Ahhhh, December. From fa la las to latkes and snow angels to Nutcracker soldiers, the sounds and sights of the holiday season are upon us. Our kids are counting down the days to their holiday vacations. And, let’s be honest, we’re excited too! Whether we’re anticipating a lengthy break or just looking forward to a long weekend amongst loved ones, the very fact that everything actually slows down and then stops for one full calendar day is truly wonderful!
Maybe you’re hosting friends and family this year? Make sure to take them into town and show off this pretty place we call home. After all, Chappaqua always looks especially lovely for the holidays, trimmed in twinkling lights, inviting shoppers and diners while beckoning neighbors and visitors to linger just a bit longer.
One magical event worth mentioning–the annual tree lighting, which took place this year on December 6th. Hope you got to town early; not just for the best view, but for the noteworthy special addition to the evening! Either way, be sure to enjoy our story about The Chappaqua Orchestra; we’re sure it’ll strike a chord of pleasure.
Indeed, our picture-perfect setting sets a tone of warmth and good cheer. But it’s not all showy surfaces. Another reason to be proud of our town is the safety we feel here. When our middle school students roam the town on Fridays, we worry and fret, but we also know that they are inherently safe. Our crossing guards do their best and, we, in the true spirit of community, do the rest! Eyes and ears keep kindly track of everyone and everything from kids and pets to coyotes and any other threats. And though we’ve had our share of severe winters (and been humbled by a handful of extreme storms), our infrastructure is stronger and sounder than ever. Local emergency response teams use systems like Code Red and Nixle to keep us informed and help us feel protected, connected and safe. We are the very definition of the Village that “it takes.” Read more about our town’s preparation for winter in Ready Set Winter.
Who are the neighbors we rub elbows with in town? Some, of course, we know well. Others are friendly faces we see so regularly that we develop a patterned acquaintanceship-relationship; we grab the same coffees, catch the same trains, join carpool lanes and walk pets on similar schedules. We know, and perhaps wonder about that which we don’t know. Sound like the start of a good mystery novel or thriller? I’m not the one to write it, but I know (or, case in point, know of) a couple of local guys who very well could! Yes, spoiler alert, there are authors among us. And, as books are presents we open again and again, I suggest you flip to A Literary Taste of Chappaqua for a couple of really great gift ideas.
Speaking of gifts, we’ve got a few more thoughtful suggestions inside, and they’re not necessarily the usual suspects. We know that you know that “all that glitters is not gold”, that “good things come in small packages”, that, as the infamous Grinch pondered, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.” Still, we’ve asked some readers to share their favorite “unconventional” gifts, and added a few ideas of our own. We encourage you to use The Gift of Time as a point of departure to think outside the everyday gift box!
Even as we celebrate the many joyous moments the holiday season brings, it’s equally important to recognize that stress and tension often come along for the ride. Perfect family get-togethers are the hallmark, of, well, Hallmark. Movies, that is. Real life comes with ups and downs. For most of us, mood swings are managed and turbulence is tolerated. But, for others, life is exponentially harder. Mental illness, like its physical counterpart, can hurt. Intensely. Directly. And indirectly too. The holidays can be particularly hard. Visions of sugarplums simply don’t dance for everyone at this time of year. December days darken early, but the truth is, mental illness can darken any month and any family. To help shed some light and offer first-person insights, we bring you Time To Talk and When It’s Personal. Do make and take some time to read and enjoy these critically important articles.
A year ago, I wrote my first guest editorial for Inside Chappaqua. The theme was one of Healthy Holidays, and it was a labor of appreciation and pay-it-forward love. As is often the case, paying something forward comes back to you in kind. Since that holiday issue, I’ve had the good fortune to become acquainted with many new faces and places, explore issues known and new, and work with some truly inspiring, bright, funny and talented people. What a wonderful gift! Thank you, Grace; thank you, sponsors; thank you, readers!
Wishing everyone the very best this holiday and in the year ahead,