It’s certainly the holiday season as our public works team completes one of my favorite tasks, putting up the Christmas decorations downtown.

We reinvested in new decorations a year ago with LED snowflakes along with illuminated garlands adorning each downtown light post. This year we purchased a few more for Mill Street and the new transit center so the entrance to our city off  Highway 58 and the heavily-used parking and ridesharing facility had the same dose of Christmas cheer. Thanks once again to the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council, the Tourism Commission and Main Street Tehachapi for their contribution to those purchases.

Our team also recently completed installing the Christmas tree at the Tehachapi Rail Depot Museum. It is certainly one of the most-visited sites during the holiday season and that tree plays a big part in it. I will mention that although the official Christmas tree lighting ceremony will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, following the Christmas Parade, the tree will be illuminated over the Thanksgiving weekend to allow for visiting family and friends to take photos together. We’ve done this the last few years at the request of residents, so take advantage of that if you have loved ones visiting over the next few days.

The holiday season is a great time to be in Tehachapi. The weather is just starting to head toward winter, the mountains get a few dustings of snow and we start to take on the true spirit of Christmas. We’ve had events over the years that have become a part of that tradition. We’ll kick things off with Main Street Tehachapi’s Ugly Sweater Wine Walk on Saturday, Nov. 30. It’s a great opportunity to visit downtown businesses, catch up with friends and enjoy a kickoff to the season. Ticket sales are limited this year so buy in advance at mainstreet.org or through Event Brite to ensure you’ll be able to take part.

Our Tehachapi Police Department and Tehachapi Police Foundation will once again host Shop with a Cop on Dec. 5. This year the Foundation has identified 20 third and fourth graders who have shown leadership, citizenship and acts of kindness and selected them to participate. You won’t be able to miss the procession of lights as our officers and volunteers lead these shoppers from the Tehachapi Police Department to Walmart where they will be able to enjoy a Christmas shopping experience.

Of course per tradition the Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce will host the 19th Annual Christmas Parade, with this year’s theme The Magic of Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 7 along F Street downtown. Once the parade is finished, we invite everyone to the Depot as Mayor Susan Wiggins and Santa Claus officially illuminate the tree. It’s the perfect reminder that even as Tehachapi grows, we still stay true to our small-town roots.

On Dec. 13, there will be a ceremony honoring our military veterans by Wreaths Across America with the placing of Christmas wreaths at the five branches of the service monuments at Freedom Plaza. The public event starts at 6 p.m. and serves as a great time of reflection honoring those who have served.

Volunteer opportunities abound as well with the Salvation Army, which is in search of bell ringers for their kettles and Toys for Tots accepting new toy donations for local kids. City Hall is one of a few collection points if you feel inclined to give; the toys stay in Tehachapi, benefiting local families.

So take a few moments, enjoy the Christmas music on the downtown Tehachapi speakers and the sights and sounds of the holidays surrounding you. Welcome to Tehachapi Christmas 2019. Indeed, the most wonderful time of the year.

Greg Garrett is Tehachapi's city manager.