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Stories from the valley

Holidays in The Valley

Contributed by Steve Beckley

As I drive the roads of the Sacramento Valley, there are many reminders that Christmas and the Holiday Season are here.

Santa Claus and his Reindeer on the roof of Pierce High School in Arbuckle is a definite sign to me that it’s Christmas time.  Driving from Grimes to Arbuckle the other night on the Grimes Arbuckle Road, I spotted him on the school and it brought a smile to my face.  I don’t know how long this tradition has been in place, but I can never remember him not being there during the holidays.

ho ho ho sign

Traveling the back roads and I-5 during this time of year after dark, you’re treated to rice/grain driers that have decorative holiday lights.  It’s so neat to be traveling a long and see NOEL, Ho Ho Ho, a Star in Lights, or a Christmas Tree in what you thought was the middle of nowhere.


Sweets are an important (some would argue necessary) part of the holidays. Even though the major chains have their eggnog shakes and Christmas drinks, I like to stop by the independent shops.  My favorites are Brock’s Ice Cream in Yuba City for eggnog ice cream and shakes; chocolate turtles at the Candy Box/Little Farmhouse Candies  in Marysville or Snow Balls from Schubert’s Ice Cream and Candy in Chico.

There are lots are great Sacramento Valley-grown foods, such as rice, walnuts, almonds, olive oil and wine (again some consider it a necessary holiday food group).  But at Christmas citrus holds a special place.  Butte and Glenn County were once major producers of citrus.  I like to buy Mandarins from Doering’s Mandarians in Oroville or one of the other growers I see at the local farmers’ market.  In a few weeks Navel Oranges will be ripe and I will be getting mine from the Washington Navel trees on our family’s home place in Grimes, but again lots of local growers.

Christmas Photo collage

When I’m in Grimes one of my annual stops in at the Post Office where to sign the community Christmas card that’s posted on the bulletin board.

Christmas lights are one of the great things about the season, most of the valley towns have displays up and the residential area are bright and cheery.  I still like to ride around and look at the lights.  One of the light displays that is on my list to make is the display at Chico Nut Co. with over 150,000 lights synchronized to music .

Have a great Holiday Season and if you need to check in at the last minute with Santa Claus he will be at the Williams Fire Department at 3:00 PM on Saturday, Dec. 24, for last minute Christmas wishes.