Nothing says, "Bring on the holidays," quite like the annual lighting of trees. So, bundle up your family and head down to the village Sunday for the Alamo Chamber of Commerce Tree Lighting Festival.

The annual event will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Andrew H. Young Park, 3000 Danville Blvd. Holiday cheer awaits, with local schools performing Christmas carols while folks sip on hot chocolate and kids enjoy a special arts and crafts section. An anticipated appearance by none other than Santa will surely be a highlight of the evening, as he hears the wishes of children and poses for those memorable photographs. Another special guest will be Candace Andersen, Contra Costa County's District 2 supervisor, who will welcome everyone. I caught up with Andersen, who told me she is looking forward to the event.

"It's an honor to represent Alamo, where there is such a strong sense of community and appreciation by residents of their small-town charm. This is such a great way to join together as families and friends to start the holiday season," she saidBarrels will be set up for nonperishable items for the Contra Costa Food Bank, and Shelter Inc. will also be there collecting donations to help spread some holiday cheer to families in need in our community. Supporters of the nonprofit organization, which helps families avoid homelessness, will pass out cookies to revelers. Speaking of Shelter Inc., member and Alamo resident Carol Hyman has been collecting items for the Share the Warmth holiday drive for families who will come into the Shelter program too late for the Adopt A Family program. She encourages folks to drop off new, warm clothing for children and adults -- wrapped and labeled with the type of item, age range, size and gender -- on her doorstep at 221 Hemme Ave. up until Wednesday.

"This is the time of the year that they come to Shelter Inc. in need of pajamas, sweatshirts, socks and all of those Christmas items that make their lives bearable. I love helping out in this gratifying way," Carol told me.

Another special tree lighting is the Hospice

Tree of Lights, at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 12 at the Alamo Women's Club, 1401 Danville Blvd. Members Vicki Koc and Nancy Combs told me that station KKDV will promote the event live from their parking lot and "On Q," an ensemble of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus will provide the musical entertainment. Members will provide a pot luck to guests who have purchased commemorative bulbs in honor of loved ones who have passed away. If you are interested in attending, call 925-575-7706 or email your reservation to AlamoWomensClub@gmail.com.

"Our Hospice program, A Time for Reflection, A Time for Cheer, blends the loving memories and the help that one of our philanthropies, Hospice, provides to all with the kickoff of the holiday season by the Club," said Vicki, who said the Alamo Women's Club has been supporting Hospice by lighting the oak tree on their clubhouse property for the past 25 years.

Nancy Combs also encourages folks to attend that day. "We warmly invite and welcome the community to join us for the lighting of the Hospice Tree. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the ones we have loved and who have benefited from the services provided by the Hospice of the East Bay," she said. The Danville Alamo Walnut Creek Branch of American Association of University Women is looking forward to their annual holiday house tour on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"We are showcasing six delightfully decorated homes in the area, and this year's tour has something to please everyone; from trees decked out entirely in Poland Glass ornaments, to rooms devoted entirely to model trains," said member Mary Granzotto, who said proceeds benefit local women scholarships and AAUW programs. For tickets, mail a check and self-addressed stamped business envelope to: AAUW Holiday Home Tour, P.O. Box 996 Alamo, CA 94507. Visit their website for more details, www.aauw-daw.org.

For more details, email holidayhometour@aauw-daw.org.

Contact Caterina Mellinger at around- alamo@hotmail.com.