Creative Christmas celebrations

With the prospect of a grim Christmas facing families compelled to forgo traditional gatherings due to the intrusion of a global pandemic, it’s heartening to see how many local residents, service groups and other organizations have stepped up to brighten the season.

A quick skim through the pages of the Community News this week – in fact, the last few weeks – reveals a number of creative Christmas activities designed to stand in for the parades, concerts and other events that local residents normally share through the season.

Across northern Wellington, and indeed the entire county, parades became “Reverse Parades” or a “Santa Cruises.” Christmas concerts went digital or were replaced with events allowing for physical distancing; even events such as “tree lightings” went online in some cases.

Page one this week features the story of four-year-old Chase Martin, who wanted to share kindness this Christmas season and, with the help of his parents, raised $300 to buy toys for the Kinette Club of Palmerston and District toy drive and food for the Mapleton and Minto food banks. It’s a heartwarming tale and a little light into the darkness of the unprecedented crisis that impacts almost everything we do these days.

This week’s paper also details some amazing acts of generosity in the form of massive donations to local health care facilities and community organizations. Local insurance provider Edge Mutual donated a total of $150,000 ($75,000 each) to the foundations supporting hospitals in Palmerston and Mount Forest, while members of the Donald Family contributed $60,000 to minor sports in the Mount Forest area through the Centre Wellington Community Foundation’s Wellington North Youth Fund.

While not specifically Christmas gifts, these contributions come at a critical time as such organizations are struggling with the difficulty of raising funds during a pandemic. Sadly, other needs don’t fade away because we are facing a pervasive new challenge.

We will still be two weeks out from Christmas Eve when this paper reaches doorsteps across the region. By then, it will be no surprise if we  find a few more such stories to tell as the community draws together figuratively, if not physically, for the holiday season.