Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Toddler X's Winter Planner

'Tis the season to be a toddler in Silicon Valley! Never since Halloween (which feels like a lifetime ago when you're only two years old) has the South Bay toddler scene been packed with so many fun events. This year, as our holiday gift to you and your families, Toddler X and I have put together this list of ongoing winter/holiday events and special occasions throughout the months of November and December. I'm certain this list is far from complete, so if you see anything I've left off, please let me know.

And toddlers, have no fear: starting in early December, Toddler X and I will visit all our local malls to help you find the best Santa for you -- one who hands out play kitchens like candy (hmm, or maybe one who hands out candy like candy!) and who ranks low on Toddler X's official Santa Creep-o-meter. Stay tuned. For now, the schedules of the various mall Santas (and the opportunity for Fast Passes -- ah, modernity) can be found at the end of the Planner.

Whether your family celebrates the holidays this season, or just celebrates the wide availability of pumpkin pie and hot chocolate (also very valid in my book), we wish you abundant health and happiness as 2013 comes to a close. Thank you all for your support and encouragement this year. Happy toddling!

Ongoing Events and Activities

Special Events

Monday, November 18th
Tuesday, November 19th
Wednesday, November 20th
Thursday, November 21st
Friday, November 22nd
Saturday, November 23rd
Sunday, November 24th
  • Pumpkin Party (animals dining on Halloween pumpkins), San Francisco Zoo, 11:00 a.m - 3:00 p.m.
  • Hanukkah on Ice, Addison-Penzak JCC, Los Gatos, 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Monday, November 25th
Tuesday, November 26th
Wednesday, November 27th
Thursday, November 28th
  • Happy Thanksgiving, Toddler Friends!
  • Happy Hanukkah, Toddler Friends!
  • Silicon Valley Turkey Trot, Downtown San Jose, 7:50 a.m. (10k), 8:30 a.m. (5k) (A great race to run/walk with a stroller!)
Friday, November 29th
Saturday, November 30th
Sunday, December 1st
Monday, December 2nd
Tuesday, December 3rd
Wednesday, December 4th
Thursday, December 5th
Friday, December 6th
Saturday, December 7th
Sunday, December 8th
Monday, December 9th
Tuesday, December 10th
Wednesday, December 11th
Thursday, December 12th
Friday, December 13th
Saturday, December 14th
Sunday, December 15th
Tuesday, December 17th
Wednesday, December 18th
Thursday, December 19th
Friday, December 20th
Saturday, December 21st
Sunday, December 22nd
Monday, December 23rd
Wednesday, December 25th
Thursday, December 26th
Friday, December 27th
Tuesday, December 31st
  • Noon Year's Eve, Bay Area Discovery Museum, San Jose, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • Noon Year's Eve, Children's Discovery Museum, San Jose, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Ball drops at 12:00, 1:00 and 2:00 p.m.)
  • Noon Year's Eve, Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Mall Santa Schedules
  • Westgate Mall, San Jose: Generally Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 23rd to December 24th, with a few additional days in December. See schedule for details. Located in front of Ross in the center of the Mall. Not the best photo backdrop I've seen!
  • Valley Fair Mall, San Jose: Daily (besides Thanksgiving) from November 15th (!?!) to December 24th. See schedule for details. Located in Center Court in front of MAC. I haven't been this year, but usually they have a pretty good backdrop and decorations. And in the "No way!" department, Valley Fair now offers Santa Fast Passes, a la Disneyland, that let you book your photo session and pay in advance, then access a special Fast Pass line at your scheduled time. Crazy? Brilliant? What do you think?
  • Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto: Daily (except Thanksgiving) from November 7th (really !?!) to December 24th, with a couple of pet nights in the mix if your family just couldn't take a Christmas picture without beloved Bowser. See schedule for details. I haven't seen their set up yet this year, but it's usually pretty nice.
  • Oakridge Mall, San Jose: Identical to Valley Fair's schedule (both are Westfield malls), Santa is open for pictures daily (besides Thanksgiving) from November 15th (!?!) to December 24th, and the same Fast Pass option is available.
  • Great Mall, Milpitas: Like Stanford, a Simon mall, meaning that its Santa also showed up embarrassingly early (November 18th) and will be there until December 24th. The website doesn't provide a schedule as of now -- if I see one later, I will update.
  • Vallco Mall, Cupertino: The most hilariously bad mall website imaginable seems to indicate that Vallco will have pictures with Santa, but provides no details. Click on the link for their "Events" page, which is topped by a stock photo of two teenage girls groovin' at an outdoor amphitheater concert, one wearing a "Here comes trouble" t-shirt. The photo really couldn't be less representative of the Vallco experience. No wonder this mall is failing.
If you visit a mall Santa, please report back about your experience to help other toddler parents out! Thanks!

And if you know of any events that are missing from my Planner, please let me know.

Wishing all of you a very merry holiday season!

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