Chestnut Hill: Tree-Lighting Ceremony Serves as Neighborhood Tradition

The tree-lighting ceremony was held on the lawn of the Christ Ascension Lutheran Church.

Although the city isn’t slated to light its tree in Love Park for a few weeks, some in the Northwest 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.

As it has for about 10 years, Chestnut Hill held a tree-lighting ceremony, known as the Circle of Trees, on the lawn of the Christ Ascension Lutheran Church, at 8300 Germantown Ave.

Peggy Miller, manager of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, said a similar event had been held approximately 25 years ago, and the neighborhood resurrected it about a decade ago. It’s become a small neighborhood tradition, she said.

“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.”

Four trees on the lawn were decorated with white lights.

The ceremony offered snacks, music by the Mummers and a visit from Santa Claus. Unwrapped gifts were also accepted for 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 firetruck, Santa Claus was swarmed by young children.

Jennifer Pearcy, who’s lived in the community since September 2011, attended the ceremony for the first time. Pearcy brought her two daughters, son and two nieces to the event.

“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, she said.

“Wayne actually has a lovely little town, too, and is well known for its community,” Pearcy said. “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.”

“I think it makes it a magical place to live,” she said. “I think this place is amazing.”

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