The Christmas Tree Has Arrived

By Sharon Byrne   |   December 17, 2020
The Christmas tree from Hospice for Light Up A Life graces the friendly confines of Montecito’s Upper Village

Hospice Santa Barbara has installed our Christmas tree in the Upper Village for the third year in a row, and Light Up A Life takes place December 16 at 6 pm. We will be well into Hanukkah, and closing in on the Winter Solstice on December 21, the longest night of the year. Light Up A Life gives us a warm window to celebrate those no longer with us, to keep their memory alive during this magical season. You will be able to dedicate a star for your loved one on the virtual Tree of Remembrance, which means you can share it online with your family and friends. You can showcase your star(s) with your loved one’s name, photo, and a special message from you. Additionally, Hospice will hang a paper star with your loved one’s name on the Montecito tree in the Upper Village. Our first responders are hanging the stars. The ceremony is virtual this year, emceed by Catherine Remak, and you can invite as many people as you want. It’s free, too! Go to for more info, or call Cheryl Puyot at (805) 563-8820.

Hands Across Montecito Meets an Angel

You never know who is reading the Montecito Journal. We recently met the Living Peace Foundation, founded and operating here locally, as they are interested in Hands Across Montecito. They’re inspired by the idea that there are unlimited possibilities for good deeds, kindness, and compassion. We learned the Living Peace Foundation was founded with the belief that when we share our gifts with others, we Live Peace and create a ripple effect to touch our families, communities, and beyond. They attended our homeless outreach update call with City Net, Sheriffs, MFPD, and Behavioral Wellness of Santa Barbara County. The update was really good! We’ve made multiple placements for services, reunited two young individuals with their families, and Union Pacific cleared the abandoned camps from San Ysidro to Olive Mill roads. We’d also begun working the beach encampments under the Cemetery and Clark Estate. Our amazing Montecito volunteers, solidly supportive of this project since inception, helped us collaborate on individual needs, and how to tell the Hands Across Montecito story. We are stunned and delighted to learn that the Living Peace Foundation decided to make a $25,000 matching grant donation to Hands Across Montecito! Their incredibly generous gift will close the gap in fundraising. Community-based homeless outreach projects like ours tend to be the most successful. If you’d like to donate to Hands Across Montecito and have your gift matched by the Living Peace Foundation, please go to, under Projects. 

Even More Good News

You may know that we lost an amazing matriarch in Unity Shoppe co-founder and angel Barbara Tellefson on November 22. Dana Newquist is heading up a Montecito-based Toy Run and Funds for Food drive on December 13 in the Upper Village in front of Montecito Grocery. Come early – between 8 am and 11 am Sunday, you can bring checks and toys to the Upper Village to load up on Dana’s ‘sleigh’ of the historic fire engine.

 The procession to Unity: You’re welcome to either ride in the procession in your vehicle (decorate!) or wave as the procession rolls by. You know the rules: spacially distance, wear masks, and be safe. 

Here’s the Montecito-to-Unity Procession Route:

Down East Valley Road, left on Hot Springs at Mount Carmel to Olive Mill to Coast Village roads, to the Hot Springs roundabout, then continue on to Cabrillo. Right on State Street to Gutierrez Street, left on Gutierrez, then right on Chapala Street, and on to Unity Shoppe. This event is hosted in spirit by Barbara Tellefson, and carries on her wish that Unity Shoppe keeps its doors open to provide for the less fortunate, especially during the pandemic. 

Yes, it’s the darkest time of the year. It’s also the darkest time of the pandemic. But there are multiple bright lights of love, joy, magic, and community togetherness happening in Montecito. We’ve said it before, and will keep saying it: Montecito is the most amazing community and it’s because of the wonderful people here, like you! So get your holiday on, cheer up, and join in the love this holiday season in Montecito. 


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