East Bay New Year’s Eve events

This New Year’s Eve, there seems to be a ton of fun events at local establishments for you to ring in 2017 with.

nye-2017

For me, New Year’s is a time to reflect on the year that has just passed and to focus forward with new resolutions – what can be improved, how to get into shape and what can I do better. I tend to struggle with the idea that one has to have a special celebration for this event, as I always find the hype does not live up to the expectation, and I am left with disappointment.

My best New Year’s celebrations have always been the unexpected. My favorite was a last-minute ski trip to Sugar Bowl where we scored a small room due to a cancellation. Our kids had the run of the lodge because the only way in was by gondola, and we could walk out the door to the lift.  To our surprise, they had night skiing, champagne and sparkling cider at the hut atop the hill. Then, at 11:30, those who wanted to participate did the torch run, and when all were safely down, the fireworks exploded! So as the clock hits midnight, we all turn the page and start looking forward to new adventures in 2017.

If you feel that you have to do something and have made no plans, but don’t want to venture all the way to San Francisco, take a look at a couple of local events taking place on New Year’s Eve:

  1. The Groove Doctors at San Ramon Marriott (8:30 p.m. for $77/ticket)
  2. Phantom of the Opera Masquerade at Nica Lounge in Concord (8:30 p.m. for $15-50/ticket)
  3. New Year’s Eve at Jack’s in Pleasant Hill (9:00 p.m. for $40/ticket)

Of course, you could always do something unexpected and maybe have the best New Year’s ever! No matter what you choose, I wish you a delightful evening and a prosperous 2017!

Remembering 2015, Looking Ahead to 2016

New yearsAccording to History.com, the tradition of celebrating the new year dates back nearly 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. Though they weren’t on our modern Gregorian calendar at the time (so, New Year’s was actually in March back then!), they still rang in the new year with feasts and celebrations, much like we do today.

Back then, Babylonians would make promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot (can’t confirm whether they broke their promises in the first month like we do today…), thus beginning the practice of making resolutions.

Obviously the norm today is to eat, drink and celebrate wildly at midnight, and then watch fireworks over the night sky. The explosions signify the closing of the past year and the ushering in of the next. So, as we remember the Sydney fireworkscraziness of 2015 and look forward to a fresh start in 2016, which questions do you ask yourself? What resolutions will you make? What does this time represent for you?

For me 2016 will be continued self improvement and finding balance between work and home and what truly feeds me and makes me happy.  This past year I found Yoga – it has helped  loosen those tight hip flexers and release the stress in my shoulders.  I even went on a one week Yoga Retreat to Costa Rica.  The comments I received at how well rested and relaxed I look made me think more than just in passing about balance.  I also hedged my bet on El Nino and bought a ski pass to Squaw/Alpine, totally the right decision and am looking forward to some awesome days on the slopes in 2016.

Other notables was Jackson off to UNR … empty nester, not so bad.  A nice trip to NY to celebrate Ryan’s birthday and hanging out with my friends and dog Bodie … all good stuff.

2015 flew by me, as I am sure will happen to 2016, just another reason to savor the moments.  On that note, I wish you a happy,  prosperous and balanced New Year!

~k

Things to do Around Walnut Creek for Christmas!

ice skating WCLIt’s that time of year again when the tree lots spring up, lights blink on every corner and familiar movies play on every TV: it’s Christmas time!  If you are like me, it caught up to me quickly, as I barely got my tree up, with Christmas Cards still needing to be created – maybe they will be New Year cards (now if I can only my Costco certificate for the print shop I bought 2 months ago).  Thus with only a few days left until Christmas, there is still  a lot of things to do….

Even though Walnut Creek is nestled in the cozy Bay Area where snow is a day trip away, the town gets into a wintery spirit for the holidays. With students coming home for winter break and relatives flying into town for Christmas and New Year’s, families are reuniting all over the Bay Area.  After catch up is played, meals are devoured and egg nog is drunk, here are a few fun, local holiday events around Walnut Creek for the whole family to enjoy:

Walnut Creek on Ice

For just $15, you can enjoy some quality ice skating time right in downtown Walnut Creek. The ice rink, which has been a fixture in Civic Park for many winters now, throws fun events and never gets overly crowded. For more information about Walnut Creek on Ice, visit their website.

Santa visits at Broadway Plaza

A winter classic is taking the kids (of all ages!) to visit Santa Claus, ask for a gift and take a photo. This year, you can head right down to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek to see him. Make sure to hurry on this one, though; he can only hang around through Christmas Eve, before taking off on his sleigh to deliver his gifts!

091220-N-XXXXX-001 FUJISAWA CITY, Japan (Dec. 20, 2009) Petty Officer 1st. Class James Durrance acts as Santa during a visit to distribute toys to children of the Misono Orphanage. The community service project was supported by the First Class Petty Officer Association of the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63). (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Holiday Train in Blackhawk

Take a little drive to Blackhawk and get a nice meal with the family, before rewarding your kids for their patience with a fun train ride at Blackhawk Plaza! All you need is to make a purchase at the plaza, and you’ll receive a ticket for the train too. Nothing says holidays like a wintery train ride for the little ones.

Volunteer in the East Bay

There are endless volunteer opportunities around the East Bay, especially around the holidays. From helping distribute food, clothing and toys to less fortunate families, to caroling at local senior centers, there are tons of ways to help give back with your family this Christmas. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Catch a Christmas movie

Everybody has their favorite Christmas movie, but many people don’t realize that they can watch some of the classics from the Century Theaters in Walnut Creek! For example, this Wednesday night the theater will be showing Miracle on 34th Street, and then It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. What better way to spend some warm, relaxing family time than getting a Christmas classic on the big screen?

Do you have any other fun ideas for this week and weekend around Walnut Creek? Happy holidays!