SOMERVILLE, NJ -The holiday celebration continues in downtown Somerville, and that’s good news for local shoppers and diners and the small businesses and restaurants that have made downtown Somerville the place to be during this festive time of year.

On Saturday, December 19, Santa is coming to Central Pizzeria (126 West Main Street) from 11:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. The visit is sponsored by Unity Bank and photos with Santa are $5.00. An Ice Carving demonstration on the Division Street Plaza from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. adds to the family-friendly fun, along with roving carolers, musicians and other live entertainers (10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) spreading holiday cheer in downtown Somerville every Saturday throughout the holiday season.

The celebration kicked off on Saturday, November 28 when the Downtown Somerville Alliance (DSA) and sponsors (The Dessert Plate, RAM Law and Shades of Somerville)                      presented the annual tree lighting and Santa's arrival. According to DSA Executive Director Beth Anne Macdonald, the date was chosen specifically because it coincided with Small Business Saturday.

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“Combining our traditional Jubilee festivities with the newer Small Business Saturday is very much in the spirit of what makes Downtown Somerville so appealing,” Macdonald added. “It’s a little bit of the old-fashioned town charm combined with a new and hip approach to social media and marketing via the Shop Small trend.”

Many businesses and restaurants are offering special promotions and sales that add to the appeal of downtown Somerville’s convenience and ambiance as an alternative to the traffic jams, parking hassles and crowds at the mall. Recently opened businesses like Revive (30 South Doughty Avenue) and From the Hive (4 Division Street) are presenting unique concepts (consignment/new fashion/local artisans and honey and beeswax products, respectively) and lots of great holiday gift ideas.

Naomi Bier, the owner of the new Paramount Pampering Salon & Spa (56 West Main Street), has enjoyed participating in the holiday celebration in downtown Somerville, handing out holiday candy and welcoming visitors. Opened in September, Bier described Paramount Pampering as “family-owned, upscale and affordable” and was spreading the word about gift cards and special holiday spa packages including massages, facials, hair-styling and make-up services.

“Folks know they can come out and shop and avoid the congestion and canned experience of the malls,” concluded DSA Chair Tom Genova. “They can spend the entire day taking in the ambiance of downtown Somerville and then stay for our holiday events and activities. The support from local business owners allows us to offer free hot cocoa and homemade cookies and this year – free photos with Santa. Our shoppers give to the business community and the business community gives right back!”

For information about holiday events and other programs and services provided by the Downtown Somerville Alliance, or directories of local businesses and restaurants visit downtownsomerville.com. You can also follow news from Somerville on social media at Facebook.com/DowntownSomervilleAlliance and Instagram.com/DowntownSomerville.