WATER AND THE HOLIDAYS: You don't have to look too deeply into the delights of the yuletide to find a stockingful of water imagery, from merry sleighs crossing streams and rivers (via quaint, stone-lined bridges) to all of the ice-skating that pops up in pop culture in December. And snow? Well, no spoiler alert required: That counts on the "there's lots of water around holiday scenes" front. But seeing an end-of-the-year icon arrive by crossing over some salty water, and not a stream or ice rink, is a bit more offbeat, though many Californians witness this arrival each year. You definitely will, should you be at Nick's Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages on Sunday, Dec. 4. That's when the Man in Red makes a few gentle waves as he crosses the Tomales Bay-close destination, all to bring some cheer and seasonal merriment.
THE SIXTH ANNUAL SANTA-BY-BOAT... happening includes a few festive features, like "(c)omplimentary sweet treats and professional photos with Santa" as well as a new winter-ready cocktail called The Good Neighbor (it's "a play on a Brandy Alexander" with buffalo milk from Di Bufala Dairy as well as other locally sourced ingredients). If you buy the nutmeggy, truffle-riffic sip for $14, know that the proceeds will help Toys for Tots. The Santa Claus visits happen mid-afternoon on Dec. 4, from 3 to 5 p.m., but do arrive a bit early if you want to see the Jolly Old Elf's boat-cool pull-up to the bay-close hotel and restaurant. True, Santa does arrive by boat and surfboard at a few Golden State spots in December, but this charmer comes with grown-up libations and Santa snapshots.