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This Holiday Inspiring ideas for the 2015 holiday season PRODUCED BY THE PLEASANTON WEEKLY

Home for the holidays Fun and festivities in your backyard — no flying sleigh required



this Saturday. More than 25 downtown merchants will be paired with local breweries, wineries and bars for a festive night sampling beer, wine and cocktails. Wear your ugliest holiday sweater to participate in the Ugly Holiday Sweater contest during the event. Go to

he holidays are upon us once again, and with them come a blizzard of vacations, family gatherings, community events and every opportunity to shop until you drop. To make the unending barrage of fun more manageable for everyone, we have pulled together an early list of holiday events scheduled in and around Pleasanton, from Thanksgiving celebrations to holiday decorating. Even if your feelings about this time of year are more of the Scrooge persuasion, November and December promise to be filled with opportunities for holiday shopping, family fun and magical celebrations sure to put a smile on your face.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298 will hold the annual Turkey Bingo at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Building, 301 Main St. Bingo cards are $10 each for all games. $50 prize and turkey for games 8 and 16. Have fun while supporting veterans. Call Dave Ham at 455-1488, David Caldwell at 462-7893, Bill Danko at 548-7051, or Phil Stage at 872-2639.

Crossroads Doll and Bear Show

‘Finding Refuge’ Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

This event features antique to modern dolls, teddy bears and miniatures, books, supplies, and more this Saturday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Building C, 4501 Pleasanton Ave. Bring up to two dolls or bears for a free informal appraisal. Cost is $8, $4 for children under 12. Contact (775) 348-7713 or info@crossroadsshows. com.

Interfaith Interconnect will hold its third annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at 4:30 p.m. this Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, 2020 Fifth St., Livermore. See and hear how different faiths express thankfulness. Contact interfaith.interconnect@ Space limited.

Holiday Spirit Stroll

Celebrate the holidays at Downtown Pleasanton’s Magical Holiday Evening from 4-7 p.m. this Sunday. The streets will come alive with the sights and

The Pleasanton Downtown Association (PDA) will hold its third-annual Holiday Spirit Stroll from 5-8 p.m.

Turkey Bingo

Downtown Pleasanton’s Magical Holiday Evening

sounds of the holidays. Downtown shops and restaurants will welcome in the holidays with festive decorations, twinkling lights, banners, window displays and holiday treats. Get a free photo with Santa Claus at Museum on Main along with a special visit from Disney’s “Frozen” characters, Elsa and Anna, and other favorite characters from “Storybook Smiles.” Enjoy carolers, bell ringers and flutists performing to your favorite holiday tunes. Visit for more details.

Tri-Valley Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast Come to the third-annual Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast from 7:30-9 a.m. Monday at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Pleasanton at the Club, 7050 Johnson Drive. Focus on the Tri-Valley family and community needs while highlighting what the nonprofit organization City Serve has done this past year to meet those needs and how you can help. This year’s guest speaker is Bay Area resident Nancy Ortberg. Cost is $40 for breakfast, free to attend. Contact 452-8276 or info@cityservetrivalley. org. Go to

Hometown Holiday Parade Come to Pleasanton’s biggest event of the season, the Hometown Holiday Parade, from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. More than 2,500 participants line

up dressed as reindeer, snowmen, angels, holiday packages, and more in this festive, community-based parade down Main Street, followed by musical entertainment, and the lighting of a holiday tree in front of the Museum on Main. Look for a special appearance by Santa Claus. Go to for more information.

Friends of the Dublin Library Holiday Book Sale Friends of the Dublin Library will hold a Holiday Book Sale from 12-3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Dublin Library, 200 Civic Plaza, Dublin. You will find a great selection of beautiful hardcover books in excellent condition, ideal for gift giving. Call 8037252 or go to

Paws In Need Photos With Santa Want a festive photo with Santa? Photos with Santa will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Pet Extreme, 4500 Arroyo Vista, Livermore. Use your camera or our photographer for $10 donation to Paws In Need. No reservations. Dogs on leashes, cats in carriers. Call Gay at 447-8903 or go to

Children’s Holiday Tea Party Children can experience a real tea in a historic barn from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Dublin Heritage Park and Museums, 6600 Donlon Way, Dublin. Child-friendly menu, table amusements and a merry sing-a-long. Old St. Nick will visit and take photos with the children. Cost is $25. Call 452-2100. See HOLIDAYS on Page 15

Pleasanton Weekly • November 20, 2015 • Page 13

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Tips to give unique, meaningful gifts this holiday season

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aking your list and checking it twice? Coming up with unique items for all your family and friends in a short period of time is not always a simple feat. Luckily, there are many easy ways to make everyone on your list feel special.





While literature always makes a great gift, a personalized book will make reading time extra appealing, and a cherished present that will never be forgotten. Personalized book companies let you make your gift recipient the hero of a unique story, complete with the person’s name and photo.

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Personalized candles Turn the gift of a treasured candle into something even more personalized by incorporating photos and messages on the candle label. Make a statement by picking a fragrance with your recipient in mind, tied to special memories you share. Some candle companies allow you to personalize everything from the label design to embellishments in the wrapping. Personalized candles, which are easy to design, also make thoughtful hostess gifts for all your holiday festivities this season.

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customizing each gift for every recipient. You can make unique creations by taking favorites into consideration. Is your gift recipient a dog lover? Does she have a sweet tooth? After stocking baskets with goodies customized to their tastes, adorn each one with unique garlands, ribbons and bows. This holiday season is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of all the easy, customizable options available to make each gift thoughtful and unforgettable. Q —StatePoint

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Christmas Is Coming! • Ornaments • Candles • Gifts


Pleasanton’s famed Balloon Platoon “presents arms” in front of Main Street reviewing stand at last year’s Holiday Parade.

HOLIDAYS Continued from Page 13

All-American Holiday Concert The Pleasanton Community Concert Band will perform seasonal music composed or arranged by American musicians about American traditions at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Firehouse Arts Center. Free. Call 8465897 or go to

Holiday Storefront Decorating Contest Downtown Pleasanton visitors are invited to vote for their favorite storefront in the inaugural Downtown Pleasanton Holiday Storefront Decorating Contest, sponsored by the Pleasanton Downtown Association and the Pleasanton Weekly. Voting will be now through Dec. 7. One vote per email address. Two voters will be randomly selected to win a $50 Downtown Pleasanton Gift Card. Winning business and gift card recipients will be announced on the Pleasanton Weekly website Dec. 14. Ballot available at www.PleasantonWeekly. com/decorating_contest.

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Chanukah Under the Stars

Take a break from the holiday hustle-andbustle for a traditional holiday tea, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, and at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at Dublin Heritage Park and Museums, 6600 Donlon Way, Dublin. Featuring classic tea sandwiches, scones, delectable desserts and peaceful holiday music. Cost is $25. Call 452-2100.

Christmas is an exciting time of year, but foster children often have the added worry of wondering whether Santa will find them. To help ensure every foster child wakes up with a gift on Christmas morning, Sleep Train is hosting its Toy Drive for Foster Kids and #SleepTrainSecretSanta photo contest, now through Dec. 13 at any Sleep Train location.

Rotary Holiday Dinner Ticket Distribution

Grief Support Workshop: Handling the Holidays

Tickets for the annual Rotary Holiday Dinner will be distributed on Tuesday, Dec. 8 on a first-come, first-served basis at the Pleasanton Senior Center. One ticket per senior, 62 years of age and older. Open to Pleasanton residents, proof of residency required. To pick up a ticket for a spouse bring their ID. Call 931-5365 or go to

Hope Hospice will offer a special workshop for those experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one, from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at Hope Hospice, 6377 Clark Ave., Dublin. Learn about ideas and choices that can make a difference in handling the holidays. Call 829-8770 or go to

Museum on Main Reading Time

Enjoy delicious food, close friends and songs sung by Janice Reid at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17 at the Dublin Senior Center, 7600 Amador Valley Blvd., Dublin. Features holiday chicken roast, cornbread stuffing, roasted vegetables, sweet potato mash, gravy and apple cinnamon cobbler. Register in person, by mail or online by Dec. 11. Cost is $15 for Dublin residents, $18 for non-residents. Call 556-4511 or go to Q Note: If you have an event you would like to see listed in a future Pleasanton Weekly, or know of one we’ve left out, send event information to

Candlelight Starlight

Excludes sale merchandise

This free event in front of the Bankhead Theater in Livermore runs from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 12 featuring holiday latkes and donuts, live music, ‘glow in the dark Chanukah fun,’ greetings from Livermore’s Mayor and government officials and a menorah-lighting at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www. or call 846-0700.

Sleep Train’s Toy Drive for Foster Kids and Photo Contest

Let 200 children brighten your holidays with the “Choir of Angels.” The International Award-Winning Cantabella Children’s Chorus presents a choral celebration of light for Christmas, Hanukkah,

On a $20 Purchase

Valley Dance Theatre Nutcracker

Museum Holiday Tea

Preschoolers (ages 2-5) and their families are invited to meet at the Museum on Main for books and crafts at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The theme is “Hanukkah Celebration.” Admission is free. No reservations required. Call 462-2766 or go to

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and Diwali with two concerts; K-5th children perform at 1 p.m., 5-12th graders perform at 4 p.m., on Saturday, Dec. 12 at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, 4001 Stoneridge Drive. Tickets are $22, children under 18 free. Contact or go to See Tchaikovsky’s magical holiday classic “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 12-20 at the Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore. No 2 p.m. performance Dec. 12. Tickets are $25-$38, $19 for students 17 and under. Call 373-6800 or go to

• Christmas Decor

Holiday Luncheon at the Dublin Senior Center

Pleasanton Weekly • November 20, 2015 • Page 15


Gift-wrapping trends for everyone on your holiday list




* Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country during one of the busiest shopping times of the year. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

is the season for gift giving. As shoppers make their holiday gift lists and check them twice, it’s not necessarily what’s on the inside that counts. The presentation makes the first impression and how the gifts look on the outside is often what builds the most excitement and makes them memorable. “Make your wraps almost too good to tear open and show your friends and loved ones that you went the extra mile to personalize their presents,â€? said Jenni Radosevich, do-ityourself expert and founder of I Spy DIY. “Using the right tools — such as a sharp pair of scissors and gift-wrap tape that disappears onto the paper — helps create the perfect basic wrap that you can take to the next level with personalized embellishments,â€? she added. Starting with a basic wrap gives you a blank canvas to get creative, and whether it’s a simple or complex embellishment, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Radosevich suggests these trends to make holiday gifts merry and bright with adornments for every generation: • Family fashionista: Rip the hottest colors and trends from the fashion runways to add unforgettable style to your gifts. Bring the popular fringe look to life by creating fringe tassels out of colored raffia and tie them around wrapped gifts. • Tech-savvy teen: Hashtags and emojis aren’t just for your smartphone. Re-create your favorite emojis cutting shapes out of construction paper and using double-sided tape to create faces, or create rubber stamps to

add them to the gifts in a repeating pattern. • For sweet kids: Give young ones an extra special treat by using candy in place of bows and ribbons. Wrap with solid paper and tie bakers twine around the gift. Try sugar sticks or candy canes to make fun shapes or use a small piece of twine to pinch the center of a fun-sized candy bag to look like a bow that tops the gift. • Blissful newlyweds: Add to their growing collection of personalized gifts with a wrap that pays homage to their union. Create textured monograms by cutting letters out of felt or faux fur to not only enhance the wrap, but also replace the traditional sticker label. • Beloved grandparents: Create a throwback to simpler times with a chic black and white color scheme. Wrap the gift in solid black or white paper and embellish with tissue paper or coffee filters to add texture. Q —Family Features



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Great holiday gifts to help kids learn


ne of the best ways to motivate kids to learn is by making it fun, and the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to equip the kids in your life with gifts that are equal parts entertaining and educational. For some great gift ideas that turn what could be a chore into a good time, consider the following:

Watch it grow Whether you do-it-yourself or opt for a store-bought kit, a terrarium offers children a hands-on lesson in horticulture, biology, earth science and responsibility. Terrariums, which make great gifts, can be used to grow beautiful plants and flowers, or edible herbs for the kitchen. Pair this gift with books about nature and gardening and you may inspire a green thumb for life.

Smart gaming Kids will always want to play video games, so why not allow them to learn while playing? For example, VTech’s InnoTV, an educational TV-connected gaming system designed with preschoolers in mind, features a kid-friendly wireless controller and learning games for ages 3-8 that in-

troduce language arts, science, technology, engineering and math concepts — many aligned with Common Core standards.

Make music Many children wish to explore the world of music, but unfortunately, their schools may not offer the exact programs they are looking for. You can nurture musical talent and interest at holiday time, however. If your child is indecisive, consider a temporary rental of his or her instrument of choice and a starter pack of just a few lessons.

Kid-sized science Burgeoning scientists will love making their own observations and discoveries. Luckily, kids-size scientific apparatus are available for those just beginning to explore everything from cells of plants to the cosmos. Telescopes and microscopes designed with kids in mind can help young ones develop the skills needed to succeed in science. When making your gift list this season, don’t forget the notion that fun and learning are two peas in a pod. Q —StatePoint

Your holiday shopping guide 4 ways to cut through the clutter this holiday season


t’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for you and your family, it’s also the busiest. The holidays bring trips to book, parties to plan, meals to cook, homes to clean and of course, work and school schedules to manage. On top of that, you have to tackle perhaps the most daunting task of all — the holiday shopping list. Can it be done? Of course it can. But you can make it a little easier with these four tips guaranteed to cut through the clutter and streamline holiday shopping.

Make your list and check it twice Along with making a holiday budget, create a detailed list of everyone you need to buy for. Include specific sizes and the dollar amount you plan to spend on each person to save you time when you hit the store. You can also save your list to your phone for easy access right at your fingertips.

Stock up and spread cheer this year Make sure to stock up on a few generic, gender-neutral gifts to have on hand during

the holidays should you receive an unexpected gift from your next-door neighbor or mailman. This way, you will be prepared to spread the joy of gifting no matter who shares it first.

Decide which deals belong on the naughty and nice list Use your smartphone or other mobile device to research a store’s holiday deals ahead of time.

Make sure the gifts under your tree are price-match guarantee Most stores offer price-match guarantees throughout the he year, but especially dur-ing the holiday season.. Hold on to your receiptss and keep an eye out for or new ads and saless as the holidayss get closer. Pricematching could be your ticket to further holiday savings. Q —Brandpoint Pleasanton Weekly • November 20, 2015 • Page 17


Making holidays bright, and affordable Keep holiday spending to 1.5% of your annual income



lready dreading what you’ll spend this holiday season? It doesn’t have to be that way. Gifts aren’t the only budget-busting culprit during the holidays. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are also a peak time for spending on groceries, travel, events, entertainment, energy, clothes and meals out. Financial advisers recommend you use no more than 1.5% of your annual income on holiday spending, so consider the following suggestions to keep it under control: • Start with a list and make a budget. Begin your planning by listing every possible holiday expense you’ll face, and don’t stop at gifts. • Consult the “Practical Money Skills for Lifeâ€? comprehensive holiday budget planner at to help organize your information and track your spending. • Be open about money trouble. If you are facing financial difficulties during the holiday season, don’t spend to hide the problem. • Don’t be ashamed to make adjustments and tell friends and family members that you’d like to temporarily downsize your spending until conditions improve. They might actually appreciate a spending reprieve, too. • Build a bargain-hunting strike force. Let friends and family know

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you’re looking for particular toys, gifts, foods or decorating items and volunteer to do the same for them. Save and share coupons. Encourage your group to find resources, check prices and share requests and ideas via social media. Results can come back in a matter of minutes. Also, evaluate all transportation costs. Do you really need to run out of one or two items at a time? Designate certain days of the week for particular items, keep an eye out for free delivery and see if friends and family might want to share errands. Those with large vehicles or trucks can help move, deliver and even install appliances or electronics if they have the skills to do so. Smart transportation choices extend to car pools or public transportation for events and entertainment. Leverage your creativity. If there’s something you make or do really well that people love, consider making such accomplishments into gifts. From specialty food items your friends enjoy, to clothing or art, anything done well can be a gift. Don’t rule out lessons or skilled labor as potential holiday gifts, particularly for relatives who can’t afford such services at this time. Smart shopping for ingredients or supplies can make such creative gifts a real money saver. Build a year-round gift stash. If there are gifts or foodstuffs you can buy on sale and keep for a while, you’ll have a ready source of thank-you gifts for hosts, teachers or co-


workers year-round. Set aside a similar area for cards, gift tags and wrapping paper. Also keep in mind that many retailers put holiday-themed items on sale before the holidays are finished. If you think you’ll need these items next year, grab your coupons, take advantage and put those items aside for future gift giving. Late saving for gifts? Do it anyway. If you don’t have a holiday fund set up, don’t let that keep you from starting one. Every little bit helps. Take 5-10% of your next paycheck and set it aside, doing it each week throughout the holidays. If you keep it up, your holiday fund can eventually become an emergency fund to be used for other savings goals, including retirement. Take notes for next holiday season. Create a paper or digital file where you can collect ideas for next year. Check print and online resources like Consumer Reports for items that can be bought at specific times of the year at a discount so you are able to hide them for the holidays, but remember where you hid them. Bottom line: Keeping holidays affordable isn’t a challenge when you’re willing to do a little planning, idea-sharing and recordkeeping. Make it an activity you can do year-round. Q Editor’s note: Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s financial education programs. Follow Practical Money Skills on Twitter, @PracticalMoney.

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This Holiday 2015  

A special section of the Pleasanton Weekly