Redwood City Holiday Giving and Happenings

City of Redwood City
Nov 14 · 8 min read

Get in the holiday spirit with Redwood City volunteer opportunities and events!

Welcome to our holiday activities blog. We’ve been making a list and checking it twice, so we can bring you everything you need to plan your participation in Redwood City’s many holiday events and volunteer opportunities.

The holidays are a wonderful time to join the thousands of volunteers who help make Redwood City a wonderful place to live.

The City collaborates with several foundations and service agencies to further the City’s mission of Building a Great Community Together. During this holiday season and on #GivingTuesday, December 3, the City offers a number of ways to help others through the gift of your time and/or donations. Organizations that work closely with the City of Redwood City and align with the City’s goal of building community include CityTrees, Create a Smile, Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation, Parks & Arts Foundation, Police Activities League (PAL) and Project Read.

If you are interested in making a positive impact on the Redwood City community through volunteerism or through a donation, go here for a list of opportunities. For library volunteer opportunities, go here.

Annual Holiday Toy and Book Drive

Redwood City Departments are teaming up with public safety agencies in San Mateo County to bring smiles and holiday spirit to children in need through the annual Holiday Toy and Book Drive.

This year, the Redwood City Fire Department, the Redwood City Parks Recreation and Community Services Department, and the Redwood City Police Department are joining the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the San Carlos Fire Department, the Woodside Fire Department, and the CARON Project to bring the Christmas Toy and Book Drive to many families in need. With help from the Fair Oaks Community Center and a corps of volunteers, this annual event has become a welcome tradition in the Redwood City community. But it can only happen with the community’s help.

Businesses can support this effort by placing donation barrels at their sites. Individuals can help by donating new, unwrapped toys and books. Volunteers are asked to donate their time at “wrapping parties” where everyone takes part in preparing the gifts for the kids. This includes gift wrapping, quality control, and helping with food and drinks. Corporations can assist by donating the time of their employees, or by making a financial contribution.

Last year, local businesses filled donation barrels with more than 12,000 toys and books, which were distributed to approximately 500 needy families. Santa Claus personally delivers gifts to the home of each recipient, arriving in a police car or a fire engine. It’s an experience the kids will long remember.

A unique aspect of this program is the distribution of new books as well as toys. Each child served receives two gifts — a book and a stuffed animal — and several stocking stuffers, all of which bring that holiday sparkle to their eyes.

Donations of toys and books can be made at collection barrels located at City Hall, the Redwood City Police Department, the Downtown Library, or any Redwood City fire station. For more information, contact Officer Chris Rasmussen at (650) 780–7104.

If you are a family in need of assistance, please sign up in person at the Fair Oaks Community Center, 2600 Middlefield Rd between November 4 and December 5.

Go here for more information about the program. Thank you for your support!

Food for Fines

Through December 31, the Redwood City Public Library is participating in the Food for Fines community food drive program. This program allows visitors to bring non-perishable food items into any Redwood City Library branch. In exchange, their fines/fees will be waived. The food donation will only cover library fines, not fines for lost or damaged items. All food collected will be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank. To learn more about this program, go here.

ART on the Square Holiday Show

Holiday shopping just got easier! The 4th annual ART on the Square Holiday Show takes place at the San Mateo County History Museum on Saturday, November 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show will feature more than 20 artists and artisans selling original jewelry, glass, photography, fiber art, painting, ceramics, clothing, woodwork, and more — all under the Museum’s spectacular stained glass dome with live music by jazz and blues fusion artists Paula Harris and Nate Ginsberg. You’re certain to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. To learn more, go here.

Veterans Memorial Senior Center Holiday Events

Thanksgiving Luncheon

Peninsula Hills Women’s Club is celebrating its 36th anniversary of hosting the Thanksgiving Dinner for seniors. Join the festivities and enjoy the company of other seniors, a home-cooked turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and more on November 28 at noon at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center. Seating is limited. If you would like to attend, please make a reservation by calling (650) 780–7259 and leaving a message. The cost for lunch is $10. For more information, go here.

Decoration Day

Help decorate the Senior Center for the Holidays! Share your holiday spirit and decorating skills by volunteering on December 2 at noon at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center. There will be a complimentary pizza lunch for those who sign-up and volunteer. If interested, please call (650) 780–7259.

Holiday Sing-A-Long Luncheon

Enjoy lunch, entertainment, and opportunity drawings at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center Holiday Sing-A-Long luncheon! This is the last event of the year, so come show off your holiday spirit and your vocal talent. This event takes place December 20 at noon in the Sunset Room. Reservations can be made by calling (650) 780–7259. The cost for lunch is $10.

Family and Kids Events

Late Night Movie Night at Sandpiper

Attention parents! Need to finish up on that holiday shopping? Don’t worry about a babysitter. Drop your kids off with us for a night of fun at the Sandpiper Community Center on December 6. We’ll have a ton of holiday arts and crafts, relays, games, and a big screen movie showing. To make movie night complete, we’ll provide pizza and drinks. Don’t forget their pillows and sleeping bags so your kids are comfy during the movie. For more details, go here.

Hometown Holidays

Get in the holiday spirit and join the festivities, rain or shine, as Redwood City’s Downtown Business Group presents Hometown Holidays, a party to celebrate the holiday season. Guests will enjoy a parade, entertainment, carnival, snow, Santa Claus photos, and more. This free family friendly event takes place December 7 starting at 10 a.m. in front of the Fox Theatre.

Tree Lighting

The fun continues right after Hometown Holidays on December 7, with a tree lighting at the corner of Hamilton and Broadway, across from Courthouse Square. Two redwood trees will be lit in celebration of the holidays. This event is sponsored by the Redwood City Improvement Association.

To celebrate the holiday season, the tree in front of City Hall will also be lit in early December.

Holiday Train

The Caltrain Holiday Train has been a Bay Area tradition since 2001. This free event brings together thousands of local community members in the spirit of joy and giving.

Decorated with 60,000 glittering lights, the dazzling show-train will visit the Redwood City Caltrain station on December 7 at 6:10 p.m., providing holiday entertainment and collecting donations of toys for local children who otherwise might not receive gifts during the holidays.

Putt’n Around Downtown
Sponsored by Facebook

December 13 , 2019 — January 5, 2020

The 18 hole mini-golf course returns to downtown complete with scaled decorations and nighttime black light golf! Open every day except Christmas, see website for specific hours. For more information and to book tee times online, go here.

Winter Wonderland

Come enjoy a magical winter night including cookie decorating, festive ornament making, life-size Candyland, Santa photos, face painting, and more! On December 14, the Red Morton Community Center will host a Winter Wonderland night for kids of all ages from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $10 per child at the door. Learn more details here.

Gabriel’s Trumpets — Holiday Music and Crafts

Gabriel’s Trumpet Trio will perform classic family-friendly holiday music on December 18 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Downtown Library. Holiday craft activities will also be provided. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library Bookstore. For more details, go here.

10th Annual Chanukah Festival

Join Chabad Mid Pen for the 10th annual Chanukah Festival in Courthouse Square on December 22 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Enjoy a giant glow-in-the-dark menorah lighting, Chanukah latkes and donuts, entertainment, music, and more. For more information, go here.

Bethlehem A.D.

This living Christmas experience and live performance will be held in Redwood City December 21 through 23 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The event takes place at 1305 Middlefield Road and is free for the whole family. For more details, go here.

Holiday Closures

City Hall, City administrative buildings (including Fire and Police), libraries, and community centers are closed in observance of the holiday season. Although administrative offices are closed, emergency services will continue to operate. Below are the dates for November, December, and January holiday closures:

November 28
November 29
December 24
December 25
December 31
January 1

Please note that in addition to the dates above, City Hall will be closed from December 23 to January 1. City Hall will reopen at 8 a.m. on January 2, 2020.

To learn more about City holiday closures go here.

More Events and Stay Connected!

Interested in more holiday fun? Go here for our full calendar of events.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates. Tag us in your photos to share how you are celebrating the holidays in Redwood City with us! #RWCHolidays

We wish you a happy holiday season!

City of Redwood City

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Official thoughts and communications from the heart of the Peninsula. “Climate Best by Government Test”.

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