For the last 18 years, families and friends have gathered in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria for the annual Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. “Light Up a Life” holiday event. For the first time this year, Goleta will also be hosting the event.

The Hospice Tree of Life will be illuminated with hundreds of lights and hung with stars symbolizing lost loved ones on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Camino Real Marketplace.

“The ‘Light Up a Life’ event is a way to include members of the family who have died into the holidays,” said Chris Davis, spokesman for the Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc.

A $10 donation to the non-profit organization for each person remembered helps to pay for the services the hospice offers. This includes care for people living with a life-threatening illness as well as those faced with the illness or death of a loved one.

Names received prior to Dec. 1 will be entered in the “Book of Life,” which will be available for viewing at the “Light Up a Life” memorial tree-lighting ceremonies across the county.

Davis said he expects several hundred people to join in the celebration in front of Borders in Goleta.

“The theme of the event is light and the significance of light and life, and clergy from all different religions will be present,” Davis said.

A pastor, reverend and rabbi will be among the guests in attendance. Gary and Catherine of the K-LITE 101.7 FM “Gary and Catherine morning show” will host the event. The 30-minute service will also include a musical performance by Renee Hamaty and the Noel Characters.

“It’s not a religious ceremony, but it’s spiritual,” Davis said.

The tree will remain lit throughout the month of December.

The “Light Up A Life” event will be celebrated in downtown Santa Barbara on Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. at the Casa de la Guerra, and in Carpinteria on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at Linden Avenue and 8th Street.

The event is sponsored by the Camino Real Marketplace and businesses in the shopping center, including Anna’s Bakery, Starbucks, the Home Depot, TJ’s Hallmark, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust and Borders.