‘Tis the Season
Megan Roberts, Executive Director, Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce
In less than two weeks, whether or not the snow falls or the wreaths are hung, it’s Christmas in Atlantic. When I moved to town, I thought it was crazy that Santa made his first appearance here before Thanksgiving and that retailers were already hosting open houses, sampling cider and playing carols. Now, my favorite night of the year is when all those magnificent lights finally come on.
It’s so much more than just a lighting ceremony. It’s seeing the kiddos get excited at the first sighting of Santa. It’s seeing the line at Santa’s Cabin start forming hours before his arrival. It’s shouting “Ho, Ho, Ho!,” and then watching the night’s sky light up and shoot a tingling feeling from your heart to your cold fingertips and back. It’s the fact that families take time out of their day to celebrate it all together as a community.
For two months, my drive to and from work is lit with more than 200,000 light bulbs, garland and bows wrapped up and down all the light poles and that magnificent, historic depot waiting at the foot of the hill. And, I love that I get to call this place home.
With activities planned every week from mid-November to the New Year, there is an overwhelming sense of community in all who volunteer to put on a Santa hat and stand in the blustery cold serving hot cocoa or help young and old onto a carriage for a horse-drawn ride. The number of Angel Trees, food drives and toy collections is staggering and when it is all put into perspective it really tells us a lot about the big hearts and generous people who reside here.
Last year, the Des Moines Register recognized our community as one of three rural Iowa communities where “Main Street retail is robust.” What an honor to be recognized, and what a blessing to have such a number of independent small business owners who work long hours and nights and weekends so we can do more of our holiday shopping at home. They work together to promote our community with the Grand Lighting, the Recipe Walk, the Lighted Parade and the Holiday Concert attracting visitors, shoppers, tour groups and publicity like the Register offered.
It all wouldn’t happen, if it wasn’t done together. It all wouldn’t happen, if no one came to support it. It all would disappear if no one cared.
I guess the message is this; be thankful for what we have, give back to the community that gives us so much to be thankful for and get ready for one more perfect holiday season in the Atlantic area.