Lighting up the holiday season


Jasmine Rihal

Christmas tree featured in annual tree lighting ceremony “Christmas in the Park”.

Jasmine Rihal, Social Media Manager

As the holiday season rolls in, Santa Clara County lights up the night sky with luminous Christmas trees and attractions. To commence this holiday season, cities are putting up trees and hosting celebrations to bring the festive spirit to the local community.

Christmas in the Park, created by Don Lima in the 1950s in his front yard, was the first holiday display in San Jose. The cheerful Christmas decorations intrigued the community as display expanded each year. Eventually, the decorations became such an important  phenomenon that he donated them to the City of San Jose to be displayed at Plaza de Cesar Chavez every Christmas.

“Everyone in Christmas in the Park gets the same experience, and we all get to share the joy of making memories.” Vice President of the Board of Directors Debbie Degutis said.

The annual tree lighting ceremony was held on Nov. 25, featuring over 500 trees crafted by community members, either to honor a loved one or simple to spread the Christmas joy. In addition to attractions such as kiddie rides and roller skating, light shows synchronized with classic holiday tunes lit up the tree, welcoming thousands of visitors. 

“I love that this event brings people together — we have multiple generations of families that come out to make memories,” said Stacey Holden, President of the Board of Directors. “It is such a joyful event and we’re proud to be able to bring that to the community.”

The City of Los Gatos also hosted a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 2 at Los Gatos Town Plaza Park. For over 30 years, this tradition has featured dancers and singers from the community. Every year, Santa is also escorted to the Plaza Park in a vintage fire truck by the Los Gatos Fire Department to oversee the lighting. Afterward, children can take pictures with Santa and the first responders. 

“My favorite part of the holidays are all the opportunities to come together with family and friends, sharing traditions, music and food,” Vice Mayor of Los Gatos Maria Ristow said. “The tree lighting is the launch of the winter holidays in Los Gatos and sets the stage for a cozy feeling of community.” 

The annual Los Gatos Children’s Holiday Parade took place the next day. Appearances were made by students and staff from Los Gatos High School, R.J. Fisher Middle School, Los Gatos Saratoga  Recreation and more. The same vintage fire truck in which Santa was escorted to greet the kids during the tree lighting ceremony also escorted him through the parade. 

Holiday on Main is another tree lighting ceremony hosted by Main Street in Cupertino. The ceremony offered family entertainment, photos with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, arts and crafts and hot chocolate. Groups around the community, including Cupertino High School’s choir, performed at the event. 

“There is a lot of effort and coordination that comes into play when planning an event like this, but we’re happy to do it for the community because it is a nice public event,” General Manager of Main Street Cupertino Mike Rohde said. 

Christmas is a time for people to come together and celebrate the holiday season with their loved ones. Unifying the community, these events spread the holiday cheer, spreading festive spirit.