November 17, 2009: @ the library
Maybe you’re like me and hate to see the stores decorate for Christmas as they sweep up the candy corn, or you cringe when the popular radio channels go to all holiday music before Thanksgiving arrives. Lots of people complain about it, even note that it all seems earlier and earlier every year, but of course it continues. My objection is not just that I simply don’t want to have my holidays overstuffed like the turkey, but that this extension of Christmas dilutes it and turns it into something it is not. All of December, I’m okay with that, but not all of November, too.
At the Radford Public Library, we’ve had the privilege of hosting the community Christmas tree for several years now. When the giant tree by the old Recreation Department came down, we took it over. Old newspaper records in our archives added to the charm when we discovered that the very tree being used was planted after World War II with the intention that it would serve this purpose. Don’t you love library research?
The ceremony where the tree will be lit, with the wonderful annual tradition of a bell choir concert and hot chocolate, will be held on Wednesday, December 2 at 7 PM. Of course, everyone is welcome. We have steadfastly resisted pressure to move the lighting to the week before Thanksgiving, for the reasons stated above, but try to be sure it’s lit in time for the Christmas parade, this year to be held on December 5. The bulbs are checked and replaced every year, and the Electric Department does the work of stringing them up – they’re already up there waiting.
The library also offers a fine amnesty program in December, where canned and nonperishable food is collected and fines are forgiven. As we did in April, the amnesty program will be reduced to just one week in December this year instead of the whole month, because, frankly, we need the fine revenue. But, funding troubles or not, the Christmas tree will brighten Main Street during December, hot chocolate will be drunk, bells will chime, and there’s a rumor of cookies being served. After Thanksgiving.