Celebrating The Season


LET’S GIVE IT UP for winter. It took a while to get rid of all the hot air from autumn, but we’re finally into the months that make your cheeks rosy. And your teeth chatter. And your PG&E bill hit the roof. And here’s a toast to every neighbor who has their lights up. Whether it’s the icicle lights that come down in squiggly strands or those old-fashioned bulbs that my parents used to hang — they all make the season bright. There’s nothing like walking in the silent night with a starry sky and homes all a-glow. Even the deer seem to celebrate, as they proudly display their antlers. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

OUR TOWN: Thanks to the merchants who made the village stroll so special. It was a scene out of Currier and Ives as carolers sang and Christmas bells rang and villagers waved from the cable car. Gleeful shoppers popped in and out of warmly lit stores, sipping on wine and nibbling cookies and cheese. I was touched to see all the people in A Great Good Place for Books, remembering the late Debi Echlin. She would have loved this village stroll. She would have soaked up the neighborhood spirit.

PAMPERING PARTY: I’ve heard of some unusual holiday parties, but this one wins — hands down! A group of moms made the most of their annual ornament exchange party recently by bringing their gifts, wine and cheese to Femi Macus Nail Salon in the Glenview. They not only exchanged presents but they got their nails done. A mani/pedi with a glass of wine — now this is an idea worth looking into.

WINE TALK: All my talk about hillside vineyards and backyard winemakers in Montclair has triggered another e-mail, this time from Randy Keyworth. He and partner Jack States have just opened Lost Canyon Winery, near Jack London Square. It’s a big improvement over their old digs: Jack’s garage. Drop by and see how far they’ve come with their tasty pinot noir and syrah — two of my favorites!

E-MAIL BAG: Kids don’t always get the recognition they deserve. That’s why Scott and Karen Senzig (Montclair Mortgage) want readers to know about the sweet thing some local youngsters did recently. It started when Karen told a friend, Peg Kelly, that they needed towels for cleaning up after meals at St. Vincent de Paul’s free dining room.

“She mentioned this to her son, Kevin Huber, and he and his sixth-grade class at Corpus Christi School ran with it and filled three huge plastic bags,” Karen says. The folks at the dining room were so grateful they literally shouted for joy.

“It’s the little things that count,” Karen says.

VANISHING ACT: A few things have “gone missing” in the village lately. For one, the bench in front of Starbucks was stolen the other night, leaving coffee drinkers high and dry as they look for a resting place.

Meanwhile, reader Constance Young says the mailbox by the Thornhill 7-Eleven has disappeared.

“I noticed about a month ago that the mailbox had suffered some sort of minor automotive collision,” she writes. She says that soon after, it was gone altogether. I’ve forwarded her concerns to the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council.

CHRISTMAS CONTEST: It’s a cookie … it’s a bread … it’s a — house! Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread, and the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is hosting its annual Gingerbread House Contest tomorrow. So get out the gumdrops and royal icing. All ages are invited to enter and enjoy the elaborate gingerbread houses that deck the halls of this coastal resort. Wrap up the day with the 5 p.m. tree lighting and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful holiday tradition.

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