Holiday Tree Will Be Lit, But Rest of Annual Bash Moved Indoors

Volunteers are adjusting the annual Downtown Novato Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony so that most of the fun will be inside City Hall.

It's still on. Organizers have decided to forge ahead with an altered plan for the annual Downtown Novato Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, with Novato City Hall being opened up as shelter from the anticipated storm.

"Rain or 'moonlight, the Novato Downtown Tree Lighting will go on as planned," Councilwoman Jeanne MacLeamy said after a meeting of the volunteers on Thursday morning.

Many of the usual festival offerings will be moved inside Novato City Hall, including the stage performances, vendor booths and Santa's Workshop. The lighting of the tree just across Sherman Avenue from City Hall will take place whether it's raining or not.

MacLeamy commended event committee members for making the adjustment on the fly as the second wave of a storm system moves into the North Bay. They are "having to go above and beyond the call of duty, but the children of Novato will love it," she said.

The street party is a highly anticipated holiday season bash that is among the top family-friendly Novato events of the year. It attracts about 1,000 people, sometimes more, and showcases local musical talent. People come from all over the Bay Area to check out Santa’s Village for the children and watch the massive tree get illuminated.

There are great family photo opportunities in addition to music, caroling, hot cider, community fun and, of course, the lighting of the big tree at the corner of De Long and Sherman avenues.

Date: Dec. 1

Time: 4:30-8 p.m.

Location: Sherman Avenue, downtown Novato


  • Holiday-flavored music starts at 4:30 pm with Swing Set
  • Santa arrives at about 5:45 p.m.
  • Tree lighting countdown commences with Mayor Denise Athas shortly after Santa arrives.
  • Lots more singing and dancing
  • Booths with baked goods, hot chocolate, hot apple cider and many more goodies.

Contact the Downtown Novato Business Association if you'd like to help set up or clean up.

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R. Maionchi November 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Why is this called a Holiday Tree? Is Novato following the atheist's wishes and doing away with the word "Christmas"? This is disgraceful!
Heather Ophir November 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Curious to know if City Hall can accommodate the anticipated 1,000 Novato residents...
Emily November 30, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Why don't you ask the city council or the person in charge of the event?
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 12:20 AM
If it rains, the crowd won't be that big. If it doesn't rain, it'll overflow outside and into the blocked-off street. We're all good.
R. Maionchi November 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Just sent a message to the city council...awaiting their response.
rex allen November 30, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Hey Brent - Don't call the tree what it isn't. When you write a news story - call things what they are. It's a CHRISTMAS TREE. And if it were a ""holiday tree" - what "holiday" does it represent? CHRISTMAS, of course. And let me share a little news with you: Absolutely NO ONE is offended by the word CHRISTMAS. No one. Anywhere. The only people offended are millions of Americans like ME who are OFFENDED that you call it something NO ONE CALLS a CHRISTMAS TREE. Got it? Merry CHRISTMAS, Rex
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I'm going with the official name of the event. Feel free to make that suggestion to the Downtown Novato Biz Association, Rex.
Bob Ratto November 30, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Perhaps next year we can simply refer to Santa as the "jolly morbidly obese man dressed in red with white fur trimmings". He can hand the children sugar and gluten free (perhaps even Vegan) red and white cane shaped objects, made without any dye or unnatural food coloring.
Paula Neese November 30, 2012 at 03:21 AM
rex allen November 30, 2012 at 03:42 AM
No one I know will attend a meaningless "holiday" event that the sponsors (city council) don't even have the courage to name. This is PC garbage and everyone with any intelligence should be offended and insulted by it. Boycotts work. By the way, look at the word HOLIDAY: It comes from HOLY DAY. Happy HOLY Day, everyone. Rex
rex allen November 30, 2012 at 03:52 AM
Thanks, Brent. Suggest you ask the sponsors what holiday it is the tree represents. Once you report this, we can then know what reason there is to go to the event. Your other Patch readers and I would really like to know.... Rex
R. Maionchi November 30, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Yes. Christmas Tree!
R. Maionchi November 30, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Well....got my response to my message to the city council. It was from the city clerk. The usual PC bologna! Apparently this evening is sponsored by the Novato Downtown Business Association.
Marilyn November 30, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Glad they moved it inside...not glad the word Christmas is not being used. Please stop offending Christians by renaming, suppressing, and discriminating us for our beliefs and traditions. Thankfully God always has the final say. I wouldn't want to be the one who is responsible for renaming and Ignoring Christmas. Don't think God is too happy that his son's birthday is trying to be eliminated.
NiceTry November 30, 2012 at 05:44 AM
disgraceful is forcing your beliefs on other people.
RJM November 30, 2012 at 01:39 PM
The Girl Scouts will be there again this year with hot chocolate and Mistletoe , hope to see you and your father in law again this year Brent.
Betty Pancakes November 30, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree ... how lovely are thy branches! Sing it with me now! Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree ... how lovely are thy branches. C'mon now, one more time ... BUT WITH FEELING! Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree ... how lovely are thy branches.
Keith S. November 30, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Come on!!! It is a Christmas tree! Really, can we get past this political correctness and get back to traditions. God, help us.
R. Maionchi November 30, 2012 at 08:24 PM
who's forcing who's beliefs on others? Christmas is Christmas, this is a Christmas tree and has always been a Christmas tree! The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835. Next you'll be calling the Easter Bunny the holiday rabbit, Halloween the pumpkin holiday, and so on....then eventually there will be no more celebrations, no more traditions, etc. Traditions is what keeps this wonderful country of our going morally. Our troops aren't protecting us so that we can loose our freedoms....like calling Christmas what it is!
rex allen December 01, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Funny how atheists who hate religion can force their viewpoint on a holiday - but the religious community (or secularists who like the concept of Christmas) CANNOT....
Craig Belfor December 01, 2012 at 07:30 PM
You wanna really know who's the grinch? Don't light the tree, light the new Taj Mahal the council is building with our kid's money. It'll make a better gift, knowing we are giving our kids the gift of a financial future.
Susan Clark December 01, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Christ....Christmas...Get it? Jesus is the reason for the season. A shout out to all Christians, let's stand our ground!
Steven Norwin December 02, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Let's bring CHRIST back into Christmas and forget about this political correctness BS. It's ruining our country!
Wilhelm F. December 04, 2012 at 06:59 AM
Christmas comes from the Old English word Crīstesmæsse, meaning Christ's Mass, and holiday comes from the Old English word hāligdæg, meaning holy day. Don't call it what it isn't. The reason for the existence of Christmas is to commemorate the birth of Jesus, not to get bargains, celebrate Winter, or promote a morbidly obese toymaker who somehow manages to drop presents off at every house around the world within one night. Christmas is what it is -- Christ's Mass. Let's not have a tiny vocal minority of PC-obsessed atheists ruin this holy day for the vast majority of Americans.
ET December 04, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Actually, the "Christmas tree" is a relatively recent development in the world of Christianity. It is a symbol that, like the Easter bunny, was borrowed from pagan folklore as a way to attract converts at the time. In fact, the church originally tried to outlaw Christmas because of its pagan roots...and some very conservative Christians shun the "Christmas tree" to this day! Read up on the history of Christmas, and you will either love the holiday more or leave it altogether. You will also end up with a better understanding as to why many people refer to it as a "holiday tree" (hint: it has nothing to do with Atheism). I personally am not offended if you call it a Christmas tree, a holiday tree, a Yule tree, or any other kind of tree...and it blows my mind that so many people get bent out of shape over this stuff. Call it what you want, let other people do the same, and have a happy time!
R. Maionchi December 04, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Thank you....very well said!
Steven Norwin December 04, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Tell that to the atheist's trying to outlaw our natvity scenes. Christ's birth is the true meaning of Christmas. Why can't those who don't believe NOT get bent out of shape and let everyone be happy and have a happy time? That's the root of the problem!
ET December 04, 2012 at 08:28 PM
ET December 04, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Historically, Christians have tried to ban Christmas more than Atheists have. The Bible even condemns cutting down and decorating trees as a heathen activity! Please tell us exactly which Atheist groups are trying to ban Novato's tree.
ET December 04, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Please, let us not confuse PC with FC (Factually Correct).


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