Friday, December 07, 2007

First Friday in December

There are two things that residents of my town, little Stevensville, Montana do to kick off the Christmas season. The first one is tonight, the First Friday in December. We will light the Christmas lights, join with our friends and neighbors to sing Christmas carols, hear a reading of the biblical account of the birth of Christ and see the town's children act it out--all right in the middle of Main Street. Then we will wander in and out of the shops and galleries for treasure hunting, art, Christmas cookies and cider or cocoa, stopping to greet one another fondly at every turn.

The other event, a spectacular community concert held at the high school gymnasium, will take place Sunday evening. That one is usually standing room only--good to get there early. In this town, it is not Christmas until you have attended at least one, preferably both of these events.

I look forward to them every year--and this year will be our fourth.


I had to go to the Main Street Association's website to find out what time the lights would be lit tonight. I found this list of recommendations, under the heading "Building a Community and Keeping It Strong":

*Turn Off Your TV—Leave Your House—Know Your Neighbors. *Greet People—Look up when you’re walking—sit on your porch enjoy the view! *Plant flowers - Use Your Library. * Play together *Buy from Local Merchants *Share what you have *Help others in need *Take your children to the park *Honor elders *Support neighborhood schools *Fix it even if you didn’t break it! *Volunteer - get involved *Have a Pot Luck *Garden Together *Pick up litter *Read stories aloud *Talk to the mail carrier *Listen to the birds and learn about them - go to the refuge and enjoy them! *Put up a swing *Help carry something heavy *Start a tradition *Ask a question *Hire Young People for odd jobs *Organize a block party * Bake extra and share *Ask for help when you need it *Open your shades *Sing together *Share your skills *Take back the night *Turn up the music *Turn down the music *Listen before you react to anger *Mediate a conflict *Seek to understand *Learn from new and uncomfortable angles *Know that no one is silent though many are not heard –Work to change this! Let’s work together to make this place, our community the best place to live, raise our children, work and do business ! Stevensville, Montana USA!!!!

I'm telling you, Norman Rockwell would have loved this place.


Anonymous said...

I want to live in a small community like that!

Mister Ed T said...

Yep, Stevensville is a village (town?) frozen in time, almost. I love it too, even though I haven't been there much.

Sherry C said...

Well, it was sad that there wasn't any snow for First Friday this year, but still, it was plenty cold enough for us to gather around the street corner bonfires. One of the local businesses even provided marshmallow sticks and ingredients for the kids to make s'mores while parents chatted.

We missed the singing, as we were unaware of its exact time and had been wandering through a craft fair when it occured. Too bad. That is my favorite part.

But it is always fun to hang out in the middle of Main Street in the cold night air with friends and acquaintances everywhere you look.

Merry Christmas, everyone.