You know we may be a small town, but we know how to celebrate. This past weekend was filled with parties and events and lots of holiday cheer. There was a party in West Tisbury on Friday, where I saw quite a few Aquinnah folks, then there was Berta and Vern’s holiday party on Saturday and of course the town party on Sunday. The library held a Christmas craft day on Saturday where you could decorate wrapping paper or cards with potato stamps cut into holiday shapes. It was a lot of fun. Barbara Lampson who plans the crafts at the library says she knows a craft has been successful when the adults do it too. And there were many adults down on the floor decorating away.

The Aquinnah Holiday party was a smashing success. The town hall was filled with people and so many kids! Are there more kids in Aquinnah than we thought? It seems like every time you turn around there’s a new baby. Santa (aka Jay Smalley) arrived on the fire truck loaded with gifts for every child under 12 in Aquinnah and while Jay wears the suit, we all know that it’s Nonie Madison who takes care of the Christmas shopping and every year she is right on the money with what she gets for our kids. She has a real knack for this, it’s like she’s psychically attuned to their inner Christmas lists. After Santa’s visit all the kids played with their new toys, while their parents tried to get them to eat dinner, and then toys and food abandoned, they did what they do at every party: run around like mad.

I did get to meet some new folks at the party, Karen MacPhail (Shawn MacPhail’s mom) who moved to the Island from Wareham in September to be closer to her granddaughters, Olive and Violet. And while I met Naushon Vanderhoop the day before, I got to spend a little more time with her on Sunday. Naushon, who grew up here and now lives in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, is visiting her family in Aquinnah through New Year’s and also showing off her absolutely beautiful seven-week-old daughter, Nanwusewee Roxanne Vanderhoop-Powell. Nanawusewee means gentle in Wampanoag.

Thank you to Nonie Madison who spearheads this party. Thank you also to Irina Gerhard, Lisa Vanderhoop, and Heidi Vanderhoop who all helped decorate and Theresa Manning who organized the food. And to everyone else who cooked and cleaned up the town hall, Thank you.

If you are looking for ways to expand your horizons this January and can’t afford a Caribbean vacation there are some local options and while you will not get a tan you will learn something you probably didn’t know before or acquire a new healthy habit and that lasts longer than a tan. Janette Vanderhoop will be teaching a Wampanoag Arts and Culture class through ACE MV on Wednesday, January 23 at 4:30 pm. Saskia Vanderhoop will teach a course called Connecting with Nature: For Adults, also through ACE MV, which have four classes starting on January 31. Go to to register or call 774-310-1131. Dr. Wendy Chabot will teach a five- week course called Healing with Meditation at the Chilmark Library starting on Wednesday, January 9 for five weeks. You must pre-register so call the library at 508-645-3360.

Happy Birthday to Lang Gerhard whose birthday is on Friday and a very happy birthday to Olive and Violet MacPhail who turn seven (how did that happen?!) next week. And Happy New Year to all of us and may the New Year bring much joy, health and prosperity to everyone.