The holidays are upon us and many of our neighborhood nonprofit organizations provide holiday cheer for us and those in need. Please support them in their efforts.

Shadelands holidays

The Holiday Faire and Victorian Tea is a seasonal tradition at Shadelands Ranch Museum, 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road in Walnut Creek.

The home of Walnut Creek pioneer Hiram Penniman (1824-1907) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and operated by the dedicated volunteers of the Walnut Creek Historical Society.

During this two-week event, dozens of vendors will offer a wide variety of handcrafted items and gifts for sale inside the museum, open everyday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. after Nov. 24. Admission and parking are free.

Coinciding with the Holiday Faire, Shadelands also hosts three-course Victorian tea luncheons with seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Nov. 24 through Dec. 9. Tickets are $30 per person. Groups are welcome.

Many families and friends maintain an annual tradition of attending the teas. Reservations fill up fast and may be made by calling 925-935-7871 or contacting wcshadelands@sbcglobal.net.

Kudos to docents

This fall, Ed and Maryalice Montgomery, longtime members of the Walnut Creek Historical Society and docents at the historical ranch and museum, retired and were honored at a get-together of fellow docents. Together, the Montgomerys have given countless hours to developing the "Living History Program 1906" for local third-graders who are offered the opportunity to learn what life was like in Walnut Creek in 1906.

Volunteers play characters who lived at Shadelands Ranch at the turn of the 20th century and help students do chores, play games, tour the historic home, visit the bunkhouse, make ice cream and tend to the garden, noted Mary Granzotto, historical society volunteer.

The Montgomery's enthusiasm and support for the program grew over the years as they took on creating the Children's Garden at Shadelands and coordinating a project for each of Walnut Creek's two Community Service Days. Kudos to the couple who will be missed.

Anyone interested in joining the volunteer group can call the Walnut Creek Historical Society at 925-935-7871.

In remembrance

Hospice of the East Bay and the Martinez Chamber of Commerce invites the public to participate in the annual Tree of Lights ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the old oak tree on Morello Avenue, north of Arnold Drive.

The tree will be dedicated to the Cathy McCause Family in honor of the late Pat Hoxworth Hill, Conrad Hoxworth and Alfred Hoxworth. Join Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder, chamber members, the City Council and Martinez residents as the Contra Costa sky is brightened this holiday season by honoring the lives of loved ones.

Festivities include music by Creekside Church, a reading of a memorial poem, memorial names, holiday treats and hot cocoa. For more information, call 925-887-5678 or visit www.MartinezHospiceTree.com.

There are additional Tree of Lights ceremonies planned in the next several weeks across the county:

  • Walnut Creek tree lighting is at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at 1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., behind Va de Vi Restaurant, and is dedicated to Al Lazzareschi.

  • The Rossmoor tree lighting is at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, dedicated to John Swallow. It will be held at the Creekside Clubhouse, 1010 Stanley Dollar Drive in Walnut Creek.

  • The Central County tree will be lit at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at the John Muir Medical Center Concord Campus parking lot at East Street and Almond Avenue in Concord. The tree serves Concord, Clayton and Pleasant Hill, and the ceremony is dedicated to Sen. Daniel E. Boatwright.

  • The Alamo tree lighting, sponsored by Rudney Associates, is at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Alamo Women's Club, 1401 Danville Blvd.,

    For a complete list of ceremonies, visit http://hospiceeastbay.org.

    New Hospice shop

    If it's the everyday or special day treasure you want, go to the grand opening of the newest Hospice Thrift Shoppe from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at 550 Morello Avenue in Martinez. There will be raffle drawings and giveaways and residents will be helping to support the programs and services of Hospice of the East Bay.

    "Hunting for treasures at the shop will be enjoyable," says Patricia Wright, general manager of this and five other Hospice Thrift Shoppes. "Our customers will find one-of-a-kind vintage items, eclectic home decor, jewelry, clothing, furniture, books and much more."

    To donate items or to volunteer at the Martinez Hospice Thrift Shoppe, call 925-887-5678 or visit www.hospiceeastbay.org.

    Coat drive in Clayton

    The Clayton Community Church and the Clayton Valley Charter High School Public Service Academy will be collecting winter wear through Nov. 18, for Bay Area families in need at 6055 Main St. in Clayton. For donation information, call 925-673-9060 or email coatdrive2012@gmail.com.

    Soroptimists are 70!

    President Linda Larson of Soroptimist International of Martinez invites the public, prospective members and readers to the club's 70th anniversary celebration at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12, at the IBEW Union 302 Hall, 1875 Arnold Drive, in Martinez.

    Members will be sharing philanthropic plans for the new year, including a third annual Blanket Bash to assemble no-sew blankets for foster children in Contra Costa County, a crab feed in February, and its commitment to providing scholarships to local girls and women.

    Soroptimist International is a nonprofit service club for women who strive to improve the lives of women and girls locally and throughout the world. For more information, visit www.soroptimistmartinez.org or call 925-229-1413.

    Community service

    Prudential California Realty closed all of its offices Oct. 26, so agents could participate in the first annual Prudential Community Service Day, focusing on enhancing the neighborhoods where the company has offices.

    "Volunteering in our communities is crucial to bringing people, business, and the needs of our neighborhoods together," said president Gretchen Pearson.

    Employees at the Pleasant Hill office assisted Friends of Pleasant Hill Creeks in cutting down invasive weeds and cleaning up the creek beds and pathways along Ellinwood Creek in the morning. And in the afternoon, another group of agents helped winterize the Pleasant Hill Instructional Garden through general cleanup, mulching the shrubbery and removing a tree.

    Martinez Home Tour

    The Martinez 2012 Historic Home Tour was a success thanks to event chairwoman Carolyn Boone Duncan and committee members Gay Gerlack, Paul Kraintz, Carter Wilson, Janie Mori, John D. Curtis, Amber Cole, Igor Skaredoff, Sue Peterson, Carol Russell Schultz, Kathy Braun and Elaine Seawell, along with many other volunteers.

    More than 450 visitors enjoyed the tour, which included antique and classic automobiles at each residence, and a point of interest stop at the monument to the martini.

    Gerlack organized an exhibit of vintage camera equipment and photographs, and Joe Warner entertained visitors playing on the Shell Clubhouse piano.

    "We also included tours of Martinez's Doll Hospital and City Hall, which was graced for the day by an array of historical displays and exhibits put up by Barbara Patchin," said Duncan. Visitors were able to sit and rest in the City Council chamber while Harriett Burt spoke to them about the building's interesting history."

    Tour sponsors made it possible to maintain reasonable ticket prices and still allow raising of funds to help the city restore the old train station and reopen part of it as a public museum, said John D. Curtis, Martinez Historical Society president. Gold sponsors were Shell Martinez Refinery; S and S Supplies & Solutions; and Cole Real Estate. Bronze sponsors were Shell Chemical; Allied Waste; Hagin's Automotive; Kinder's and Shell Western States Federal Credit Union.

    "Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.