HELLO HOLIDAYS

The calendar shapes up to be chock-full of functions and get-togethers during this next month, and in Montecito at least, you can thank schools, hotels and restaurants for freighting most of the holiday load.

The first, and maybe most anticipated, is Casa del Herrero’s Noche de los Piñitos (“Night of the Little Trees”), the foundation’s flagship fundraiser of the year. The annual benefit, which combines Christmas cheer with historical and architectural fancy, comes on the heels of perennial holiday tours of the East Valley Road estate that began Wednesday. The December 9 gala promises one of everything from the standard Christmas menu, minus the snow. In fact, “we’re grateful there’s no snow on the ground,” says Sue Burrows, a Casa del Herrero Foundation trustee.

For $125 (or $100 for Casa members), each ticket holder is invited to a selection of elegant hors d’oeuvres, a moveable feast and wine amidst the company of music and some of Santa Barbara’s most creative personalities. For the second straight year, the Casa is auctioning off tiny trees designed by celebrities and members of the area’s illustrious literary and architectural community. Doubling last year’s effort, event organizers have accumulated 40 trees designed by actors such as Kevin Costner and Julia Louis Dreyfus; architects such as Thomas Bollay and Marc Appleton; and local writers such as Fannie Flagg, Barnaby Conrad and Montecito’s quintessential historian, David Myrick, who was instrumental in forming the Casa del Herrero Foundation.

Tab Hunter prepared a tree he titled “Tribute to Tinseltown,” an homage to Hollywood hanging on every branch. Barnaby Conrad’s tree is by far the most imaginative, a tropical portrait in the shape of a tree called “Tahiti,” named in honor of the travel book he wrote about that South Pacific island. Kevin Costner’s “American Pastime” honors “Field of Dreams,” a book written by William Kinsella that was adapted into a movie starring Costner.

With the trees comes a complete list of silent auction items contributed by the area’s most venerable establishments: Bryant & Sons Jewelers, Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tre Lune and a dozen more.

For the gala, a maximum of 150 guests will immediately be greeted with a glass of champagne and samples of hors d’oeuvres. The courtyard and gardens will be lit with luminaries and the interiors will be lavished with decorations and a fragrance designed to evoke a holiday mood.

The theme of the event was created, in part, to honor Casa del Herrero’s founder and original steward, George Steedman, a voracious reader who had a great collection of books. Organizers say the December 9 would make the Casa’s founding father proud. Says Betsy Coates, a foundation trustee: “I think the Steedman family would be so delighted to see the house done up like this.”

Noche de los Piñitos takes place on December 9 from 5 pm to 8 pm. Individual tickets are $100 for members and $125 for non-members. Casa del Herrero is also offering tours of the estate every day until December 8 from 10 am to 2 pm for $25. On December 6, it will host a wreath-making workshop from 9 am to 11:30 am. Tickets are $75.

For more info call 565-5653.

Noche de los Piñitos

When: December 9,

5 pm to 8 pm

Where: Casa del Herrero,

1387 East Valley Road

Cost: $125/$100

Info: 565-5653