At the time of this writing, Christmas Day is just 14 days away! Have you ever noticed that as autumn comes to a close, Christmas still seems so far away? Then, just after Thanksgiving, it comes upon us in the blink of an eye! That’s when all the hustle and bustle begins. Planning, shopping and gathering with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season is a great blessing in life. At the risk of sounding cliche, it’s important to remember “the reason for the season.” The purpose of Christmas Day is to set aside a special time to acknowledge and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world! As part of this spiritual focus, however, it’s fun to make memories as a family by sharing special festivities together. If you’re looking for Christmas events in your community, you might want to keep a few ideas in mind.
Is a town tree-lighting part of your community’s Christmas events?
Most people who celebrate Christmas decorate a tree in their homes, whether artificial or a live one they’ve purchased or cut down themselves. There’s something so special, however, about seeing an enormous tree in the middle of town, all lit up for Christmas! Many communities host a tree-lighting service during the holiday season. If your community has a “town square” with a large evergreen tree in it, you might be among the lucky ones who get to attend a tree-lighting service. Such events typically include a word or two from a mayor or other town official. People might sing carols together and sip hot cider provided by a community organization.
If your town doesn’t have tree lighting service, don’t give hope. Call around to neighboring communities until you find one! Or, you can make it a family quest to contact your municipality and request permission to organize an annual tree lighting service!
Cocoa crawls are so much fun
I happen to live near a town called Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Its claim to fame is that George Washington himself used to travel there to soak in the natural spring waters that flow through the center of town. The town’s original name is “Town of Bath” for that very reason. It is the home of our nation’s first spa! You can still visit (and even wade in) the very spot where our country’s first president use to go for some R & R.
One of the Christmas events we look forward to every year is in Berkeley Springs. It’s called “The Cocoa Crawl!” The event typically takes place throughout a designated weekend. The best part about it is that it’s free! Of course, participating merchants who offer free snacks and hot cocoa hope that you’ll do a little Christmas shopping in their establishments while you’re there. However, no purchase is necessary to join in the Cocoa Crawl. Your family can get a map ahead of time, which leads you all around town to the participating merchants’ shoppes. If you forget to a map, you can simply follow the signs that are posted everywhere. It’s a fun and festive occasion. The whole town is aglow with twinkling Christmas lights. People are strolling here and there, greeting others as they pass by.
As you visit each store during these Christmas events, you can imbibe in delicious samples of cocoa. Flavors like Hazelnut, Salted Caramel and Red Velvet delight the taste buds! If you’re town doesn’t have a cocoa crawl, you might consider speaking with local merchants to see if they’re interested in getting one started!
Visit a living Nativity scene
Most of us have enjoyed Nativity plays as part of our Christmas events, especially those of us who are parents. Many schools and church youth groups annually put on such plays during the holidays. A slightly different concept from a stage play is a living Nativity scene. It’s a magnificent thing to behold! Think of it somewhat like a Civil War or Renaissance re-enactment. Local townspeople play the parts of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the Shepherds, etc. Your community might have a living Nativity set up in a central location that you can drive through. Or, you might be able to get out of your vehicle and approach the scene.
Seeing people in costumes from Biblical times helps call to mind the wondrous Christmas events of that first, holy night. In addition to attending a living Nativity scene, your family might decide to be a part of one!
Christmas events help us to focus the beauty and holiness of the season. It’s also a way to gather with neighbors, local church congregations and business owners to celebrate the holidays as a community! What special events does your town host at Christmas? If you happen to be snowed in, there are still a lot of fun things you can do as a family to celebrate the season! Check out these Christmas tradition and activity ideas from our archives!