Winter Activities: Ho Ho Holidays

Casa Del Herrero, courtesy photo.

Casa Del Herrero, courtesy photo.

Say bah, humbug to the snow. Our warm-weather winters offer plenty of opportunities to fill your calendar with holiday cheer. Whether you’re looking for glittering lights, glitzy trees and glow-in-the-dark Santa Clauses, or more refined merry making, here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate the season, Santa Barbara style.

Historic Casa del Herrero’s Holiday-Themed Tour

Step back in time to the 1930s and cas enjoy the ambiance of Casa del Herrero (House of the Blacksmith), one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture. Reservations are a must for the special holiday-themed tours featuring classically elegant holiday decorations and special refreshments, alongside this historic landmark Andalusian-style country house and its lavish grounds and gardens.

Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, December 9,11,12,16,18 and 19th at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. Children 10 and over are welcome. For reservations call (805) 565-5653 or email 1387 East Valley Road, Montecito.

Holidays at the Historic Stow House Ranch

The Stow House, dating back to 1873, will be dressed in a full festive array of finery for its annual holiday open house, featuring oodles of decorations both inside and out. Photo opportunities abound with Santa and his rein-goats offering a warm lap to visitors old and young; tours of the beautifully decorated house, where an old-fashioned toy train circles the base of the living room Christmas tree; crafts, including cookie-baking and decorating for the kids and live music.

December 12 and 13. Free admission. Call (805) 681-7216 or email for more information. 304 N. Los Carneros Road, Goleta.

10th Annual Trolley of Lights Tour

Enjoy an incredible show of holiday light artistry when you take this 90-minute trip through town on the Trolley of Lights. Both the young and young-at-heart are sure to enjoy this dazzling display of decorations, as well as the hot apple cider and holiday treats. This tour is a local holiday favorite that always sells out, so make your reservations early.

From mid-December and throughout the month meets at 6:30 p.m. nightly at Stearns Wharf Dolphin Foundation, intersection of State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard. For more information call (805) 965-0353 or visit

Originally published in the Winter 2009/10 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.