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from Castine and Penobscot, Maine.
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by Rich Hewitt
With a “HO, HO, HO” and choruses of carols, the town welcomed the Christmas season last week at the Penobscot Historical Society’s annual tree lighting celebration.
No one remembers quite when the society began hosting the event, but it’s been “a long time,” according to society President Carla Hutchins.
“It’s a time for everybody to get together,” Hutchins said. “It’s good to have one time when we can come down here and have some fun at Christmas.”
Part of the fun was the decorations provided by two local residents, Peggy Wood and Margie Wardwell. Wood brought her collection of Christmas nutcrackers, gathered over the last 15 years, and Wardwell brought her collection of holiday snowmen, which she has been building for the past five years.
Wood said she has collected most of the nutcrackers from sales at Mardens or Goodwill, but her favorite, a felt-hatted model that stood as tall as some of the children who were warned by parents to look but not to touch, was the gift of a friend.
“I’d like to get a bigger one,” she said.
She said she didn’t know what got her started with nutcrackers.
“I just like collecting them,” she said.
Wardwell had the same story; she just started collecting snowmen.
She brings them out each winter, but she keeps them up much longer than the Christmas season. She doesn’t have favorites, but said she likes the blue ones.
“They’re really all my favorites; they’re all my children,” Wardwell said.
There were also goodies galore and, in addition to the spread of prepared holiday treats, the youngsters were able to create their own treats at the cookie decorating table.
No holiday celebration is complete without music and this one was no exception. Local French horn players, Anne Boudreaux, Donny Smith and Luki Hewitt led the youngsters and adults in a series of Christmas carols. And, of course, there was a visit from a jolly old elf who greeted the children and passed out candy canes, and the lighting of the tree outside the town hall.