The seasonable weather has not stopped the festive mood in the air. Outside lights, candles and trees are being put up in the time-honored tradition.

I celebrated my birthday last Saturday and my wife Anna cooked a superb roast beef dinner with all the fixin’s, topped off with a homemade mince pie. Leon Brathwaite and his wife Brenda, son Sam, and Phyllis Meras were the dinner guests. Charlie and Stevie Kernick could not attend as Charlie was feeling poorly. Phyllis made a mince pie that was enjoyed by all. I had over 200 messages on social media from as far away as Turkey, Australia and Europe, many phone calls, and a spontaneous singing of Happy Birthday when I entered the church luncheon. Many thanks to all of you!

Doug Pease reports that the First Congregational Church will be conducting Wednesday evening contemplative services at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 and 21. Please join them in the sanctuary as they embrace the darkness and move into the light of Christmas. Next Tuesday’s service will focus on waiting and hoping and the next service will focus on healing and transforming.

The holiday party season has begun, with the Savings Bank party in North Tisbury and the Chamber of Commerce annual affair in Edgartown. The town party at the Agricultural Hall will be held Thursday night. Christmas in Edgartown is happening all weekend.

Katherine Long, of Panhandle Road, cordially invites you to her 38th annual Winter Solstice party on Sunday, Dec. 18, from noon until 9 p.m. All ages are welcome. Her party has become one of the highlights of everyone’s holiday season. Katherine’s Texas chili is an extra special treat and you haven’t lived until you have tasted it. She says come when you can and leave when you must just don’t bring your dog along!

Phyllis Meras, of Music street, returned home last week. On the way back home she began to work on her always-interesting annual Christmas poem that will be featured in a future edition of the paper. Everyone is always interested in the theme she chooses, to see if his or her name makes it in the poem, and what presents she has given out.

Marion Irving of Old County Road reports that as a special birthday gift, her family all flew to London, England for a week. She says that the Christmas decorations in the city were fantastic and they all had a wonderful time.

Old friend Ralph Jones passed away last week. He was especially helpful over at the Council on Aging, where he taught a computer class, and he was active in the church. Our condolences to his wife and family.

Linda Alley reports that the Island Made Holidays at Alley’s Farm Stand opens on Wednesday and will be open everyday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Christmas Eve. Thirteen Island artisans are selling their wares, with three new vendors. It was so much fun last year that Linda thought it would be a great tradition to carry on through the holidays.

Angela Anderson, an award-winning documentary film producer, is showing her latest documentary next Thursday at Pathways in Chilmark. This marks the first time a documentary of hers will be shown on the Vineyard. All her other films have been shown on German television, so this event means a lot to her.

Hanukkah, the eight-day festival of lights, starts Saturday, Dec. 24. Coming at the onset of winter, it celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, purity over contamination, and spirituality over materialism.

On Friday, Dec. 12, 1941, four days after entering World War II, the Town Civil Defense Committee held a rally at the town hall in North Tisbury. Townspeople were told what is expected during an air raid: one, do not use the telephone; and two: build and use blackout curtains immediately and when the warning signal sounds after dark turn off all lights. The chief air raid warden announced that Dorothy Russell was in charge of North Tisbury and her assistants were Mrs. Robert Flanders Jr. and Mrs. Forrest Bosworth. Lillian Manter was in charge of West Tisbury village and her assistants were Lillian Magnuson, Hilda Austin, Elizabeth Campbell and Lorraine Armitage. Mrs. Raymond Cottle was the warden for Lambert’s Cove with assistants Mabelle Benson and Barbara Cottle.

Happy birthday to: Judy Sutel, Emily Smith, Ellen Pesch, Willie Mason, and Caitlin Krol Friday; Virginia Bardwell Jones, Professor Ellen Weiss, Dana Rezendes and Kansas Brew Saturday; John Sonia, Lauren Withers, Keith Johnson, and Kristina Fletcher on Sunday; Frank Sinatra, Brian Bilsback, Alan Reekie, Linda Baughman, John Thurber, Silas Berlin, and Jan Schulze on Monday; Susie Trees, Mary Beth Daniels and Simon Bollin on Tuesday; Kathleen Gibbs, Cathy Brennan, Elizabeth Specht, Leonard Bedford 3rd, and Brett Fisher on Wednesday; and Michelle Brescia, Janice Cramer, Brad Segel, Rachel Schubert, and Tim Sylvia on Thursday. Belated birthday greetings to Roy Riley.

That is all of the news for this week’s column. If you have any news please call or e-mail me. Have a great week and start your shopping now.

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