Holiday Festivities

By Sam Skopp


For the first time ever, the Pico Improvement Organization, Buy Local Santa Monica, Virginia Avenue Park and Santa Monica’s Farmers Markets co-hosted a festive Trio Holiday Celebration Saturday, Dec. 9, celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. The event was located in the area of the park just adjacent to the simultaneous farmers market, allowing access to the adjacent outdoor stage as well as integration with the farmers market.


The event included a full day’s worth of activities, including a performance by the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra, scenes from “A Winter’s Tale” by the Morgan Wixson Theater, Christmas Carolers from Santa Monica High, door prize drawings, a performance by a dance group, and even a visit from the Santa Monica Police and Fire Departments’ annual Holiday Candy Cane Drive. Kids could also get their pictures taken with Santa Claus just outside the Pico Library.

“Doing it here, we wanted to overlap with the farmers market and keep people here, while also bringing people to the market,” said Event Coordinator Donna Gentry.

While this event was the first of its kind, last year, the Venice Family Clinic hosted a smaller Christmas celebration, to which this was a bigger and more comprehensive spiritual successor.

“This is the first time we’ve celebrated all three holidays,” said Gentry.

The day’s schedule was kicked off by a greeting from Santa Monica mayor Ted Winterer, who left the stage to hand out candy canes to children in the audience. Story time at the library that day included books inspired by all three holidays celebrated at the event, as well as a book titled “Too Many Tamales,” about a Mexican-American Christmas dinner.

Immediately after the Holiday Celebration, the Pico Improvement Organization hosted a Pico Boulevard Holiday Walk, with free parking at the Venice Family Clinic, and shuttles taking participants down Pico Boulevard to local businesses holding sidewalk sales and special activities as part of the day’s event.

For more information about the Pico Improvement Organization, visit