Holiday Spirit

'Tis the season
Your guide to local holiday happenings

Here's a look at some holiday activities in the area. Some local suggestions are listed below (for the most up-to-date listings, or to submit your own, check out our community calendar).


Photos with Santa
What: Santa will be at Stanford Shopping Center daily through Christmas Eve to take photos with children and pets (select days only).
Where: Center Pavilion, 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto
When: Through Tuesday, Dec. 24 (for children); 4 - 6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24, and Sunday, Dec. 8 (for pets)
More information:

Visits with caring Santa
What: Children with all spectrums of special needs and their families can visit Caring Santa in a sensory-friendly environment.
Where: Center Pavilion, 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto
When: 9-10:30 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 8
More information:

Breakfast with Santa
What: Children can join Santa and his friends from the North Pole at Stanford Shopping Center for breakfast and entertainment.
Where: Center Pavilion (between Macy's and Tiffany & Co.), 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto
When: Saturday, Dec. 7 (check online for times)
More information:


'Holiday Fun at Gamble'
What': Celebrate the holiday season outdoors exploring Gamble Garden's three-acre garden during "December Second Saturday: Holiday Fun at Gamble." The event includes tours through the three-acre garden, a family nature hunt, hands-on activities for children and the sale of fresh-cut greens, wreaths, swags and more at the annual Holiday Greens Sale that will be taking place. There also will be floral arrangers in the tea house designing holiday centerpieces for purchase. The Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley choral group will be on hand singing Christmas carols.
Where: Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto
When: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 14
Cost: Free
More information: or 650-329-1356


A Festival of Lessons & Carols
What: Stanford University's Department of Music, Office for Religious Life will hold its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols service this holiday season. This free service of Advent and Christmas readings and music is based on the famous service held annually at King's College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Memorial Church Choir and Stanford Chamber Chorale will perform
Where: Stanford Memorial Church, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6,
Cost: Free
More information:

Friends of Music Holiday Musicale
What: Stanford's Department of Music ensembles, including Stanford Philharmonia and Stanford Chamber Chorale, will perform works by Holst, Handel and others.
Where: Memorial Church, Stanford University
When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7
Cost: $18 advance purchase (general); $23 at the door (general)
More information:

'A Chanticleer Christmas'
What: San Francisco's men's choir Chanticleer perform in concert
Where: Memorial Church, Stanford University
When: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 11
Cost: $64
More information:

'Holiday Heist'
What: The Bay Area's Jazz Mafia (vocalistsTrance Thompson and Moorea Dickason; Tommy Occhiuto on sax; Adam Theis on bass and trombone; Matt Wong on keys; and Darian Gray on drums) will perform in concert. Holiday drinks and snacks available for purchase.
Where: Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University
When: 7 p.m., Dec. 10-14 & 9 p.m., Dec. 13-14.
Cost: $50
More information:

Winter concert
What:The Choral Project performs its annual holiday concert, "Winter's Gifts: Spirit," with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra.
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21
Cost: General admission: $25-35
More information:


Palo Alto
What: Bands, choirs and art activities.
Where: Lytton Plaza (University Avenue at Emerson Street), downtown Palo Alto
When: 5:30 - 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29
Cost: Free
More information: 650-463-4900

Mountain View
What: Live music, arts & crafts, refreshments and the arrival of Santa Claus.
Where: Civic Center Plaza, 500 Castro St.
When: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9
Cost: Free
More information: 650-903-6331

Menlo Park
What: Live entertainment, free hot cocoa.
Where: Fremont Park, Santa Cruz Avenue at University Drive
When: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6
Cost: Free
More information: 650-330-2220


Candlelight ceremony & celebration
What: Oshman Family Jewish Community Center Hanukkah celebration with Noa Levy and her band, who will lead dancing in English and Hebrew; arts & crafts for kids; dreidel games; and a special candle lighting ceremony.
Where: Macy's Plaza, 600 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto
When: 5- 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 29
Cost: Free
More information:, or


Christmas Tree Lane
What:Christmas Tree Lane has been a Palo Alto yuletide tradition since 1940, when homeowners spontaneously decided to decorate two blocks from Embarcadero Road to Seale Avenue with Christmas trees and lights for the community to enjoy. Visitors can park on adjacent neighborhood streets and stroll down the street's sidewalk or turn off their car headlamps and drive slowly down the street.
Where:Fulton Street (off Embarcadero Road) Palo Alto.
When:Lights are displayed from 5 - 11 p.m. nightly for two weeks during the holiday season, starting approximately the week before Christmas
Cost: Free
More information: