A Time for U-N-I-T-Y

Bring an ornament that reflects your mission, and hang it on the tree.

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

This is a truly lovely time of year. Sure, the retailers love it, but we all should love it for other reasons. We came from our Thanksgiving tables giving thanks for what we have. Now we go into the season when the different faiths all celebrate. It’s a time for UNITY.

What better way to celebrate the concept of UNITY this time of year than a tree—a CommUNITY Tree. Actually, the concept isn’t new. The first such tree was raised in New York’s Madison Square Park over a century ago. Since that time, the idea has caught on in cities and towns across the country.

We’ve done it here in Vineland for the past three years and we’ll do it again on Monday, December 9. It’ll be, as in past years, at the mini-park on the southwest corner of Landis Avenue and the Boulevard, starting at 6:30 p.m.

If you’re a member of a club, religious organization, non-profit, or any other such group, come out bringing an ornament that reflects your mission, and hang it on the tree alongside others. We’ll have a great time, with refreshments, fun, and fellowship that’ll surely warm both the body and soul. The tree will then be lit to show to all the spirit of unity and inclusiveness. The tree will be up through January 3 for those individuals or groups to add ornaments, but could not be present for the tree-lighting event.

Our CommUNITY Tree Lighting on The Ave is Vineland’s way of contributing to this century-old tradition. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holidays and make The Ave a focal point for our holiday celebration.

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Christmas trees are adorning storefront windows, thanks to our ongoing partnership with Vineland Public Schools. A group of school students placed the trees in selected storefronts last Friday, continuing a 10-year tradition that builds a stronger relationship between the school districts and our businesses.

The trees are ready now for your vote. You’ll be able to vote online for the best Christmas tree by going to Main Street Vineland’s Facebook page. The deadline for all voting is 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 8. The three top winners will receive Ave Bucks, redeemable at Main Street Vineland.

It’s another way to show how unity and diversity connect the elements of our community, which will also show as Chanukah menorahs will be added to selected storefronts during this holiday season, courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Cumberland, Gloucester & Salem Counties.

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Vote for your favorite Christmas Tree, come and put a decoration on the CommUNITY Tree and make this a great holiday season on The Ave. This is all the more reason to make The Ave your destination for your shopping needs, as well as your dining, entertainment—and living—needs all year round. Save money on gasoline, avoid the long lines at the big-box stores, malls, and shopping centers—and also enjoy the events we have on The Ave. n

For more information on Main Street Vineland, call 856-794-8653, visit TheAve.biz or check them out on Facebook. You can also e-mail rswanson@vinelandcity.org.

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On The Ave