Despite the holiday's religious roots, many celebrate a secular version that concentrates on gift giving, family, and kindness to fellow humans. Contrary to popular belief, the date December 25th was not chosen to compete with pagan Winter Solstice celebrations, which fall on between December 20 and 23 in the northern hemisphere. The date that Christmas is celebrated on today is based on a work of questionable scholarship by Sextus Julius Africanus that was published in the early third century AD.
During this time of year in Davis, the university essentially shuts down during the latter half of December, students leave town, many people drink eggnog and charitable organizations take advantage of the giving spirit.
If you find yourself a bit lonely in December, we offer the following in the spirit of the season!
Events Around Town
- The Holiday Tree Lighting in E Street Plaza is typically accompanied by caroling and other events. In 2004, the tree had LED lights with many signs talking about how they were saving tons of money.
- The Davis Children's Nutcracker has been held annually in mid-December since 1977! With a cast of up to 250 local children, Davis loudly positions itself as a child-oriented city.
- Davis' Annual Holiday Meal on Christmas eve and is offered to the entire community, regardless of need.
- International House almost always arranges holiday meals and activities as a cultural exchange and to provide companionship to those abandoned in Davis during the holidays.
See our Volunteer Opportunities page for ideas on how you might spend some of your free time this winter!
- Davis' Annual Holiday Meal is typically held on Christmas eve and is offered to all, regardless of need. The event is sponsored by local businesses as well as the City of Davis, and operates through the efforts of volunteers.
- International House almost always arranges holiday meals and activities as a cultural exchange.
- STEAC sponsors a holiday family adoption program which provides holiday meal fixin's as well as gifts for families in need. Donors agree to purchase a complete meal and purchase new gifts from a wish list provided by families. Families in need should contact STEAC before December to sign up for the program.
- UC Davis VMTH coordinates gift baskets for animal companions of the homeless and distributes these through the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless in Sacramento.
- The Lutheran church hosts several events downtown, including caroling, a live nativity and various public displays. They are very friendly and open and have some darn good cookies.
- University Covenant Church holds three Christmas Eve services at 4pm, 5:30pm, and 7pm with great music!
Viewing the Holiday Lights
Davis Enterprise entertainment editor, Derrick Bang, is a Peanuts afficionado (he's written three books about Peanuts) and has a house filled with Peanuts characters as well as other cartoon characters. In 2004 he added his own radio station, 106.9 FM, which broadcasts just within half a block of his house and plays continuous Christmas music. During the holiday season hourly light and music shows are held at this house on Cowell Blvd in at 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm Sunday through Thursday with an extra show at 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Davis Enterprise runs an annual decorating contest, and judges entrants. Its winners in 2011 were:
- David Bonillo (4001 Nandina Place), best individual house
- McElligott Famliy (3704 Del Valle Place), best theme
- The Bang Family (4350 Cowell Blvd), best use of available space
- The Wilcox Family (716 Marina Circle), kids' favorite
- Steve and Pegi Hayes (1803 Poplar Lane), best handmade display
- Eric Guerzon (2738 Calder Court), honorable mention
- Wanda Watson (1611 L St.), honorable mention
- Phil Mosca (2003 Alta Loma St.), honorable mention
- Karen Ashby and Walter Nazario (825 Christie Court), honorable mention
- Julielani Chang (1230 Southfield Court), honorable mention
- Lynda Donovan (2320 Denison Drive), honorable mention
Businesses open on Christmas Day
- Black Bear Diner - open on Christmas Eve and Day, 2010.
- Caffino - open Christmas Day 2010
- G Street Pub
- Jack in the Box
- Kathmandu Kitchen
- Little Prague Restaurant
- Osteria Fasulo has an extravagant special Christmas 3 and 4 course menu starting at about 39 dollars per person with optional wine pairings for extra dough.
- Panda Express
- Pizza Guys - open Christmas Day 2010.
- Preethi Indian Cuisine - open Christmas Day 2012.
- Redrum Burger - 2008-2011, open until 6 P.M. Generally open on holidays
- Sophia's. Trivia Night.
- Taste of Thai - open Christmas Day 2010 and 2011 (until 10 PM). Seen open in 2013.
- Thai Nakorn - open Christmas Day 2013.
- Yeti Restaurant - Saw an open sign on Christmas Day 2013
- Tomat's California Cuisine — open Christmas Day 2011 (in Winters)
See also Eating And Shopping On Holidays
Decorating for Christmas
- Seasonally, the SPCA Thrift Store has tons and tons of cheap holiday decorations, cards, and gift items. Though it is a toss-up, in past years the store has had string lights, ornaments, snow globes, Christmas stockings, Santa kitsch, Jesus-y items, holiday wreaths and candles, and even the occasional menorah, among tons of other holiday delights.
- Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm in Dixon has Christmas trees, both pre-cut and ones you can cut down yourself, and flocked trees (trees with fake snow). They also sell ornaments and Christmas household decorations, wreaths, mistletoe, provide sleigh rides and free hot cider and popcorn.
- You can also cut your own tree (and pick pecans) at Jacob Mini Farm west of Davis on Creeksedge Road, northwest of Stevenson Bridge. It's open 9-5 daily in December.
- The Boy Scouts run a Christmas tree lot, most recently at Pole Line Road and 8th Street.
- CVS and Rite Aid sell cheap Christmas lights and decorations.
2004-12-21 19:27:42 Davis is a ghost town on Christmas day. last Christmas I sat in my ome and worked on a 12 pack of Sierra Nevada while i watched the Kings game but during half time I passed out in the living room of my empty five bedroom house. - RobRoy
I love the houses that go all out for decorating during the holidays. - BevSykes
2006-12-14 16:32:47 The biggest Christmas Wreath in Davis is on Lessley Place. Looks good at night with its colored lights, too. —JaimeRaba
2006-12-14 16:43:39 On Christmas Day, the streets of Davis often become deserted. If any wikiholics will be in town and are in search of company, perhaps this page would be a good tool with which to plan a Christmas Day party! —AlphaDog
2006-12-25 10:25:29 Denny's and IHOP are open today, IHOP 6am-4pm. Happy Hannukah! —ShanaWhite
2007-12-25 16:15:42 Dead is an understatement for Davis during christmas. I mean come on, not even the chinese restaurants are open. Also the public golf course isnt open (thats the first time ive ever seen a golf course closed on a holiday) :( —MattHh
2007-12-25 19:56:27 I can't believe that there aren't any chinese restaurants open on Christmas. Not only that, but apparently everything other than Little Prague is closed by 8. WTF???? —Carley
StevenDaubert replies, "that could be true, however the is no evidence that even bears on what you have proposed, there is however ample documentation of a pre christian solstice celebration.
2008-12-21 10:23:05 As it currently stands in modern times, Christmas is definitely a religious holiday, and is celebrated mainly by Christians. It's celebrating a major religious event that is of significant importance to that religion, and not of importance to most other religions. Although many of its elements came from other religions or other cultural events (including, as previously noted, Druidic holidiays, and I believe also Hanukkah), it is not, as some people suggest, a secular holiday. —IDoNotExist True, it's basically an oxymoron, and it just sidesteps the whole history argument—StevenDaubert
2008-12-24 13:09:18 Christmas is all well and good but isn't there any place in town for a hungry Jew to get some sufganiot? C'mon people! —tierramor
2010-12-25 17:03:54 Unable to edit the page at the moment for some reason but little Prague and Kathmandu kitchen are both open. —IDoNotExist
2010-12-25 18:12:32 Merry Christmas to All! —BruceHansen