Holiday festivities are before us, and there are opportunities to celebrate together and to reach out to others.
Friday, December 7th: Tree Lighting and Visit with Santa
This Friday at 6PM, we have our annual holiday tree lighting. We’ll have our simple annual ceremony at the tree in front of the VFW which includes music and the throwing of the switch. This is followed by a visit by a bearded and red-suited someone who retires to the Community Center to host all children who want to come to list their holiday wishes.
Saturday, December 8th: Volunteer Thanks and Pot Luck
We have a chance as a community to come together on Saturday from 4PM to 8PM at the Community Center to thank our first responders and volunteers for all they did during Sandy. Bring a meal, dessert or beverage and join us for this festive celebration of community. If you can’t stay, at least come by to say hello and thanks. There’s a box already set up in the Community Center where you can drop off a note of thanks to an individual who helped you or an entire department if you would prefer. Bring the children – they too should understand that a community that helps each other grows together.
Tuesday, December 11th” Menorah lighting
Chabad holds its annual Menorah lighting on Tuesday at 7PM by the menorah it sets up in front of the VFW hall downtown. Rabbi Benjy holds a low key, musical and joyful service of less than a half hour, lighting one of the Menorah candles. It is a happy moment.
Saturday, December 22: Creche Blessing
Fr. Fernan of St. Matthew’s blesses the Creche (nativity scene), also set up before the VFW hall, after Church services Saturday evening, December 22nd, at 6PM. This simple, solemn and joyful blessing reminds those who attend that it’s not only commerce and candy canes but also a religious holiday.
St. Matthew’s Church is collecting presents for the children of St.Peter’s parish in Yonkers as well as a special collection for children in the most devastated neighborhood in Staten Island. Bring new, unwrapped gifts to the church and leave it in the box in the back. If you want to earmark the gift for Staten Island, put a tag on the gift indicating this.
There is also a place to either donate money directly for the Staten Island neighborhood or buy lottery tickets for a stuffed animal, with proceeds going to the same cause.
One of our most sophisticated home-grown charities, Family-to-Family, run by Hastings resident Pam Koner, has multiple ways you can reach out and give during this holiday season, locally and elsewhere. You can click through to their site,
Bike Donation Ribbon and Bow event (Friday, December 14th) ==========================================================
Local resident Dr. Curtis Appel runs an effort to collect bicycles, which are then refurbished by Danny’s Cycles and then donated to foster children. On Friday, December 14th, Stan Avedon (proprietor of Hastings Velo) is hosting an event at the Community Center from 5:30 to 7:00 inviting children from the village to come and decorate the many bikes that have been collected. Refreshments will be served. If you have bicycle helmets (good condition, undamaged) to donate, please bring them to the event. This is a great way to teach children the joy of giving.
There are other toy and gift drives around town I am sure I missed. This is an especially poignant holiday season for those spared the destructive wrath of Sandy but knowing and understanding the damage delivered to others. We can help – and please do.
See you at one of the events around town, or shopping downtown.