While everyone else gathers beneath Christmas trees and exchanges presents, you know the old line about how Jews spend Dec. 25: with Chinese food and a movie. Congregation Ner Shalom is just bright enough to turn this annual, somewhat dreary routine into a special event with Chinese Food and a Movie, benefiting the Jewish Community Free Clinic. Including havdalah, dinner and a screening of Danny Boyle’s Millions, the night is a perfect way to gather for those who usually hit up the not-so-great Chinese buffet in town—or who just want to check out the old Cotati Cabaret building. It’s all kosher on Sunday, Dec. 25, at Congregation Ner Shalom, 85 La Plaza, Cotati. 3—7pm. $5—$25. 707.664.8622.
This year, instead of lying to poor old granny about wearing that hideous sweater she bought you for the holidays, come to the Holiday Hoedown and get some real wear out of it while supporting Petaluma’s COTS program. Arann Harris and the Farm Band present the accompanying Ugly Sweater Contest, which is sure to draw in fashion the connoisseurs of the world. Break out that Huxtable-style sweater and rock to the upbeat sounds of openers the California Honeydrops and the Barbary Ghosts on Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Mystic Theater. 23 Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma. 6pm. $10 with can of food; $15 without. 707.765.2121.
Every year the Christmas Jug Band breaks out their wacky tunes in the name of the Christmas Spirit. The band’s latest album—Uncorked, featuring the breakout hit “Santa Lost a Ho”—fuses the classic sounds of jazz, blues folk and rock. The Christmas Jug Band make their Northern California rounds with special guests for each date: Thursday, Dec. 15, at George’s (842 Fourth St., San Rafael; 8:30pm; $20; 415.226.0262); Friday, Dec. 16, at the Raven Theater (115 North St., Healdsburg; 8pm; $10—$20; 707.433.6335); and Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 142 Throckmorton Theatre (142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley; 8pm: $15—$25; 415.383.9600).