Time to Dust Off That Halloween Santa Hat!
by Julie Ross
Nov 01, 2012 | 936 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Halloween is my dogs’ least favorite holiday. As they are not keen on the mail carrier nor the UPS driver, whom they see and hear pretty much at the same time every day, it is no surprise that unscheduled bursts of noisy goblins barging up the stairs and ringing the doorbell sends them into serial barking frenzies.

For this reason I leave the dogs inside and put up a table with Halloween candy outside on the driveway. This year rain was in the forecast, so I set up shop in the garage. It was very cozy in there. I had a card table and chair and poured a glass of wine to sip while I gave out the treats.

The wine was a Francis Coppola Director’s 2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, which is soft, fruity and expressive. According to the label, it exhibits a silky texture, exquisite fragrance, and luscious flavors of raspberries, strawberries, cinnamon and spice.

I found it paired admirably with the Sour Patch Kids I was handing out. (Perhaps La Sommelierre Maria Terry would care to weigh in?)

Anyhow, I was thoroughly enjoying my evening watching the kids out having a good time, when a boy in a Santa hat came into my garage. I was thinking this was completely inappropriate for Halloween -- wrong holiday, not scary and all -- until his dad chimed in.

“The scary part is how early they put out the Christmas merchandise!” he explained. Yes, I think we can all agree that is indeed fiendish.

Well, here it is December, so for those of you who did not pick up your Santa hats or finish your holiday shopping by Halloween, I am here to help.

First, the Santa hats are no problem. For better or worse, they are pretty much everywhere. Need gift ideas? Here are three that are sure to be appreciated:

• A family membership to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, which can be enjoyed all year. There is a beautiful new mural and pond in the remodeled animal activity area and a new beehive exhibit full of the wonder that is honeybees in the main exhibit hall. Membership dues help support the museum’s educational activities and animal care so it’s a really feel-good gift. (Added bonus – in addition to many other benefits, Lindsay Wildlife Museum members get free admission to the Oakland Zoo -- visitors just pay the $7 parking fee.)

• Tickets or a gift certificate to the Lesher Center for the Arts. Productions and events are excellent -- check out the calendar online. (Pre-holiday, if you haven’t had the chance to see A Christmas Carol at the Lesher, you might want to take it in. The show is fantastic and sure to shake any lingering Scrooge-ness right out of you.)

• Membership in Save Mount Diablo, which works to preserve land for people and wildlife. Members receive a good newsletter and invitations to special member-only events. Whether your gift recipient likes to hike, bike, trail run, go birding or just admire the mountain from the window, this makes for a meaningful gift.

And by the way, my dogs do love Christmas. They receive new toys and get to wear their Santa hats.

Happy Holidays!

Reach Julie at julieakross@comcast.net.

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December 03, 2012
Hi Julie,

I have not personally enjoyed the pairing of Sour Patch Kids and Pinot Noir. I wonder if the acidity of the wine stoond up to the intense sourness of the candy. You described the wine as "soft" so it makes me wonder how tart the wine actually was. But, my motto is, "If you like it, drink it!" Don't bother listening to what anyone else says. :)

Maria Terry