Christmas is a holiday occurring annually on December 25th that commemorates the birth of Jesus the Christ, the person that Christians follow.

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

Community Activities

  • 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.

Community Giving

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.

Religious Activities

  • 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

D. Bang House features a Peanuts theme. Derrick Bang even broadcasts holiday music 24-7! A handful of Davis residents spend a good deal of time decorating for The Holidays. Another view of the white Christmas house.

Henri Court

Henri Court in Wildhorse is nicknamed "Candy Cane Lane" because the neighborhood has so many decorated houses. See also Henri Court.

Houses on Henri Court, 2007 Houses on Henri Court, 2007 Houses on Henri Court, 2007

Campus Events

Businesses open on Christmas Day

Contrary to tradition, there were no Chinese restaurants open on Christmas, 2006. The only "Chinese" restaurant reported open in 2007 was Panda Express. It was open in 2008 as well.

Movie Theaters tend to be open on Christmas, as are gas stations and their associated mini-marts.

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.


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2004-12-21 17:58:04   For Winter Break most of us students head out of town, but it is nice to see what's going on in the town while we're gone! - PhilipNeustrom

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