You will need an extra page on December calendars to properly record the many noteworthy events that will usher in this Christmas season. With fear and some trepidation, we will attempt to offer a list here, but not without this caveat: It is not only possible, but probable, that we will inadvertently fail to mention some event. When you see the sheer abundance, perhaps you will understand why.
THE WATERFIELD WALK. Historically known as the premiere event of the holiday season, the WCTU Bazaar has recently ceded its first-come status to The Citadelle Art Foundation’s Waterfield Walk, which is slated this year for next Monday, Nov. 26, at 6-7 pm. This 5th Annual lighting of The Gardens is observed each year as a tribute to one of Canadian’s finest and most fondly-remembered citizens, Jim Waterfield, and his family, for their years of service and support to the city of Canadian, and to the Foundation, itself. The quiet beauty of The Gardens is suddenly transformed with the ceremonial illumination of the grounds. Warm cider and Christmas sweets will be served, “just as Jim would have encouraged,” and goodwill is always abundant during this public event.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. The Chamber of Commerce will host two events marking the holiday shopping season, and emphasizing not only the importance of supporting local retail businesses, but also the absolute versatility of their offerings, the convenience of doing business with them, and the personal attention shoppers will enjoy when they think big and “shop small.”
The first—aptly named “Shop Small Saturday”—will get everyone out of the house and away from the Thanksgiving leftovers this Saturday. Eighteen local businesses are offering “Shop Small” specials, which include, but are not limited to: familiar faces, free parking, door prizes, snacks, and oh-so-convenient proximity to the couch you somewhat reluctantly left to go shopping. It all comes with the added virtue of supporting your neighbors and friends, and keeping local dollars circulating in the local economy. Nothing wrong with a little added virtue, Santa says.
Coming up next is Christmas in Canadian, which kicks off on Saturday, Dec. 1, and continues through Dec. 7. Local retailers will again be offering in-store specials and refreshments that Saturday.
SANTA CLAUS COMES TO TOWN. Most of the younger set will consider the 9 am arrival of Santa Claus the day’s real highlight. This year, jolly St. Nick may not require Rudolph’s services. He will be guided to his destination, instead, by the bright marquee lights of the Palace Theatre, where children of all ages are invited to come have a chat with Mr. Kringle, and to pose for a photo or two. Those keepsake photos will be shot by the talented Natalie Pino of Peanut Photos from 9 am until noon. Forms to order prints will also be available at the theatre that day.
Later that afternoon, at 3 pm, the Palace will have a free showing of Polar Express. Meanwhile, Canadian’s downtown venues will be bustling with Christmas crafts and activities, and the Chamber’s Christmas elves will be making the rounds with goodie bags for the kids.
Brief pause to toot our own horns: A photo of Santa with each child, or family grouping, will be published in The Canadian Record’s annual Christmas edition, which will also feature holiday greetings and children’s letters to Santa. (Parents: If your child has not written their mistletoe epistle along with their school or Little House classmates, please take a moment to record those Christmas wishes and send them to The Record at PO Box 898, Canadian, TX 79014, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We must have them on or before 5 pm, Tuesday, Dec. 10, to include them in our special double edition, which will be out on the streets and in mailboxes on Thursday, Dec. 20.
Thursday, Dec. 6, is the ever-popular Ladies’ Shopping Night, when the distaff side of the household leaves the kids and dirty dishes for a night on the town, and participating stores will be open ‘til 8 pm.
CULTURAL DISTRICT CEREMONY. Add to this celebratory season a singular event: the historic designation ceremony of the Canadian Cultural District. On Monday, Dec. 3, at 6 pm, officials from the Texas Commission on the Arts will join representatives of the local Cultural Arts and Recreation Commission and Cultural District Committee, and other local dignitaries, in a brief ceremony marking the city’s official status as a cultural district. A wine and cheese reception will be held at The Citadelle, to which the community is invited. With its designation, the city of Canadian becomes one of only 40 cultural districts in the state of Texas, and is hands-down the smallest and most rural member of this elite class—an historic moment well-worth cheering.
LIVE NATIVITY. For more years than we can count, the First Presbyterian Church has presented a Living Nativity. In doing so, they evoke not only the joy of the holiday season, but the spiritual message of Christmas and the celebration of Jesus’ birth. This year’s re-enactment of the Nativity begins at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Gazebo Park at the corner of 6th and Purcell. It continues with a festive Chili Cook-Off inside the church’s fellowship hall through 7:30 pm. The public is welcome.
WCTU HOLIDAY BAZAAR. It may not be the first holiday event in Canadian this year, but the 111th Annual WCTU Bazaar from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Friday, Dec. 7, is—without a doubt—the oldest and most, uh, fulfilling. Our advice? After a suitable few days to allow your Thanksgiving dinner to settle, don’t step on the scales just yet. Head to the Hemphill County Library for a meal you won’t soon forget…and save room for pie.
As first envisioned by those pioneering women of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Christmas Bazaar’s benevolent purpose was to raise money for construction of a local library. Those ladies believed some sober reading and a good education might be the perfect antidote to the prevalence of bars here in the early 1900s, and set about righting what they believed was wrong. Lo, these many years later, the Hemphill County Library still stands, housed in the original WCTU Building, which has since benefitted from some serious remodeling and expansion courtesy of the county taxpayers. All proceeds from the Bazaar are still used to buy books and other materials for the library. And the bars? Few and far between. Done and done.
If you’re not from around here, you may not know, so here’s the long and short of it. A bevy of volunteers still cooks a traditional turkey dinner with all of the fixings, which is served to eager diners seated as-they-come at long tables decked in white tablecloths, by more apron-bedazzled volunteers, in the festive atmosphere of the library’s downstairs dining room. Takeout orders may be placed by calling 806.323.5282, and will be available at the library’s 5th Street entrance.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTING. While you’re still digesting your Thanksgiving turkey, or gumbo, or enchiladas, and still in that holiday state of mind, give a little thought to competing in the newly-revived Chamber Christmas Lighting Contest. It’s back! With prizes! Three residential-lighting winners will be named, with prizes of cold, hard Canadian Cash in denominations of $75, $100, and $200 for the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place honorees. The commercial-lighting winner will receive free Chamber membership for 2019. Judges will make their rounds on Saturday, Dec. 15, so dig out your decorations, hang ‘em up, plug ‘em in, and pick up an entry form at the Canadian Visitors Center, or go online for registration information. The contest is open to all in-town residents and businesses.
PS: When you’re out shopping small this Saturday, remember to buy a few extra fuses from NAPA or Bartlett’s Lumber for that string of lights you’re about to deck your house with.
CHRISTMAS MUSIC. Other holiday-season events worth noting:
The Canadian Arts Alliance will host its 4th Annual Christmas Recital at 2 pm, Sunday, Dec. 9, in the magnificent Texas Crown Performance Hall, somewhat less magnificently known as the Canadian Middle School Auditorium. Our community is richly-blessed by the presence of so many talented and hardworking students. This recital offers them the opportunity to show their progress, and to enhance the holiday spirit.
Band students from every Canadian ISD campus will join in a Christmas Concert, which will be held at the CHS Gymnasium on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 6:30-7:30 pm. If you’ve not attended, do. We’re not sure there isn’t a city ordinance against having that much musical talent on full display in one room, but if there is, we’ll find it and burn it. This concert is not-to-be-missed. Come early. The gymnasium will be packed.