It seems just like last week we were sitting in our yards, barbecuing and enjoying the summer.
But suddenly, the stores are decorated and more and more houses in Woodhaven are lit up for the holidays. The radio stations are starting to play Christmas music. And it’s time to get those holiday cards written and those shopping lists out.
The season will kick off here in Woodhaven with the annual Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 7, at 7 p.m. Residents will gather at the intersection of Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue and enjoy Christmas music and a visit from Santa Claus himself.
This year’s ceremony will be bittersweet, as it will be the first tree lighting in many years without Maria Thomson leading the way. She will be missed.
However, we are happy to welcome Raquel Olivares to Woodhaven as the new executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District, the organization that sponsors the event every year, as well as the holiday lighting along Jamaica Avenue.
Olivares is brand new to the job, and she is very bright and enthusiastic. I look forward to see what she accomplishes here in Woodhaven. So please come out Friday, not only to keep an old Woodhaven tradition alive, but to wish Raquel luck as she takes over an important position in our community.
There are several holiday parties scheduled around Woodhaven. Here is a listing of a few that are open to everyone:
• The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) will hold their annual holiday party on Saturday, December 15, at noon at Emanuel United Church of Christ at 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. There will be music and refreshments.
• Assemblyman Mike Miller and State Senator Joe Addabbo will hold their annual Holiday Party at Woodhaven Manor, 96-01 Jamaica Avenue, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday December 17.
• And the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society will host its annual holiday bash on Wednesday, December 19, from 1 to 4 p.m., also at Emanuel United Church of Christ.
There will be music, food and refreshments, and we will be having a Kris Kringle (recommended presents around $10). You do not need to participate to attend, admission is free and everyone is welcome.
There are a few worthy causes you can make donations to this year, if you are interested. American Legion Post 118 is holding a collection for veterans.
This year they are accepting monetary donations (cash or check) to purchase gifts and supplies for veterans. You can pass along your donation to Janet Chan-Smith either at the WRBA Holiday Party or you can drop it off in an envelope (Attention: American Legion Ladies Auxiliary) through the mail slot at the WRBA Office at 84-20 Jamaica Avenue.
The Woodhaven Senior Center is collecting winter clothing for young children (hats, gloves, scarves) on behalf of Catholic Charities. You can also drop-off these items at the WRBA Holiday party or weekdays at the Woodhaven Senior Center at Woodhaven American Legion Post 118, 89-02 91st Street, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ask for JoAnn Bartos.
Most of the local churches will be having services on Christmas Eve. Emanuel United Church of Christ is holding a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m.,
And All Saints Episcopal Church at 96th Street and 86th Avenue will be holding a special mass with a choir service on Christmas Eve at 8 p.m.
So there’s plenty to do in our community this holiday season, and this is just a small sampling.
Do take time to check in on your friends and neighbors and if any of them are alone, make sure they are aware of these opportunities to get out and spend time with others.
Hope to see all of you at some of these parties and events over the next three weeks. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all.