A few thoughts on HMB holidays

 Dear Editor:

Half Moon Bay, like towns and cities all over the world, held its annual tree-lighting ceremony on the last weekend in November to kick off the holiday season. Lights and candles are symbols of the divine presence within our lives, and our desire to cast away the darkness of gloom and despair, and replace it with the brightness of hope and renewal.

The Christmas season, or Advent, symbolizes preparing for rebirth. So, what was the deal at this ceremony of announcing townspeople who died? Mourning death has its place, but it’s not Christmas. Our fascination with death lately seems like people just discovered that we don’t live forever.

I’m not Jewish, but I love Hanukkah traditions. When teaching, our class exchanged Secret Santa gifts, made both latkes and ornaments, and played dreidel. Unlike the Christmas season, Hanukkah lasts for eight days, and this year the first lighting of the menorah takes place on Dec. 18. The Hanukkah celebration deserves its own ceremony, when it’s ... Hanukkah.

I’ve criticized Half Moon Bay's aesthetic sense and party-giving skills before, so before I do again, I want to say that the mural on Cunha Country Grocery is fantastic. The trees wrapped in warm fairy lights on Main Street and the shop windows give our town a magical feel. But ...

That tree, and the whole of Mac Dutra Plaza, needs help. The red and white bulbs above the park look like airplane landing lights or some kind of topping for an ambulance. The small forlorn tree, festooned with ugly blue-white LED lights and a few scattered McDonald’s advertisements is sad. The towering menorah, smooshed up against the tree, looks like jail bars incarcerating it. The huge shopping bags around the tree emphasize the consumer aspect of Christmas rather than the higher meaning: Peace on earth and goodwill to men.

Chris Voisard

Half Moon Bay

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