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Emperor Norton’s Historic Christmas Party

Meet under the Union Square tree for SF’s 5th Annual “Tannenbaum Toast” on Sunday
By - posted 12/9/2017 No Comment

The Tannenbaum Toast is the annual holiday celebration of The Emperor’s Bridge Campaign, the San Francisco-based nonprofit that works to honor the life and advance the legacy of Joshua Abraham Norton (c.1818 – 1880), the eccentric and visionary best known as Emperor Norton.

The toast pays tribute to the tradition that it was Emperor Norton who originally called for the great Christmas tree that has stood sentinel in Union Square, San Francisco, every holiday season since 1880.

5th Annual Tannenbaum Toast
Sunday, December 10, 2017 | 3:30 pm-6 pm
– Union Square Walk: 3:30 pm
– House of Shields (39 New Montgomery St.) Toast: 5 pm
FREE, but there’s a cash bar and donations are gratefully accepted.

Emperor Norton (played by Joseph Amster of “Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine”) will meet you under the Union Square Christmas tree at 3:30 pm and will stroll over to The House of Shields at about 3:45 pm. The event, which takes place on the second Sunday of December, is held at The House of Shields — a beautifully restored 1913 bar that is just a short walk from Union Square. The formal toast will be at 5 pm. The drink for the toast is the classic Boothby cocktail — created in 1908 by legendary San Francisco bartender William T. “Cocktail” Boothby, during his tenure at the Palace Hotel, just across the street.

About the Photograph This is Bennett Hall’s lovely, hand-tinted version of a black-and-white photograph of the Christmas tree in Union Square, San Francisco, in 1910.

  • Source photograph: Collection of the Oakland Public Library history room.
  • You can purchase a print of this Hand-tinted version by Bennett Hall or view more images.