Twinkling lights. Festive decorations. Sparkling trees. With so many options on the Peninsula, it can be a challenge to decide what to do during the most wonderful time of the year.
In San Carlos, Eucalyptus Street celebrates Christmas by decorating all of the houses with an array of Christmas lights and decorations. Houses begin to put up lights the day after Thanksgiving to prepare for the hundreds of people that flood the street in the upcoming weeks. While you are jostled by crowds, you can view houses draped with thousands of lights, creating a beautiful and extravagant Christmas light display.
“It’s chaotic and loud,” said Kyra Schechter, a freshman who lives on Eucalyptus. “But it is enjoyable to walk down the street with friends and family.”
Going to see the lights on Eucalyptus is free of charge and is nearby for many Sequoia students. If you’re willing to face the crowds and traffic to see the extravagance of lights, it can be a very exciting experience.
“It’s definitely worth coming to see the lights because it’s one of those things where it’s fun to go every year,” said Gabe Federighi, a freshman who also lives on Eucalyptus. “It’s also good to see people that you know.”
Along with lights and decorations, picking out a Christmas tree is also often seen as one of the most important parts of the holidays for those who celebrate Christmas. For people who pick out a real tree, there are a variety of options to choose from.
Honey Bear Trees, which has locations in Redwood City and San Carlos, is more accessible to Sequoia students, and they donate 15% of your tree purchase to the Sequoia school district.
Half Moon Bay also has many Christmas tree farms, such as Cozzolino’s Christmas Trees and 4-C’s Christmas Tree Farm. People choosing to buy their trees in Half Moon Bay choose a tree and cut it down, which is an experience many people seek out. Half Moon Bay provides an oasis from the upcoming holiday stress, and the atmosphere and cheer of the Christmas tree farms can make it worth the farther trip.
The last consideration for choosing where to buy your tree is the price. Both Half Moon Bay tree farms have moderate prices ranging from $45-$65, while Honey Bear Trees’ prices are higher and range from $120 to $160.
There are a few options for people who don’t celebrate Christmas. There are not as many activities available, but there a few parades and menorah lightings locally. Although there aren’t many activities, spending time with friends and family can be a fun alternative.
“We make latkes and play dreidel. There aren’t many things to do [that are] Hanukkah related, but you can go to other people’s houses and celebrate.” Schechter said.
San Francisco has a wide variety of activities to celebrate the holidays this season, from going to the San Francisco Nutcracker to enjoying the decorations in Union Square.
The Fairmont Hotel constructs a 25-foot tall gingerbread house for hotel guests and visitors, along with the 23-foot tall Christmas tree decorating the lobby.
If you choose to take the trip up to San Francisco, about a block away from Union Square, A.C.T. puts on a production of A Christmas Carol every year from December 6th to the 29th. Ticket prices range from $30 to $200 dollars depending on where you choose to sit. The show tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his adventure traveling through Christmas past, present and future through vibrant colors, song and dance.
Along Union Square, you can also see the puppies and kittens hoping to find homes for the holidays in Macy’s store windows.
On California Street, you can take pictures next to the oversized Christmas ornaments stacked up in an open area at 101 California Street.
In Union Square, you can ice skate on the holiday ice rink while gazing at a giant Christmas tree and over a hundred Christmas wreaths lighting up Macy’s store windows.
Ice skating with friends and family can also be a merry activity to do during the holidays. There are ice skating rinks are all around the Bay Area ranging from Palo Alto to Union Square.
In Palo Alto, you can go to Winter Lodge Ice Skating Rink. Here an outdoor skating area decorated with lights and Christmas trees is located, along with bubble “snow” that is released for skaters to stand under. Admission for Winter Lodge is $12 and $5 for skate rental.
San Mateo on Ice, another local rink, is considered the largest rink in the Bay Area. This rink also has bumper cars on the ice for skaters to ride in. Bumper car sessions cost $15 and they have to be booked in advance. General admission to the rink is $16, which includes skate rental.
During this time of the year, it’s exciting to get into the holiday spirit and de-stress with the craziness that comes with the holiday season. With these activities, you will have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.