OUR VOICE: Holiday traditions can start today

Farm Forum

Another Christmas season tradition is falling away this year.

Count us among the many readers and performers disappointed at the cancellation of the Living Christmas Tree this year. The Christmas cantata was a must occasion every December in Aberdeen.

The event, the first weekend in December at the Aberdeen Civic Arena, saw two setbacks this year.

Longtime narrator Darrel “Gene” Wahl died in September. Then, cantata director David Eckert became ill, making his participation in the December event iffy.

Factor in rehearsal time, and organizers say it was clear that the Living Christmas Tree needed to take a break this year, its first in 25 years.

The cancellation shows us a couple of things.

First, look at how fragile these community events are. People-powered activities are always dependant on, well, people. Take two out of the equation, and look what happens.

It is more important than ever, when dollars and peoples’ time are stretched so thin, for event organizers to develop contingency plans and to keep costs low. There are so many causes vying for attention that no one is guaranteed the same investment for their projects.

Secondly, it shows we may need a Christmas event miracle this December.

Don’t forget, the popular Festival of Lights at Wylie Park was canceled in 2011 because of budget concerns. That makes two longtime traditions that we won’t have this winter.

Events and traditions draw. But no one said traditions must continue. It is up to people to nurture those holiday favorites, grow them wisely, pull back when necessary.

We see that with the Living Christmas Tree. Organizers promise to be back in 2014.

But a couple of other promises might be that we all support those events we love, so maybe those tireless souls don’t have to make a hard call, like calling off a perfectly enjoyable evening.

We also see a promise needed for redundancy and more help. Groups often have one “champion,” the person completely dedicated to the vision and getting the event off the ground. But without people behind the champion, ready to step up and make the dream a reality, the event becomes tenuous, at best.

So what do we do now?

Get out to the downtown holiday parade. Sing carols around the Main Street Christmas tree.

Or, be the person who comes up with Aberdeen’s next great wintertime tradition.

— American News editorial board