Pleasant Hill, CA

How are towns and businesses around the Bay Area decorating for the holidays?

Thomas Smith
Pleasant Hill holiday treeOriginal photo by the author

Towns around the San Francisco Bay area are beginning to deck themselves out for the holiday season. Trees, lights, menorahs and other holiday displays were being installed over the last weeks of November leading to the Thanksgiving holiday.

In downtown Pleasant Hill, a large Christmas tree was recently installed. The tree is artificial, but it’s still majestic. It’s covered in hundreds of ornaments in red, gold, and white colors. Local businesses are joining in. Inside Jack’s Restaurant in Pleasant Hill, wreaths and other holiday decorations were out in spades this week, giving the whole area a festive feel. The restaurant and several others in the area have holiday trees of their own, too.

Further south in San Ramon, City Center is also embracing the holiday spirit. Last year, in the midst of covid-19’s peak, most of the Bay Area was locked down. For that reason, the popular mall’s normal display wasn’t possible. They still brought out a Santa Claus on Zoom and put out some small Christmas displays, but the normally lavish holiday celebrations were missing.

This year they’re back. City Center is going all out to make up for lost time, with a large Christmas tree, the return of the mall’s popular outdoor ice skating rink, and holiday-themed happy hours planned throughout the month of December. There’s also a Thanksgiving food drive if you want to embrace the more giving spirit of the holidays. City Center had a major Diwali celebration as well, honoring the Bay Area’s large Southeast Asian population.

With Hanukkah arriving beginning this weekend, Chabad centers around the Bay area are placing their iconic large menorahs in public places. If you see one of these lit menorahs, you can tell which night of Hanukkah it is by seeing which candles on the menorah’s stems are illuminated. Part of the celebration of Hanukkah involves sharing the miracle of Hanukkah with others, so the presence of the menorahs helps to accomplish that.

With the exception of some of these more religious celebrations, most of the imagery in public spaces around the Bay is more secular and captures a general holiday spirit. Lights are starting to go up in many communities, too. Check out the iconic display on Alameda Island as the season gets into full swing. Residents on the island’s iconic Christmas Tree Lane work together to deck out their entire block in dramatic displays capturing a variety of holiday traditions, drawing thousands of visitors during the holiday season.

The holidays in the Bay area are beautiful. Stay safe if you’re traveling this Thanksgiving week, and enjoy the season.

holidayslightsdecorationssan francisco bay areahanukkah

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Award-winning entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Gado Images. Thomas writes, speaks and consults about artificial intelligence, privacy, food, photography, tech, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As a professional photographer, Thomas' photographic work regularly appears in publications worldwide. Pitches/news tips:

Lafayette, CA

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