Santa Claus is coming to #JCMO! This has been a year like no other, and if we’ve learned anything since the May 22nd tornado, it’s that family and friends should be at the top of our holiday priorities! As mayor, I can help you find a seasonal tradition for everyone on your list. The holidays may never be the same for some, as childhood homes may be gone, but there is an opportunity for new memories — something no storm can take away.
Many holiday open houses begin in November at local retail businesses. Even though it’s not about “things,” just the experience of shopping with your best friends and family can be a fun annual tradition. My sister, Helen, and I always stop in American Shoe over Thanksgiving weekend for a new pair of boots; sometimes we decide to be “twins” and get the exact same pair! The outing started when she lived out of state and we excitedly anticipated her visit back home for the holidays. Now that she’s moved back to Missouri, we still love strolling our festive downtown together, shopping and laughing! Whatever your shopping goals, if you keep it local, you’ll find better service and style than what you’ll get on your computer, and you’re helping area businesses and families celebrate the holidays, too!
A visit to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree should definitely be on your to-do list! This year, I’ll light the tree December 5 at Rotary Centennial Park on Bolivar Street. This stunning tradition started with Mayor John Landwehr over a decade ago, and the elves at JC Parks and Recreation always make it grand! It’s a great place for a family photo or a stroll with a beautiful river overlook. Children look in awe when I tell them Mayor Landwehr’s story of how the signal to light the tree comes from the North Pole (which is why when I pull the lever to light the tree it takes a moment to actually light up) and they know that Santa is near! Having my little niece and nephew, George and Mimi, by my side reminds me how fun it is to share this event through the generations.
The next few days include Living Windows, when Downtown Jefferson City becomes a living wonderland, and the annual Jaycees Christmas Parade, filled with jolly groups and floats with lights! One of my personal favorite sights is the Governor’s Christmas Tree on the mansion lawn. The annual Governor’s Mansion Candlelight tours are a gift in themselves, and they serve as a reminder of how lucky we are to have the opportunity to visit our neighbors, Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa, and view the mansion beautifully decorated and twinkling with lights!
I don’t know about you, but the mayor is never too old to take a selfie with Santa! I remember visiting him in his trailer downtown when I was tiny, and you can find his current schedule on DowntownJeffersonCity.com, along with other Christmas events at VisitJeffersonCity.com.
December 4 is the Special Olympics Power Hour Polar Plunge, where you can run through freezing sprinklers on Madison Street for a great cause! This will be my third time to take the plunge — who wants to join me? Soon, we’ll also see the red kettles and hear the Salvation Army bells ringing the sound of hope for so many in our community.
From capitol caroling, the downtown lights, cookie sales, and holiday home and trolley tours to attending services at our many wonderful churches, cooking meals with family, ice skating at Washington Park Ice Arena, the Festival of Lights at Binder Park, hot chocolate, peppermint candy, and watching your favorite Hallmark movie (had to throw that in there), what traditions will you start or continue this year?
No matter what your holiday traditions are, let’s give more than we get. Please remember those businesses and families who lost so much during the tornado. Consider making a gift to one of the many groups and organizations who help others during disasters. #JCStrong #JCTraditions