Revel in an Olde Fashioned Christmas in Los Olivos

It's a small-town-y day in wine country, complete with a tree lighting.

CHRISTMAS IN POPULAR CULTURE? It always seems to flourish best, at least according to screenwriters and novelists, in very, very big cities, the kind of metropolises lined with colorful department store windows and dotted with ice rinks and brimming with over-the-top street decorations. But there are those who know the charms of a holiday spent in a small town, and how being in a place where the rush-rush is more stroll-stroll can give a person ample time to soak in the general splendor and unhurriedness of the most hurrying time of year. If you're feeling small-town-a-tude far more than megalopolis merriment at the moment, or if you appreciate them both but do need to spend time in a village that can be sauntered through at leisure, turn your grateful gaze upon lovely, lovely, oh-so-lovely...

LOS OLIVOS: Certainly three "lovelys" can't be nearly enough for this gem, which is found in Santa Ynez Wine Country (or nestled, if you prefer the verbiage of traditional travel writing). It's a place that has more than its piquant share of talked-about eateries and wine tasting rooms, giving it a convivial air most days, but on Saturday, Dec. 2? It's all about Christmas, and an Olde Fashioned Christmas at that. The seen-some-decades to-do — 2017 will mark its 37th go-around — has what's fun down-pat, from the Gingerbread Wonderland at St. Mark's-in-the-Valley to kid-cool rides on the wee 'n whimsical Christmas Express Train to live caroling and tunes to a cameo, of course, from Santa Claus, who surely would back our stance that Los Olivos deserves all of the "lovelys" one can ladle upon it. And should you stick around for the tree lighting after sundown? Please. And by "please" we mean "of course," of course.

THERE'S LOTS HAPPENING... over that first Saturday in December, and you'll probably want to arrive with a bit of scratch, should you want to gift-it-up while strolling by various shops. Or just arrive and enjoy the free entertainment and wine country-y vibes, if that's your pleasure. It's one of the valley's sweetest treats, and a party that proves small-town holidays are every bit as blissful as those seen in our most major cities.

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