by Kevin Dicciani
Christmas has arrived on the Hill.
Dozens of Hillers gathered on Nov. 22 on the front lawn of Woodmere Art Museum to get in the holiday spirit and celebrate the annual tree-lighting ceremony known as the Circle of Trees. The event continued a longstanding seasonal tradition that officially marks the beginning of “Holidays on the Hill” and the advent of Christmastime in Chestnut Hill.
The evening began with the Norwood-Fontbonne Academy Chorale and the St. Thomas Church, Whitemarsh, Choir serenading the crowd with festive songs of the holiday. While the music played, those in attendance enjoyed hot chocolate and cider, cookies and other treats.
Following the performance, William R. Valerio, director of Woodmere, thanked Hillers for participating in the event and making it the spectacle is has come to be in the community.
Afterwards, both children and adults moved quickly across the lawn to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus riding in atop a fire engine. Santa took to the stage where he counted down from ten along with the crowd before flipping on the light switch and setting the grounds ablaze in a spectrum of colors to cheers and applause.
To spread the holiday cheer, unwrapped gifts, such as toys and books, were collected to benefit school-aged children. The books, new and gently used, were collected for Valley Green Bank’s Annual Book Drive and are to be donated to Health District #8, as well as Mastery Charter Elementary School and the Mt. Airy School’s Coalition, which includes J.S. Jenks Academy for Arts and Sciences. The toys, collected for Chestnut Hill Hospital’s Toy Drive, will benefit the Salvation Army in Roxborough.
A success of community and spirit, the night had all the sights and sounds of Christmas, which, being as it’s not even December yet, seemed to suggest that no one does it better than Chestnut Hill.
The Circle of Trees was sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Community Association, the Chestnut Hill Business Association and the Business Improvement District.