A blast from the past Christmas display. Let’s do the whole North Coast in lights and spirit this year.

Local holiday celebrations, like everything else in 2020, have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic response.
From lighting the City Christmas Tree in Morro Bay and the Lighted Boat Parade; to the Los Osos Christmas Parade and the big homeless fundraiser gift sale; the Cambria Christmas Market; and now, even Cayucos’ Carlin Soulé Polar Bear Dip on New Year’s Day; they are all canceled.

The annual free, public Thanksgiving Dinners were served via drive-thru and delivery this year, which threw a wet blanket over the start of the Holiday Season, yet was still a time for grateful reflections on the blessings of life, family and loved ones.
The Morro Bay Caroling Cops and Christmas Trolley Parade will happen, Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 7-9, in what could be one of two local appearance by Santa Claus this year.

For another chance to see the big man in red, the Morro Bay Recreation Department is hosting “Breakfast with Santa,” a drive-thru fundraiser set for 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 at the Morro Bay Community Center, 1001 Kennedy Way.
Tickets are $10 and includes a pancake breakfast and a chance to visit with Santa Claus. You must pre-register with the rec department by Dec. 18, go online to: apm.activecommunities.com/morrobay/Home to register.
Kids can drop off letters with Santa (and don’t forget to include an email address so the rotund bearded fellow can get back to you). Santa will hand out goodie bags too.

Even Black Friday, the 1-day mega-sale Friday after Thanksgiving, has morphed into a “Black Friday Month,” as merchants struggle through the pandemic response and the devastation on the economy and on life overall.

The organizers of the Polar Bear Dip posted the following notice on their website: “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the polar bear dip this year has been cancelled. We ask that all visitors to Cayucos respect county and state requirements for safe social distancing and not gather in groups…our top priority is the safety of our community and visitors.”
And even though we could all probably use a dip in the Pacific Ocean to wash away this most difficult year, the enormous gathering of thousands at the Polar Bear Dip won’t be an official event. (That of course won’t prevent people from doing it anyway, which is how the whole thing got started in the first place.)

Even the Annual Christmas Lights Contest put on by Morro Bay Beautiful has been canceled, the group deciding it wasn’t possible to get together to judge.

There is good news, the Los Osos / Baywood Park Chamber of Commerce invites residents and businesses to get in the holiday spirit and “Light Up” Los Osos by decorating their homes and/or businesses for Christmas.

“Our goal is to have a fun and safe way to engage our community this year and what better way to decorate your home for your neighbors to see,” said chamber officials. “It gets even better, there are prizes to be won if you enter our contest and decorate.”
The grand prizewinner with the best-decorated house will win a gift basket worth over $150 featuring items from local businesses. Each participant will be entered into a drawing to receive additional awards.

Anyone wanting to participate should email the Los Osos / Baywood Park Chamber at info@lobpchamber.org with your address or your general location so they will know where to look for your Christmas lights. The chamber will create a guide so people know where to go check out the lights.

Readers can also check their Facebook page for event details and updates @lobpchamber. Decorating has to be done by Dec 18 and winners will be presented on Monday Dec 21.

The chamber gives a shout out to the businesses helping with the event: Stone Axe Co, Tongue Fu Training Institute, CG Bookkeeping, Pacific Capital Mortgage, Crizer Construction, Bay Osos Brokers, Coastal Real Estate, Los Osos Valley Mortuary, Golden State Water, Bear Valley Realty, Carstairs Energy, and Energy Wise Realty. 

We at Estero Bay News cling to the notion that this season of hope, charity, kindness and giving will not be canceled, too.
So we’ve decided to ask readers to help us shine a little happiness in everyone’s lives and to break out the Christmas lights and do your homes and businesses up like a Hollywood movie.

There won’t be an official contest, but we will reward several people’s efforts in a special photo feature of homes and businesses in our Dec. 17 edition (the last one of the year).

Readers are encouraged to email us the addresses (including the town — Los Osos, Morro Bay, Cambria or Cayucos) of homes and businesses you think did an exceptional job with lights and décor and we’ll go out and take the pictures.

And please be generous with the various toy and food drives being carried out now. We can’t think of a year where there have been so many people struggling and hurting. The need for the “Christmas spirit” has never been greater this century.

Email the street address and town name of exceptional displays of Christmas lights and décor to: dean@esterobaynews.com before Dec. 11 and we’ll take it from there.