Where to Buy Christmas Items

Parent Q&A

  • Where to buy Christmas tree and decorations near Berkeley

    (2 replies)

    Could anyone advise on the best place to buy Christmas tree and Christmas decorations around Berkeley? (We've just moved to El Cerrito and will stay in the area only for a couple of years, so considering used/second-hand options for decorations as well).

    We get our trees and wreaths from the Delancey Street lot -- there's one on University Ave near Acton in Berkeley, and one on San Pablo near Stockton in El Cerrito. They have high-quality trees and the money goes to support the foundation's work with people who have faced homelessness, addiction, and incarceration (and these people are staffing the lot and they are unfailingly cheerful and polite, so the whole experience leaves you with an extra holiday glow.  Even in the rain.).  

    For tree lights:  LED lights are more expensive up front but you'll make it up quickly in a far cheaper electricity bill.  Ace Hardware on Milvia in Berkeley, or Pastime Hardware on San Pablo at Fairmount have good selections.

    For second-hand decorations try Urban Ore at Ashby and 7th in Berkeley, or any local thrift store or thrift chain like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Thrift Town (google for nearby locations).  Also try Craigslist, Freecycle (there are a number of local freecycle groups you can find by googling) and for that matter, the BPN marketplace itself.

    The Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair runs on the next couple of weekends and you will find hand-crafted ornaments there.  East Bay Nursery on San Pablo in Berkeley has a vast selection of tree ornaments, as does the merry-go-round in Tilden Park (where you can also visit Santa Claus).

    Merry Christmas!

    We like to get our Christmas tree and wreath from the Delancey Street Tree lot on University in Berkeley.  There is another lot on San Pablo in El Cerrito which may be closer to you.  The trees are reasonably priced, attractive and we like to support the Delancey Street organization (which is a residential support program helping to turn around the lives of former substance abusers, homeless and ex-offenders through education, work opportunities, counselling etc.).

    A great place to find unique Christmas tree decorations is the East Bay Nursery on San Pablo in Berkeley. 

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Nutcracker Video

Sept 2008

I am looking for a suitable Nutcracker DVD for the kids in preparation for the the Nutcracker ballet we plan to go to this holiday season. I don't want anything too scary--one of my kids is only 3. Does anyone have any suggestions? Melanie

The NYCB's Nutcracker! As good a rendering of Balanchine's Nutcracker as you'll get on DVD. Has a subtle, unintrusive narration by Kevin Kline. My 5-year-old has been dancing (and marching) along to it since he was 2. Definitely avoid the Royal Ballet's version from Covent Garden - loooooooooooong and boooooooooooooring. dance fan
Sorry I didn't see original post, so this recommendation is tardy, but my all-time favorite is the Maurice Sendak production which the Seattle Ballet produced on DVD several years ago. I assume you can still pick it up through Seattle Ballet's website or eBay or something like that. Little kids (and big ones) love the costumes---their exaggerated style draws kids into the story much more than the traditional productions. It was/is an exquisite production. Seattle fan
Point your Web browser to http://www.aclibrary.org/index2.html and run a search on Nutcracker. You will find several hits. You can request holds on books, videos, etc and the library system will call you when it is in. Our family uses this library system a lot and we love it! You will probably find copies of Nutcracker videos at your local video store.
A cursory search of familywonder.com yielded about 10 hits for the nutcracker and many more with reviews at amazon.com.
We prefer the classic interpretation by the Bolshoi Ballet, or, if your children are old enough to cope with a somewhat scarier Mouse King, the Seattle Ballet's version with sets by Maurice Sendak is quite intriguing. Neither one is Disney-ized!
I'm pretty sure that there is a nutcracker video starring Mikhail Barishnikov. you could probably look it up at Amazon.com or some other web seller to find out what is available.


12/99 Veronica
Does anyone know where I can purchase Christmas stockings...? I'm looking for something a bit more festive than just a plain red stocking. Thanks so much.
I have seen lovely stockings, not too hideously expensive, in both the Lands' End and L.L. Bean catalogs. I think Lillian Vernon also offers a selection.
for christmas stockings, check the global exchange on russell and college. we got some there last year, beautifully hand embroidered.
We bought ours at KMartand Target and are very happy with them. The one from KMart is bright red with a lot of bead work depicting a christmas tree and presents all around. Our Target stocking is a little more rustic - but still very nice with a pretty picture of Santa and features ribbons.
I happened to see some nice ones today at the Marshall's on Marina in San Leandro. Very pretty, rich fabrics, $10 ea. Dawn