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YOUR WEEKEND: Christmas at Clasky Common Park


It’s a bit of a no-brainer to write a YOUR WEEKEND rundown of events this week. Saturday is Christmas Eve and Sunday is Christmas. If you don’t know the drill by now, I don’t think I can help you!

I’m sure we all have our own Christmas traditions. Just as surely, by this point in life most of us probably have our Christmas outliers, too. You know – they’re the ones when you actually DID eat Chinese food for Christmas dinner due to a series of unfortunate events.

Sometimes, it’s after these Christmases that you really learn to appreciate the holiday. Soon after the age of maybe 12, Christmas starts to feel like a burden rather than a blessing. All those presents to buy, all those parties to attend, all those relatives to avoid…

But hopefully, as you grow older and wiser, you unlearn a lot of what you think you know about Christmas and begin to approach it as if you were a kid again. Simple is better.

One of the first things you may become aware of now is that you don’t even have to be Christian to appreciate the holiday. Yeah, yeah – e-mail Bill O’Reilly not me. I’m not talking about taking Christ out of Christmas but rather keeping His message in it – whether you are Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or Jewish. It still works!

Another thing that still works is the Christmas display at Clasky Common Park – Santa’s Village.

For the many of us who grew up in New Bedford, the light display at Clasky Common always signaled that the Christmas season was underway. Thanks to the effort of Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School students and teachers – who provide the spark – all these years later, it still does.

Last year, a few of us from Groundwork! walked down the few blocks to the park to check it out after some hot chocolate. Yeah – it was only four of us. But the night was clear, the lights were bright and we had a good time meandering through the park and then on the blocks around it, full of fabulous historic architecture.

So, naturally we did it again this year. Hey – it’s a tradition now!

It’s a simple thing to walk through Clasky Common Park at Christmas. It takes little effort and causes no stress. It’s like being 10 years-old again.

That’s probably why it’s a tradition that’s lasted all these years in New Bedford. There may have been that odd Christmas or two when you sat in an airport for most of the day or ordered Combination Plate no. 8 for dinner…but those lights have always shined bright each and every December in the city.

They make you want to say, “Merry Christmas!” – and really mean it.

Steven Froias