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Home&Real Estate OPEN HOME GUIDE 70 Also online at Home Front 4EPS%PXSFEWIH WIVZMGIWHIWMKR ERHMRWXEPP LSPMHE]HMWTPE]W HOME, SWEET HOME ... Menlo Park Recreation is offering a class for parents and children on how to decorate “Gingerbread Houses” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Taught by Christine Hopkins, the class takes place at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, 700 Alma St., Menlo Park. Cost is $39 for nonresidents, $30 for residents (for one adult and one child), plus a $20 materials fee payable to the instructor in class. Information: 650-330-2200 or www. A PIE-IN-A-JAR ... Julie Propp will teach a class called “Pie-in-a-Jar” from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, 700 Alma St., Menlo Park. Topics include making simple, organic fruit fillings, mastering pie dough and lattice tops while assembling three mini piesin-a-jar to take home. Cost is $85 for nonresidents and $64 for Menlo Park residents. Information: 650-330-2200 or CARIBBEAN COOKING ... A class on Caribbean Cooking, a fusion of African, Amerindian, European, East Indian and Chinese cuisine, will be offered from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the catering kitchen of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Cost is $50 for nonmembers, $40 for members. Advanced registration is required. Information: Elisheva Salamo at 650-223-8618 or TOYS AND A COAT ... Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage launched its annual Toys for Tots (with the United States Marine Corps Reserve) and Operation: One Warm Coat clothing drive, which continues through Dec. 14. People are asked to drop off new, unwrapped toys, as well as new or gently used winter clothing (including coats, sweaters, jackets, sweatshirts, hats, mittens, towels and blankets), to local Coldwell Banker offices. Toys can be dropped off at Palo Alto, (continued on page 60) Carol Blitzer HOLIDAY SHARING EXPO ... Extra goodies from the garden? More arts and crafts supplies than you can use? Books already read, but still beloved? Everyone is invited to bring food, crafts, toys, clothes, holiday décor, skills, stories and goods to a Holiday Sharing Expo from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, at Common Ground, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto. The expo will include demos on kitchen skills and crafts on the half hour, as well as a bicycle workshop to do minor maintenance and adjustments. The expo is supported by a coalition of groups, including Acterra, Barron Park Green Team, Barron Park Garden Network, Barron Park Association, Common Ground, City of Palo Alto Community Gardens, Deborah’s Palm, Midtown Green Team, Opalz, Slow Food South Bay, Transition Palo Alto and Transition Silicon Valley. Information: Ryan McGuigan, of the Christmas Light Pros, strings lights on a tall home in Palo Alto. Festive lighting without fretting by Sarah Trauben t the end of Thanksgiving comes the inauguration of the holiday season, a time for crooning by Bing Crosby and homes ringed with wreathes and festooned with lights. The tradition, however ubiquitous and central to Christmas cheer, is not without its hassles. Take, for instance, the potentially migraine-inducing ritual that begins for many with families digging into their cluttered storage in search of tangled and hopefully unbroken strands of lights. Cue less-than-festive differences of opinion regarding design followed by hours in the cold on unsteady ladders, infamously the cause for many a holiday accident. Oh, what DIY cheer! Or perhaps not. Many Palo Alto households are leaving the design and installation of their twinkling holiday lights displays to the experts. Even those who have fond memories of lining the home with lights see the appeal. “I’ve always enjoyed it; it would get me into the holiday spirit and people would initiate conversations as they walked by. But I’ve found myself increasingly uncomfortable crawling around on the roof,” Palo Alto resident Michael Hindery said. Hindrey put up lights for decades before hearing his neighbor had help installing a “neat” display last year. This year, Palo Alto-based company Christmas Light Pros installed lighting around his secondand third-story rooflines and on his front-yard bushes, in addition to setting up a snowman from Hindery’s collection. Among the advantages of the service, he said, are “the ease and convenience of having someone else do it and the consistent effect achieved without (having) to go to the local hardware store to replace lights.” According to Christmas Light Pros owner Bradford Eakes, other benefits include professional design and access to decorations leased and stored by the services. “The average person that contracts me to do their Christmas lights is looking for a very original and elegant lights display for their home and landscaping,” Eakes said. Eakes designs the majority of displays for his clients’ properties, generally with homeowners’ input, and leases about 90 percent of the decorating supplies used. “The advantage is that no client is locked in on their lighting design year to year, and they don’t need to store decorations,” he said. Services offered by companies such as Christmas Light Pros include a variety of decorating op(continued on page 59) ÜÜÜ°*>œÌœ"˜ˆ˜i°Vœ“ÊUÊ*>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞÊUÊ iVi“LiÀÊÇ]ÊÓä£ÓÊU Page 57

Palo Alto Weekly 12.07.2012 - Section 3

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