• 49ers' Harbaugh on the trading block? - 12/25/2014 08:52 AM PST
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    ( Dan Honda )
    50 things we learned in 2014

    Here's our annual look back at the 50 things that surprised us, or reassured us, or that we simply didn't see coming. 
    Older Jenny reflects on Nonnatus after she left on 'Call the Midwife Holiday Special.' Plus, Dr. Who teams up with Santa for a dangerous sleigh ride through space and time.  
     
    Mark DuFrene
    Host a sparkling New Year's Eve party with this easy party plan that includes tips from The Kitchn's Sara Kate Gillingham.  
     
    Jim Ketsdever/Contra Costa Times
    This week, readers are sharing more stories of animal rescues.  
     
    Courtesy of the Moffett Family
    Bay Area News Group readers share their vacation photos and travel tips.  
     
    Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group
    The Lake Merritt area of Oakland has a new neighborhood place, a cozy Italian trattoria -- a sister to Rockridge's Filippo's -- that serves up pasta, pizza and other Italian comfort food.  
     
    Doug Duran/Contra Costa Times
    Readers share more stories of wildlife and animal rescues.  
     
    The annual 24-hour marathon of 'A Christmas Story' kicks off at 8 p.m. 'It's a Wonderful Life' also on tap for Christmas Eve.  
     
    Lloyd Bishop
    A turbocharged Season 4 renewed our faith in 'Homeland  
     
    Bitter Queens
    From coffee rye to Shanghai Shirley, craft bitters are the newest stars of Bay Area bars.  
     
    Jeff Daly/NBC
    Plus, Robin Roberts reviews 'The Year: 2014,' including Ferguson, Missouri and the Ebola virus.  
     
    RAY CHAVEZ
    Lady Gaga, Drake vs. Lil Wayne, Nas, Kraftwerk were among the best concerts of 2014.  
     
    'Chicago' proved that musicals could work on the big screen; 'Les Miz' showed how it could backfire big time.  
     
    David James
    'Unbroken,' the movie that director Angelina Jolie has brought to the screen with visual splendor and technical polish, spends too much time during Louis Zamperini's war years and not enough before and after.  
     
    Ready for that New Year's Eve bash? These California sparkling wines are dazzling enough to impress, but with price tags in the $14 to $29 range, they won't punish your pocketbook.  
     
    Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group
    Think of the Oakland Aviation Museum as the holy grail for Indy buffs. Among all the historical aviation lore, the World War II planes, engine parts and blasts to the past, lies the plane Indiana Jones rode to Nepal in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark.'  
     
    Peter Mountain/Disney
    Rob Marshall's adaptation of the classic Stephen Sondheim musical is a visual feast with some stunning performances, but loses some of the edge of the original play.  
     
    PBS
    Plus, Santa robbery entangles team on 'Major Crimes.'  
     
    Chris Ware/Lexington Herald-Leader
    Food, decorations and raucous parties all can bring special concerns for the pet owner.  
     
    Featuring works from Handel, Vivaldi and Ralph Vaughan-Williams, as well as traditional carols, the concert was a stocking stuffed with musical riches.  
     
    Etiquette experts share tips on how, when and why to give (and get) this holiday season.  
     
    DAN ROSENSTRAUCH
    Americans, Italians, Austrians, Spaniards and more people from more countries, cities and towns show their Christmas spirit  
     
    David Bloomer/SHOWTIME
    Plus, stellar first season of 'The Affair' ends with a lot on the line for star-crossed lovers Noah and Alison.  
     
    SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
    Josh Groban triumphs over Nat King Cole in the finals of our Christmas carols competition.  
     
    Jeff Daly/NBC
    'Homeland' finale, 'Doctor Who' Christmas special among TV highlights.  
     
    Snyder
    Plus, go vegan for Veganuary; and give nice, not naughty.  
     
    NBC
    Psychologists and other experts say that indulging in memories of holidays past can benefit us emotionally and psychologically.  
     
    Randy McMullen
    'Fantasia: Music Evolved,' 'LittleBigPlanet 3' and 'Lords of the Fallen' among the releases that should not be overlooked.  
     
    Just in time for that onslaught of holiday visitors, here are five reader-crafted itineraries to discover the best of the Bay Area, from Golden Gate Park to Devil's Slide.  
     
    Plus, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson hosts 'Christmas in Washington' and Jennifer Hudson and Train among performers for 'A Home for the Holidays.'