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Join Santa and his Moraga Youth Involvement Committee helpers Thursday, Dec. 4 for cookies and hot cocoa in the Moraga Commons Park for the annual Holiday Tree Lighting! Entertainment from the Rossmoor Community Chorus begins at 6:30 p.m. with the tree lighting at 7 p.m.

A community sing of Handel’s Messiah will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5 at Orinda’s St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The Sing will be directed by Minister of Music Robert Train Adams, with Festival Choir, soloists and chamber orchestra. This event is free, with an offering taken for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties. Childcare is available by reservation. For more info, contact the church at office@ststephensorinda.org or (925) 254-3770, ext. 10.

It’s a Wonderful Life celebration Dec. 5 in Lafayette. (See related information A12)

Winter Wonderland Dec. 6 and 13 at Orinda Theatre Square. (See related information A12)

Take a photo with Santa from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Rheem Valley Shopping Center between Nation’s and Tuesday Morning. Bring your own camera for the free photo session with the coupon available on rheemvalley.net/events or with a shopping receipt from the center.

See the Christmas story come to life at the 10th annual viewing of the Live Nativity at Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church (MVPC). The MVPC Courtyard will be transformed into a Bethlehem manger from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 at 10 Moraga Valley Lane. Members of the congregation take on the roles of Mary and Joseph, the three Wise Men, shepherds, Roman soldiers, and a host of heavenly angels. And the oxen, sheep, goats, and other live animals truly transform the space into a spectacle not to be missed. While the Courtyard will be a reverent scene, there will be additional activities, music and snacks in the Fellowship Hall. The Sanctuary will be open for prayer and contemplation. Free.

Hospice of the East Bay invites the public to participate in the 28th Annual Tree of Lights ceremonies that are held in Contra Costa County throughout November and December.  (See related listing A12)

Christmas Party: A sing-along, activities for all ages, and easy-to-make crafts will be among the holiday festivities from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 6, at Lafayette Christian Church, 584 Glenside Dr. Singers will be accompanied by the Overdues. A cake walk and cookie decorating will also take place. Free.  For more info, call (925) 283-8304.

Contra Costa Jewish Day School, Temple Isaiah, PJ Library, The Jewish Federation of the East Bay present Hanukkah fun w/Diana Shmiana and PJ Library: puppets, songs, clowning and more from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 at Contra Costa Jewish Day School, 955 Risa Road, Lafayette. Best for ages 3-7.  RSVP to Michelle@jfed.org. Everyone welcome. Free. For more info see http://jfed.org or call (510) 809-4938 or email michelle@jfed.org.

North Shattuck Association presents “Snow? In Berkeley?” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 at Gourmet Ghetto, 1451-1495 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Take a snow day in the Gourmet Ghetto! Bring boots and mittens to play in the snow. Visit the Snow Queen, ride live ponies, make holiday crafts. Free. For more info see http://www.anotherbullwinkelshow.com/holiday-berkeley/holiday-gourmet-ghetto.html or call (510) 334-6523 or email Lisa@AnotherBullwinkelShow.com.

Holiday crafts and treats. Come celebrate the holidays by making holiday-inspired crafts and gifts and eating sweet treats at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the Moraga Library. Make gifts for friends or family, and something for yourself! Sample delicious holiday sweets while you create magical holiday creations. For more info, please visit ccclib.org or (925) 376-6852.

Letters to Santa: Bring your little ones to 5 A Rent-A-Space between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 13 where Be the Star You Are!® volunteers will help with writing letters to Santa. Enjoy a photo with Santa, cookies, cocoa, carols, and buy Xmas cards as a donation to the charity. 455 Moraga Rd. #F, Moraga, 94556 http://www.btsya.com/events_calendar.html

Chabad Chanukah Lafayette Menorah lighting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16 at the Lafayette Whole Foods on Mt. Diablo Boulevard. (See related listing page A12)


The Moraga Art Gallery’s new show entitled “Waters of the Koi” highlights the bright, colorful abstract paintings of Heather Metcalf, and the exquisitely turned-wood platters, bowls and vases of Jacques Blumer. The show will run through Jan. 11, 2015. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more info, visit www.moragaartgallery.com or call (925) 376-5407.

The Bancroft Library Gallery presents “California: Captured on Canvas” – an exhibit of 43 remarkable paintings from the library’s collection highlighting the state’s history and culture that have drawn people to California from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through March 6, 2015, UC Berkeley Campus, Doe Library Annex.

Valley Art Gallery “Artful Giving” through Dec. 23 1661 Botelho Drive, Walnut Creek. Our annual collection of beautiful fine art and crafts that make unique gifts for everyone on your list. Extended Holiday hours. valleyartgallery.org

Four exhibitions at Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art: “Pueblo to Pueblo: The Legacy of Southwest Indian Pottery” will feature a remarkable variety of pottery from mid-19th to the mid-20th century; “The Native American Collection of Roger Epperson;” “Grace Hudson: Painter of the Pomo People;” and “William Keith and the Native American.” Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission: Adults $5; members and K-12 graders free (parking free). For info, call (925) 631-4379 or visit stmarys-ca.edu/museum.


The Saint Mary’s College of California Chamber Singers perform one of the great works of the choral repertoire, Magnificat by J.S. Bach, accompanied by Baroque period instruments. The award-winning Glee Club rounds out the program with lighter seasonal fare, including classic holiday favorites at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 in the Saint Mary’s College Chapel. Cost: $10 general; $8 seniors and non-SMC students; $5 SMC students, faculty and staff. For more info, contact Julie Ford, (925) 631-8193 or email jaf17@stmarys-ca.edu.

The Cantare Chorale, Ensemble and Children’s Honor Choir will be singing classic works celebrating the joys of the holiday season and traditional songs and carols by Bach, Tschesnokoff, Lauridsen, Wilberg and more under the direction of David Morales.  The 150 singers will be accompanied by a full orchestra. The audience will be invited to join in singing favorite carols. The concert will be performed at two different East Bay venues:  4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7 at First Presbyterian Church in Oakland; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9 at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church. Both venues are wheelchair accessible. Tickets: $38 general: $33 senior; $10 student. Advance purchase of tickets is recommended at www.cantareconvivo.org or at the Cantare office, (510) 836-0789.

The Diablo Women’s Chorale presents “Holiday Sweet” – a luscious confection of seasonal and vintage pop music – at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 at Mt. Diablo Universalist Unitarian Church, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. The holiday performance is directed by Mary Sorenson and accompanied by Stephen Evans. Advance tickets: $10 students: $16 general admission; $20 premium seating at www.diablowomenschorale.org or call (800) 838-3006. Tickets at the door: $20 general admission; $10 students.

Opera and Ornaments - A Merola Opera Program Holiday Concert at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Lafayette Library. Eugene Brancoveanu (Merola 2004), baritone, accompanied by Sun Ha Yoon (Merola 2012). Admission: $10 per person, supporting the Lafayette Library. For tickets, call (925) 283-6513 or purchase at                http://lafayettelib.givezooks.com/events/merola-opera-at-the-lllc. Advance ticket purchase strongly encouraged due to limited seating.

Solo Opera is pleased to present Engelbert Humperdincks’ masterpiece, “Hansel and Gretel,” the second production in its 2014 Storybook Opera series. Throughout “Hansel and Gretel,” there is a running theme of hunger and poverty. In order to tie this into the needs of the community, Solo Opera is asking the audience to bring a non-perishable food item to the shows to donate to the Food Bank. The show runs at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 20 at Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek. Seating is reserved; group discounts are available. Tickets: $25, youth 17 and under; $ 35 seniors; $ 40 adults. For tickets call (925) 943-7469 or visit the Lesher Center box office, or online at         http://www.lesherartscenter.org/hansel-and-gretel/.  For more info, visit www.SoloOpera.org.

An Evening of Jazz from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17 at the Orinda Library. Welcome winter with warm Brazilian jazz along with American standards. Mary D’Orazi brings her beautiful voice, rhythmic sensibility and thoughtful phrasing to her take on jazz as well as a few holiday tunes. Tim Campbell on piano, and Greg German on drums/percussion. Free to the public, and registration is not required.


The holiday season at Town Hall Theatre is all about family and tradition, and this season Town Hall brings the return of live radio plays with Joe Landry’s adaption of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This production, directed by Diablo Actors’ Ensemble’s Managing Director Sam Fryer, tells the classic story made famous by the 1946 Frank Capra film but with live sound effects and incredibly talented voice actors who populate the town of Bedford Falls all in the style of a classic radio program. The show runs Dec. 4-20. Visit the website for showtimes and ticket prices at www.TownHallTheatre.com.

The California Academy of Performing Arts presentation of “The Nutcracker” at the Campolindo Performing Arts Center Dec. 17-21. This family favorite is a feast for the eyes, filled with surprises and delights for all ages. The story is narrated as it unfolds, guiding young viewers through the beautiful ballet and making it much more enjoyable for little ones (and grown-ups) who might not be familiar with the timeless story of Clara and her magical Christmas Eve dream. This production is huge, with more than 100 local performers. Tickets for the general public ($22) can be purchased at Eventbrite.com. For more info, visit www.capadance.net.


Sunrise Rotary presents speakers Ryan Sykes, “My Life and Sentinels of Freedom,” at 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 5 and Dennis Erokan “Get Famous” at 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 12 at the Lafayette Park Hotel. Go to www.lamorindasunrise.org for more info about the Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Group and its initiatives.


Lamorinda Reads: Write to a Service Member anytime between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8 at the Orinda Library. The Orinda Library is partnering with A Million Thanks to send letters of appreciation and support to service members, both active and veterans. Write a note at our table and it will be forwarded to a service member. Contact Lin Look at the Orinda Library for details. All ages.

The Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority (CCCSWA) has created a new scholarship for high school students who are implementing waste reduction and recycling programs on their high school campuses. Up to three scholarships ($4,000 each) will be awarded to high school seniors entering college next fall. Please contact Ruth Abbe or Nancy Deming for more information about the program: email Ruth.Abbe@abbeassociates.com, (925) 974-2575 or nancyldeming@gmail.com, (510) 290-4875.


Social Media Strategies Workshop Series - Building a Strong Local Network in a Social Media World will highlight local opportunities for forging new connections and how social media can build upon those face to face interactions at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19 at the Lafayette Library. 

All are invited to attend the Saint Mary’s College Guild Christmas Party celebration at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Saint Mary’s College Soda Center. In addition to an elegant and delicious meal, the Saint Mary’s College gold medal-winning Chorale who traveled to Europe to compete and win the choral challenge with similar groups from other countries will perform. The committee also plans to have baked items, a money tree, and beautiful items in Christmas baskets. Cost: $45 per person. Contact Pat Mc Enaney for more info at (925) 376-3308.

Join the Toys for Tots event for families to donate unwrapped gifts appropriate for kids 13 and up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Dec. 6 at Campolindo High School. There will also be a bake sale to raise money for the Campolindo Girls Softball team.

Rx SAFE - Lamorinda Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Initiative – a community awareness program that will help curb this health crisis in our local communities from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10 at Orinda City Hall. For info, or to RSVP, contact Jaime Rich (925) 349-7338 or Jaime@chd-prevention.org.

Winter Solstice Ceremony Celebrating Lucina, Scandinavian Goddess of the Returning Light, Dark Moon in Sagittarius by Local Goddess Circle. Daughters of the Goddess, a Bay Area women-only Goddess Temple, will be holding our yearly Winter Solstice Ritual from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20. Location: East Bay address upon RSVP. Newcomers: $15. Contact Leilani at (925) 787-9247 or email Leilani@DaughtersoftheGoddess.com. Website: www.DaughtersoftheGoddess.com.

Registration is now open for the next series of Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) classes. They will be held at the Lafayette Community Center, 500 St. Mary’s Road. Classes begin Jan. 13 and are held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. every Tuesday night through Feb. 24. Classes are open to residents and employees of the Lamorinda area, as well as teenagers 16 and above with a parent and are free of cost, however we do ask for a commitment to attend all classes. Register online at www.lamorindacert.org.


Living with Alzheimer’s: Early Stage Alzheimer’s - Educational program for individuals with Early Stage Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, and their Care Partners. Many topics covered, including coping with the diagnosis and changes, planning for the future, learning about research and treatment options and caring for important relationships Wednesdays, Dec. 3, 10, and 17 in Lafayette. Time given at completion of registration. Pre-registration is required. Please contact Lan Trinh at (800) 272-3900 or ltrinh@alz.org to register.

Moraga Movers Holiday Luncheon at Saint Mary’s College Soda Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 8 will feature the College’s international award winning singers in a program of contemporary and holiday music. The entrée will be London broil with all the trimmings and apple pie for dessert. Reservations are required and can be made at (925) 376-6622 or on the Movers website. Cost: $20 per person.

Document Your Life Story – a memoir workshop and craft class that emphasizes the importance of storytelling and is offered through Lafayette Senior Services and Saint Mary’s College of California’s MFA program. DYLS will be hosting its first-ever Celebration of Writing Class Reading, during which members from the class will share some of their incredible stories. The reading will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Elderberry Room of the Lafayette Community Center, 500 St. Mary’s Road on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Refreshments will be provided. Family, friends, and members of the community are invited to attend.

Sons In Retirement – Las Trampas Branch 116 Christmas party for SIR members, their spouses or guests. Don your holiday attire and enjoy an excellent dinner and dancing Tuesday, Dec. 16 at the beautiful Round Hill Country Club. For info about SIR activities for retired men, please visit www.Branch116.org or call (925) 322-1160.

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