(November 17, 2012) This is one of my favorite times of the year as we prepare for the holiday season ahead. From gathering around the Thanksgiving table with family, to festive celebrations with friends, and finally, the peace of a Christmas Eve candlelight service, I treasure each moment with friends and family.
It’s also the time of year when I am reminded of the many blessings we enjoy not only as Americans, but as residents of the Rockwall County area. We truly are blessed. The Holiday season begins with Thanksgiving, and this year as each of us is giving thanks for all that we have, I would encourage everyone to look for opportunities to be a blessing to others.
To highlight some of these opportunities, we proclaimed November 30 as the official Holiday Kick-Off Day at our last City Council meeting, thereby encouraging all Heath residents to participate in the upcoming Holiday festivities.
November 30 begins with the Heath Holiday Home Tour, an annual tradition presented by the Senior Class of Rockwall-Heath High School. All proceeds go towards an After-Prom Party hosted at Shenaniganz. The party provides a safe and fun environment for our students to continue their celebration with food, activities and prizes from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Five Heath homes will be decorated to the hilt and open for self-guided touring from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The homes will also feature live entertainment and raffle drawings for prizes. So please get a ticket, support our fantastic graduating students, and be sure to visit all of these homes. You can purchase tickets for $15 in advance at several locations including the high school, or $20 at the door. I want to say a special “Thank You” to all of the families who have opened their homes to support this event, and especially to my wife, Mary, since our home will be one of those included in the Tour this year.
Later in the day on November 30, I want to invite all Heath residents to gather at Heath’s Towne Center Park for the Annual Holiday in the Park presented by the City’s Special Events Board. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and include the tree lighting and wonderful Christmas music performed by the honor choirs of Amy Parks and Pullen Elementary Schools.
We’ll also welcome Santa to Heath, and he’ll have plenty of time for cozy visits with our youngest citizens and guests. Parents, be sure to bring your cameras for these special photo opportunities. The children can also take a ride around Towne Center Park on a miniature train, and we’ll warm up with hot cocoa, wassail and home-baked Christmas cookies provided by Rockwall Women’s League and National Charity League. This is always a special evening in our community, and I look forward to seeing you there.
Holiday in the Park will launch the City’s canned food drive, benefiting Rockwall County Helping Hands. This is a wonderful, yet simple way to bless others in our community who are in need of some assistance during the Holiday season, so please bring your donations to the event. The City will continue to collect canned food in the foyer of City Hall throughout the holiday season. If you miss Holiday in the Park, feel free to drop off your items any weekday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. City staff will be sure that your donations are delivered to Helping Hands.
Another fantastic event benefiting Helping Hands also occurs on November 30 at the Hilton Bella Harbor: The Festival of Trees Dinner and Auction! The evening begins with a cocktail reception and Christmas Tree auction at 6 p.m., followed by a seated dinner at 7 p.m.
The enchanting forestof Christmas trees to be auctioned at the gala can be viewed at the Hilton Bella Harbor from November 25 until the 30. You can get into the Christmas spirit by bringing a new, unwrapped toy for the annual Helping Hands toy drive. For information about these activities, please visit rockwallhelpinghands.com.
Writing this column and sharing just a few of ways that we can both gather and give as a community this holiday season is one more blessing I can count in my own life. I am very grateful for the privilege of serving as your Mayor. The past year has been filled with many accomplishments, and I want to personally thank the volunteers, members of our boards and commissions, City staff and City council members for their energy, dedication and vision.
The unwavering commitment of each of these people is a large part of what makes Heath and Rockwall County such a special place to live and a place that we are each blessed to call home.