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Holidays in Santa Monica:

To many, the notion of the holidays in balmy 70+ degree weather by the seaside would seem to fly in the face of time-honored traditions of cold weather and all its accoutrements: parkas, gloves, snow-covered streets… you get the idea. Although Santa Monica can’t lay claim to rime on our palm trees, we do offer a wonderful array of holiday activities, and the holiday spirit is as strong and joyful here as anywhere else, and just as colorful. What follows is a brief guide to enjoying the holidays, Santa Monica-style.

Happy Holidays!

Annual Main Street Holiday Event

Main Street’s Annual Holiday Event on Saturday, December 6 includes a tree lighting event, caroling, window decorating contest, sidewalk sale, and more! Stroll the many wonderful shops and restaurants as you enjoy some holiday cheer.

Edgemar Holiday Tree

Come experience the creation of the annual Shopping Cart Tree located in Edgemar Center. A one-of-a-kind local holiday icon, the building of the tree takes place November 16-18, lighting and decorating November 19-21. Meet artist Anthony Schmitt as the tree is being constructed.

ICE AT SANTA MONICA presented by Starbucks® Coffee, Open November 7, through January 19, 2009

1324 Fifth Street, Daily: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Rockefeller Center got nothin’ on us! Less than two blocks from the Third Street Promenade, the rink is open daily, and is an annual tradition, welcoming skaters of all skill levels, from competitive-level to wobbly beginner. The $10 admission includes skate rental. The rink will remain open in light rain or drizzle conditions, closing only for heavy downpours. Participating Starbucks® will also give a complimentary tall hot beverage upon presentation of an ICE admission bracelet.

MENORAH LIGHTING CEREMONY

December 21-28, 2008; Sundown FREE

1200 block of Third Street Promenade

Local synagogues will host a community Menorah Lighting Ceremony each of the eight nights of Chanukah.

ENTERTAINMENT

NAMASTE WOME’S CHOIR

The Namaste Women’s Choir presents a concert of holiday, world, and other choral selections suitable for children. The audience will have the opportunity to sing along, play instruments, and dance. Appropriate for all ages. Saturday, December 13 at 3 p.m. $5 for children 13 and under, $10 for adults. Unitarian Universalist Church of Santa Monica, 1260 18th Street.

Tickets can be purchased at namastewomenschoir.org, or by calling 310.714.4407.

A PLAYHOUSE NEW YEAR’S!

A Playhouse New Year’s! is the 36th annual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring audience favorite songs, dances, comedy, and other delights culled from the best and most beloved critically-acclaimed Santa Monica Playhouse productions, complete with complimentary buffet supper, champagne, favors, hats, and New Year’s surprises.

Performances are December 31, 2008, 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Santa Monica Playhouse Main Stage, 1211 4th Street. Reservations are necessary and may be made by calling 310.394.9779 ext.1

Admission: 6:30 show: $25 (kids) $39.50 (adults); 9:30 show: $35.00 (kids) $49.50 (adults).

CAROLERS

December 19-21, 24, 2008; 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. FREE

Carolers dressed in Dickens-style costumes with a repertoire of almost 80 songs share their gift of music this holiday season in downtown Santa Monica.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING

ECO GIFT FESTIVAL

Presented by The Los Angeles Times, Eco Gift Festival is the largest environmentally conscious consumer gift show in the world, bringing together more than 15,000 consumers and 200 environmentally conscious vendors under one roof. Eco Gift Festival delivers a uniquely enjoyable, stress-free holiday shopping experience. Presented in a festival-like setting, Eco Gift showcases world-class live entertainment, socially conscious speakers, an organic food court, and on-site eco gift-wrapping and shipping.

Tickets $10 per day/$20 per weekend pass, and free for children under 12 and seniors over 65. Friday – Sunday, December 12 – 14, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

INTERNATIONAL GEM AND JEWELRY SHOW

Now in its 41st year, this renowned exhibit of gems and jewelry has grown to nearly 100 shows annually in more than 35 markets nationwide. Huge selection and substantial savings are the two main reasons for the show’s success and popularity.

This show features hundreds of exhibitors from China, India, Africa, Australia, Russia, the American Southwest, and more. Colorful displays feature rare and exotic gems, unusual custom-designed pieces, and special “theme” jewelry. Several shows have featured exhibits of special interest, such as jewelry displays of famous movie stars and well-known celebrities.

Free jewelry cleaning and tips on proper maintenance and storage are provided. From everyday pieces to the rare and exquisite, there is something for everyone, at prices suited to any budget.

Friday, December 5, Noon to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 6, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, December 7, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Admission $7 at the door, or free at goldstar.com.

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