It's not too late to give to this year's Town Crier Holiday Fund campaign

The Los Altos Town Crier Holiday Fund is in its 15th year assisting local nonprofit organizations that directly serve those in the community with the most pressing needs.

Since its inception, the Holiday Fund has raised approximately $2.2 million.


Dance festival introduces winter workshops

Courtesy of Leslie Friedman
Veteran modern dance artist Leslie Friedman, above, and The Lively Foundation are slated to host two “Wonderful Winter Workshops” this month. The sessions are open to seasoned dancers – and those who fancy themselves dancers.

The Lively Foundation’s International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley Dance has scheduled two “Wonderful Winter Workshops” 12:30-5:30 p.m. Jan. 18 and 6-9 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Mountain View Masonic Center, 890 Church St.

The two sessions of master classes are open to dancers and nondancers. Classes include Salsa (no partner needed), Line Dancing (no partner needed), Dunham Technique, Pilates Mat and Contemporary.


WOMEN/SV domestic violence program joins Family & Children Services


WOMEN/SV, a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation, is scheduled to become part of Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley next month, an effort to expand its domestic violence prevention, victim support and training program services throughout northern Santa Clara County.

WOMEN/SV, founded in 2011 by Los Altos resident Ruth Patrick, has had the dual mission of providing support to domestic violence victims living in affluent communities and training professionals throughout the county to recognize and mitigate domestic violence. Since its inception, the program has served more than 200 domestic violence victims.


Veterinarians offer advice for keeping pets safe over holidays

Traci Newell/Town Crier
The holidays present a number of hazards for pets. Be sure to secure electrical cords to keep playful cats at bay.

During the holidays – when people tend to focus more on family and food – pets are often overlooked. But local veterinarians warn that the holiday season presents some of the greatest dangers to dogs and cats.


Searching for a Santa substitute: Rhyme on My Hands

Ah, the office Christmas party! Where, according to legend, anything goes. Well, at the party where this column’s poem was first recited, there was no booze and it was mid-morning in a conference room in the late 1960s. And, after what would essentially amount to a long coffee break, we all headed back to our desks.

A few months prior to the party in question, my wife, our three children and I had returned from an overseas assignment in the developing world. Like many advisers in those days, I came home with something no other member of the family could bring back – I cleared customs with a beard. Rejoining my old office gang, I soon learned that Elizabeth – a beloved colleague who was a maiden lady a dozen years my senior – hated the beard.


Take a dive into the holiday archive

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Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Linden Tree Books, 265 State St.,  pointed out some favorite picks. 

Town Crier food writer Barbara Gillingham always celebrated Christmas Eve with a Swedish cookie platter when she was a child.

"We six small children peered out the front window, our noses reddening as we pressed against the cold glass, scanning the dark apricot orchard for our first glimpse of jolly ole Nick," she writes. "I found out later that it wasn't always so jolly behind the scenes. My grandfather reluctantly played the part, grunting and struggling to don the traditional Santa suit which, by that time, was probably at least a size too small."

Read her whole story and try your hand at a Swedish Christmas cookie recipe.

 Los Altos Hills resident Sue Jarvis let the Town Crier create a video tour of her massive holiday decoration, and shared tips for any ambitious householder looking to spend an afternoon decking their halls.

Town Crier food writer Christine Moore offered up a vision of Christmas Eve California fusion last year with her story of holiday traditions from tamales to Christmas pudding, and the paella she's settled on as a one-pot meal for a modern feast. 

And this year, she reimagined the “Twelve Days of Christmas” as 12 drink-related treats, with an assist from local cookbook author and blogger Erin Gleeson and Laurie Lindrup, director of business development and senior assistant operations manager at Beltramo’s Wines and Spirits.  

For many years, Los Altos residents Jerry and Jean Jensen have shared the spirit of Christmas by setting up a Nativity scene in their Brentwood Street front yard. But this year, their neighbors joined the story. The Jensens, now in their 80s and using walkers, are no longer physically able to put up their holiday decorations. Nearly 30 nearby residents worked Dec. 7 to set up the Jensens’ decorations and Nativity scene, which has become a neighborhood landmark.  

Overwhelmed by the latkes, nogs and baked goods making local tables groan? Last year the Town Crier's food writers collaborated on an omnibus vegetable edition, offering side dishes fit for feasts throughout the winter.

Two mercantile stories to send you off into the night: Travel writer Eren Goknar's Christmas gift recommendations for the traveler on your list and the story of a young Los Altos couple spreading the holiday spirit by delivering preordered, pre-lit Christmas trees to neighborhoods in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills

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