The holidays are the best time of the year because the arts shine most brightly — street and window decorations, tree lightings and parades, craft boutiques and holiday performances of music and theater. It is a time where imagination and creativity are at its best (from simple to lavish) and everyone has the giving spirit, when we gather with friends and family and see the world with wonder and possibility.

I think about my own holiday traditions and how much living in Stockton has added to my life — exploring the historic towns of Escalon, Jamestown, Sonora, Columbia, Mokelumne Hill, San Andreas, Mountain Ranch, Angels Camp, Jackson, Ione, Sutter Creek, Amador City, Plymouth, Placerville, Auburn, Coloma and beyond; experiencing small-town traditions featuring the arts; shopping for unique handcrafted ornaments and gifts all the while thinking about how the best I see in other cities can be added to Stockton.

This past week my husband and I made our annual visit to Shadelands, a 3-acre ranch on the National Register of Historic Places that includes a 1903 Colonial Revival home (turned museum) owned by the city of Walnut Creek. Every year Shadelands hosts a craft fair, which fills its six rooms with handmade works available for purchase and holiday teas to sold-out audiences. The home and its garden surroundings are a welcome respite to the holiday bustle. Visit to learn more. Wouldn’t the Philomathean or Hurrle-Weston in Stockton be a wonderful place for a similar experience?

On Thursday, the Reynolds Gallery at University of the Pacific was the location for an art show and sale entitled “4 x 4,” which featured groupings of 4-by-4-inch square works created by students and faculty that sold for $5-$25 each. The event was originally scheduled to be held during the campus closure due to poor air quality. Similar shows have taken place at galleries in Elk Grove and Roseville. Hopefully this show was a huge success and will return to Stockton.

The Great Valley PTC hosts its first holiday boutique at the Great Valley Gym, 4223 McDougald Blvd. in Weston Ranch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today. There will be an ugly sweater contest and storytime at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and lots of shopping opportunities. The San Joaquin Potter’s Guild (which includes ceramic and glass artists) are featured at the Goodwin Gallery in December. Meet the artists at a reception today at the gallery, 1902 Pacific Ave., from 4-7 p.m.

The 38th annual Our Lady of Guadalupe procession takes place Sunday at noon starting at St. Mary’s Church, 203 E. Washington St., and ending at Stockton Arena, 248 W. Fremont St. At 4 p.m. the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus performs at Central United Methodist Church, 3700 Pacific Ave., across from University of the Pacific. Tickets are $20, $10 for students with student ID.

Cort Companies hosts a holiday market and open house at Cort Tower, 343 E. Main St., on Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The event includes offerings by the Freckled Moon Boutique, the Write Place, Trail Coffee and Delilah’s Bakery, some of downtown’s finest businesses leading the way.

The 10th San Joaquin International Film Festival is being held on Dec. 15 and 16 at the Janet Leigh Theater on the University of the Pacific campus. Visit for the complete list of films, times and prices. Don’t miss this special anniversary of an event that has broadened the minds and perspectives of our community.

On Dec. 15, the Hatch Workshop Winter Wonderland Celebration comes to In Season Market and Nursery, 215 E. Alpine Ave., from 3-6 p.m. Design your own ornaments and watch laser etching and cutting and metal forge demonstrations. This holiday celebration features handcrafted holiday gifts for sale, music and food. To enter the gift raffle, bring canned food, which will be donated to the Children’s Home of Stockton.


Joy Neas is an arts advocate and coordinator for ArtSplash. Contact her at