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Holidays 2022: Festivities Abound

South Shore kicks off the season! Plus toy drive, gift drive, yacht parade, and wreath making workshop.

Thanksgiving is officially over. ‘Tis the season for holiday festivities: decorating trees, lighting menorahs, donating to toy drives, making festive wreaths, taking photos with Santa, sipping eggnog, and spinning dreidels. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be posting select holiday events to keep it merry here in Alameda.

Tree lighting, tap dancers, and photos with Santa

Alameda Post - an informational poster for the tree lighting ceremonyAlamedans haven’t had a tree lighting at City Hall since the start of the pandemic, but the huge tree at South Shore Center is all decorated and ready to get lit on Friday night, November 25. The event, which starts just before dark and lasts until about 6 p.m., features live music from the Al Marshall Trio as well as what we miss most about the annual City Hall celebration—Alameda’s own Tap Dancing Christmas trees.

Alameda Post - an informational poster for photos with SantaGet there earlier, and you can get a photo with Santa. He’ll be available from noon to 7 p.m. If that doesn’t work out, no worries. Santa will be doing photo sessions at South Shore every day through December 24. And for a special treat, bring your pet to South Shore—on a leash—and get a photo with Mr. Claus on Mondays 4 to 7 p.m.

Alameda Firefighters Toy Program

Alameda Post - Alameda Fire Department Toy Drive Poster. A graphic of a Dalmatian in a fireman's hat sitting in a gift box with toysThe Alameda Firefighters Toy Program (AFTP) makes the holidays special for all children and youth by providing toys or gift cards to those in need. In past years, the nonprofit AFTP has collected and distributed toys and gift cards to more than 1,000 Alameda children and youth. This year they will continue to give gift cards to children 17 and under who are signed up and verified through local community agencies.

Families can apply online for this year’s gift cards if they are served by and qualify through the Alameda Food Bank, Alameda Head Start, Woodstock Child Development Center, or are residents of Alameda Point Collaborative or the Alameda Housing Authority. The deadline to apply is December 2. Once the application is submitted, an email will be sent with confirmation of acceptance. Distribution will begin on December 17.

The program is supported entirely by community volunteers and contributions. No funds are used for salaries or administration. The community’s help with cash contributions enables the program to purchase $35 Target gift cards for all the youth in need.

Donate via the AFTP GoFundMe page or mail a check made out to AFTP to Alameda Firefighters Toy Program, PO Box 6523, Alameda, CA 94501.

Corica Park Holiday Gift Drive

Alameda Post - a hand written thank you letter from a child. It says "Merry Christmas!" at the top and has hand drawn candy canes, hearts, and gingerbread men
Courtesy Corica Park.

Corica Park’s second annual Holiday Gift Drive for local families in need is underway and accepting donations now. They reached out to their summer camp partners who work with underserved youth to identify some families that could especially use some assistance during this holiday season.

Each of those families provided wish lists that the Gift Drive will attempt to fulfill. The wishes range from clothing to crayons, games to groceries, and lots of Legos.

Donations can be made via PayPal or by sending a check to Corica’s nonprofit Greenway Foundation, Inc. ℅ Tamara Sabella, 1 Clubhouse Memorial Road Alameda, CA 94502.

If you want to really get into the spirit of choosing a gift for someone and making one of their wishes come true, sign up online to learn more about each family, see their wish list, and select items to donate. Gift cards also are welcomed.  For more information—or if you have any questions—email Tamara Sabella.

Yachts covered in lights for annual parade

Alameda Post - lighted yacht parade posterOne of the most fun ways to enjoy a holiday season night in our island city is to watch the Lighted Yacht Parade from this side of the estuary. The parade, which is on Saturday, December 3 this year, also serves a good cause. Every year, the parade donates entry fee proceeds to the Oakland Firefighters Random Acts program and the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Members of the Encinal and Oakland Yacht Clubs also donate food bank items in person at the clubs.

The theme for this year’s parade is “Holiday Music.” The parade will start between Wind River and the Fortman Marina’s public pier, the staging area. Starting about 5:30 p.m., the lighted boats will proceed down the Alameda side of the estuary past the Encinal Yacht Club and Oakland Yacht Club, where the judges will be stationed.

Continuing down the Alameda side past Pasta Pelican, the boats will then cross to the Oakland side and pass by the Port of Oakland and Scott’s Seafood. Next, the parade will turn to make its way past Grand Marina and Fortman Marina on the way back to the staging area at Wind River.

If it’s a chilly night, as it usually is, nab an indoor seat by the windows at Pasta Pelican. Or head over to the Encinal Yacht Club and enjoy the view from the picture windows inside or the long outdoor decks that face the water. While you’re there, be a mensch and donate to a charity.

Wreath Making Workshop with Alameda Backyard Growers

Alameda Post - fresh wreaths lay around a fountain
Photo Alameda Backyard Growers.

Do you prefer homemade to store bought? Then now is the perfect time to create a decorative holiday wreath for your home or a gift. You might even want to use some of your own harvested fruit, veggies, or herbs.

Alameda Backyard Growers (ABG) welcome you to their fun outdoor wreath making workshop on Sunday, December 4, 2 to 4 p.m. You’ll use harvested, gathered, and purchased items to create beautiful wreaths of various sizes for your table, wall, or door.

ABG will provide instruction, wreath backings, floral wire, glue, and light refreshments. You bring supplies of your choice including some of the following: pine boughs, pine cones, grapevines, magnolia leaves, gingko leaves, seed pods, shells, feathers, grasses, dried fruit/herbs/veggies, ribbons, bows, and trinkets. ABG will have a selection of foraged and artificial decorative items, but participants are encouraged to bring additional wreath-decorating items to make the wreaths personal.

The workshop fee is $30. Masks may be required and the workshop is limited to 25 adults, so sign up online now. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

The workshop will take place at a garden in east Alameda; the exact location will be announced after you purchase your ticket. Please note that the location has ample parking and is accessible, but there is no bathroom onsite and all attendees must be over 12 years old. If you have questions or need more information, email [email protected].

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