Holiday Market at Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Spend the Sunday before Christmas browsing gifts, noshing from food trucks, and enjoying views from the Ocean Lawn.

DEEP INTO DECEMBER... the nature of our time seems to change, almost overnight (or at least overweek). Early on in the month we've got a few hours, here and there, to prepare for various visitors, and office cocktail hours, and special meals, but come the middle of the month? Our hours have seemingly flown away, and a general sense of stress has arrived to replace them. Finding a festive situation, one that encourages a few deep breaths, and one that may have a few plum stocking stuffers or gifts for purchase, is a nice thing 'round about the third Saturday of the final month.

THE RITZ-CARLTON, HALF MOON BAY... will offer just that on Sunday, Dec. 18, and at one of the property's, and really the entire region's, most picturesque spots: the Ocean Lawn. This is where your "few deep breaths" come in, here in this spot, for you'll be able to gaze upon the Pacific when you're not browsing at the hotel's Holiday Market. Ah yes, that's the main event of the afternoon, a free-admission, music-lovely extravaganza featuring a number of local shops and goodie-makers purveying their quality goods.

THE 25-FOOT CHRISTMAS TREE... will be up and a-glitter, if you want to take a few snaps, and food trucks shall be nearby, to keep you fortified before/after all of that ocean-close deep-breathing you're (fingers crossed) doing. And while you need not pay a fee to enter the market, valet parking at the hotel is $30, with half going to the day's beneficiary, the Coastside Children's Programs. Visitors to the Holiday Market are also "invited to bring children's books or art supplies to be donated..." to CCP (you'll enjoy a cup of gratis hot chocolate as thanks). Shopping for the holidays can sometimes happen in the most surprising of spots, like, say, between the ocean and a Ritz-Carlton, with a pretty Christmas tree as the centerpiece. That's deep-breath-worthy, for sure.

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