Dreamin’ of a Tahoe Christmas: Holiday activities and restaurants serving Christmas dinner at Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Dreamin’ of a Tahoe Christmas: Holiday activities and restaurants serving Christmas dinner at Lake Tahoe

Zephyr Cove Resort hosts a Santa Cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie II on Saturday, Dec. 22.
Provided Zephyr Cove Resort / ARAMARK

Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year — maybe.

For those of us who despise the awful music and are still recovering from time together with the family on Thanksgiving, Christmas can be a bit … meh. Not to be a Grinch, but some of us are strategizing how we’re going to pay for snow tires. And you people want to talk about gifts? Get out of here.

But even the biggest bah-humbugs can’t help but get into the holiday spirit when up at the lake in late December. The mountains, the snow, Big Blue … it’s like a giant freakin’ Christmas card.

So if you’re luckier than those of us being forced to head off the hill for the holidays, here are some of our top suggestions to help get you in the holiday spirit and keep you there all the way to Christmas dinner. Hell, we’ll even tell you where you can eat dinner.

All about the big man

If you take religion out of Christmas what are you left with? Answer: A severely overweight senior citizen with a ridiculous getup and lame petting zoo. We kid, Santa, we kid.

Truth is Kris Kringle is the universal symbol for Christmas, so what better way to get into the holiday mindset than to spend some quality time with the big man (no, not God, we all know God is a woman).

Join the jolly man for a scenic cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie II on Saturday, Dec. 22. The two-hour boat ride departs from Zephyr Cove Resort (760 U.S. 50, Zephyr Cove, Nev.) at noon, and features an appearance by Santa, spectacular views and holiday music, as well as treats and hot chocolate.

Children 3-11 are $10 and adults are $65. Reservations are recommended as this popular cruise fills up fast. Visit http://www.zephyrcove.com to learn more.

Need a more “adult” experience? Heavenly Village is hosting a Tahoe Santa Crawl from 8-11 p.m. Saturday. Hit the village dressed as Santa or your favorite holiday character (is John McClane a holiday character?) and purchase a signature cup to enjoy food and drink specials at all Heavenly Village bars and restaurants. The cup is $10 and it also gets you into Opal Nightclub at MontBleu for free.

The best part: All proceeds benefit local musician Helena Kletch’s fight against leukemia.

Of course, it’s not all about boat rides and booze for Santa. He also likes to shred. Friday through Christmas Eve you can ski or ride with Santa at Homewood Mountain Resort on Tahoe’s West Shore. According to the resort, “Santa will take photos with skiers and riders, and give gifts from his Christmas bag” 11 a.m.-2 p.m. each day.

Santa also will be out at Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village Monday and Tuesday, and he’s bringing his friend Penguin Pete. They’ll be out there 11 a.m.-1 p.m. handing out candy canes and posing for photos. Look for them on the slopes and in the base area.

Dinner is served

Christmas dinner choices are sorta like recreation opportunities at Tahoe — there are a lot.

On North Shore, Lone Eagle Grille is definitely on the higher end when it comes to cost, and for good reason. This. Spread. Is. Amazing. Fourteen stations offer you everything from seafood to cheeses to desserts to carved meats (slow roasted prime rib beef with au jus sauce and horseradish cream … yes please). Cost is $105 per adult and $35 for children 5-12. Visit http://www.loneeaglegrille.com for more details and a complete menu.

Big Water Grille in Incline Village also will be serving up a Christmas Day feast. The three-course meal is $75 for adults and includes menu options such as pineapple pomegranate glazed smoked ham and pan seared crusted Norwegian halibut. There also will be a special menu with entrees and desserts for the kids (younger than 12) at $35. Visit http://www.bigwatergrille.com to make your reservation.

On South Shore there are quite a few places dishing up dinner.

On the higher end, The Landing will be serving a special menu on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The $85 meal includes menu options such as goose two way and beef wellington. Visit http://www.thelandingtahoe.com for information.

Tahoe Beach Retreat & Lodge in South Lake Tahoe will host a Christmas dinner, and perhaps the best part is the free all-day crafting that will take place in the hotel lobby. You just sit back, enjoy a beverage and relax while the little ones express their inner artist. Adults pay $24 for the three-course meal, while kids pay $14. The main course includes braised short ribs, green bean almondine, potatoes au gratin and a dinner roll.

As always, the casinos are another option regardless of the day (seriously, holidays, much like clean air and natural light, don’t exist inside a casino). In all seriousness, The Timbers inside Lakeside Inn makes delicious food and they’re not going to take half your paycheck in order for you to enjoy it. You get a traditional Christmas dinner with your choice of sugar glazed ham or roasted turkey for $15.99. It’s a safe bet you’ll likely find me at The Timbers Christmas night.

These are just a few of the places open on Christmas. Consult your personal assistant (Google) if you have questions about a specific restaurant.

And remember, whether you’re on the hill, in an upscale restaurant or putting your retirement into a slot machine, the people making all those things function are working on Christmas. Be kind.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

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