’Tis the Season 2020
The Complete Guide to Santa Barbara’s Holiday Happenings, Virtual and In-Person
By Terry Ortega | Published December 3, 2020
Who would have considered back in March that we would still be celebrating holidays and traditions during this continued pandemic? Well, here we are. But hopefully we’ve all been enlightened to the importance of family and community.
Let the Santa Barbara Independent’s complete guide to holiday happenings assist you in planning a modified but festive agenda with safety guidelines for in-person events, such as finding the perfect Christmas tree, taking photos with Santa, walking through a nightly snowfall, dining, and, of course, shopping.
You can also choose from an array of creative virtual events, such as learning how to make sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts) for Chanukah, perusing galleries to view and purchase artwork, shopping for unique items from museum stores, and uniting with family and friends for a ceremony to honor those who cannot be with us this holiday season.
The Independent’s wish is that our annual guide will encourage families, friends, and neighbors from all communities to find support, the time to relax, mindfulness (masks), and to have a little fun!
Anthony’s Christmas Trees
Get just the right Christmas tree through Dec. 24. Mon.-Thu.: 9am-8pm; Fri.-Sat.: 9am-9pm; Sun: 10am-7pm. Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. Free. Call (805) 966-6668 or email email@example.com.
Big Wave Dave’s Christmas Trees
Beautiful trees will be available daily. Through Dec. 23, 10am-9pm. 3865 State St. (La Cumbre Plaza, Macy’s parking lot). Free. Call
Goleta Boy Scout Troop 37 Christmas Tree Lot
Find the perfect Douglas, noble, or Nordmann fir through Sun., Dec. 20, and support the Goleta Boy Scouts. Sat.-Sun.: 9am-9pm; Mon.-Fri.: 3-9pm. 5875 Calle Real, Goleta (near Trader Joe’s). Free. Email sbtroop37@gmail
*$ Carpinteria Boy Scouts Christmas Tree Lot
Pick out a beautiful, top-quality tree, and support the Boy Scouts, Carpinteria Troop 50. Through Dec. 19. Sat.: 1-6:30pm; Sun.: 8:30am-6:30pm; Mon.-Wed.: 3-8:30pm. 1532 Linden Ave., Carpinteria. Free. Call (805) 698-4372.
37th Annual Ceremony of Light, Love, Remembrance, and Unity
Join this heartwarming virtual ceremony (registration is required) to remember and honor the many that are missed this holiday season. The traditional Trees of Remembrance with stars will be placed at the following locations: Santa Barbara (Lobero Theatre), Montecito (Upper Village Green), Goleta (Camino Real Marketplace), and Carpinteria (Seal Fountain). Wed., Dec. 16, 6-7pm.
HOLIDAY FUN FOR CHILDREN
The Buellton Christmas Farmers’ Market
There will be an arts and crafts kit for the kids to take home, a food truck, and an opportunity take a socially distanced photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus 3-5pm, music from the S.Y.V. Jazz Band, and a light display at 6pm. Sun., Dec. 6, 2-6pm. Village Park, 330 Valley Vineyard Cir., Buellton. Free.
Snowfall: Walk Thru a Winter Wonderland
Play in the nightly snow, which is actually made from vegetables and is gluten-free, nontoxic, and non-damaging. “Snow-cial” distancing and face masks will be required. Through Thu., Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25), 5:30, 6:30, and 7pm. Center Court, Paseo Nuevo, 651 Paseo Nuevo. Free.
Virtual Storytime with Santa
Photos with Santa at La Cumbre Plaza
ake your photo with Santa! Visit the website to learn about what to expect during your contactless visit with Santa and to make a reservation. Dec. 4-24 (closed Dec. 7). Fri.-Sat.: 11am-3pm and 4-8pm; Sun.: 11am-3pm and 3:30-7pm; Thu., Dec. 24: 9am-1pm and 2-5pm. Free.
12/09: A&L at the Drive-in: Elf
UCSB Arts & Lectures invites you to arrive early for food trucks, concessions, and entertainment before watching 2003’s Elf (PG) at 8pm, starring Will Ferrell as the man who was raised as an elf at the North Pole. Visit the website for safety guidelines. Wed., Dec. 9, 8pm (gates open at 7:40pm). Goleta West Wind Drive-In, 907 S. Kellogg Ave., #3833, Goleta. Free.
Estella Scrooge: A Christmas Tale with a Twist
This new holiday musical originated and developed at the Rubicon Theatre Company was recently filmed in New York and is the first fully produced green-screen streaming musical that blends theater, film, and animation. Follow Estella Scrooge and experience a mix of a few Dickens tales brought to life with a talented cast of Broadway stars and incredible songs. $29.99/one-time viewing through January 15, 2020; $44.99/own and watch unlimited number of times with behind-the-scenes footage included.
Selfies with Santa
Bring family, friends, and pets for a selfie with Santa in front of the huge Christmas tree. Tag your photos @ShopPaseoNuevo #SelfiesWithSanta to be entered to win weekly prizes. Masks are mandatory. No appointments required. Sat.-Sun., Dec. 19-20, noon-6pm. Free.
HOLIDAY FUN FOR EVERYONE
Buellton’s Holiday Poker Run
This family event can be done at your own pace as you drive or ride bikes to five various stops in town to collect a card to complete your poker hand. Prizes will be awarded for most spirited, so dress up and decorate your cars and bikes. Winners will be announced following the event at the Chamber & Visitors Bureau (597 Ave. of the Flags, Ste. 101, Buellton). Sat., Dec. 5, 10am-4pm. $20; $5/extra hand.
Christmas in the Country
Visitors will embark on a drive-through magical holiday light experience with displays presented by area businesses and families (health and safety protocols permitting). Wed.-Sun.; through Jan. 3, 2021; 6-9pm. Elks Event Ctr., 4040 Hwy. 101, Santa Maria. $40/car. Call (805) 925-4125.
Rockstar Tour of Lights
Climb aboard the trolley for a 90-minute tour of all the amazing Christmas lights and decorations in S.B. Tours are available for private charters only this year. Dec. 5-24; 5:30, 7, and 8:30pm. 20-30 passenger tours: $600-$700/trolley.
12/12: PCPA Presents Home for the Holidays Virtual Cabaret
Stream this performance of PCPA artists performing beautiful songs. Sat., Dec. 12, 6pm. Free.
Festive Alfresco Movie Night
Watch your favorite holiday movie classics under the stars as you recline on the Pacific Lawn. Enjoy popcorn, artisanal candies, apple cider, and cookies. Blankets and personal headphones will be supplied. Reservations are required and cancellation fees apply. Wed.-Fri., Dec. 23-25, 7:30-9:30pm. Belmond El Encanto S.B., 800 Alvarado Pl. $75/adult; $35/ages 12 and under. Call (805) 845-5800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solvang Julefest and Nisse Adventure
The 2020 Solvang Julefest has been modified for optimal safety and seasonal fun through January 1, 2021. Along with the citywide hunt for the mysterious Solvang Nisse (Christmas elves), there will be village-wide illumination and celebratory scenes, interspersed with Instagram-able holiday vignettes, food, and candlelight tours. Visit the website for times and locations.
Get Baked with Chef Doug (Virtual Family Edition): Latkes
Learn to make the perfect latkes with Chef Doug. There will also be a PJ library storytime with Sara Weiner who will read Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah. RSVP for Zoom information and a request for a goodie bag prior to the cooking class. Thu., Dec. 17, 5-6pm. Free.
16th Annual Westmont Christmas Festival: Ris’n with Healing in His Wings
This virtual concert will feature 100 members of the Westmont Orchestra, College Choir, Chamber Singers, and Choral Union who have creatively recorded a retelling of the Christmas story by weaving narration with music that can be viewed anytime through December 31. Fri., Dec. 4, 5pm. Free. Call (805) 565-6000.
Westmont Virtual Advent Concerts
Canadian Christian songwriter and storyteller Steve Bell will draw on poetry, music, history, and tradition to take you on a prayerful journey about the celebration of the Nativity at Christmas (devotional content will be different for each broadcast). Visit the website to register. Wed., Dec. 11 and 24; Tue., Dec. 24. Free. Call (805) 565-6000.
Holiday Box Craft Virtual Class
Adults and kids of all ages can create a decorative box that has a cardstock bottom and origami paper top. Pick up a kit with all the materials at Solvang Library (1745 Mission Dr., Solvang) and follow the live online instruction. Please register online. Thu., Dec. 3, 3pm. Free.
Get Baked with Chef Doug: Sufganiyot
Join Chef Doug Weinstein on Zoom and learn how to make sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts) just in time for Chanukah. Thu., Dec. 3, 2pm. Free. RSVP to email@example.com.
Painted Cabernet Virtual Holiday Classes
Join an in-studio class via Zoom. All painters will receive a kit: 16×20 canvas, paints, and brushes. Visit the website to choose Glowing Tree, Starry Trees, Mr. Snowman, Red Christmas Truck, Christmas in Paris, Blue Christmas, and Gingerbread House. Register to receive a Zoom link by email. Dec. 4-6, 11-13, and 19-20; 1 or 6pm most days. $35.
Painting in the Garden
Paint a beautiful Starry Tree outdoors with guidance from a Painted Cabernet professional while you sip on area wines and enjoy your own plate of cookies. Safety guidelines will be in place. Reservations are required. Sun., Dec. 13, 2pm. Belmond El Encanto S.B., 800 Alvarado Pl. $89/includes two glasses of wine. Ages 21+. $89.
DIY Holiday Craft Virtual Class
Adults and kids are invited to create a holiday craft. If you need supplies for the craft, please contact the library via phone to arrange pickup during curbside hours. Sat., Dec. 19, 2pm. Free. Call (805) 688-3115.
Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol
Tony Award–winning actor Jefferson Mays portrays 50 roles that conjure the powerful spirits of Christmas and brings all the magic of live theater home for the holidays. Stream this world premiere that was captured live on Nov. 28 through Jan. 3, 2021. $50.
12th Annual 100 Grand Exhibition (100 Works of Art $1,000 or Less)
100 Grand will display 108 quality works of art such as paintings, drawings, photographs, assemblage, and sculpture by emerging and established artists. Visit the website or in person for socially distant viewing through Mon., Dec. 28. Masks are mandatory. 10am-5:30pm (contact the Gallery for holiday closures). Sullivan Goss, An American Gallery, 11 E. Anapamu St. Free. Call (805) 730-1460.
Shopping Day: Mahakankala Buddhist Center
Shop for unique gifts such as statues, jewelry, books, clothes, greeting cards, bags, Buddhas, and more! Sat., Dec. 5, 9am-3pm. Mahakankala Buddhist Ctr., 508 Brinkerhoff Ave.
*$ Folks & Tribal Arts Pop-Up
Visit this outdoor version of the annual fundraiser over four weekends. Shop for wool clothing from Peru; clothing and textiles, jewelry, sculptures, and Talavera pottery from Oaxaca; and beaded leather sandals, cowhide bags, and more from Kenya. Twenty-five percent of sales will support the museum. Fri.-Sun., Nov. 27-Dec. 20, 10am-5pm. S.B. Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol. Call (805) 682-4711.
53rd Annual Yes Store
This virtual shop, which will continue year-round, highlights some of the area’s finest artisans of woodworking, ceramics, fine jewelry, glasswork, fabric, leather, and more. Choose items to be shipped or picked up at 121 State St. Thu.-Sun., 12:30-5pm.
Boutique du Magique
This boutique was created by Arlene Larsen, cofounder of the Magic Castle Cabaret, and offers holiday ornaments and decorations, jewelry, sequined coats and jackets, and items from the Magic Castle gift shop in Hollywood. Masks are required (and for sale). Tue.-Sat., through Dec. 31, 11:30am-4pm. Free. 30 Los Patos Wy., Montecito. Call (805) 845-0555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
S.B. Arts & Crafts Show
Shop from area artists and artisans. Masks are required. Sat.-Sun., Dec. 5-20. Sat.: 10am-5pm; Sun.: 10am-6pm. Between Cabrillo Boulevard from Stearns Wharf to Calle Cesar Chavez. Free. Call (805) 560-7557.
*$ The Mary Jane McCord Planned Parenthood Holiday Book
Purchase gift-quality used children’s, coffee-table, cooking, and current reads while supporting Planned Parenthood. Sat.-Sun, Dec. 5-6, 9am-3pm. Free. Planned Parenthood Warehouse, 5726 Thornwood Dr., Goleta. Call (805) 722-1522.
The Goleta Valley Art Association’s 10th Annual Picasso for Peanuts
Visit the GVAA website to shop from a selection of art pieces in a variety of media priced at $300 or less from 200 member artists through March 2021.
State Street Promenade “Shop Local” Market
Downtown S.B. will host a market to highlight downtown businesses and area artisans and local goods. The marketplace will be located on the 1000 block of State Street between Carrillo and Figueroa streets. Thu.; Dec. 3, 10, and 17; 3-7:30pm. Free.
*$ Give Art with Heart: Holiday Virtual Art Market
Shop unique artwork and handmade gifts by 25 local artists while helping to empower professional and creative growth for artists with disabilities. Printed artwork and special gifts may be ordered and shipped directly to your home. Reserve your artwork by calling S.B. Art Works gallery at (805) 260-6705. Dec. 3-30
Bettina Norton: The Holiday Shop
hop online for unique gifts such as mugs, cards, candles, ornaments, and canvases for the horse person in your life created by artist Bettina Norton. Emailbettina@bettinanorton.com.
Find the perfect gift for every budget from over 40 exhibitors. Safety protocols will be practiced. Masks are required. Fri., Dec. 11, noon-6pm; Sat., Dec. 12, 10am-6pm; Sun., Dec. 13, 10am-5pm. Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. $7/weekend pass.
S.B. Museum of Art, Museum Store: ’Tis the Season Collection
implify your holiday shopping experience with store gift guides, designed to bring joy to every person on your list. Check out the new 2020 holiday snow globes, home decor, and ornaments! Tue.-Sun., 10am-5pm (closed Mondays and holidays). 1130 State St. Call (805) 884-6454.
Wildling Museum of Art & Nature Online Museum Store
This gift store is full of unique merchandise, books, and locally made crafts and jewelry that show love for art and nature! Call (805) 688-1082 or email email@example.com.
S.B. Maritime Museum Store
Shop antique nautical reproductions, books, clothes, toys, and home decor. Thu.-Sun., noon-5pm. S.B. Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way, Ste 190. Call (805) 962-8404.
Old Mission S.B. Serra Shop
Shop for books, chocolate, home decor, jewelry, religious gifts, and more. Mon.-Sun., 9:30am-5pm. Curbside pickup and free delivery in Goleta, Montecito, and S.B. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Call (805) 682-4149.
Shop small and local at this unique pop-up that will feature Anna Janelle Jewelry, (In)Larkin, Jilli Vanilli, La Calle Studios, Menchaca Chocolates, RoHo, artist Rod Lathim, and more. Private appointments and shipping are available. Thu.-Sun., through Jan. 3, 2021; also open Mon.-Wed., Dec. 21-23. Thu.-Sat.: 11am-8pm; Sun.: 11am-7pm. 931 State St. Free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
S.B. Outdoor Christmas Market
Shop safely for your holiday gifts, such as jewelry, clothing, candles, artwork, books, chocolate, skin care, and more, from area artisans and small businesses. Thu.-Sun. and Tue., through Dec. 24. Thu.-Fri.: 3-8pm; Sat.:-Sun.: 11am-7pm; Tue.: 3-6pm. Paseo Nuevo at De la Guerra Place, 651 Paseo Nuevo. Free.
A Crimson Holiday
S.B.’s uptown artisan gift gallery offers safe shopping for items from 40-plus of the area’s most talented artists, designers, and authors through January 15, 2021. Visit the website to learn about Monday-morning private shopping and Thursday-morning senior shopping opportunities. Hours vary. Through Dec. 31. La Cumbre Plaza (across from Chico’s), 121 S. Hope Ave. Free. Call (805) 570-1987.
Rancho La Patera & Stow House Museum Store
Select gifts from a wide selection of items such as original lemon labels, iron work, cards, crafts, Goleta memorabilia, and other treasures. Sat.-Sun., 11am-2pm, or email email@example.com to request an appointment. Rancho La Patera & Stow House, 304 N. Los Carneros Rd., Goleta.
Helena Bakery Holiday Provisions For Hanukkah and Christmas
These take-out provisions, including Parker House rolls, a stuffing kit made from artisan sourdough, Challah bread, and pies, will upgrade any holiday meal. Available while supplies last through Mon., Dec. 28, 7am-2pm. Helena Avenue Bakery, 131 Anacapa St., Ste. C. $11-$28/menu item. Call (805) 880-3383.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Angel Oak
Select from a specialty brunch or a seaside full dinner menu. Reservations are recommended. Thu.-Fri., Dec. 24-25, 11am-2:30pm and 5-10pm. Prices vary. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, 8301 Hollister Ave. Call (805) 571-4220.
Christmas Eve at Malibu Farm
Enjoy a family-style dinner with a choice of an à la carte breakfast or lunch seating or a prix-fixe dinner. Thu., Dec. 24. Brunch: 7:30-11am; lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner: 5-10pm. $140/adult; $65/ages 4-12; free/ages 0-4. Rosewood Miramar Beach, 1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito. Call (805) 900-8388.
Feast of the Seven Fishes Dinner at Caruso’s
Enjoy Chef Massimo Falsini’s Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as La Vigilia or The Eve, a traditional Italian-American meal that consists of exquisite fish and seafood dishes. Thu., Dec. 24, 5:30-9:30pm. Rosewood Miramar Beach, 1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito. $225/adult; $85/ages 4-12; free/ages 0-4. Call (805) 900-8388.
Christmas Day at Malibu Farm
The brunch buffet will pair regionally influenced Christmas classics with a cut-your-own-salad garden and seasonal dishes. Select from an à la carte breakfast menu in the morning or opt for a festive family-style prix-fixe dinner. Fri., Dec. 25. Breakfast: 7:30-11am; dinner: 11:30am-8:30pm. $125/adult; $65/ages 4-12; free/ages 0-4. Rosewood Miramar Beach, 1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito. Call (805) 900-8388.
Christmas Day at Caruso’s
Celebrate early with a Christmas Day brunch, and in the evening, enjoy selections from a sumptuous four-course prix-fixe menu. Fri., Dec. 25. Brunch: 11:30am-2:30pm. $110/adult; $65/ages 4-12; free/ages 0-4. Dinner: 5:30-9:30pm. $165/adult; $85/ages 4-12; free/ages 0-4. Rosewood Miramar Beach, 1759 S. Jameson Ln., Montecito. Call (805) 900-8388.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at bouchon
Enjoy a three-course, seasonal wine-country-cuisine dinner choosing from the entire menu. Thu., Dec. 24, 4-8:30pm; Fri., Dec. 25, 3-8pm. $95. bouchon, 9 W. Victoria St. Call (805) 730-1160.
SBCFAN: Stay Home (and Eat Local) for the Holidays
The S.B. County Food Action Network has developed a safe, affordable, and healthy option for holiday celebrations while supporting local farmers during the pandemic. Visit participating markets and pick up a shopping guide (or download in English or Español) for a sample menu, recipes, and a shopping list for all sized gatherings. Wearing a mask while maintaining distance is required. Visit the website for market times and locations.
NEW YEAR’S EVE AND DAY
New Year’s Eve at bouchon
Choose from the entire bouchon menu or a seasonal dinner cuisine. Thu., Dec. 31, 5-10pm. $95. Bouchon will offer normal dinner service on Fri., Jan. 1, 2021, 5 and 9:30pm. bouchon, 9 W. Victoria St. Call (805) 730-1160.
Belmond El Encanto’s New Year’s Eve Celebration
Drink champagne and listen to live jazz in the dining room or terrace and enjoy a three-course fine-dining experience. Thu., Dec. 31, 5-9:30pm. $165/person. Belmond El Encanto S.B., 800 Alvarado Pl. Call (805) 845-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Year’s Day at Angel Oak
Enjoy a specialty seaside brunch with delicious menu items, Angel Oak’s Bloody Mary design bar, and other signature spirited and un-spirited crafted beverages. Reservations are recommended. Fri., Jan. 1, 11am-2:30pm. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, 8301 Hollister Ave. Call (805) 571-4220.