Cherishing the gifts of Jefferson City.

If I were to send a card to summarize my years as mayor, it would definitely be one big Hallmark moment. We’ve had some pretty magical holiday celebrations over the years, and it’s fun for all of us to be a part of them.

Black Friday will be here before you know it, so be sure to add Small Business Saturday to your calendar to secure a spot on Santa’s nice list! I’m lucky to own a small business in our town, and every Christmas Eve, I think about people unwrapping all the gifts that we helped our customers choose for special people in their lives. The craziness of shopping frenzies turns into anticipation and smiles, and it just makes you feel good knowing how many people support our local businesses. The care that goes into choosing and helping find that right gift locally cannot be replicated online. And how about adding new traditions? If you haven’t been to Sip N’ Shop downtown, be sure to join the sipping and shopping fun! It’s the perfect opportunity to make shopping fun while sampling tasty beverages and strolling through the beautifully decorated downtown area with your friends.

This year, I’m especially excited for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting, the annual Christmas Parade with its musical Christmas theme, and new celebrations like the Optimist Club’s Magic Tree in Old Munichburg where you can also hear a bell choir celebrating our city’s German heritage. One of my favorite memories is going to Paddy Malone’s Irish Pub after lighting the Mayor’s Christmas Tree with the JC Parks staff members who decorate the tree and plan the festive event. It’s always fun to see them with their families talking about the creativity and fun they have each year over appetizers and food while bundled upon Paddy’s patio.

And let us not forget about giving back for others. Each year, our town comes alive with the Salvation Army bells ringing for the red kettles. As we celebrate the seasons, we also always find a way to give back and give thanks with events like the annual Chamber Prayer Breakfast and sprinting through freezing cold. sprinklers on Madison Street for the Special Olympics Power Hour Plunge. As cold as that water is in December, it warms my heart that people give to such great causes. Aren’t we lucky that we focus more on giving gifts to others through those organizations?

As mayor, I celebrate you and the strong giving nature of our people. I cherish the gift of being welcoming to others, the gifts of food, housing, and love and caring for those who need it. It’s also during this time that we can stop for a second to appreciate life’s special moments. I personally enjoy some of the impromptu moments like last year’s Community Bike Ride on Christmas Eve. It was unplanned, but we took advantage of the nice weather and the newly opened Bicentennial Bridge. It reminded me that we should take advantage of the moments when we can, especially when it gets hectic during the holiday season. Don’t miss out on enjoying your friends, family, and coworkers. Those are the best gifts, so let’s enjoy the moments and all that Jefferson City has to offer!

Carrie Tergin took office in 2015 and is currently serving in her last term as mayor of Jefferson City. She is also the owner of Carrie’s Hallmark Shop, a Missouri State University graduate, and an all-time professional selfie taker.