Santa’s elves have been hard at work preparing for the man in the red suit to make a pit stop at the CCC next Wednesday. Yes, six days from now Christmas will officially being in Chilmark. I know, I know, many of you have your lights up and trees have taken center stage in many a living room but, what really marks the season for me is the Chilmark Volunteer Firefighter’s Association Christmas Party. A sleigh to sit in, hot mulled cider, a treat bag and snacks and sweets brought by all of you to share and excited faces on small children makes me want to crank up the Bing Crosby and Burl Ives. It doesn’t matter what faith you are nor does it matter if you believe in Santa but, what does matter, is that you believe in community and keeping up with tradition.

For many, many, decades the guys that may seem a little gruff and sometimes a little surly pull out all of the stops for our town’s children. A volunteer firefighter treks up to the North Pole in the fire truck — since the reindeer are resting for their upcoming worldwide flight — buckles Santa into the front seat, and drives him back to the CCC in order to have a meet and greet with our kids. He hands out gifts that the fire department has purchased for all of the wee ones residing in Chilmark. We couldn’t expect the elves to make more just for us. They have been working around the clock as it is. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for next Wednesday night. Please, if you live in Chilmark, have a child under the age of fifth grade, and haven’t attended in the past, please let me know.

Years ago another town tradition began. Townspeople have put together a Christmas Eve dinner for the Coast Guard to show appreciation. Donations of appetizers, drinks (cider and soda), potatoes or other vegetables, salad are coordinated through Tom Ruimerman and Janet Weidner. Contact them at 508-645-7830. People generally drop items off at the Coast Guard station on Christmas Eve afternoon, but Tom and Janet will accept items earlier in the week if you are headed off Island for the holidays.

The folks at the library have their holiday spirit too. A reminder that December is fine-free month. Bring back your overdue items along with a donation to the Food Pantry and your debts will be erased. The annual holiday open house is the same night that Santa visits, so the center of town will be a hopping place. You can find refreshments, family crafts, and music on Decmber 18, 4:30–6 pm.

Also, from now until December 28 the library will be holding its used book sale. For a small fee you can find some great hardcovers, paperback, movies, and audio books. If you are really looking for a bargain, anything left over from December 24–28 is free. Yes, you read that correctly, free.

Since we are sort of on that gift-giving theme, I’ll remind you about the Christmas Chilmark Flea Market on Saturday and Sunday, December 14 and 15, from 10 am to 3 pm. Many of the summer vendors will be there, happy, for a change, not to worry about the chance of rain on North Road. There will be Christmas items, but also lobster rolls and chowder by the lobster roll ladies of the Chilmark Church. It will surely be a sweet spot to find one-of-a-kind gifts, have lunch, and catch up with friends.

Gabe Ambulos, along with his dad, Perry, and teammates from his soccer team travelled to New York this past weekend to take on some of the top nationally ranked teams at the Massapequa College Showcase. Gabe and his team had quite an adventure over the weekend. They played in the cold, won a couple of games, advanced to the semi-finals, dined on New York cuisine, beat the team that was ranked 24th in the country, and gained a whole lot of attention from the soccer elite. Sadly, they lost their final game in an overtime shootout, but Gabe came home happy and full of stories for his mom, Mary.

A few birthday shouts go out to Jesse Keller, Dickie Vincent, Bob Lunbeck, Barbara Rivers, Sophie Parker, Jakie Glasgow, and Hunter Broderick.