Photo by Jason Chinn for Entwined exhibit at Golden Gate Park.

This weekend might be a quiet one, as many businesses close up shop for safety and a much-needed break. Fear not, we’ve still got some ideas on how to keep the cheer going. 

Last-minute holiday shopping

Check out Mission Local’s staff favorites.

Winter lights at Golden Gate Park 

From sundown to 10 p.m. every night through Feb. 1, Golden Gate Park will have a series of illuminated exhibits for you to explore. 

The Alterverse, which is open this month only at the Music Concourse, features San Francisco’s poet laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin, and other poets, along with live music every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. 

Then there’s Uncle John’s Tree, which has lit up annually since 1929, an interactive enchanted forest in Peacock Meadow, a psychedelic installation in the Conservatory of Flowers, and more. 

For details on each installation, click here

Mass at Mission Dolores Basilica

Mission Dolores Basilica will hold a family Christmas mass on Friday, Dec. 24, at 5 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., there will be Christmas carols, and a bilingual solemn mass will begin at 10 p.m. 

On Christmas Day, English mass will be held at 10 a.m. and Spanish mass will begin at noon. 

Mission Street stories

Evolved SF wants you in their art show: They are looking for nostalgic art that highlights the legends of Mission Street for an upcoming group exhibition with artist Susana Gomez.  

All mediums are accepted, and your submissions can include all kinds of memorabilia: old school photos, quinceañeras, tributes to local history, or mementos of personal experiences. The exhibit will be in January. To submit an entry, email

Christmas Day botanicals 

If you’re at a loss for what to do on Christmas Day and want to stay outdoors, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, at 1199 9th Ave. will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entry is always free for San Francisco residents, but non-residents also get in free on Christmas. 

Tree stroll at Ghirardelli Square 

This is the last weekend to take a festive stroll through the series of unique trees at Ghirardelli Square, decorated by students from the Academy of Art. The winning tree, ‘Gilded Garbage’ by the School of Fashion, was already selected — go check it out! For details, visit here

Elders in the arts

The latest exhibit from Ruth’s Table arts program , which celebrates aging and intergenerational community building, is open until Dec. 30. They are “committed to uplifting and connecting our elder, often most vulnerable, communities through a dynamic combination of creative programming and community initiatives.” 

The current exhibit, “Keep an Eye on the Bowl” by Joan Schulze, highlights the artist’s “revolutionary use of new quilting forms.” Visit in person, or explore online here.  

If you need a last-minute gift of original art, click here. Ruth’s Table is also hoping you’ll donate this holiday to support their need for supplies, accessible onsite and remote programs, and training for staff. 

Their gallery, ​​at 3160 21st St., shows off the work of their older adult artists and adults with disabilities. It is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To donate, click here

Shopping spree for books

Friends of the SFPL is raising money for the city’s library system, hoping to reach $100k during the month of December. Donate any amount before Dec. 31 for a chance to win a personal shopping spree at the Friends’ Book Donation Center, with a $50 shopping credit. 

For other ways to help out, visit, or for details, contact Barbara Alvarez, director of philanthropy, at or 415-477-5231.  

Bookmobile at the park

On Tuesday, Dec. 28, the YouthMobile will swing through its last park of the year at McLaren Park. The bookmobile will show up at the Redwood Grove Playground at 200 John F. Shelley Dr. by 9:30 a.m., and story time starts at 10:30 a.m. 

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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