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Last updated: November 23, 2021

A community announcement from Abaton Consulting.

Davis Tree Lighting Ceremony, Window Decorating Contest, Elf on a Shelf, and more – all happening in downtown Davis this Holiday Season. Be sure to read the list below and come downtown and support your local businesses during the month of December.

You think summertime in Davis is awesome? Wait until you read about the line-up for this December.

That’s right. There are a number of things to do to celebrate the holidays, chase off the winter chill, and support businesses in Downtown Davis.

Quick Links

Here are some links to jump to the exact content you are looking for. But be sure to come back here and check out other fun events happening in and around the downtown.

Davis Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony

Live and in-person, this wonderful Davis tradition is back after a brief COVID-related hiatus.

The Davis Tree Lighting Ceremony is a wonderful event for people of all ages. This magical event brings visitors from across Yolo County to Davis, CA to enjoy this celebration of the holidays and downtown Davis.

Candlelight Parade

In years past, the event started with a community Candlelight Parade which started at the Davis Food Coop and ended at the Tree Lighting Ceremony in E Street Plaza. This year, due to COVID, the Candlelight Parade has been removed from the line-up.

UC Davis double-decker bus

The UC Davis double-decker bus and the Davis Fire Department emergency vehicle lead the way from the Davis Food Coop to E Street Plaza as part of the 2018 Davis Candlelight Parade.

Tree Lighting at E Street Plaza

Beginning at 6 p.m. at E Street Plaza, the community gathers for entertainment, food, and festivities. In years past there have been performances by the Davis Children’s Choir, Davis High School Jazz Band, Davis High School Madrigal Singers, and more. This year, according to a press release from the City of Davis, currently scheduled festivities will include:

  • The Davis Children’s Chorale
  • The Davis High School Jazz Choir
  • The Davis High School Madrigals
  • Mariachi Del Valle

Performances will be taking place at both E Street Plaza and the Hunt Boyer Mansion. Be sure to visit both locations and catch all the shows.

The tree lighting is at 6:30 p.m.

E Street Plaza - Christmas Tree

On a frosty evening in downtown Davis, the Christmas tree in E Street Plaza can easily warm the heart.

Ugly Sweater Contest in Downtown Davis

Sam Shane, local TV and radio celebrity, host the Davis Downtown Ugly Sweater Contest from a previous Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The double-decker bus from Unitrans will be parked at E Street Plaza. Plus the Davis Police Department will be collecting toys for Toys for Tots.

See the press release from the City of Davis.

Downtown Davis Candlelight Parade

Participants in the  Davis Candlelight Parade gather at E Street Plaza in Downton Davis awaiting the annual tree lighting [from 2018].

Santa Claus

Another item that didn’t make the line-up is an in person visit with Santa Claus. However, be on the lookout. It is rumored that Santa will be roaming the downtown streets and greeting families in a “socially distant” manner. You may also see some of Santa’s friends, as well.

If you want to chat with Santa and let him know what you want for Christmas, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge has Zooming with Santa. For many years, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge has hosted the extremely popular Breakfast with Santa. Until the COVID pandemic is under control, they are offering Zooming with Santa. Your child will have an opportunity to spend quality time, one-on-one, with Santa using a zoom link.   It’s a magical time for your child, and safe!

You can schedule your online visit with Santa at

Santa and Mrs. Claus visit Downtown Davis

Santa and Mrs. Claus make an appearance in Downtown Davis for the 2018 Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Christmas at the Varsity

Another great tradition of the Tree Lighting Ceremony is the free screening of films at the Varsity Theater. This year, enjoy the free screening of the short film “Merry Madagascar.”

Showtimes are on December 2, 2021: 6:00 p.m., 6:40 p.m., and 7:20 p.m.

See the Varsity Theater event information here.


Davis Downtown Window Decorating Contest

​It is 2021 and the 10th Annual Davis Downtown Window Decorating contest is on!

The downtown is alive with festive lights and window displays as part of the Davis Downtown Window Decorating Contest. Enjoy a fun and festive holiday shopping experience throughout the downtown.

For 2021, sixteen (16) business are vying for the best decorated window in the downtown. The competition is fierce. Many of the businesses have participated in the past and their creativity is unbelievable! Abaton Consulting is in the race for the Best Window Decoration in downtown Davis. I registered my business early on during the registration phase.

As I mentioned before, this will be the 10th anniversary of the Davis Downtown Window Decorating Contest. Created in 2012 by Stewart Savage (Yes, that would be me), Executive Director of the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA), the contest was designed to bring life and excitement to the downtown and encourage people to visit, shop, and enjoy the center of our community.

My recommendation for the Window Decorating Contest is to come downtown, enjoy a nice meal, visit a few of our retailers to pick-up some Christmas gifts, grabbing a cup of cocoa at Mishka’s, and then stroll through the downtown viewing the wonderful window displays.

This year, the contest runs from December 2, 2021 through December 20, 2021.

Participating Businesses

Are you curious as to which businesses are participating in the window decorating contest? Well, the wait is over.  Here is the list of businesses in the order published by the DDBA.

  1. pinkadot
  2. Team Alpha BJJ Academy
  3. Sanctuary Salon
  4. The Paint Chip
  5. Mishka’s Café
  6. Abaton Consulting
  7. Law Office of Roberta Savage
  8. Bohème Hip Used Clothing
  9. Burger Patch Davis
  10. Dawn Coder – Coldwell Banker Select Davis & Woodland DRE 01983685
  11. Davis Enterprise
  12. Fleet Feet Davis
  13. Logos Books
  14. APEX Cycles & Service
  15. Couleurs Vives Art Studio
  16. Bella Luna Jewelers

Window Decorating Contest Map

Here is the interactive map provided by the DDBA.

Or you can view the window decorating contest map here.

2021 Window Contest Entries

People’s Choice Award

Not only will a team of judges select the best decorated window(s) in downtown Davis, there is People’s Choice award. This is where you can vote for your favorite decorated business in the downtown.

Vote for your favorite downtown window

Elf on a Shelf Scavenger Hunt

This year festivities includes the Elf on a Shelf Scavenger Hunt shopping promotion.

According to information provided by Davis Downtown, the goal of the program is to introduce your business to a new set of customers by encouraging to visit your business in search of the sneaky and highly mobile elf. Visitors to your business will be encouraged to snap a selfie with the elf and hopefully post it online.

Here are the details for the downtown shopping promotion

  • The Davis Downtown Business Association will be providing the Elf on a Shelf for your business.
  • Your employees will be responsible for placing the elf for customers to find.
  • The promotion runs from December 2 through December 20.
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