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The Moraga Art Gallery’s new exhibit, “Yellowstone: Beauty, Beasts, and Boneyards,” features oil landscapes by Orinda’s Lisa Gunn, whose imaginative palette captures the primitive character and timelessness of Yellowstone National Park and its environs. Also featured is a boldly-hued collection of one-of-a-kind etched tableware, handmade by guest artist Lisa Neimeth. The show will run through Jan. 9. For more info, visit www.moragaartgallery.com or call (925) 376-5407.

“Wild” Animal Portraits and Cityscapes by Dan San Souci at the Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery, 3620 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. The Exhibit runs through Dec. 5. “A Visual Feast,” an exhibit featuring children’s book illustrators from Dec. 10 to 31 will feature original art, reproductions and children’s books for sale. Reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 and storytelling from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12.

The Lafayette Art Gallery presents “Artful Gifting” and its holiday boutique, which runs through Dec. 26. For info, call (925) 284-2788 or visit www.lafayetteartgallery.com.

Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art exhibit, “The Axis Mundi/Open Portals,” is currently on display through Dec. 6. Also on display are oil paintings by William Keith, artwork by Luis Gutierrez, and “The Dr. Maurice Alberti Print Collection of European and American Masters.” The Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Saint Mary’s College of California campus, 1928 Saint Mary’s Road, Moraga. For more information, visit http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/saint-marys-college-museum-of-art.


A sing-it-yourself Handel’s Messiah will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 66 St. Stephens Drive, Orinda. The Messiah Sing will be directed by Minister of Music Robert Train Adams, and include the Festival Choir, soloists, chamber orchestra and audience participation. There will be music for all who wish to sing. Listeners are also welcome. Admission: $20 in advance or at the door. For more info, visit www.ststephensorinda.org/messiah-sing.

Diablo Choral Artists invites you to “Once Upon A Starry Night” with Mark Tuning, music director, and John R.S. Walko, accompanist, at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1924 Trinity Ave., Walnut Creek, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 66 St. Stephen’s Drive, Orinda. Ticket details online at www.dcachorus.org.

The Diablo Women’s Chorale invites you to join them for “Christmas Swings” at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, 399 Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek. Advance tickets: $16 general admission; $10 student; $20 premium seating. Tickets at the door: $20 adult; $10 student. Tickets can be purchased at www.DiabloWomensChorale.org, or by calling (800) 838-3006.

Emeritus at Diablo Valley College invites you to its fall fundraiser: A Conversation with Bach, a piano concert with award-winning pianist, Dr. Lino Rivera, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. Dr. Rivera engages his audience by playing beautiful music and telling a story about how the musical pieces are tied to one another. Tickets: $25. For info, call (925) 969-4316.

WomenSing presents Make Good Cheer from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16 at St. Mary’s Chapel, 1928 St. Mary’s Road, Moraga. WomenSing presents Make Good Cheer, the first concert of our 50th season, celebrating the gift of choral music – singer to audience and back again. Cost: $28 general; $10 under 18. For more info see http://womensing.org/concerts/current-season/holiday-concert/ or call (925) 798-4875 or email info@womensing.org.


“Harvey” by Mary Chase presented by Town Hall Theatre from Dec. 3 through Dec. 19. Gather the whole family for the magical tale of Elwood P. Dowd and his best friend – a 6-foot, 3-and-a-half-inch tall invisible rabbit named Harvey. What better way to warm up your holiday season, than with this imaginative classic! For more details and to purchase tickets go to www.townhalltheatre.com.

A fairytale adventure of a mystical forest, two lost children, an enticing gingerbread house, and a wicked witch, Solo Opera’s “Hansel and Gretel” is a holiday “treat” for the entire family! The show runs at the Del Valle Theatre, 1963 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20. Seating is reserved, group discounts are available. For info, call (925) 943-7469, visit the Lesher Center box office, or go to
https://lesherartscenter.showare.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=411. Tickets: $25-$40.


Holiday Tree Lighting at Moraga Commons Park starts at 6:30 p.m. with cookies and hot chocolate followed by the tree lighting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3.

Get ready for the holidays at the 25th annual Santa’s Bag Holiday Boutique from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5 and 6 at the Lafayette Community Center, 500 St. Mary’s Rd, Lafayette. Beautiful decorations, holiday gifts and the delicious smell of warm baked treats. Admission and parking are free. In celebration of the 25th anniversary, Santa’s Bag will be giving back to the community by hosting a holiday gift drive with the help of Boys Team Charity Lamorinda League. Please visit the link: shelterinc.org/support/volunteer/thanksgiving.html

Celebrate “It’s a Wonderful Life in Lafayette” and kick off the holiday season from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 in Lafayette’s Plaza Park, located in downtown Lafayette. This free event will include visits with Santa, official holiday tree lighting ceremony, one-of-a-kind photo ops, live musical entertainment, crafts, holiday treats and a holiday sing-a-long. For information, visit www.lafayettechamber.org.

Hospice of the East Bay Tree Lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at the beautiful old oak tree in front of the Bank of America in the Village Square Shopping Center in Orinda. The festivities begin with school choirs performing traditional holiday music under the direction of their teachers. Following the performance, the tree will be lit to honor those we wish to remember and Santa Claus will arrive on a Moraga-Orinda Fire District engine with treats for the children. A contribution of $25 will help support Hospice of the East Bay, which provides invaluable end-of-life care for terminally ill patients.

See the Christmas story come to life at the 11th annual viewing of the Live Nativity at Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church at 10 Moraga Valley Lane, Moraga. The MVPC courtyard will be transformed into a Bethlehem manger from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. While the Courtyard will be a reverent scene, there will be additional activities, music and snacks in the fellowship hall. The sanctuary will be open for prayer and contemplation. Free.

Tree lighting and Santa at Orinda Theatre Square at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 kicks off with a performance by Lamorinda Theater Academy and then continues with a visit from Santa, horse and carriage rides, hot chocolate, an ornament workshop and the lighting of the tree. Free movie night showing of “White Christmas” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Orinda Theatre, 4 Orinda Theatre Square in Orinda.

The public is cordially invited to join the Saint Mary’s College Guild’s Christmas Luncheon beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Soda Activity Center, at the college, 1928 St. Mary’s Road. The event will begin with a social hour, which includes a delicious, creative bake sale, a money tree raffle, and festive, holiday baskets. Entertainment will be provided by pianist Sharon Lee Kim and the award-winning Saint Mary’s College Chorale, conducted by Dr. Julie Ford. Lunch will be served at noon. Cost: $45 per person. For info, call (925) 376-3306.

Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church Christmas on the Hill Concert, “Peace,” at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1310 Moraga Valley Ln., Moraga. Experience a heart-warming presentation of new and traditional Christmas music. Sunday childcare available for 6 months to PreK/TK with reservation: kveitch@mvpctoday.org. For info, call (925) 376-4800 or visit www.mvpctoday.org.

Christmas concert and variety show at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13 at the Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way, Orinda. The evening will feature the UC Berkeley Gospel Choir, the Campolindo High School Chamber Singers, Orinda Community Church soloists and musicians, spoken word and storytelling, a song from Santa, and many other surprises. Think Amazing Christmas Concert meets Prairie Home Companion, followed by treats in Fellowship Hall.

The OSLC Concert Series presents “Christmas: A Musical Fantasy,” featuring children’s choir, handbell choir, contemporary singers, and the adult choirs of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (Lafayette) and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (Orinda) at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Program features a wide variety of holiday music, from Handel to Tchaikovsky to sacred and secular carols. Free. For info, visit www.oslc.net.

Patti Leidecker will be singing and playing everyone’s favorite holiday songs at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 on the baby grand piano at the Rheem Theatre in Moraga. Leidecker has performed at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch Inn in Carmel on Wednesday nights for the past eight years. Come sing along with Leidecker and get into the holiday spirit. Tickets: $15 general admission; $12 seniors and children, includes holiday cookies and punch. This will be a great event for the youngest and the young at heart.


Join 5A Rent-A-Space for the 8th Annual “Free Photo with Santa” event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at 455 Moraga Rd., Moraga. Families will receive a free photo and frame. Cookies, fruit and hot cocoa and candy canes will be served, and children will make a craft.

Take a Photo with Santa at the Rheem Valley Shopping Center in Moraga. Noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12. Bring your camera. Free with your Rheem Valley Shopping Center receipts totaling $25 or more or get a coupon online at rheemvalley.net.

The Fratello Marionettes Present “The North Pole Review” from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15 at the Moraga Library. This production showcases the high kicking antics of the Russian Trepak Dancers, the graceful ice skater Crystal Chandelier, and the dazzling acrobatic penguins. Free, no registration necessary.


Join RecycleSmart at the Vermicomposting (Worms!) and Bin Building Workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 5 at Heather Farm Community Center in Walnut Creek. This is a very hands-on workshop. You will build your bin, take it home with your worms and knowledge, and start composting right away. Cost: $20; 20 household max capacity and registration required. Recyclesmart residents only. For info, visit http://www.recyclesmart.org/workshops.

Despite its Black Friday, Black Cat sale last weekend, Community Concern For Cats hasn’t run out of cats: they still have plenty available for you to adopt – over 150 of them! If you plan to bring a cat into your home for the holidays, do it now so the noise and activity level is lower and conducive to becoming friends more easily. Adoption Site Hours: noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at Lafayette Pet Food Express.

Join the National Park Service and the Spanish Choir of St. Catherine of Siena Church for a bilingual program of music, history, and holiday traditions at the Martinez Adobe on the grounds of John Muir National Historic Site. This free event is from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. Reservations are not required. Please call the John Muir NHS visitor center at (925) 228-8860 extension 0 if you have questions. Visitors should meet at John Muir NHS.


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The Lamorinda Meditation Group has been meeting from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday and Thursday mornings since September of 2014. Come one or both days a week to settle in, meditate silently for 30 minutes with those who attend, and stay for questions and sharing or you may leave after meditation at 1036 Country Club Drive, Suite 100 (Career Wisdom Institute). Cost: $5 donation for the use of this beautiful space. For more details, contact Gaby Mozee at gcmozee@gmail.com.

The annual Grand Menorah Lighting in Walnut Creek will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at Broadway Plaza near Macy’s, the first night of Hanukkah. The event will feature the largest menorah in Contra Costa, Paul Savage Fire Juggler, Live music with Any Rubin, doughnuts, dreidels, face painting, latkes and more and is open to all. Chabad of Contra Costa sponsors this popular event with assistance from with Broadway Plaza management.

Hanukkah on Ice will be held at the Walnut Creek Civic Park Ice Rink from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. on the fifth night of Hanukkah, Thursday, Dec. 10. Ice skaters of all ages will enjoy a menorah lighting sponsored by Chabad of Contra Costa on the rain protected outdoor rink while skating to Jewish music. Traditional Hanukkah donuts called Sufganiot, hot dogs, latkes and drinks will be available and can be ordered online. Advanced Tickets: $15, if ordered in advance at www.JewishContraCosta.com. Tickets: $18 at the event based on space available.

Daughters of the Goddess, a Bay Area women-only Goddess Temple, will be holding its annual Winter Solstice Ritual at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. East Bay location given upon RSVP. Cost for newcomers: $15. For info, contact Kahuna Leilani at (925) 787-9247 or visit www.DaughtersoftheGoddess.com.

5A Rent-A-Space Santa’s Secret Wrapping Room open to the public through Dec. 23, during business hours. This decorated area is set up with tables, chairs, wrapping paper, tape and ribbon – everything needed to get presents wrapped for free – especially handy if you need to wrap gifts without the watchful eyes of the recipients.

Its first ever “Giving Tree” is being hosted by Community Concern for Cats’ volunteers at their Rescued Treasures Thrift Shop in Walnut Creek through Dec. 24. Their goal is to give the gift of life to as many homeless street cats as they can by providing needed medicines and medical procedures. Come down, buy a special ornament, and put it in the holiday window display. Rescued Treasures Thrift Shop is located at 1270 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek. For info, call (925) 937-3201.
The Orinda Aquatics Masters, an adult swimming program, will be offering an evening workout at the Soda Aquatic Center at Campolindo High School from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. through Feb 4. These workouts will be held Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings. No workouts on Dec 24 and 31. Swimmers may pay $10 per swim, or pay a monthly fee of $75 per month (December and January). For more info, contact Tiffany Forbes at tforbes267@gmail.com.


Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Programs (HICAP) provides free and objective counseling and advocacy services to Contra Costa Medicare beneficiaries and their families who need assistance with Medicare enrollment and issues involving Medicare and associated insurance programs, including prescription drug coverage. HICAP does not endorse or sell insurance products. For appointments, call Lafayette Senior Services at (925) 284-5050. Appointments are at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., or noon on the first Wednesday and third Tuesday monthly in the Alder Room of the Lafayette Community Center.

Mindful Aging at the Moraga Library presents “Eat Smart, Live Strong – Nutritional Education for Older Adults” at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. Cynthia Black will show how to keep healthy and strong by following the guidelines of the Eat Smart, Live Strong program developed by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services specifically for adults between the ages of 60-74.

Positive Living Forum (“Happiness Club”) Moderated by Bob Nozik, MD, Prof. Emeritus UCSF, Author of “Happy 4 Life: Here’s How to Do It.” Brighten your day and take part in this interactive gathering which features speakers on a wide range of topics that guide participants toward a more ideal and positive life experience from 10:30 a.m. to noon the second Thursday monthly in the Elderberry Room in the Lafayette Community Center. Free for Senior Services Members; $10 non-members. Drop-ins welcome!


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