Christmastime in Greenwich is always special

Greenwich-Voices-DadakisIts Christmastime once again.

I’m always amazed how quickly Christmas descends now, in stark contrast to my childhood when it seemed to take forever to arrive. Many of our fellow Greenwich residents choose to celebrate this enchanting holiday and those that do have, by now, finished their shopping, wrapped their gifts and are waiting for Santa Claus’s arrival while commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

It’s a wonderful time of year to be in town when the Christmas season is all around you. Throughout December, Greenwich offered an extensive array of events and activities to help get you in the Christmas spirit.

The granddaddy of them is the annual tree lighting at Greenwich Town Hall. Over the years this event has become an extravaganza and a special effort is made to entertain the children. First Selectman Peter Tesei brings his children, Caroline and James, and it’s especially enjoyable to see how they’ve grown from Christmas to Christmas. I remember when they were babies and now they are both lovely young people.

Merchants offered holiday strolls along Greenwich Avenue and Sound Beach Avenue in Old Greenwich with Christmas music, some hot toddies and a chance to shop in a delightful environment. The Greenwich Town Party, Ray Dalio’s brainchild held each May, provided free parking on Greenwich Avenue during the stroll. Now there’s a gift that’s always the right size and perfect color.

Those who attended the Bush-Holley House by Candlelight had a wonderful evening. I didn’t go this year but have in the past. The house is beautifully decorated and the candlelight adds a special ambiance, letting visitors experience Christmas as it was years ago in Greenwich. This year the theme was Christmas during World War I.

Creating the most buzz each year is the Christmas Spectacular at the Belle Haven home of Paul Tudor Jones. It’s an elaborate light and sound show that could well have been created by Walt Disney himself and is Jones’ gift to the people of Greenwich. It has a limited engagement, only running for a few weeks before Christmas. Cars usually line up in Belle Haven, sometimes waiting up to 45 minutes, to see the show.

When it’s your turn, you’re instructed to tune your radio to a dedicated station so the music portion plays in your car (there are loudspeakers, too). You’re then treated to an amazing synchronized light show which appears to fill every inch of Jones’ large front yard with a mesmerizing display from the whimsical to the religious.

Alas this year, according to The Dish with Susie, the show was canceled due to technical difficulties but is promised to return next Christmas. And you can at least experience Jones’ Christmas Past by going to YouTube and searching Paul Tudor Jones Christmas.

As night falls on Christmas Eve, thousands of Greenwich children will head to bed palpably excited, anticipating Santa Claus’ arrival. To me, it’s the most magical moment of the season when you get up in the morning realizing he really came. Wow.

While Santa is an important part of Christmas, its truly about the baby boy born in a manger in Bethlehem. Today some find it fashionable to question whether Jesus was actually the Son of God, but as for me, I believe (it’s called faith). Even the doubters can never challenge the simple conclusion which Dr. James Allen Francis reached in his 1926 essay “A Solitary Life.”

“All the armies that have ever marched; All the navies that have ever sailed; All the parliaments that have ever sat; All the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of mankind on earth as powerfully as that one solitary life.”

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Ed Dadakis is a former chairman of the Republican Town Committee and has spent more than 30 years serving on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He may be reached at [email protected]

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