December 13th 2020

Your neighbors at HHNA and WSN (Holland Historic Neighborhood Association and
Washington School Neighbors) have been trying to think how we could plan some kind of
neighborhood holiday activity that brings us together, while also keeping us (safely) apart. So
many are going into December this year lacking some of the joy and enthusiasm we often
bring to the holidays, and missing many things that usually make this time of year special.
And don’t we all keep hearing about how people in certain parts of the world have no problem
being outside in the coldest winter, enjoying the weather and each other (while wearing the
right clothing, of course), and that this would be perfect for these COVID-infested times. In
the spirit of channeling some of that cold-weather-loving energy, we are suggesting a few
different activities that anyone can partake in.

  1. Light up your house or apartment, inside or outside, for your neighbors to enjoy.
    This year, remember that each of us who strings up holiday lights brings a little more light and
    joy to their neighbors, and the neighborhood. No need to be elaborate unless you want – a
    strand of tree lights around a window or door, electric candles twinkling from windows,
    decorations on your bushes – all of it will combine together to make our neighborhood feel a
    littler cozier (or Hygge! – it’s Danish…)
  2. Speaking of Denmark, the Danes have a tradition of hanging red and white hearts in their
    windows in the winter, and this seems like a fun activity for all of us stuck inside during this
    cold month.
    Lisa Kasten will have red and white papers in the info box at the WSN gathering space (corner of
    Maple and West 10th), as well as a pattern to create these. Here is a video how-to.
    WSN will also have blank greeting cards in a plastic box, for neighbors to write a message and drop off to another neighbor.
  3. Both the Swedish and our Minnesota neighbors apparently love to make ice luminaries in
    the winter to set outside, lining sidewalks. These are frozen ice lanterns, holding candles or a
    strand of lights, which twinkle and are atmospheric. More how-to videos!
  4. Finally, we encourage everyone to get their decorations out by Sunday, December 13, and
    then take the opportunity that afternoon or early evening to walk through the neighborhood,
    looking for neighbors’ lights, hearts in the windows, ice luminaries, and maybe even seeing
    some of your neighbors outside (in the proper clothing, of course…), sipping a hot beverage,
    breathing in the cold, fresh almost-winter air, and being thankful to be part of an amazing

Have fun neighbors!