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Downtown Talk

Craig Smith's Downtown Talk: Check out a Napa wanderland of trees

From the Craig Smith's Downtown Napa Talk series
  • Updated

Kids have been known to stare at their family’s Christmas tree for hours. They are wondering (hoping for) what Santa is going to bring them all right, but there is also something magical about Christmas trees that makes even adults take a lingering look.

Now you can come to downtown Napa and look at over 50 trees, plus earn up the $300 for doing so.

Over 50 downtown Napa businesses will be going all out to decorate their trees, all part of Wanderland of Trees. The idea is to “wander” and look at them all. A map of the tree locations will be listed on

From Dec. 3 until Christmas Eve, you and your family can visit as many as you wish – all 50 if you’d like. If you see a tree that catches your eye, you can vote for it.

In fact, you can vote for as many trees as you wish as often as you wish. Each time you do, you’ll be entered into a drawing with the other people who ‘vote’ on trees, one entry each time you vote.

From those entries, one will be chosen to receive $300 in gift cards, which can be redeemed anywhere. One runner-up will get a $100 card – just for looking at beautiful Christmas trees.

And when you go downtown, be sure and stop by the 30’ tall lighted tree in Veterans Memorial Park. It’s a gift from the property owners in downtown through their Property-Based Improvement District.

It’s the perfect place for a family photo, to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, or just take in the beauty of the tree and the surrounding lights adorning the bridges on First and Third Streets.

Walk along the riverfront and enjoy the many outdoor decorations there as well. If you aren’t in the Christmas spirit after that, well, maybe Scrooge is a not-to-distant relative.

Christmas trees are probably the most ubiquitous icon of the holiday – one stands in virtually every house in America.

The tradition of a decorated tree originated in Germany, where decorations included "roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel and sweetmeats." 

Moravian Christians began to illuminate Christmas trees with candles, which were soon replaced by Christmas lights once electricity was in use.

Today’s decorations range from homemade, gifts from others and store bought. To each family, their tree is unique, beautiful and worthy of long, lingering looks.

In addition to viewing trees, a visit with Santa is a Christmas must-do. He’ll be at the Cork Oak in First Street Napa on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. He’ll be back the next day, Sunday, Dec. 18, at Milo and Friends Pet Boutique, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All pets will be gifted a free bag of treats and Journey Day will be on-hand to perform Holiday music. Natalie Syverson Photography will make sure you get a photo with Santa and your dog, which is free with a $50 purchase.

It's going to be a great holiday season.

See you downtown!

Craig Smith is the Executive Director of the Downtown Napa Association. Contact him at or 707-257-0322.

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