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Annual Cupertino Christmas Tree Lighting Cupertino community comes together for the ceremony

Parents and children huddled together in the Quinlan Center lobby to watch the Christmas tree lighting, hosted by the City of Cupertino, on a rainy Friday night. Held on Dec 6., this event included a countdown to the tree lighting, with music, refreshments, crafts and a special visit from Santa and a movie screening of “Shrek.”

The acapella group Business Casual was invited to perform at this event for the second year in a row and performed their own rendition of classic Christmas songs until the speakers arrived.

A volunteer hands a child a cookie as she waits in line with her family for hot chocolate. Photo by Jai Uparkar

“We love doing this type of gig because it’s all about families, good energy and holiday spirit,” singer Cassandra Chamoun said.

Later, Cupertino City Council members delivered a short speech welcoming those who attended, followed by the assistant director of Parks and Recreation, Christine Hanel, who “called” the missing Santa with a red vintage phone as kids gathered around her in anticipation.

People start to take photos of the decorated Christmas tree after the ten-second countdown. Photo by Tina Low

“It’s a feel-good event and it's just a great way to kick off the holiday season,” Hanel said. “I love getting the kids excited, for me that's what the holidays are all about. I love getting them riled up and excited because most of them know that Santa is going to be coming.”

After Santa arrived, people lined up to take a picture with him, offering the opportunity for families to hand him letters. While waiting, balloon artists made their way through the line, twisting metallic balloons into animals and objects. Senior Ryan Ehara worked for the event and regulated the paper Christmas tree activity.

“I’m kind of dressed as Rudolph right now, and some of the parents interact with me,” Ehara said. “I thought it was really fun and the kids laughed and everything.”

1. Volunteers stir a new batch of hot chocolate with a big wooden spoon. Photo by Jai Uparkar 2. A child watches in awe as the balloon artist creates an animal from long balloons. Photo by Tina Low 3. The event included an arts and crafts center where children could create their own mini-Christmas tree out of green construction paper. Photo by Ishaani Dayal

Families, not just kids, enjoyed the event as they came together to celebrate the holidays together as a community.

“I think it's important because its a community event, its open to the entire community, so it's a wonderful way to come together,” Hanel said. “Even people that might have differences, they can come together and celebrate.”