The first thing you should know about up-and-coming holiday events in Santa Clara is that there is a change of venue for the city’s annual tree-lighting ceremony Friday, December 4th. And that you don’t want to miss the ceremony because it will be more exciting than ever before.
The ceremony takes place at Central Park by the new outdoor ice skating rink, instead of at the Civic Center as in past years. It kicks off with onstage entertainment at 5 p.m. and playing throughout the evening. Santa will be in town from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Ice skating demonstrations from 6 – 6:30 p.m. include Sunnyvale native and Olympic gold medal winner Brian Boitano skating to “Silent Night.” The Super Bowl black and gold tree lighting is at 6:50 p.m. with fireworks (yes, fireworks!) at 7 p.m. From 7 – 9 p.m. there will be community ice skating.
Check the City website for a listing of the other entertainment lined up for the Dec. 4 ceremony: www.santaclaraca.gov/residents/countdown-to-kick-off/super-community-events/super-community-tree-lighting-and-ice-rink.
View the City’s comprehensive holiday events list, “Home for the Holidays” (www.santaclaraca.gov/home/showdocument?id=15246) and mark your calendar now so you won’t miss any of the following December special events, from December 4 – 6.
The first weekend of December is packed with possibilities: Dec. 4 & 5, the annual historic home tour, sponsored by the Historical Preservation Society of Santa Clara (www.sc-hometour.com), by ticket only.
Dec. 5, Holiday Craft Fairs at the Central Park Library (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the Triton Museum of Art, 1505 Warburton Ave., (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)–the perfect opportunity to discover unique, handmade gifts and support the library, the museum, and local artisans. Also at the Triton on the 5th: Family Art Day, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and a free performance of jazz and pop holiday music, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (www.tritonmuseum.org).
Dec. 5, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., holiday entertainment includes photo opportunities with Santa and Elves at noon, Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way. For details on the many holiday programs for children scheduled at all three City libraries, visit www.santaclaraca.gov/government/departments/library/events.
Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 at 3 p.m., the Santa Clara Players present free performances for families of “Christmas Mouse” at the Hall Pavilion, behind the Triton Museum. Additional performances: Dec. 12, 4 p.m. and Dec. 13, 3 p.m. Information: www.scplayers.org and (408) 248-7993.
Dec. 5, about 8 p.m., the festively-decorated Holiday Train brings Santa and his entourage to the Caltrain Station, 1005 Railroad Ave., for a brief stop before heading on to San Jose. Don’t be late or you’ll miss Santa. The train museum will be open. Unwrapped toy donations for needy children are welcomed. (www.caltrain.com/riderinfo/specialevents/holidaytrain)
Anytime: Cruise around the city and view the homes with outdoor holiday decorations. In honor of the Super Bowl coming to town in February, “Black and Gold” is a new category for decorations. Call the Senior Center, (408) 615-3170, by Dec. 11 to nominate your favorite home to win the home decorations contest. It’s okay to nominate your own home. Judges will evaluate the nominations on Dec. 17.
And that’s just the first holiday weekend. Special events are scheduled throughout December:
December 10-14, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., go back in time on an outdoor journey to the Biblical city of Bethlehem and witness the biblical story of the birth of Jesus, with music, drama, lights, and even camels. Five 30-minute performances each night. Free Admission and hot drinks. Santa Clara First Baptist Church, 3111 Benton Street. Call (408) 241-7635 or visit www.bethlehemsc.com for information.
The Dec. 11 – 13 weekend offers two traditional holiday music events. The Santa Clara Chorale Holiday Concert (www.scc.org) takes place at the beautiful Mission Santa Clara Dec. 11, 8 p.m., and Dec. 13, 4 p.m. The concert combines poignant readings and meditations with familiar carols, traditional folk music, and reflective pieces.
Santa Clara Ballet (www.santaclaraballet.com) presents the full-length, traditional version of the “Nutcracker Ballet” set to the music of P.I. Tchaikovsky, Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Santa Clara Convention Center Theater, 5001 Great America Parkway.
Two final opportunities for children to have their picture taken with Santa are by reservation only (space is limited) and have a small fee: Dec. 17, children seven and under, at the Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., from 6-6:45 p.m. and 7-7:45 p.m. The evening includes crafts, holiday music and refreshments. Dec. 19, at the Santa Clara Senior Center, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., children and their families can eat breakfast and make holiday crafts as they await their turns to talk with Santa. For reservations, call (408) 615-3140 or visit www.santaclarca.gov/parksandrec.
The last City holiday event of the year is the 2nd Annual “Noon” Year’s Eve Dance Party at the Northside Branch Library, Dec. 31, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Formal attire is required for adults and children. Information: www.santaclaraca.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/19246/67?curm=12&cury=2015.