Shop Catalina kicks off the holiday season with Island style

Shop Catalina

On the mainland, holiday shopping usually involves a stress-filled visit to the local mall, complete with endless searching for a parking spot, or a pajama-clad click-fest on a gigantic website that shares the name of a large river.

There is an alternative.

The shops in Avalon join together with the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce to kick off the holiday season Island style on Dec. 3. Defying conventional wisdom to kick-off the Christmas madness as soon as possible, Shop Catalina is held more than a week after Thanksgiving. The evening officially begins at 5 p.m. when Avalon’s massive Christmas tree is lit for the first time. Casting its glow over Avalon Harbor, this stately tree is erected each year near Wrigley Stage on Crescent Avenue, bringing a holiday atmosphere to the entire area.

After the tree-lighting, Shop Catalina continues with holiday sales, special discounts, Christmas cookies and more at about 20 locals shops, stores and boutiques. Discount cards, good for the entire holiday season, will be distributed. Bringing the kids? Santa Claus will be available at El Galleon from 6 to 8:30 p.m. A donation to two cans of food will be good for a photo with the jolly man in red. More information about Shop Catalina is available the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce website.