Local residents have a new way to celebrate Christmas.
The lobby of the Clugston Senior Apartments is being transformed into a Christmas tree wonderland for the first-ever Walk of Trees.
More than a dozen trees from local businesses and organizations have been decorated, and visitors to the lobby will have the chance to look over the different trees, vote for the People’s Choice, and purchase a raffle ticket to win the tree of their choice.
Raffle tickets are $10 each and available at the door. The winners will be drawn at 6 p.m. on Dec. 11. You do not need to be present to win. Proceeds from the raffle support low- to moderate-income residents.
The Walk of Trees is open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. for three consecutive weekends. Dates are Nov. 26-27; Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 10-11.
There is no admission fee to view the trees. The Clugston is located on Chauncey Street, across from the courthouse and next to city hall.
Santa Claus is due to make his annual arrival in Columbia City at 5 p.m. Friday afternoon. Santa will be bringing some of his reindeer along with him for this trip. After helping city officials turn on the holiday light display, Santa will be available at his house, located at the corner of Van Buren and Chauncey streets, until 8 p.m. to hear requests from children.
After Friday, Santa will hold regular hours in Columbia City through the holiday season. He will be at his house from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas. On Christmas Eve, he will hear last-minute requests from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Community Christmas Celebration
The annual Community Christmas celebration is scheduled for Dec. 3 and 4 on the courthouse square. The live nativity depicts the Biblical story of the birth of Christ in several different scenes. The display runs from 6 to 8 p.m. both nights.
Other holiday events
In addition to these holiday events, the Downtown Business Association is hosting several events.
A holiday window display contest allows businesses to decorate their windows for the season. Visitors to downtown can vote for their favorite windows at any of the participating stores. The windows are scheduled to be decorated in time for Friday night’s arrival of Santa.
A breakfast with Santa is planned for Dec. 18 at the CC Deli. Three different serving times, 8, 9 and 10 a.m. are planned. Reservations are required and a reservation form can be found at www.whitleychamber.com  under Holiday Happenings. Reservations may also be phoned into the chamber at 248-8131.
Other events the Downtown Business Association has in the works are a chance for visitors to make friends with some of Santa’s reindeer when Santa visits on Fridays or take a sleigh rides on Friday and Dec. 10. The sleigh rides are ongoing while Santa is in the house. Christmas caroling around the courthouse square is planned for Dec. 18. More details on the courthouse caroling event will be forthcoming.
In the continuation of a more than century old tradition, Columbia City firefighters will be handing out a one-pound bag of Christmas candy to children who stop by the courthouse between 6 and 8 p.m. on Dec. 24. Children should enter at the north door of the courthouse.