It’s nearly Christmas in Creston. Sure, I realize it’s nearly Christmas everywhere, but it feels extra special out here in the country where the community goes all out for the season. Crestonites are putting up lights only family, friends and a handful of neighbors are likely to spot. We’re opening our homes and farms to family and friends, gathering our clubs and our kids to celebrate the season with parties and dinners and bonfires and services and, yes, even looking forward to a lighted parade and a visit from Santa Claus.

Creston Community Church kicks off the season with its Christmas Tree Lighting at 5:30 p.m. on December 8. This free, public event at the corner of O’Donovan Road and Adams Street includes Christmas music, cowboy beans, cookies, coffee, hot chocolate and cider.

The CATCH Fund Creston Cowboy Christmas Party keeps the festivities going Dec. 14 at Creston Community Center, 5110 Swayze Road. Proceeds from the catered dinner benefit further improvements to the center. The evening includes music, access to raffles and a lively home-made dessert auction. Seating in the old firehouse is limited, so only 100 tickets will be sold at $45 per person or $400 for a reserved table of eight. No tickets at the door. Call 805-610-1517 to secure your ticket.

The following Saturday brings the Creston Christmas Light Parade. Locals light up anything they can get their hands on — tractors, trucks, boats, horses, kids — for this fun outing through our village. It’s everything a small-town gathering was meant to be: small, local, festive. If you plan to take part, plan to arrive early, bring your own chair and to find a spot along the route or get yourself in the parade lineup at the Longbranch Saloon, 6258 Webster Road by 5 p.m.

Christmas Eve starts bright and early for Creston Christmas Eve along Webster Road. The long-time Creston tradition begins when campfires, tripods and good old coffee pots are set up for some deep, dark, cowboy coffee, the men cook up the sausages and set out the breakfast burritos, and Creston 4H Club leads youth activities. Meanwhile, Creston Women’s Club and Creston Volunteer Firefighters usher Santa Claus to the newly reinstalled bench outside Creston Post Office where he accepts any last-minute requests from Creston-area children. The festivities begin shortly after sunrise with Santa’s arrival close to 11 a.m. depending on how the reindeer are pulling.

Creston Community Church, 6256 Adams St., wraps up the pre-Christmas events with its own Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m.

Getting through this together, Atascadero