By Martin J. Walsh
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa, Boston! This is a special time of the year. It’s a time to spread joy, spend time with family, and show kindness and generosity to others. While people in Boston celebrate many different traditions, we are all united by a love of community, and a commitment to building peace—in our neighborhoods, and throughout our city and the world.
The holidays bring out the best in our city. Our strength is in how we treat one another as neighbors. And when we are all working together to spread happiness and lend a helping hand to those in need, our city thrives.
Throughout December, I’ve been honored to help kick off the holiday season in many special Boston ways. We lit Christmas trees in every neighborhood in Boston, including the Boston Common Christmas tree with our friends from Nova Scotia (and special guest, Dolly Parton!). That same night, I joined Back Bay residents for the Commonwealth Avenue Mall lighting. As part of our annual Mayor’s Enchanted Trolley Tour, we visited 16 communities to light Christmas trees, and highlight the importance of shopping local at Boston’s many small neighborhood businesses.
My favorite part of the holiday season is giving back to the community. Knowing that we can make a child’s day with a gift, or make a hectic season a little easier for parents, is a great feeling. I was excited to take part in many traditions of giving—from ringing the Salvation Army’s bell in Downtown Crossing, to hosting AT&T’s Holiday Phone-A-Thon which helps Bostonians call their friends and family abroad, to helping out at the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots donation warehouse. I also had fun reading holiday stories to children and joining the Boston Police Department and hundreds of kids during their annual Shop With A Cop event. All of these experiences have certainly made my holiday season brighter, and I hope it helped make others’ as well.
I encourage all Bostonians to find ways to get involved in their community and give back. Volunteering for a cause you believe in, or making a donation is a great way to make the holidays extra special. And if you have extra time, help out at a shelter or food bank near where you live. This time of the year can be especially tough for families struggling to make ends meet, and for residents who are experiencing homeless. During these long and cold winter months, it’s important that we look out for one another and make sure people know their community cares about them. Together, we can show what it means to be a city of neighbors helping neighbors.
This holiday season, I’m especially grateful and honored to serve as Mayor of the greatest city on earth. I’m looking forward to all the great things we’ll continue to accomplish together in 2020. I hope you have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season, and I wish you the best in the New Year.
Martin J. Walsh is the Mayor of Boston.