By Raiza Giorgi


Kicking off the holiday season, the Santa Ynez Chamber hosted the first tree lighting event in the Santa Ynez Valley on Sunday, Dec. 1.  They also hosted a free holiday party in the courtyard at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum. 

Photo by Raiza Giorgi

Traditional holiday music was played by Steve Ochoa and Christina Barnes as attendees enjoyed fresh popcorn, Christmas cookies and hot apple cider. 

Parents were encouraged to bring their children to visit with Santa, who heard special “wish lists” for Christmas. 

In addition to Santa, food, music and fun, a special appearance by the Fossemalle Studio dancers delighted all with their beautifully choreographed holiday dances. 

The big finale was the lighting of the large cedar tree next to Panino’s that has been dubbed the town’s official Christmas tree since the first Santa Ynez Chamber of Commerce tree lighting event in 2014.  

Sponsors of the Small Town Christmas were the Santa Ynez Chamber of Commerce, O’Connor Pest Control, The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, and Visit SYV.  For more information visit

There are many more fun holiday celebrations taking place this week from the Julefest tree lighting in Solvang Friday evening from 5 – 7:30 p.m., Julefest Parade on Saturday at 11 a.m.. Other fun family events on Saturday include Los Olivos Old Fashioned Christmas from 12 – 7 p.m., Solvang Nativity Pageant at 5 p.m. at Solvang Festival Theater. 

On Sunday enjoy a full day at Buellton Winterfest starting with Breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m., the Christmas Tea from 2 – 4 p.m. at Old Mission Santa Ines; SYV Presbyterian Christmas Concert at 3 p.m., and the Marshmallow Roast and Holiday Crafts at the SYV Botanic Garden. 

Check our Calendar of Events for so much more!