For Assyrians, Christmas means family and food

Courtesy of Margaret Petros
Los Altos resident Margaret Petros, far right, and her family brought their Iraqi Christmas traditions here.

For Los Altos’ Assyrians, many of whom are oceans away from where they grew up, Christmas is a chance to remember where they came from. There are an estimated 10,000 Assyrians in the South Bay, one of the largest groupings of the Middle Eastern Christian community in North America. Many moved here from Iraq, Iran or Syria at a young age, and Christmas in California, for them, means a taste of home.

Margaret Petros spent her first American Christmas in the Chicago suburbs. It was a frigid holiday and a true white Christmas, but it was nothing like home.

In pursuit of the perfect present, it may not be a gift at all

Downtown Los Altos purveyor Present sells tasteful – and tasty – gift baskets. Its in-shell almonds are a treat. 
Photo by Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier;

From hand-drawn coupons to a handful of tickets to a local show, shared experiences can beat most presents that fit in a box. For this year’s roundup of holiday gift-giving inspiration, the Town Crier staff searched Los Altos for a gift, a book and an experience fit for every age range. In each instance, we found a local source, story or angle that can add extra meaning to your connection.


Ornamental odyssey: Los Altos resident decorates for every occasion

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident and world traveler Linda Clark has a houseful of themed rooms brimming with mementos, including a large collection of Christmas ornaments from all around the globe.

It’s safe to say that Los Altos resident Linda Clark loves holidays. Her attractive mid-century ranch home undergoes several seasonal makeovers each year, with the biggest transformation at Christmas.

A frequent world traveler with her husband, Dean, Clark has visited Africa, Indonesia, the South Pacific, the North Pole, Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica, China, the Baltics, South America and more. The couple’s home is decorated with mementos from many of their trips - including fans and masks from Indonesia and South Pacific islands - and a guest bedroom is known as "The Africa Room."

Local downtowns offer a variety of events and activities in fall and winter

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A family walks through the Children's Alley at last year's Los Altos Fall Festival. This year's event, located in the South Parking Plazas between First Street and San Antonio Road, is scheduled Oct. 1 and 2.

As the new school year brings busy times for parents and students alike, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View offer a variety of relaxing activities ideal for family outings. Following is a roundup of upcoming events.

First Fridays

6-8 p.m. the first Friday of every month

Outsmarting the drought: Yards benefit from rainwater, greywater and sustainable landscaping

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos Hills resident Kit Gordon captures rainwater in several barrels for refilling the natural pond on her property. Using rainwater keeps chloramine out of the pond.


More than 50 years ago, my aunt in New Jersey had a wooden rain barrel under her downspout. When we took a walk in her garden, she’d fill her watering can and water selected plants. It made sense to collect the "free" water that fell on the roof.

Local teen centers provide safe environments for youth

Gina Kermode/Special to the town crier
Local students socialize during a Los Altos Youth Center dance at The Underground earlier this year.

Los Altos and Mountain View city officials sought a way to keep teens off the streets and safe. They’ve achieved that by opening teen centers - The Underground in Los Altos and The View in Mountain View.

The centers offer adolescents a safe place for fun, fitness and study. Both provide a free space for teens to hang out after school and on weekends.

SpecialtyMagazines advertise


The Town Crier publishes six different glossy magazines throughout the year that are inserted into the newspaper.

You can view the latest magazine as a PDF here or explore our archive of past issues. 


Our magazines include:

  • Camps (1/31)
  • Family Spotlight (2/28)
  • Living in Los Altos (3/28 & 9/26)
  • Home & Garden (4/25 & 8/29)
  • Senior Lifestyles (5/23)
  • Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival Magazine (7/11)
  • Home for the Holidays (11/14)

To advertise, contact our sales department by calling (650) 948-9000 or email

To offer submissions to editorial, contact editor Bruce Barton at

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