment of historic treasures in search of the perfect holiday gift. Items include crafts, home decorations, antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing, and homemade candies. The museum’s Victorian Tearoom will offer refreshments for holiday revelers, and visitors will be invited to join a silent auction and quilt raffle. Donations welcome. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 1, 2, 7, 8, & 9, Loma Vista Rd. & Ashwood, Ventura. For more information, visit www.DudleyHouse.org or call 805.654.8381.
Interactive Holiday Comedy Sensation
December 2 – 29 | Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
It’s “CSI: Bethlehem” in Sister’s Christmas Catechism as Sister tackles the question, “Whatever happened to the Magi’s gold?” Sister engages her audience, and together they solve the mystery through a forensic examination of the nativity scene. Audience members are selected to be characters in a living nativity/crime scene along with a holiday choir singing Christmas favorites. There’s much to be learned about the origins of the nativity, Christmas carols, holiday traditions—it’s a family-friendly evening with audience participation, laughs, and prizes. Tickets, $39, are available from Ticketmaster (805.583.8700 or www.TicketMaster.com) or the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office, located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd. Shows at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 2, 9, 27, 28, 29. 7:30 p.m. For information, call 805.449.ARTS or visit www.CivicArtsPlaza.com.
Splendors of the Season
December 8 | Museum of Ventura County
Art and food is a timeless pairing, one The Museum of Ventura County will honor at its 13th annual fundraising gala. The museum will be opening their winter exhibit—Art for the New Millennium: Museum Acquisitions Since 2000—and offering a gastronomic feast with gourmet food stations set up throughout the galleries. Festivities will include a grand prize drawing for Study In Red, a watercolor donated and painted by Susan Petty, and a raffle of holiday tabletop trees. $125, 6:30 p.m. For more information, please call 805.653.0145 or visit www.VenturaMuseum.org.
Chanukah at the Harbor
December 9 | Ventura Harbor
Light from a 20-foot Menorah will shimmer, reflecting off of the serene waters of Ventura Harbor—a site certain to inspire holiday cheer. Chabad of Oxnard will be hosting their annual Chanukah Festival, which features a Children’s Show, live musical entertainment, pony rides, a Judaica Boutique, and an olive oil press demonstration. The aroma of hot Latkes and Kosher food will perfume the air, tempting you to indulge. 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Don’t miss the Grand Menorah Lighting Ceremony at 4 p.m.). For more information, visit www.ChabadofOxnard.com or call 805.382.4770.
Holiday Dreams on Ice
December 14 – 16 | Oxnard Ice
The clink and swoosh of ice skates on the surface of a frozen pond is a sound that invokes a bit of holiday nostalgia. This year, satisfy your nostalgia by attending the Channel Islands Figure Skating Club’s annual Holiday Show at the newly formed Oxnard Ice. The club is teaming up with KVTA's Spence & Bob's Children’s Fund to help raise money for the Ventura County Children’s Services Auxiliary. The show is being dedicated to longtime skating coach and Oxnard school founder, Deanne Laumann, who recently passed away from Cancer. 830 Wagon Wheel Rd. Oxnard. For tickets and more information, visit www.ChannelIslandsFSC.org or call 805.988.4440.
Holiday Parade of Lights
December 14, 15 | Ventura Harbor
31 years ago, boats bedazzled with Christmas lights and decorations paraded through Ventura Harbor for the people of Ventura County and beyond to admire. Today, the tradition continues with “Ventura Harbor’s Polar Express.” The event features fireworks, pony & train rides, carousel rides, and visits with Santa for the enjoyment of both children and adults. This event serves as a great opportunity to get a head start on Christmas shopping or experience fine dining at one of 10 Harbor restaurants. A free shuttle bus is also available at the parking lot on Harbor Blvd. & Schooner Drive. For more information, visit www.VenturaHarborVillage.com or call 877.89.HARBOR.
It’s a Wonderful Life
December 14 – 23 | Ojai Art Center Theater
A despairing George Bailey stumbles into the middle of a desolate street while snow buffets his broken spirit. This image, and many others from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, is as indicative of the holiday season as mistletoe and roasting chestnuts. The film reminds us of the importance of any man and every man who touches the lives of others. The Ojai Center for the Arts (ACT) will be presenting this cinematic holiday tradition as a live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience, with actors performing the roles of multiple characters. Curtain times, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays. 113 S. Montgomery Street, Ojai. For more information, visit www.OjaiAct.org or call 805.640.8797.
A Celtic Christmas
December 21 | Ojai Valley Women’s Club
An evening of untamed “shake your holiday maker” Celtic music, song, story, and dance performed by Molly’s Revenge and the Rosemary Turco Irish Dancers. The performances will include Christmas songs from yesteryears and present day, as well as folk tales set in the winter season. The music alone will leave listeners spellbound. And, of course, there will be plenty of dancing. $18 in advance, $20 at the door. 7 p.m., Ojai Valley Woman's Club. For tickets and more information, visit www.OjaiConcertSeries.com or call 805.649.5189.
ON THE HORIZON
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
January 24 – February 3 | Santa Barbara
A broad range of independent films show at venues across the city, while A-list celebs, including Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, and Javier Bardem, add yet more luster to the already dazzling American Riviera. The annual festival also includes symposiums and children's programs. Ticket prices vary. For more information, visit www.SBFilmFestival.org.