Christmastime is here and there’s plenty of spirit to go around in the Valley. You don’t have to travel far to visit a brilliant display of lights or travel to Bethlehem at a live walk-through nativity. Santa Claus will also make several appearances locally before his worldwide journey on Christmas Eve. Here are nine things to see and do as we countdown to our winter holidays.
Journey to Bethlehem
Memorial United Methodist Church presents its annual Christmas Card to the Community featuring a walk-through live nativity featuring eight inspiring scenes, live performers, music and narration by Newell Knudson. Take a 20-minute walk with a shepherd guide back to Bethlehem to celebrate the true meaning of Christ’s birth. Join in singing Christmas carols and warm up with hot beverages and snacks. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11 at the church, 1726 Pollasky Ave. near Scott Avenue. Admission and parking are free. Details: (559) 299-4615 or www.mem-umc.org.
The church offers services in English, Hmong and Korean; all are welcome for a Christmas Eve services at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Dec. 24.
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Santa Claus Lane
Clovis Festival of Lights at Ladera Ranch will host A Red, White and Blue Christmas walking night to pay tribute to police officers and military members. The event will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 in the 3100 block of Indianapolis in Clovis between Locan and Gettysburg avenues. Walk or drive the route every day between 6 and 10 p.m. through Dec. 31, except designated walking nights Dec. 10 and 17, when vehicle traffic is prohibited. Details: www.clovisfestivaloflights.org
Candy Cane Lane
The Wawona Ranch Estates northwest of Peach and Alluvial avenues is open through Christmas to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The homes in the neighborhood are decorated and lit to spread holiday cheer beginning at 6 p.m. nightly. The neighborhood can be entered on Cindy Lane from Alluvial Avenue and on Athens Avenue from Peach Avenue. Details: www.facebook.com/CandyCaneLaneClovis
Christmas Tree Lane
Millions of lights guide the way from 6 to 10 p.m. along Van Ness Boulevard in Fresno between Shields and Shaw avenues. About 140 homes and 300 trees are decorated in the two-mile stretch in a free event sponsored annually by the Fig Garden Homeowners Association. Saturday, Dec. 13 is a Walk Night, during which Van Ness Boulevard will be closed to vehicle traffic. Tree Fresno will provide bus rides from the northeast section of Fig Garden Village in the financial center area to Christmas Tree Lane. Details: www.christmastreelane.com
Breakfast with Santa
Dine with jolly Kriss Kringle from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17 at Applebee’s, 98 Shaw Ave., Clovis. Tickets cost $10, but are limited. Call (559) 322-9890 or visit the restaurant for details.
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides through Old Town Clovis continue each weekend through December 18. The Christmas-decorated carriage is pulled by the elegant and hard working Black Percherons owned by Barbara and Dave Dotta of Granite Pass Carriage Company/Fresno Carriage. Rides are open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays beginning and ending at the corner of 4th Street and Pollasky Avenue in front of Old Hotel Bistro.
Fly away in a sleigh
Fresno Yosemite International Airport invites the public to its lobby to view Santa’s Gingerbread Village, which features a bakery, toy shop, a running train set and a “sleigh port” handcrafted over 250 hours by students at the Institute of Technology in Clovis. Decorated trees also welcome visitors to the terminal, including the traditional Military Tree in honor of our military members.
Lights and tigers and bears, oh my!
Stroll through the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and enjoy festive music, complimentary hot cocoa and cookies while viewing special holiday light displays. From 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 9-11, 16-23 and 26-30, the zoo will transform into a winter wonderland and Santa will be available for free photos. New additions to the event this year include The Nightmare Before Christmas area, a highlighting of Pokémon Go stops and lights throughout African Adventure. Pizza, drinks and dessert will also be available for purchase in African Adventure’s restaurant, Kopje Lodge. PBS character Daniel Tiger will make an appearance during ZooLights on Dec. 11. Tickets cost $9 for adults and $7 for children ages 2 to 11. Zoo members get a $2 discount on each ticket. Seniors and infants under 1 year get in for free. Details: www.fresnochaffeezoo.org.
Smile while you shop
Doing your holiday shopping online? Don’t forget to use Amazon Smile, which donates half a percent of your purchase price to the nonprofit agency of your choice. Visit smile.amazon.com and choose from thousands of charities to support — including more than 300 in Clovis.