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  • Stephen D'Agostino

December Around the World is This Year’s RES Concert Theme

Two months ago, sitting at my desk, I marveled at how the sun and the yellow leaves on the big maple outside my window gave my office a golden glow. I still can’t quite figure out how that happened, and I hope I never do. Let’s just call it a little bit of magic.

Now, in mid-December, I can marvel at something that is both the same and very different. That maple tree is bare of leaves, and mini snowballs tip most of the branches. Spying the trees on the hills across the way, I can now see them individually, thanks to the fresh white backdrop below them.

I wasn’t expecting as much snow as we got. Coming home from Woodstock during the storm was a bit harrowing. You may never forget how to ride a bike, but I always need to remember what it’s like to drive in the snow. One or two more storms, and it may seem like second nature.

On our mildly treacherous car ride, Bill and I bypassed our road, navigated down the long steep hill on Route 106, and went to Keeper’s for dinner. The weather certainly didn’t stop people from gathering with friends and family for a nice meal. In fact, I had never seen Keeper’s so busy! It was a cozy, homey, and delicious way to end the day.

Snowfall is, of course, one of the things that defines December in this part of the world and in Reading in particular. Something else we expect in this month is early sunsets. The good news is that today, Thursday, December 14, (and the past few days) sunset is the earliest of the year. The sun calling it quits at 4:14pm, according to Yikes!

You know what else happens on December 14 this year? Reading Elementary School’s annual Holiday concert. The theme is December Around the World—as in places where the sun sets much later, much earlier, doesn’t set at all, or never rises. I’m looking forward to hearing how the talented young musicians from the school interpret the month through music. The concert is at Robinson Hall and starts at 6pm, well after dark.

In its third year, the PTO’s Gifts of December raffle has become a local tradition for this month. As Vanessa Maxham explained it to me, since the PTO is focused on local goodness—which is perfect—the gifts offered in the raffle are local goodies, made by people we all know and love.

Examples of the prizes for lucky winners are maple syrup, cheeses, gift certificates to local businesses, soap and candles, artwork, and handmade knits. All in all, there will be about 20 great prizes.

The raffle generates money that goes towards PTO programs for our school kids. If you want to buy a ticket, or several tickets, you can get them at the school or from one of the school’s students. Tickets are the usual price: $1 each or 6 for $5. I’m in!

A few other festivities around town in addition to the concert and the raffle are Caroling, Cocoa, and Cookies, happening at the Reading Public Library on December 22 at 6:30pm. Kids and adults will make their way around the village spreading good cheer in the form or a carol or two. With the caroling checked off, it’s back to the library for the cocoa and cookies part of the program. In addition, there will be a Christmas story and a visit from a certain special individual. The event is co-sponsored by the Reading Recreation Commission and the Reading Public Library. Both ask that you bring a flashlight or headlamp to make sure the caroling is safe and well-lit.

Don't forget the Christmas Eve at the Old Stone Church in South Reading. The short service with carols starts at 5pm. Bring the kids and enjoy a warm celebration.

Then, finally, to end the year is the New Year’s Eve Dance, sponsored by the Reading Recreation Commission. The party begins at 8:30am at Robinson Hall and runs until 12:30pm the next morning. They’ll be a DJ and a photo booth to help you capture what will be a special night in Reading.

Truth be told, I didn’t know until recently that a photo booth at an event such as this was a thing. Maybe if I got out more often, I’d know. Someone there will have to introduce me to the fun!

Speaking of fun, the event is BYOB, so bring what you like. There will be a dessert bar as well. Tickets are $30 per person and are available by contacting any member of the Recreation Commission. They are Joe Braun at 203-313-1468, Stephen D’Agostino at 802-484-5425, Lisa Kaija at 802-952-8395, or Lisa Morrison at 802-952-1011.

One other December tradition I want to follow up on. I mentioned the Giving Tree a couple of times in past columns. The tree, which was up in Town Hall, held 33 cards. Each card listed gifts for children who were just months old to age 17. Every card was picked from the tree, and every gift was returned to Town Hall. Thank you all for your generosity. The whole notion and the response is something I truly love about our town.

Just one birthday that I know of for this week, and that is Robert Allen (December 20).

That’s the news from Reading! See you next week!

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