During the pandemic, normal winter events and activities have had to change how they operate. Many East Haven Chamber of Commerce celebrations have adapted to continue to provide holiday cheer to EH citizens this December, including the virtual tree-lighting, a house-decorating contest, and a Santa letter-writing campaign for kids.
With social distancing, it is hard for the many usual holiday activities to take place. So the East Haven Chamber of Commerce and the town have adapted and created activities and events in order to continue spreading the fun and joy this time of year brings. The most notable change has been to the annual East Haven tree lighting on the town green, which was virtual this year. According to the EH Chamber of Commerce website, they prerecorded the tree lighting instead of a livestream participation. They were concerned that a live event could have possibly still drawn a crowd. Jennifer Higham, President of the East Haven Chamber of Commerce, said that the Chamber worked with the town and health officials to make the decision to do a virtual lighting “because our [COVID-19] numbers were rising, we wanted to make sure that the community stayed safe so it was in the best interest of the town and the community that we did a virtual tree lighting.” On Nov. 28 at 4:30pm, the lighting was broadcast on ETV, the East Haven Chamber Facebook page, the tree lighting Facebook page, and the Good Things About East Haven Facebook group. On The Comet’s Instagram survey, 13 people agree with the decision to hold a virtual tree lighting and 4 disagree.
Ms. Higham said that normally “if it’s not raining or if it’s not too cold, we usually get up to about a thousand people on the green” and that she hoped that people would tune in to watch all the different things they would be doing. “We’re gonna have some singing, we have people that are from the town giving words of encouragement and health and hope and we also have a few different surprises coming in it. So we tried to make it as much fun as we possibly could.” About the importance of this event to the community, Ms. Higham said that it’s a tradition the town has had for a long time and that it’s something they like to make special for the kids and community. The video can be viewed on the Chamber of Commerce website if you did not get to see it broadcast live. Although not as many events can happen on the green as they usually do, the Chamber continues to try and make fun experiences for everyone.
The Chamber of Commerce has also created some new activities to spread positivity and fun. One of these activities is a house decorating contest. By Dec. 18, people can register their decorated houses on the Chamber website. They can take a picture of their houses themselves, or choose to get a professional one taken by Jennifer Higham Photography. Ms. Higham says, “We’re gonna split it into the best in the three different sections so Foxon, the Center, and Momauguin and they’ll get a trophy for being the best. Then the overall winner is gonna get a basket of all different gift certificates and fun things from all the different businesses in town.” The voting will be done through Facebook, and a timeline of the entire event can be found on the Chamber website. There is also a plan to create a map of the participating houses so families can drive around and see the displays.
The Chamber also created a letter-writing campaign for kids where they can send an online letter through the Chamber website. They can also send a physical letter to the Chamber and they will receive a letter back from Santa Claus. Even if the events look different this year, they try to provide kids and their families with the same holiday fun as they always have.
If people are looking for activities to do this holiday season, Ms. Higham says they can find information about upcoming events on the East Haven Chamber of Commerce website and Facebook page as well as The Good Things About East Haven Facebook group. Other sources include local newspapers such as the NHRegister, the East Haven Patch, and Zip06. East Haven citizens can learn how to continue to celebrate and spread joy during the holiday season with new and adapted activities.
Watch the Tree Lighting on the Chamber Website: https://easthavenchamber.com/tree-lighting/
Register for the House Decorating Contest: https://easthavenchamber.com/webinars/
Jennifer Higham Photography: https://jenniferhighamphotography.com/
Send a Letter to Santa: https://easthavenchamber.com/letters-to-santa/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/EastHavenChamber/
Good Things About East Haven: https://www.facebook.com/groups/496910110459233/