Who’s ready to celebrate Christmas and the end of 2020? I know I am. I just put away our Halloween decorations and it was all I could do to not grab the Christmas decorations instead of our tote of fall décor.

I know that many of you are like me and just want to look forward to something joyful, festive and merry. In our community of Sutherlin, we have always come together over the holidays to share our joy and blessings, and 2020 will not dampen our spirits though it will change just a few of our plans.

Unfortunately, we will not be holding our Timber Town Bazaar or the Christmas Festival put on by our Lions Club, but this won’t crush our Timber town spirit! We are still planning to hold two very popular outdoor events this December.

Our annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration will kick off the Christmas season 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 6, at Central Park. Our celebration will begin with a word from our mayor and a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” and end with the finale of the lighting of the Christmas trees. This year, the spotlight will be on the newly installed 50-foot tree designed by Adam Sarnoski of Cooper Creek Creative, along with various other LED-lit trees and presents on display to put our whole community in the Christmas spirit.

One of the most popular and fun family events will be the Sutherlin Timber Town Toy Land Electric Light Parade set for 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 19. This year’s theme is “I’ll be home for Christmas.” This is a perfect theme for 2020, right? The parade route will head south on Taylor Road to Comstock than north to Central Avenue and then east to the Sutherlin city park. My family has made a tradition of grabbing hot cocoas for everyone, setting our lawn chairs close together and watching the parade cuddled under a blanket.

While you are visiting Sutherlin this holiday season, be sure to Shop Small! Especially consider coming to Sutherlin on Small Business Saturday, which is celebrated nationally on Nov. 28. Two local retailers, Tub-Time Treasures and Family & Friends Mercantile, put on fun events and give away lots of prizes to celebrate this day. Visit their Facebook pages for more details so you do not miss out on this event.

Our community is bursting with so many small businesses who are great to work with and pride themselves on quality and personal service. As you can imagine, 2020 has not been good to these small businesses. To help these businesses that have been so greatly impacted by the economic shutdown and mandates placed on their operations we are offering gift certificates that can be used at a variety of small businesses in Sutherlin.

The Sutherlin Reboot: Community Cash Gift Certificate Program is designed to support our local businesses while embracing how important it is to Reboot Sutherlin after this unprecedented shutdown. The best part of these certificates is that the recipients can choose where to spend their “Community Cash.”

Community Cash gift certificates can be redeemed at many local businesses, ranging from retail, dining, and personal care. A full list of participating businesses as well as the link to purchase these certificates can be found at our website: www.visitsutherlin.com/reboot-sutherlin-community-cash. Online orders can be picked up or we can arrange delivery through the mail. As well as purchasing them online, you can pick them up in person at the Sutherlin Visitor Center, located at 1310 W. Central Ave., Sutherlin. We are open from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

2020 will not dampen our Timber Town Christmas spirit. If anything, it makes us appreciate more the blessings in our lives and the wonderful town that we call home. This Christmas as you share your blessings in the way of gifts, please do so by shopping local. Give the gift of a vibrant business scene and thriving community to all of Sutherlin.

Tracy Martz is executive director of the Sutherlin Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

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