SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus — and he’s spending the season at Tahoe South (tahoesouth.com).
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Where else does the magic of skiing and riding, one-horse open sleighs, lake cruises, Christmas decorations, spectacular scenic vistas of frosted white mountains and cobalt blue lake mingle with showroom headliners, music festivals, and 24-hour entertainment, dining and gaming. It all adds up to a wild side holiday vibe at “America’s Favorite Lake.”
Traditional local celebrations include the annual Community Winter Tree Lighting, Friday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. Meet at the California Visitor Center. There’ll be free Borges Sleigh Rides, holiday carols by the Tahoe Schools Choir, Menorah lighting and a food and toy drive benefiting Christmas Cheer, a local food bank.
Bring your camera for a picture with Santa at the Museum. The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority will offer complimentary hot chocolate, cider and cookies inside the South Lake Tahoe Senior Citizens Center. Yuletide greetings are courtesy of the LTVA, South Lake Tahoe Senior Citizens Center and Liberty Energy.
Winter Ignite, a bash with a week of festivities, concerts and giveaways runs through Dec. 9. (skiheavenly.com)
The wild ride continues for film-goers, Dec. 8 with the 11th annual Tahoe Adventure Film Festival at MontBleu. Guests should brace themselves for this anything goes, beer-chugging, film watching party complete with go-go dancers, hideous costumes and plenty of outrageous contests. (laketahoefilmfestival.com)
The family-themed Tahoe Arts Project, Holiday Art Festival, at St. Theresa’s Grace Hall, Saturday, Dec. 8, features handcrafted arts and crafts, food, wine, music, dance and a visit from Santa. (tahoeartsproject.org)
The annual production of Handel’s “Messiah” at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Sunday, Dec. 16 is presented by the Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. (ToccataTahoe.com)
Heavenly Holidays is two weeks of festivities at Heavenly Village, Dec. 19 to 31, featuring live music, ice sculpting, professional ice skaters and photos with Santa inside a giant snow globe.
The celebration culminates Monday, Dec. 31 with “A Heavenly New Year Celebration” including a concert, fire dancers, ice sculptors, concluding with a 9 p.m. lighted Gondola Drop. A decorated and illuminated car will descend from the mountaintop accompanied by a community countdown, all followed by a fireworks celebration to welcome 2013. (skiheavenly.com.)
Traditional holiday offerings combine with sights, sound, energy and rhythm to deck the halls and stretch the outer limits of imagination. The SnowGlobe electronic music festival returns for three magical days and nights, Dec. 29 to 31. (snowglobemusicfestival.com.)
Dance music DJ Deadmau5, American rapper Wiz Khalifa and Canadian electrofunk duo Chromeo will headline this year’s festival along with 38 additional bands, DJs and artists at Lake Tahoe Community College. Concert-goers can hit the slopes by day and the shows by night via free shuttle to the concert venue just three miles from Stateline. SnowGlobe conducted a local talent search in late-October where acts submitted music samples, answered questions and wrote why they deserve to represent the spirit of Tahoe. The winner will be announced soon and will perform at the festival.
Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort continues its Christmas tradition with live holiday music by the Bear Bones, and its annual winter holiday festival, Dec. 22 to 23 which features music, eating contest, snowman building competition, Candy Cane Limbo and Hot Cocoa Bean bag toss. (sierraattahoe.com)
Celebrating its 40th year, Kirkwood Mountain Resort will throw an-all out birthday and New Year’s Eve bash, Dec. 31, complete with fireworks and parties. (kirkwood.com)
When it’s time to escape the crowds, there’s the solitude of snowshoeing and cross country skiing at historical Camp Richardson Resort, Zephyr Cove Snowmobiles, Lake Tahoe Adventures, open sleigh rides, and to stay above it all, tours with Reno Tahoe Helicopters.
The Tahoe Queen, an authentic Mississippi paddlewheeler plying the Lake’s waters, has arranged a family photo shoot cruise with Santa, Saturday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m. Holiday Party Dinner cruises with live music are available Fridays and Saturdays in December aboard the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II. (zephyrcove.com)