Even while making toys at his North Pole factory, Santa Claus is still able to make time and visit the good boys and girls of Sonoma County to hear Christmas wishes and pose for a photo or two.  The big guy emailed me a few of the places he’ll be this year so I can pass them on to you.  Beyond hanging at the mall, here’s where you can find Santa this year:

Santa Rosa

Dicken’s Holiday Crafts Fair:  (Dec. 1-2)  With a bustling workshop back home at the North Pole, a nostalgic Santa loves this Crafts Fair for the workmanship and care that go into the handmade trinkets being sold as one-of-a-kind gifts.  He’ll visit and entertain at the fair throughout the day, along with over 70 artists selling holiday décor, home goods, jewelry, and more.  $2/adults, 12-under free.  Finley Community Center.  2060 W College Ave., Santa Rosa. www.srcity.org/craftsfair
P.S.  For more crafts fairs this season, visit pressdemocrat.com/craftfair2012

Secret Santa Party:  (Sunday, Dec. 9)  The elves of the Volunteer Center are busy fulfilling holiday dreams and wishes by giving to those less fortunate during the season.  From 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., they’ll be at Montgomery Village to give you information on how you can help, too.  There will also be carolers, choral singers, quartets, and string trios to get you musically in the holiday spirit, as well as the Winter Queen of the Fairies, temporary glitter tattoos, and holiday refreshments and store discounts.  And of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at their photo studio at the Village Terrace from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Village Court, Santa Rosa.  mvshops.com


Santa’s Riverboat arrival: (Saturday, Nov. 24) The big guy and his wife kick off the holiday season with his annual ride into River Plaza aboard a tugboat. The Golden Eagle Shopping Center will be alive with performers and holiday cheer starting at 11 a.m., followed by Santa sailing in at noon to greet and deliver sweet treats to good boys and girls.  After awhile, Santa will make his way over to the Lan Mart building (29 Petaluma Blvd, near Christmas Fantasia) for more photo opportunities.   Cost is free, and you’ll want to get their early.  visitpetaluma.com

Christkindlmarkt: (Sunday, Nov. 25) Enjoy traditional crafts, food, music and entertainment from Germany, Austria and Switzerland and have your child’s photo taken with Santa; from 10am to 4pm. Free admission; at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Ave.

Petaluma Merchants Holiday Open House: (Saturday, Dec. 1)  Santa and Mrs. Claus have a lot of shopping to do, so it’s only natural they’ll be a part of Petaluma’s holiday shopping event! He’ll be at the Lan Mart Building (29 Petaluma Blvd, near Christmas Fantasia) between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Also that day will be horse & carriage rides, face painting, and balloon art in Putnam Plaza.  petalumadowntown.com

Petaluma Festival of Trees:  (Dec. 1, 7-8) The Fabulous Women of Petaluma are holding a special Festival of Trees event to take place over the course of three nights.  From 5-9 p.m. they’ll display beautifully decorated trees crafted by local artists, able to be bid upon for charity.  Santa will be making an appearance at this event for photos by the talented Victoria Webb.  There will also be s’mores, cocoa, holiday shopping, and holiday crafters.  Theatre Square, Petaluma.  http://www.petalumawomen.com/2012

Lucia Fest & Jul Bazaar:  (Sunday, Dec 9)  The annual Swedish Christmas celebration includes dancing around the Christmas tree and a visit by Santa Claus.  Parents should bring a small wrapped gift with their name clearly marked on it so that Santa can give it to their child.  Adults/$20-$25.  Kids (6-14) $6, 5-under free.  Petaluma Veterans Building.  1094 Petaluma Blvd. S.  linnealodge.com

Lan Mart Merchants:  (Nov. 30-Dec. 2, plus Dec. 7-9, 14-16, 21-23) Every weekend in December, Santa will be making his list and checking it twice at the stores in the Lan Mart passageway in Petaluma.  It’s only natural that he’ll be near one of his personal favorite stores, Christmas Fantasia.  Bring the kids for a visit, photos, and special treats, and get a little holiday shopping done as well.  Times vary.  Call 762-5804 for information.  29 Petaluma Blvd.

Strolling Santa:  (Dec. 2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23)  Still on the search for the perfect gift, the big guy will make the rounds at the Petaluma Premium Outlets.  Kids will be able to meet Santa, and enjoy entertainment and crafts. Noon – 2 p.m.  Free.  www.premiumoutlets.com/petaluma


Holiday Celebration:  (Thursday, Dec. 6)  At 7:30 p.m., Mr. and Mrs. Claus will light up the tree in the Town Green.  But before that there will be live music, photos with Santa, crafts, and train and carriage rides.  Kids can also send Santa their Christmas letters when dropped in “Santa’s Special Mailbox” located next the the Central Pavilion (Postage, return address required for North Pole delivery).  Bring an unwrapped toy for the Marv Stubbs Memorial Toy Drive.  Windsor Town Green.  5-8 p.m.  ci.windsor.ca.us


Breakfast with Santa at Costeaux: (Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22)  It’s a little known secret that Santa Claus loves croissants and hot chocolate almost as much as he loves milk and cookies. Join him for his annual breakfast at Costeaux French Bakery in Healdsburg, where kids can enjoy holiday decorations, music and holiday fun while visiting Santa.  9-11 a.m.  417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg.   costeaux.com


Annual Lighting of the Snowmen:  (Saturday, Nov. 24) Every year, Cornerstone hosts the visual treat of lit up snowmen despite our lack of snow!  Along with live music, ballet performances, and a Holiday Beer Garden where the grown ups get to keep their steins, is the infamous big blue chair where Santa will be hanging out for photos and Christmas wishes.  Plus, the event doubles as a benefit for Pets Life Line through ticket sales for activities and treats like decorating gingerbread cookies, face painting, holiday crafts and games, grab-bag gifts, hot chocolate, and roasted chestnuts.  4-8 p.m.  Cornerstone Sonoma.  23667 Hwy 121, Sonoma.  cornerstonesonoma.com

Rohnert Park

Santa Sleigh:  The Rohnert Park Safety Officers Association is teaming up with Santa once again when the big guy visits several different neighborhoods in Rohnert Park.  He’ll visit with kids and take photos with them, and listen to their Christmas wishes.  While there, he is also accepting unwrapped presents to give to needy children.  He’s also accepting monetary donations (or mail it to P.O. Box 1012, Rohnert Park, CA  94928).  Here are the dates and locations Santa will be visiting:
Dec 1:  Rohnert Park Chamber Holiday Lights Celebrations – City Center Plaza, 500 City Center Dr.    5-8 p.m.
Dec 5: F/H/G Sections – Santa will drive through F Section around 6 p.m. and stop at Hahn Elementary.  Then he will drive through the area and stop at G Park at 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 7: D/E Sections – Santa is visiting the D & E Sections until 6:30 p.m., hanging at the fire station, 5200 Country Club Dr.
Dec. 8: S/J/R/C Sections – The sleigh will pass through all 4 sections until 6:30 p.m. when he stops at the Community Center, 5401 Snyder Ln.
Dec. 12: L/M Sections – Santa’s sleigh will glide through the L section before stopping at L Park Drive at 6 p.m., then continue on through the M section until he stops at M Park at 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14: A/B Sections – The jolly guy will travel through the A & B sections and then stop at 49er Pet (375 Southwest Blvd) at 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 15: – Santa rounds out his holiday drive with a visit to the west side of Rohnert Park, stopping at Applebee’s Restaurant (501 Rohnert Park Expwy) at 6:30 p.m.

Other areas

Tomales Bay:  Santa will arrive by water sleigh (aka, a boat), and will be at the Boat Shack in Tomales to visit with kids from 3-5 p.m.  A photographer will be on hand to take portraits with Santa, and the celebration will include free hot apple cider, hot cocoa, and treats.  Canned goods will also be collected at this time for the Marin Food Bank, and will reward do-gooders with 15% off lunch or dinner at Nick’s Cove that day.  10% of all proceeds will benefit The Marin Food Bank.  23240 Hwy 1, Marshall.  nickscove.com

For the fur-kids

Hey, even pets have a few Christmas wishes, even if it’s mostly for a sock filled with catnip or doggie treats, or even just a sock they can gnaw on.

All animals are welcome at Western Farms for photos with Santa on Dec 1&2.

Western Farms is holding their annual Santa Paws event on Dec. 1st, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Dec. 2nd, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.  For a small donation to Canine Companions for Independence, pet owners will receive a 4X6 photo and an emailed digital copy.  Pets can range from cats, dogs, horses, iguanas, gerbils…  But it’s probably best if the pet isn’t much of a biter.  Santa asks, for obvious reasons, that pets be naturally good natured and friendly.  21 W. 7th St., Santa Rosa.  westernfarmcenter.com

Knowing the language barriers between dogs and the big guy, Debbie’s Pet Boutique has invited Santa Dog to come collect Christmas wishes and decide which furry friends are good or bad dogs (probably a good time for your dog to be motivated in the house training department, right?).  Cats and dogs are welcom at the boutique on Dec. 1st, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. to bark/meow out their Christmas list and pose for photos with their bearded pal.  10333 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor. debbiespetboutique.com