Holiday Events to Better Community
By Jan Bennett
State of the Re:Union would like to share valuable knowledge (literally) on how to make your community a better place to live. In the article, 7 Holiday Events that Better Your Community, Houselogic.com provides some helpful hints on how to bring your community together and add value to your home, all by celebrating the holidays.
According to a study done by Director Dennis Rosenbaum of the Center for Research in Law and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the actions of organizing holiday events, gatherings and festivities can “help to foster higher property values, strong schools, and lower crime rates in your neighborhood.” Here are seven different ideas to inspire a neighborhood gathering this upcoming season:
1.) Sing Songs – One neighborhood near Brooklyn, New York, has been enjoying caroling since 1967 and speak highly of the camaraderie it has established and has this advice to offer: “Identify neighborhood streets heavy with holiday decorations. Festive residents will likely be most receptive to carolers. Ask volunteers to print song lyric sheets, post flyers announcing the event in advance, and bring a thermos or two of hot cocoa.”
2.) Holiday Parties with a Purpose – In New Orleans, Louisiana, one organization honors and awards its emergency first responders who’ve made a difference with an annual Christmas party. They say this event is a way of thanking these heroes and building neighborhood spirit.
3.) Swap Holiday Food - Organizing a neighborhood holiday cookie or dessert exchange promotes good feelings that are lasting.
4.) Organize a Search Party – In Maineville, Ohio, some families participate in neighborhood-wide holiday scavenger hunt. They have half of an hour to secure festive items listed, such as candy canes and tinsel. At the end, the family with the most items wins a $50 gift card. But the real prize is the fun.
5.) Share Holiday Giving – In Logan, Utah, in lieu of exchanging gifts and items with each other, some 50 to 60 neighbors use that money (an average $30 per family) and opt to pool money together to provide items to four families in need through a local organization. They get together at a neighborhood party to wrap these gifts they’ve purchased.
6.) Feed Your Friendly Neighbors – Some 100 residents in Wilmington, North Carolina, enjoy mingling at three neighbors’ homes via progressive dinners. Of course, this number can be scaled down. Hosts can decide to foot the cost themselves or make it a potluck, but the point is to get to know the families around you.
7.) Light Up the Holiday – A designated night during the holidays can be set aside for each family to line their home with 10-12 containers (as simple as altered milk jugs or water bottles) filled with votive candles. This is a great way to come together as a neighborhood and line the streets with warmth and cheer.
These are just a few simple ideas that can amount to huge investments in your neighborhood. Having a friend as a neighbor truly creates a bond, making a safer environment for all who live on your street. Friends, or just friendly people, take a vested interest in caring for one another. If something happens to a stranger, curiosity tends to be the cause of slower reaction time. However, if someone happens to a friend, the urgency to aid them becomes overwhelming. Which neighbor do you want living next to you? Is there something special that your neighborhood does for the holidays that brings good cheer and promotes friendships? Ideas, comments and thoughts are always welcomed at SOTRU, and we would love to hear more ideas advocating community, trust and friendship.