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Lights and trees debut the spirit of Christmas

The days are getting shorter as the winter solstice approaches. This time of year, Christmas decorations are lighting up neighborhoods with holiday cheer.

Tonight is the Sunrise Rotary Trees for Charity event. This annual dinner dance is lots of fun and raises money for good causes while showcasing some of the most talented tree artisans in Madera. A limited number of tickets are still available for tonight’s ball by calling Gordon Kennedy, 674-8319. Tickets are $50, the no-host social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. at Hatfield Hall at the Madera Fairgrounds, 1850 W. Cleveland Ave.

A silent auction for the wreaths will be followed by a spirited live auction for the elegantly decorated trees. Tree purchase includes local delivery. There will be an additional silent auction for gift baskets, vacation getaways and other valuable merchandise. Proceeds benefit the projects of Sunrise Rotary and the Rotary Foundation.


Sunday evening the Madera County Historical Society will debut the hundreds of volunteer hours expended to decorate the Courthouse Museum. Each room has its own theme with the entire effect pulled together with the theme “A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things.” The MCHS Gala is 5 to 8 p.m. and tickets are $40. The evening offers an appetizer, dinner, cookie and candy buffets, no-host bar, silent auction and gift raffle.

Beginning next week the museum will be open for viewing Tuesday through Saturday evenings 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Dec. 6 through 10 and Dec. 13 through 17.


Earlier this week I had my Christmas and New Year’s fingernails done at a local nail salon. Each finger is different with its own special theme, using rhinestones, glitter and gold leaf. While Santa Claus is conspicuous by his absence, his reindeer Rudolph has a red jeweled nose and a Charlie Brown Christmas is featured prominently. Champagne, fireworks and a count-down clock to 2017 will help me welcome the New Year.


Watching the annual airing of a Charlie Brown Christmas is a favorite part of my holiday rituals. I have always bought misshaped and scrawny Christmas trees. Tall, robust trees will always find a good home but the little ugly deformed trees are the ones that need rescuing from the Christmas tree lots.

Back in the 1970s Heartland Opportunity Center ran a Christmas tree lot on the grounds of the Madera High School Memorial Stadium. They sold trees that had been donated and there were many of them that were short and distorted.

Each year I bought about six or eight of them to deliver to my parents, my in-laws, my aunt Bonnie and a few friends and neighbors who were struggling financially. The money went to a good cause and the trees brightened up the homes of my family members and others who wouldn’t have bothered with decorating.


Although I can’t really cook, I make great cookies. While in my 20s I baked a load of cookies for every holiday. The sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles were Fred’s favorites. Home-baked cookies and candy says Christmas cheer in a very good way. While our parents were in nursing homes I baked a lot of cookies for the staff and patients.

Visiting patients who don’t have many visitors at Madera Villa or Westgate Convalescent is a good way to generate Christmas cheer in your heart. It would break your heart to see how grateful these patients are for a box of tissue wrapped in Christmas paper. Toiletries and body lotion will be welcome as well.

The patients in Madera Community Hospital on Christmas could use a bit of holiday cheer as well. Donating to the local toy and food drives in Madera is another sure-fire way to stir up the Christmas spirit in your heart.

The Madera Rescue Mission always needs warm clothes and toys this time of year. The spirit of Christmas is best expressed by giving to those in need.

Have a great weekend.

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