By Mayor Laurene Weste
The holidays are a blessed time filled with joy, laughter and light. Though the temperature rarely gets cold enough to even begin thinking about a “white Christmas,” except for a few years when Newhall was blanketed with snow, we feel the magic and wonder in the air as the season shifts from fall to winter. Nowadays, you may take a trip to the mountains so your children can experience the thrill of snow, carefully plan your shopping trips to hit all the best sales and make a schedule, so you don’t miss any of your favorite Christmas movies as they air on television.
Over the years, however, the one tradition that has never waned in Santa Clarita is giving support to our neighbors in need.
From the first days of the Newhall settlement, residents in the Santa Clarita Valley have always worked to further the common interest by opening businesses that address a need and founding organizations that provide essential services. As the city of Santa Clarita has grown, so too has the network of individuals supporting one another. At Christmastime and throughout the holiday season, we renew our commitment to our friends and neighbors and work to ensure Santa Clarita remains the wonderful place we know and love.
This begins by joining together to participate in community traditions while we also celebrate the ones unique to our families. Last month, it was heartwarming to see residents fill the streets of Old Town Newhall for the annual Light Up Main Street event and children’s faces light up, getting to play in the snow, meet real reindeer and take pictures with Santa. Residents also celebrated at Westfield Valencia Town Center during Hanukkah by lighting the largest menorah in Santa Clarita on the final night, singing songs and enjoying an evening of fun and fellowship.
We continue to come together in support of our business owners through the Shop Local and Eat Local campaigns, which encourage residents to buy their goods in Santa Clarita and dine at our restaurants to keep the local economy strong. This also goes a long way for our business owners because a substantial portion of their income is received during this time and helps keep their business running.
Another strong tradition in Santa Clarita is volunteerism – especially during the holidays. Whether you donate your time and volunteer at a holiday event or give back through a food or toy drive hosted by our many nonprofit organizations and first responders, please know that you are making a profound impact on the lives of those in our community.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to reach out to a nonprofit that is close to your heart — such as those serving military families, the homeless population, disadvantaged youth, pet rescues and many others – and see how you can become more involved throughout the year. You can also visit SantaClaritaVolunteers.com to see a list of opportunities to volunteer for events and programs hosted by the city.
With Christmas this weekend and the New Year nearly upon us, I wish you and your family happy, healthy and safe holidays. As we close the door on 2021 and begin life’s next chapter in 2022, please be sure to keep your neighbors in your hearts, especially those who may not be able to be with loved ones this holiday season.
Sons and daughters may be serving in the military, and college students or young families may not have the ability to travel back home. These are just some of the people who can use our kindness and warmth during the holidays.
By lifting up others and being a light in the lives of those around us, we can continue Santa Clarita’s time-honored holiday tradition of caring for one another.
Mayor Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].