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COVID didn’t cancel Christmas last year but it took some of the fun out of it.

The reason for that is to celebrating Christmas in Kittitas County is a celebration of community as well.

There are events that bring people together throughout the course of the year, but those at the holiday season are ones that almost exclusively feature your neighbors. Standing outside the Davidson Building in typically chilly weather on the Friday night after Thanksgiving is not the same tourist draw as listening to a jazz band on hot summer’s night.

Moments to Remember returned in its traditional form this year with the lighting ceremonies, the “Nutcracker” performances and the living nativity scene, and so did the community.

One of the neat things about Moments to Remember is it is a time when a lot of people who have left Ellensburg either to go to college or eventually move away for career opportunities come back to visit. It functions as a bit of reunion as well as a Christmas celebration.

This weekend features to other classic small-town holiday celebrations — Christmas in Cle Elum and Christmas in Kittitas, both on Saturday.

Christmas is Cle Elum features a popular lighted parade and an aerial fireworks display. While fireworks are a Fourth of July tradition, a compelling case could be made that in the Upper County, fireworks at Christmas in Cle Elum are a better fit. What is undeniable, is they are a lot of fun.

The wildcard with Christmas in Cle Elum each year is whether there will be snow on the ground. As we bask in 60 degree temperatures midweek, that does not seem likely this year, but the forecast on Saturday calls for more seasonable temperatures and possible precipitation.

The parade is at 6 p.m. with fireworks at 7 p.m.

Christmas in Kittitas starts at 5 p.m. Saturday with a winter picnic, with the lighted tractor parade at 6 p.m. and Santa and family activities at 6:30 p.m.

The lighted tractor parade is very popular. The entire event is a fun Kittitas gathering.

Also on Saturday in the Toys for Tots fundraiser organizer by the Downer County Motorcycle Club at the Red Lion in Ellensburg.

This event highlights another element of this season — people in need. The community Thanksgiving meal distribution drew a record number this year. Increases is basic costs, such as food, have hit not just low-income families but also the organizations that try to assist low-income families.

Whether it is making sure a child has a gift to open on Christmas morning or a family has food to eat over the holidays, we’re all going to have to step up and do our part.

But that is what Kittitas County residents do, it’s what they’ve always done — reach out and help neighbors in need.

So this holiday, get out there and enjoy the events that allow us to celebrate together and express the spirit of Christmas by helping others enjoy the holiday as well.

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