Christmas tree lighting

A group of members and friends of Washington Village Church met in the church yard last weekend to enjoy the warmth from a firepit and the lighting of the outdoor Christmas tree. Although the night was chilly, there was an abundance of warmth and friendliness as everyone gathered around to watch the magic moment the lights were plugged in. Spontaneously, someone started a Christmas carol and the singing went on through several familiar melodies. Certainly, a highlight was a true, on-pitch rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas from Hailey Carr. She had all the words correct and carried everyone along through the whole song — even after most everybody got lost after the “five gold rings” (if not before). Each chimed in when they could with the song and lots of laughter finally making it a rousing “partridge in a pear tree” at the end. Great fun. Earlier in the day, children were invited to choose gifts for their parents. Member Mildred Melgard commented on how thoughtful the youngsters were about their selections. Thanks to Village Church for a heartwarming and Christmas-spirited day.

Christmas Eve service

Make a note — Washington Village Church will hold a Christmas Eve service on Saturday, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m. There will be traditional music and readings for the occasion. Pastor Brad Bean will deliver a Christmas message. Everyone is welcome. Masks are appreciated.

 Exorbitant prices, you say

A recent money watcher article listed the worst buys people make regularly but especially at this time of year. Interestingly, Christmas trees are on the list. In fact, a Courier front-page story last week told the local story of the cost. Turns out there are lots of alternatives to a live or artificial store-bought Christmas “tree.”  Many are make-your-own with lights, or ribbon, crepe paper or ornaments arranged on a wall. Others include lights and tinsel or other items in a glass jar. I found the idea of using an old step ladder strung with lights that I’ll try. There are lots of ideas online, of course, for alternatives to the usual. Most of the ones I’ve seen are inexpensive, fireproof, space saving, minimal effort and bound to be conversation starters. If you try something new — and it works well — let me know. I can be reached at

Artist reception

A full house at Gibbs Library’s artist reception earlier this month was captivated by versatile artist Cynthia McGuirl’s presentation. Cynthia’s exhibit, “Family Tree,” was inspired by the true story of her aunts who escaped the genocide in Armenia that took place before World War II. Cynthia’s heartfelt presentation about the paintings was received with curiosity and sympathetic interest. Cynthia, who has been involved in the arts her entire life, works with fiber, metal and paper, utilizing the techniques of stitching, hammering and bookbinding. She paints and crafts in whatever medium she feels conveys her message best and spoke with her listeners about some of the methods as well as motives. Refreshments and conversation with Cynthia followed the presentation. Many thanks to the artist and all the folks at Gibbs who made this rare Sunday event a success all around.

Yule Goat and Tomten event

Pumpkin Vine Family Farm observed their annual Yule Goat and Tomten tradition last weekend with special food, activities and walks with animals. Yule Goat magic is inspired by Scandinavian traditions and only happens once a year.

In Scandinavian tradition, it’s the Yule Goat who brings presents to children at Christmas. The Yule Goat is accompanied by the Tomten, farm gnomes who look after the well-being of the animals. Usually, the Tomten stay out of people’s sight, but a Tomten did visit with children in the barn for a short time. There were handcrafts for kids and hot chocolate by the fireside. Some visitors braved the cold to take the forest hike with Yule goats handsomely outfitted in colorful blankets and bells to add treats to a tree for the wild birds. All this and a full cadre of vendors made a great visit.

Positions available for public service  

Right in the middle of the rush up to the holidays isn’t ideal timing, but this commitment is important to consider. Washington residents who want to run for a three-year position on our Select Board or a three-year position for the School Board need to complete nomination papers between now and Jan. 23. Nomination papers are a statement of intent to run for the office along with signatures from townspeople who support your candidacy. Nomination papers are available at the Town Office during regular hours. This early notice is required, but the info will be repeated after Christmas, for sure.