It wasn’t too long ago that when Black Friday rolled around and December hit there was an excess amount of energy in the air. It was simply electrifying.

Everyone was happy and excited for the holidays as they inched closer. Who doesn’t enjoy driving around looking at lights, getting gifts and more importantly, getting to spend quality time with family?

We all have our quirky traditions. My family has the traditions of watching “Christmas Vacation,” making more than an excess amount of food and having wrapping paper wars while presents are being opened.

The tradition I enjoyed the most was my brother and I pelting mom and her car with snowballs as she pulled into the driveway from work after the first good snowfall.

Something started to happen though. Very slowly things gradually changed and not for the better. I still haven’t figured out who, what or why the Christmas Spirit slowly began eroding. Almost as if M. Night Shyamalan produced a new version of the Christmas Carol with the plot twist being Ebenezer Scrooge coming to the conclusion that he needs to be greedier.

These last few years I found myself struggling to get into the Christmas spirit because it just didn’t feel like Christmas. I thought maybe I was going crazy or that I was getting hit with some seasonal depression.

It wasn’t just me, though. More and more I found that other people were experiencing the same feelings. Luckily I enjoy fixing problems and this was certainly a problem that needed to be corrected.

An ambitious group of volunteers began meeting as an ad hoc Christmas Committee and kicked off what I like to call Operation Winterfest.

Our goal was to not just bring back Christmas; we wanted to bring more people uptown to build a better sense of community and generate some economic activity.

The Chamber is of course already ahead of the game with the holiday banners they’ve done.

Following their lead it was decided decorations needed to be a top priority. This will be a great first step as many of ours are well past their prime.

The city budgeted $5,000 to help kick things off. If this is successful I hope the city continues to allocate money toward this as a long-term project because this will not be remedied overnight.

Along with the new decorations this will be the first year that we will expand our winter festivities. Many of you are familiar with the horse-drawn sleigh that the Women in Business do every year. That will be expanded to include fire pits uptown, serving hot chocolate and more.

In time there will be more details released as we get closer to the holiday season.

There is a last piece of the puzzle to make this first step a success. Many of the uptown lights are in need of replacement. Our committee has priced options and we are asking the building owners uptown to help do their part.

We’ve gotten quotes and have found a long-lasting solution at an economical price. Instead of all businesses buying their own lights separately we will be able to order in bulk to keep the price down.

The cost will be about $2.18 per foot and you only need to pay for your portion of the lights.

The ongoing cost to operate the lights will be less than 50 cents a month for the majority of buildings uptown.

To sweeten the deal we will do all of the installation of the new wire and bulbs for you.

We wanted it to be very simple for building owners. From ordering to installation, we will take care of it all. We just need you to cover the cost.

Please feel free to contact Pam Soseman or myself for more information. We will be able to provide you with an estimate so we can keep the ball rolling on bringing Christmas back and revitalizing downtown.

We’d love to see as much participation as possible because, as the saying goes, the more the merrier.

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