Chestnut Hill tree-lighting ceremony exudes neighborhood’s ‘magical’ charm

Although the city isn’t slated to light its Christmas tree in Love Park for a few weeks, some Northwest Philadelphia residents kicked off the holiday season Friday night with a slightly smaller spectacle.

“The Circle of Trees” ceremony was held on the lawn of the Christ Ascension Lutheran Church in Chestnut Hill.

Peggy Miller, manager of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, said the event was resurrected about a decade ago. It’s become a small neighborhood-based tradition.

“People don’t come from far and wide for this, it’s mostly local folks,” Miller said. “It’s a fun way to kick off the holiday season.”

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During the ceremony, four trees on the church’s property, located at 8300 Germantown Avenue, were decorated with white lights.

The festivities also included snacks, music by the Mummers and a visit from Santa Claus. Unwrapped gifts were also donated to Toys for Tots, a program that collects toys for children whose parents can’t afford them during the holidays.

“I think it’s nice for neighborhoods to have little traditions that the kids grow up with and they have them each year,” Miller said. “Years from now, they’ll be bringing their kids to this.”

After arriving via fire truck, Santa Claus was swarmed by young children.

Jennifer Pearcy, who’s lived in the community for just over a year, attended the ceremony for the first time. Pearcy had her son, two daughters and two nieces in tow.

“Our friend who’s lived here for a couple of years said they had the Mummers and the cookies and the juice boxes. We have a couple of younger children so we thought they’d have fun with it,” she said.

Pearcy lived in Wayne, Pa. before moving to Chestnut Hill. The Circle of Trees” ceremony reminded her of the Delaware County town’s commitment to community.

“We didn’t know much about Chestnut Hill when we moved here and we just can’t believe how great these kinds of nights are and how much town, community feeling there is,” she said.”I think it makes it a magical place to live.”

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