Decking the Halls and Hitting the Malls

Season’s first major Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Saturday kicks off the holiday season as local retailers compete with online shopping for customers

Published : Friday, November 16, 2018 | 5:50 AM

Children thrilled to meet Santa seen at Pasadena's official tree lighting ceremony in 2013. Photo for Pasadena Now by Rachel Young.

Some say Halloween. Others argue Thanksgiving. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on when exactly the holiday season begins. But the first major Christmas tree lighting in Pasadena comes this Saturday when Santa lands at The Paseo and is joined with a special performance by the Lythgoe Family Panto’s “Wonderful Winter of Oz” & Friends.

“What is clear is that end of the year in Pasadena is a very celebratory period,” Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said. “We seem to specialize in holiday celebration and we’re all better for it.”

Tornek will be hosting the Mayor’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5 p.m. on Dec. 7 in Centennial Square, 100 N. Garfield Ave. in Pasadena.

“Whether it’s a Christmas celebration or a political demonstration, it always makes me happy to see people coming to City Hall to celebrate a sense of community,” the mayor said.

And while tinsel is hung and carols are sung, local retailers will be gearing up for the holiday shopping frenzy.

Pasadena Economic Development Manager Eric Duyshart said he’s optimistic.

“There’s still a strong consumer confidence level in Pasadena and in our state. So we hope that translates to very positive local sales,” he said.

Online sales will undoubtedly continue to pose a challenge to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, Duyshart said. But Pasadena is especially well-positioned to withstand the electronic onslaught.

“We do have certainly the traditional consumer destinations that draw bigger crowds on a regular basis, and also more specialty goods and services providers that I think a lot of consumers are looking for,” he said. “So we’ve got that in Pasadena in healthy numbers.”

The community is supportive of local businesses, Tornek said.

“I think people in Pasadena do realize that retail is an important component for employment and for sales tax that comes to the city. So obviously we, we’ve always promoted a shop local strategy and I think people do respond to that, and there’s tremendous variety of merchandise available to them,” he said.

From the perspective of the local economy, “It’s critical to us that the stores do well, Tornek said.

Councilmember Andy WIlson said he, too, was rooting for the retailers.

“We hope people go out and spend their money locally on Black Friday,” he said.

Small Business Saturday has emerged in recent years to help support local businesses. This year’s celebration of local retailers is set for November 24, with local shopping districts offering special savings, discounts, tote bags and treats for shoppers.

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President Paul Little said where consumers spend their shopping dollars makes a big difference.

“It does more than just support the store. It supports employment, it supports the tax base here and keeps Pasadena unique and vibrant,” he said.

And smaller businesses often offer a better experience, Little added.

“The real advantage that the local stores have is the personal experience,” he said. “It’s an experience that people want.”

“My hope would be that people remember what the shopping experience is like in the local stores and patronize as much as they possibly can,” Little said.

Scheduled tree lighting ceremonies in the Pasadena area include:

Paseo Tree Lighting

Nov. 17, 4 p.m.

The Paseo Colorado, 280 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Cost: Free


Winter Festival at the Langham

Nov. 25, 4:00 p.m.

The Langham, Huntington

1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena

Cost: $15 to $45


Holiday Tree Lighting at the Farmers’ Market

Nov. 29, 4 p.m.

El Centro St. and Meridian Ave., South Pasadena

Cost: Free

La Pintoresca Branch and Park 18th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

Nov. 30, 5 p.m.

1355 North Raymond Ave., Pasadena

Cost: Free


Pasadena Playhouse Tree Lighting Celebration

Nov. 30, 7 p.m.

39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena

Cost: Free


Hastings Branch – 6th Annual Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting

Dec. 6, 3:00 p.m.

3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

Cost: Free


98th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Lighting Ceremony, Winter Arts & Crafts Festival

Dec. 8, 2 p.m.

Altadena Public Library, 600 E. Mariposa Street, Altadena

Cost: Free