This weekend Emmaus House held their annual “Christmas in Peoplestown” event along with two other organizations in Peoplstown called the Rick McDevitt Center and the Study Hall. The event was a progressive event where community members would start of with ornament making and cookie decorating at the McDevitt Center, Cake and punch at the Study Hall, and then end at Emmaus House for a tree lighting and Christmas Carols.
After finding out how much I love decorating for Christmas, Elizabeth, the assistant director, gave me the task of putting lights on the big donated Christmas tree in the front yard for the big tree lighting ceremony as well as decorating the front porch with garland. I accepted thinking that it would be easy. I did not anticipate, however, that the Christmas tree in the front yard would fall over the night before I was planning on putting the lights on. I had planned on putting the lights up on Friday because it was my Sabbath and it sounded like a relaxing way to spend my day. However most of the day was spent wrestling with a 10 foot tree. Grant and I tried to put it up but it kept falling over on us while we were trying to stake it down. Some guys walking by chuckled as they saw us struggle. I tried to ignore them but Grant said, “Hey! Want to help us?” So with the guys help we were finally able to get the tree up and standing. Then Grant and I made short work of putting on the lights. However, my hands and wrists are now covered with tiny scratches from the tree.
Then on Saturday morning, the day of the event, I put up the garland on the porch railing. This didn’t take very long but I did have very Shannonish mishap. I got off the porch to get a better look at the garland. At Emmaus House there’s a chain along the walk way to protect the lawn. Forgetting that this was there I stepped back another step to get a better look and came crashing over the chain, flat on my back onto the lawn. The worst part was that I had an audience of the guys who hang out on the corner. And they didn’t just snicker at me. They guffawed! At least one of them asked me if I was okay and I indignantly said I was. So now I had a sore back and a headache to add to my scratches. Harumph!
Then the event came. I was so surprised to see so many community members there! I think every kid in the neighborhood came! The kids had so much fun making ornaments, the cake was delicious, but my favorite part happened at the tree lighting. Christmas songs were blasting, people were singing at the top of their lungs, and everyone was dancing and having a good time! Even police officers showed up to join in the festivities and were chatting with the kids and the neighbors. (People don’t generally have a good opinion of police officers around here so it seemed like a miracle) Then the tree was lit and I was so proud of mine and Grant’s work! It really felt like community and it was absolutely wonderful. A few minor injuries on my part were more than worth the magic of that night!