The holiday season officially kicked-off in Santa Monica this past Sunday, December 8 at Meet Me Under the Fig Tree, the free annual event hosted by Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and MSD Partners, L.P. underneath the historic Moreton Bay Fig Tree.
Over a thousand Santa Monicans gathered to celebrate the holiday season with live performances by Grammy-winning jazz artist Bill Cunliffe, the Santa Monica High School Chamber Orchestra and the Santa Monica Playhouse. The event was once again hosted by KTLA personalities Wendy Burch and Eric Spillman. Guests young and old enjoyed playing in the snow, holiday cookie decorating, two bounce houses, animal adoption by SPCALA, arts & crafts and a whimsical ginger bread house display, as well as a meet and greet with members of Santa Monica Police Department Mounted Police and the Santa Monica Fire Department, who brought a Fire Engine for children to explore.
Attendees were asked to bring non-perishable food to be donated to The Westside Food Bank. In total, over 7,300 pounds of food was collected, all of which will be distributed to those families in the community most in need.
In addition to the food drive for The Westside Food Bank, Meet Me Under the Fig Tree was proud to once again be partnering with Santa MoniCARES for a business clothing donation drive to help provide ready-to-wear interview clothing and accessories to Chrysalis, an organization which helps low-income and
homeless individuals with employment opportunities.
“Giving back at Meet Me Under the Fig Tree is my favorite part of the holiday season”, said Matthew Lehman, General Manager of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. “There is nothing like welcoming over a thousand Santa Monicans to celebrate the season under the majestic Moreton Bay Fig Tree.”
Ellis O’Connor of MSD Partners added, “Santa Monicans went above and beyond in their generosity this year. We are proud to continue this unique Santa Monica holiday tradition and help those most in need in our community.”
“We are always grateful to be part of this wonderful event,” said Genevieve Riutort, Chief Development Officer of The Westside Food Bank. “Thousands of individuals and families will be directly helped by those who generously decided to give. Thank you to the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and MSD Partners for hosting this amazing annual holiday event which collected over 7,300 pounds of non-perishable food.”
“Santa Monica truly comes together for Meet Me Under the Fig Tree,” said Misti Kerns, President/CEO of Santa Monica Travel and Tourism, the organization that launched Santa MoniCARES “We are excited that we could once again be a part of this annual cherished event. The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows and MSD Partners hosted a beautiful afternoon of music and fun for everyone and most importantly provided an opportunity for our community to give back.”
Submitted by Jennifer Bennett