‘Heart for Christmas’ display kicks off a season of goodwill

By Tamara Steiner on December 2, 2013

Katie Grace and Jeffrey_for websiteAt 5 p.m. on Dec. 6, the Holmes family’s two story Colonial on Pine Lane will light up the night sky with a dazzling display of thousands of Christmas lights programmed to “dance” to music as Jeffrey Holmes pulls the switch on what was originally meant to be a simple gift to his mom.

The 22-year-old Holmes is no stranger to drama and lights. When he was just 16, his first musical light display won the 2007 Clayton Pioneer’s Home Decorating Contest. Two years later, the whole downtown lit up at Christmas time with Holmes’ dazzling light and music show at the Clayton Community Church – all drama, all colorful and all entertaining.

But, in March when Holmes started planning this latest display, he wanted something more. A family friend, Katie Grace Groebner, suffers from pulmonary hypertension and is awaiting a heart-lung transplant. Katie Grace was the inspiration Holmes needed for “A Heart for Christmas.”

The show became an outreach— an opportunity to focus attention on and raise funds for children suffering from terminal illness. So, Holmes paired up with the Children’s Organ Transplant Association and the Ronald McDonald House Care Mobile. After using 10 percent to help offset the electricity bill, donations will be split equally between the two organizations.

“A Heart for Christmas” musical light show has more than 30,000 lights that “dance” to music, but the display doesn’t stop at just lights. Set over the entire one-acre family property, the display includes laser shows, snowmen and snow machines. On Dec. 15, the CVCHS chorus will give a holiday concert.

“This has been a true collaboration of love,” says Holmes, who had help from his sister Jules Bianchi, a photographer and volunteers from 14 families.

The display is free for everyone, but Holmes recommends groups of 20 or more make a reservation online where they can request hot cocoa or a photo with Santa (nominal donation).

The display opens Dec. 6 at the Holmes’ home, 1185 Pine Lane (east of town off Marsh Creek Rd.) and will run every night from 5 until 9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., and 5-11 p.m. Fri., Sat. and Sun. through Dec. 31. Rain cancels. For reservations or more information, call (925) 276-0708 or go to AHeartForChristmas.com.

Mr. Christmas

For the 33rd year, “Mr. Christmas” will celebrate the holiday season with the traditional light display at 5208 Olive Dr. in Concord. The lights go on at dusk and the display is free, although Mr. Christmas gratefully accepts donations to help with the PG&E bill. To learn about Mr. Christmas, see the movie at mrchristmasmovie.com

Tree Lighting

Clayton: Starting at 4 p.m., sleigh bells jingle and the fun begins with the downtown carriage rides sponsored by the Dynamic Realtor Group, the Moresi Family and P2C Foundation. At 6 p.m., the MDE School chorus will begin the CBCA Tree Lighting Festivities with Christmas music at the Gazebo where Santa will arrive to lead the “parade” down Main Street for the annual tree lighting. More info on page 11.

Concord: The clip-clop sound of horse-drawn carriages will also ring through downtown Concord when the festivities begin at 4 p.m. at Todos Santos Plaza. At 5, the music starts, followed by the Mayor’s Sing Along and the lighting of the official tree.

Clayton Pioneer Cookie Contest

Dust off the rolling pin, dig through Great-aunt Emma’s recipe file and bake up a storm for the 10th annual Clayton Pioneer Christmas Cookie Contest. Judging party starts at 6:30 at the Clayton Library. While the judges are doing their work, the musical Van Liew family will lead the caroling. There will be tables for face-painting and crafts. It’s rumored Santa will make an appearance. After the judging, everyone can sample all the entries and pick their own winners. Entries must be in by Dec. 10. Turn to page 4 for the entry form.

Dessert with Mrs. Claus

On Dec. 14, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. sugar will again be the main course at the annual CBCA Dessert with Mrs. Claus. Visit with Mrs. Claus and get a photo with Santa (bring your own camera) at Endeavor Hall on Center St. in Clayton. The event is free, however donations are accepted. See ad on page 10.

Christmas Home Tour set to dazzle

This holiday season, Clayton residents have the opportunity to view beautiful pottery from Italy, a collection of Santas and reindeer, a houseful of Christmas trees, a collection of Annalisse dolls, a gingerbread village and numerous antiques and collectables, all without leaving their hometown.

These can all be viewed in six area homes as the Clayton Historical Society hosts its fourth Annual Christmas Home Tour on Dec. 15, 2013 from noon to 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 a person, benefitting the Clayton Museum.

The self guided tour begins at the Clayton Museum at 6101 Main Street, Clayton.

Each home on the tour features a different theme or decorating scheme. The Cerruti family is all about Italy, with pottery and showpieces from Italy, Mackenzie and Tiffany and a Christmas Tree in every room.

The Fitzgerald home features collections of Santas and reindeer, as well as an entire Santa’s workshop and a nutcracker collection.

The Huffords have traveled the world and lived in England and Indonesia. Their home features collections from all over the world, including swans, Christmas cookie jars, tea pots, Santas and even Clayton Business & Community Association Christmas Trees. Refreshments will also be served.

The Kommer home lights up the skies with its array of twinkling lights, while the Faina home features multiple Christmas trees and an over-the-top Christmas Disney collection.

Finally, the Gonsalves home will feature a collection of Annalisse dolls, as well as a dining room “Winter Wonderland.” The kitchen and living areas are decorated in gingerbread style.

Purchase tickets at claytonhistory.org or at the Clayton Museum on Main St. on the day of the event.

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