Frequently Asked Questions
What is Christmas in the Park?
Each year, the two-acre Plaza De Cesar Chavez is transformed into a holiday fantasy with over 40 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights and the 60-foot Community Giving Tree. Some of the original displays are housed in one of the largest exhibits, the Lima Train, include a melting snowman, caroling mice and elf woodcrafters.
We are a 501 (c3) non-profit organization that brings this free community event through sponsorships, donations, grants, and programs. Each summer, we host “Christmas in July," a fundraiser under the stars, where guests dine and dance in support of the event. Throughout the rest of the year, Santa and his elves work long and hard to clean, spruce and fix up the displays, work with companies to develop sponsorships, find grants, and raise the necessary dollars to bring this magical holiday experience to you every year.
How much does it cost to go to Christmas in the Park?
Absolutely nothing! It’s free to visit Christmas in the Park with your friends and families. Our mission is to bring you “A Gift of Joy and Magic”. It is expensive to produce Christmas in the Park every year and we ask you to visit our food court or to make a donation to the program. All of the proceeds go directly toward bringing this event free to you and your family and friends every year.
When is the park open?
Christmas in the Park officially opens for the 2016 season on November 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm starting with the Community Giving Tree Lighting Ceremony. From then on, the event is open every day, including Christmas, from 9am to midnight through January 1, 2017.
Where is Christmas in the Park?
Christmas in the Park is an annual holiday tradition that takes place in the heart of Downtown San José at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez on Market St. between San Fernando and San Carlos St. For over 30 years, this whimsical event has brought people from all over the Bay Area together during the holidays. Guests enter a winter wonderland of lights, songs and local entertainment while strolling through an enchanted forest of trees decorated by San José schools, community groups and businesses.
How can I donate to Christmas in the Park?
There are plenty of ways to help keep the lights burning for Downtown San José’s oldest holiday tradition! Without donations and help from our supporters, we would not be able to put on this event, so we would like to thank everyone for their support! Simply choose the "Get Involved" tab on our home page and follow the simple donate instructions.
To be put on Santa’s Good List, Leave a Donation! For Sponsors, please visit the sponsors page to learn more about the benefits of being a Christmas in the Park sponsor.
Why does Christmas in the Park need you to donate $1?
Christmas in the Park brings over 600,000 visitors each year, and if each person were to donate $1, we would be funded for the next year without any problems. Donation boxes are available throughout the park and at the Information booth and Santa booths
We offer a variety of sponsor packages for those wishing to be a part of Christmas in the Park. Our sponsor packages are tailored to fit each sponsors’ needs, as well as provide them with a follow-up report at the end of the holiday season. If you would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities from pricing to what we can offer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title “Sponsorship Inquiry.”
There are several ways to support the park while it is open. Drop some change into any of the donation boxes throughout the park, purchase merchandise from Santa’s Toy Shack. Learn how to sponsor one of our displays by looking at our comprehensive sponsor packages. Whether you’re able to donate $5, $100 or $1,000, we have something for you!
While the event is free, it costs several hundred thousand dollars to clean, maintain, and repair the displays, pay for security, city and county permits, set up, take down, daily site cleaning, and the required insurance to continue bringing the traditions and memories to you and your families each year.
Are there restaurants nearby?
Of course there are! Christmas in the Park is located in the heart of downtown and is surrounded by multiple restaurants all within walking distance. Visit the Local Dining page for more information.
Are there hotels nearby?
Plenty of hotels border Christmas in the Park, but Santa’s home away from home is the The Fairmont San Jose.
Is food available in the Park?
The Christmas in the Park Food Court is located at the south end of the park near San Carlos St. where you will find an array of foods and tasty treats. Located in the north end of the park is “Santa’s Snack Shack” presented by the Downtown Kiwanis organization. There are both food and drinks located in each of the areas.
How can I sign up to perform on the stage?
To be a part of the live entertainment, all acts must register online. All performances and costumes must be family-friendly and exhibit good taste. We welcome all kinds of acts, from singing, and dancing, to other unusual and fun talents.
Forgot cash! Is there an ATM in the Park?
Yes, there is. There is an ATM located at both the north and south ends of the park as well as at the crosswalk on the Fairmont side of the park. Remember, there is a fee for using the ATM.
When will Santa be in the Park?
Find Santa at Santa’s Photo Booth in the Park. Check out Santa’s Booth Hours to discuss your placement on Santa’s Good List.
How much do pictures cost with Santa?
We encourage you to bring your own camera and snap away! Anyone may visit Santa free of charge, but donations are appreciated. Remember! Just $1 from every visitor would help keep Christmas in the Park’s lights burning each year with no trouble! In 2016 we will also have a professional photographer available in case guests would like to purchase a photo.
I want to help! How do I volunteer?
It takes thousands of volunteer hours to make Christmas in the Park a reality. We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities ranging from a few hours a day to several weeks. Christmas in the Park is a popular choice for people in need of community service hours and students wanting to get more involved in the community. Choose the "Get Involved" link from our homepage for more information.
How old do you have to be to volunteer?
All volunteers under the age of 18 must have a Minor Consent form signed by a parent or guardian to participate in the student volunteer program. An adult supervisor is needed to accompany all students under the age of 16. All volunteers, regardless of age, must sign a volunteer service form before the start of the event.
How do I sign up for trees, entertainment, or to volunteer?
Applications for the tree program can be done from the tree program page. Entertainment signups are available online. Stage spots are on a first come first serve basis, so sign up early! Volunteers can also sign up online so please check the volunteer page for more information.
Are dogs allowed at the park?
Sorry, city ordinance does not allow dogs at the park unless they are visiting Santa on our Unleashed by Petco Dog Day. 2017 date to be determined
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What about the ice rink, rides
For those of you who don’t know, the ice rink and carnival rides are not produced and managed by Christmas in the Park. Downtown Ice is a program of the San Jose Downtown Association. The carnival rides that stretch along Paseo de San Antonio known as Winter Wonderland, is managed by Giant Creative, a private business. Together, all three of us make up Downtown for the Holidays. We help bring business, entertainment, and fun to Downtown San Jose each year.