Support your community this season by shopping local, while wearing your mask and avoiding groups and gatherings by participating in contactless curbside, in-store pickup, or online shopping options for your holiday essentials.

Los Angeles County will be under a stay-at-home order through December 27, which prevents all gatherings outside of members of your immediate household. The new measures are more targeted than the spring closures with retail remaining open at reduced capacity. All shoppers and employees must maintain a six-foot distance, while properly wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth. Let’s all do our part to make sure holiday jubilation is the only thing spreading far and wide.

“We all have a part to play in keeping our loved ones and neighbors safe this season,” said Lindsay Call, City of Santa Monica’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center Director. “While we encourage the community to buy local and shop safely this season, we are at a critical moment in the pandemic locally. It is imperative everyone stays home as much as possible and follows safety measures when outside your homes. Always wear a face covering, only celebrate the holidays with household members, avoid crowds and maintain six feet of physical distance from non-household members.”

The Montana Avenue Merchants Association wants everyone to feel the magic of the season on Montana Ave. and has created unique experiences for shoppers and shop owners. The neighborhood is putting on a fantastic holiday display of bright lights and colors in an effort to spark some much needed cheer this season.

Heidi Dedrick, Merchant Outreach Chair for the Montana Merchants Association, says that supporting local businesses is more important than ever, and many shops are offering in-store pickup and at home-delivery options. Find the perfect bottle of wine for the amateur sommelier in your life at Duck Blind, using their delivery and in-store pickup options or a scented candle for Mom from Burro that can be delivered straight to your door. Don’t forget to leave a review for your favorite shops, purchase items online and help them grow their business. Share the love with your friends and have them shop at your favorite local spots or purchase a gift card online for a guaranteed great holiday gift exchange.

If you decide to window shop, admire the brightly lit storefronts, as the Merchants Association is excited to host the first ever Montana Ave. Holiday Window Competition. Montana Merchants must get creative to impress the panel of judges, including Santa Monica Police Department’s Suzie Lockwood, along with Susy Borlido of Sustainable Works and the Montana Ave. Merchants Association’s very own Albin Gielicz. While you drive down Montana Ave. with rows of brightly-lit windows, don’t forget to drop off your letter to Santa at one of three Santa’s Mailbox stations along Montana Ave (1516 Montana Ave., 1015 Montana Ave., 1524 Montana Ave.). Head home feeling good that you found a safe way to holiday shop this year, while supporting local businesses and their employees.

*Did you know that by simply shopping local, 68 cents of each dollar remains in Santa Monica? That money is used to keep essential services up and running, including local parks and libraries, while also funding local teachers and school counselors. With the potential of one in four small businesses shutting down for good*, your support keeps their doors open and helps maintain the employment of nearly 3,700 local residents. *Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Montana Ave. is not the only one spreading a little holiday magic, the 40-foot tall shopping cart tree is lit up for the 26th-year in a row as part of Miracle on Main Street. 84 shopping carts are staged in the shape of a Christmas tree and lit up with 1,500 lightbulbs, held together with 4,000 tons of zipties inside the Frank Gehry-designed building in Edgemar to ring in the beginning of the holiday season. Back by community demand, the classic 40-foot tall Noble fir has returned to brighten the Heritage Museum lawn after a one-year hiatus.

“Main St. is absolutely thrilled to be bringing some much-needed holiday cheer to the neighborhood,” says Hunter Hall, Executive Director of the Main Street Business Improvement Association. He assures that Main St. “will abide by whatever prevailing guidelines” to make sure that every Santa Monica Resident has a happy holiday season.

Just a few blocks north of Main St. you will find a winter wonderland as part of Downtown Santa Monica (DTSM) Inc.’s annual Winterlit at the Third Street Promenade and surrounding downtown district. The shopping hub is shining bright under thousands of glowing lights and plastered with festive store-front art installations created by ten-different Los Angeles based artists adding color and light to the streets, according to Mackenzie Carter, the Director of Marketing and Communications for DTSM, Inc. Carter says this year’s programming will be “a safe and fun environment for people to come out and experience the promenade on their own.”

To support local businesses and promote a safe and accessible shopping experience, the City of Santa Monica is waiving parking fees in the downtown parking structures 1-6 from December 11-25. If running essential errands, like visiting the downtown Farmers’ Markets, ordering food to-go or picking up last minute holiday gifts on the Promenade, you will see the official City of Santa Monica 24-foot tall tree embellished with bright lights and fun ornaments, introducing you to the magic that downtown Santa Monica has created. On Arizona Ave., a gleaming Menorah celebrates Hanukkah through December 18.

Keep an eye out for some holiday surprises! 48-Jacaranda trees possess a scannable QR code, which unlock festive experiences that transform the iconic dinosaur statues and Jacaranda trees into brightly decorated holiday elements through the power of augmented reality.

For more holiday fun, head to the North Pole, previously known as Santa Monica Place. “We are looking forward to offering a safe and festive holiday season at Santa Monica Place,” says Stephanie Eglin, Senior Marketing Manager at Santa Monica Place.

Holiday shopping is made safe and convenient using the shop your way amenities available at Santa Monica Place “With on-demand concierge, curbside pickup, and in-store pickup options available, guests can shop their own way with peace of mind,” says Eglin. Whether you choose to do curbside pickup, virtual queuing, in-store pickup, stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Nike have you covered. If you get a bit hungry, pick-up some delicious food to-go, or take an interactive, virtual cooking class with professional pastry chefs through the Gourmandise School. Learn how to craft the fluffiest pastries and concoct the most delicious holiday treats with pastry chef and Co-owner Clémence Gossett.

Co-owner and General Manager at the Gourmandise School, Sabrina Ironside says, “We’re so encouraged by the enthusiasm for supporting small, local businesses during the pandemic.”

With a new retail location on the first floor of Santa Monica Place, Ironside says that “the supportive comments we’ve been getting from locals really helps us keep going” and that everyone at Gourmandise and The Gourmandise School is “so glad we’re here providing help with cooking and baking at home virtually, and offering kitchen supplies.” To sign up for one of their virtual classes, or learn more about The Gourmandise School, visit their website at thegourmandiseschool.com.

While we all get cozy at home, we can make the holidays brighter for locals in need through the City of Santa Monica’s Virginia Park Avenue Food Pantry. Assist a Santa Monica family facing food insecurity by donating at calfund.org/wearesantamonica. Let’s all have a safe holiday by properly wearing your mask, avoiding groups, not gathering with people outside of your household and maintaining six-foot distance. Happy holidays!

5 ways to buy local this season

Holiday Cheer and Business Specials
The holidays are happening in Santa Monica! Restaurants, retailers, and businesses are offering an array of festive, physically-distanced attractions and charitable food and clothing drives to give back to the community this season. Make sure Santa Monica continues to shine through the holidays while keeping the community safe and healthy at
santamonica.com/holiday-specials.

Restaurants Offering Takeout and Delivery
What’s on your plate? No matter what you’re craving, now is the time to #EatLocal. See a running list to help you locate all the Santa Monica restaurants that are open for takeout, curbside pickup and delivery at
santamonica.com/santa-monica-restaurants-offering-takeout-delivery.

Buy Local Gift Guide
Check out the Buy Local Holiday gift guide featuring gifts for any budget, many with online ordering, easy pick-up, or delivery options at buylocalsantamonica.com/gifts2020.

Open for Business Map
For the latest information on businesses including hours and their website, view the Santa Monica “Open for Business” map at santamonica.gov/coronavirus-resources.

Volunteering Opportunities
There are plenty of opportunities to give back to the community through donations and volunteer service. Explore opportunities at santamonica.gov/blog/Donate-and-Volunteer-to-Give-Back-this-Holiday-Season.