by Pete Mazzaccaro

Every year, many of us struggle with the meaning of the season. We get lost in greeting card orders and lengthy wish lists, travel plans and party arrangements. We never stop to think about what the holiday season really means.

One thing it definitely means is connecting with friends and family. And neighbors. This Saturday, Dec. 13, at 9 a.m. might be one of the best opportunities for that when the Chestnut Hill Holiday Parade returns.

Dormant for more than 30 years, the parade was reorganized and relaunched last December by then-Chestnut Hill Community Association president Brien Tilley. It was a genuine parade, complete marching bands, mummers and groups of marching school children – the perfect size and scale for the neighborhood.

Of all the many great events in Chestnut Hill, the Holiday Parade may be the best. It is not about raising funds or growing an organization’s profile or giving club members a benefit. It’s all about trying to do something fun for families in the neighborhood.

“This is really great for the whole community,” said Tilley last year. “The kids are so excited to march. The businesses will get new visitors, and all corners of the community come together for a morning of holiday fun.”

This year’s parade will be a little bit bigger and a little bit better than the last year’s.

The Philly Phanatic will be here. The Venetian Club’s New Years Brigade will play. Marching bands from Springfield Township High School, The University of the Arts and the New Orleans Jazz Marching Band will play, A choral group from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will join them.

School children will also march in groups. Jenks, Our Mother of Consolation, Crefeld School, Norwood Fontbonne Academy and St. Genevieve are among the schools that will participate.

The parade route this year will be down Germantown Avenue again, beginning at Chestnut Hill Avenue and concluding at the Chestnut Hill Hotel’s Market at the Fareway, where hot chocolate, treats and a mobile glass blowing museum will be found.

As of this writing, the weather forecast calls for sunny skies with a high of 39 degrees. If it holds up, it should be a great day to be at the parade. And a great day for Chestnut Hill.