Christmas is now past; but a recent Woodstock tradition was again observed, to kindle the Holiday Spirit

COURTESY OF CHRIS HAMMOND - The tree was lit on December 5 for another Holiday Season in Woodstock. This photo was taken from the north side of the tree, looking towards Woodstock Boulevard and the crowd gathered for the lighting. At the December Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) meeting, a request was made for cookies to share at the seventh annual "Homestead Schoolhouse Tree Lighting", held across from Otto's Sausage Kitchen on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard.

The celebration took place on Saturday, December 5th; and, by 5:30 that evening, WNA volunteers had attained their goal of a bounty of cookies to spread out on their table.

Sponsored in part by the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), the Tree Lighting welcomes at 6 p.m. all neighbors who want to celebrate the season – as well as snack on food and drink provided by local businesses and nonprofits.

This year, the organizations and businesses with tables and booths were All Saints Episcopal Church, Bridge City Pizza, restaurants El Gallo and Laughing Planet, Otto's, Papaccino's Coffee, Toast restaurant, and the WNA.

Woodstock resident and neighborhood association secretary Sonja Miller was to be found at the All Saints Episcopal Church table, serving hot cider and distributing candy canes. An active member of All Saints Church, and one of the volunteer organizers at the church's Mustard Seed Thrift Store and the popular Book Nook, Miller says she enjoys the tree lighting as a community event.

"It brings together neighbors in the Woodstock neighborhood for a Holiday celebration, without the huge crowds and visibility challenges of downtown. The atmosphere is fun and family-oriented, with small businesses and organizations showcasing their wares with free samples, bonfires, and singing."

Each year Kiley Cronen, who owns the Homestead Schoolhouse with his wife and its Preschool Director, Keli, cuts a Douglas Fir with the help of a friend. This year the 26-foot tree came from Carus, Oregon (Keli Cronen's hometown), and was erected with the valuable assistance of four tiers of scaffolding, provided pro bono by Scaffold Erectors Inc., S.E. 57th Avenue at Johnson Creek Boulevard.

The Cronens offered four fire pits, and the Woodstock Law Office roasted marshmallows for two hundred chocolate S'Mores. John L. Scott Real Estate provided the lights, as they do each year – and personnel from Woodstock Fire Station 25 helped hang them on the tree, and then offered their truck at the site for children to examine and explore.

This year, Donald Kotler, owner of Toast restaurant, made beef brisket soup for the crowd.

Elisa Edgington, Vice-President and acting Treasurer of the WCBA, and Manager of the VCA Woodstock Animal Hospital, commented to THE BEE, "The Tree Lighting was a great success, with lots of community involvement. We appreciate Kiley and Keli Cronen, and their dedication to keeping this tradition alive."

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