An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Giving The Gift Of Unity And Community

family, holidays and people concept - happy parents with kids outdoors over christmas lights background

There’s no place like home for the holidays and, according to Mayor Kelleen Potter, “One of the best ways to bring a community together is holiday celebrations.”

An Old-Fashioned Christmas, which takes place between the Bank Block building and Heber’s City Center, is a time for the community to come together and — for a night at least — forget personal stresses, life’s worries and the valley’s growing pains.

This cheerful community event is a way to remember what’s most important: each other.

“Slow time down, sit and talk to your neighbor and enjoy a nice evening: that’s the whole purpose of it,” says event creator, Tom Stone. “This growing community will have an opportunity to come together to create unity and community.”

The More, The Merrier

Four years ago, Tom Stone, the manager of Guild Mortgage and owner of the historic Bank Block building, wanted to give back to the Heber Valley by hosting a community-centered Christmas celebration. To do so, he rallied the businesses in his building and together they started a unique local tradition.

The community response to the first celebration was more receptive than Tom could have imagined, and the next year was even bigger. Last year, Heber City stepped up to the plate and added to the activities, especially by way of the tree lighting ceremony.

“Last year, we discussed hosting a similar event with the city as sponsor,” explains Mayor Potter, “but we concluded it would make more sense to team up with the successful Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration. This partnership resulted in a bigger and more widely-supported event. With the beauty of Christmas in our historic downtown, it was truly magical!”

Last year’s attendance was estimated at more than 2,000 people and, as the celebration continues to grow with our community, even more people are expected this year.

A holiday experience meant to delight the young and the young at heart, the festivities will include live reindeer, cookie decorating at the Ideal Theater, writing thank-you letters to servicemen and women, Christmas music, wagon rides, pony rides, food trucks, hot chocolate, an ice sculptor, live musical performances, a scavenger hunt with prizes, tours of the historic Bank Block building, warm fires and a tree lighting ceremony at 7:45 p.m.

“The Old-Fashioned Christmas event is a homegrown event where one can experience the warmth and charm of an ‘old-fashioned Christmas,’” explains Heber City Manager Matt Brower. “The city is honored to partner with Tom Stone to facilitate other traditional elements to the event, such as the tree lighting, caroling and warm chocolate.”

In short, the event includes everything a perfect town Christmas party should! The best part? An Old-Fashioned Christmas is sponsored by some of our local small businesses, so except for optional food and Santa pictures, the event is completely free for all to enjoy!

It’s Better To Give Than Receive

In addition to spreading the holiday cheer, An Old-Fashioned Christmas also gives the gift of charity. Two special families, chosen from those who applied for the local “Shop with a Cop” program, will be VIP guests at the celebration!

“If you come to the help of someone in need at Christmas and you sing around a tree, you just kind of make giving simple,” says Stone. And as we come together as a community to celebrate this holiday season, it’s important to remember how easy it is to help support our neighbors in need. Whether it’s through supporting “Shop with a Cop,” lending a helping hand or donating your time, money or belongings, it always feels better to give than receive.

As for Stone’s gift to the community, the inspiration was simple. “I want people to feel like this is Heber City’s celebration,” he explains. “There was a comment at the party I heard a couple of times: ‘a lot of our economy and effort is put into bringing tourists to the valley. You know, what about just doing something for our city?’ That is what this is.”

So, join your neighbors in celebration at this year’s An Old-Fashioned Christmas. Reminisce on the good old days, make new memories and — most importantly — give and receive the gifts of unity and community at this very special Christmas event.

There’s nothing old-fashioned about that.

Come Celebrate

December 6 | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Ice Sculpting
Cookie Decorating
Live Reindeer
Letters + Coloring
Face Painting
Craft Boothis
Food Trucks
Photos with Santa
Hay Rides
Live Music
Caroling
Tree Lighting

I am a stubborn individual. Many times I have pondered whether this character attribute is, in fact, a virtue or a vice. I can see how being persistent in certain circumstances has led me to personal success. I can also see instances where my refusal to alter a course has brought unnecessary hardship to my life. I suppose the answer lies somewhere within the fabled words of Kenny Rogers in that you need to “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

Life is a gamble these days. The status quo that we knew — even one year ago — no longer exists. The paradigm is shifting to an undefined end. In our current social, political, and economic environment: victories are most often rewarded to those with the most flexibility. However, change is intimidating; and just like a game of cards, making the wrong choice can set you back farther than where you started. The weight of deciding how and when to change any variable of your life can be paralyzing. How does one determine when it is most prudent to stay the course or make a change?

Start by prioritizing regular time for personal introspection. Quiet and meditative time can open windows into your deeper self. I believe that there is a light within our consciousness that (being unaffected by all things temporal) can help us see how things are instead of how they appear. All you have to do is slow yourself down and detach from the world enough to catch a glimpse of that wisdom and light.

Ponder your situation and derive an implementable solution. There is little good in taking on problems that are outside of your sphere of influence. I turn to the oft-quoted ‘Serenity Prayer’ when mitigating stress or anxiety created by things that “I cannot change.”

God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, COURAGE to change the things I can, and WISDOM to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr, American Theologian, 1951

Sins of omission are real. With that stated: it is imperative to recognize that you, as an individual, have little to no control over certain things. Understanding this will help in prioritizing what an implementable change is and what it is not. If the ailment is something that you cannot do anything about — emotionally letting go of that thing could be the exact change needed to find your center again.

When looking to make the world a better place, it is imperative to get your foundation in order first. Make those changes in your own life that will allow you to be a shining example to others first. If you can define your unique personal values: you develop a base of support that will enable you to share yourself with others.

Strength and leadership principles originate in the home. The next place to implement change is at the family level. Strive to create harmony within the relationships that matter most. When outside personal and professional networks see a caring and confident human being with all of their personal affairs in order — they will be more inclined to hear your message.

My challenge to the Heber Valley is to make 2021 a better year than it’s predecessor. We have virtually no control over natural disasters, disease, or pestilence. We may not have much influence at the Federal or State levels of government. However, every individual CAN make changes that will affect their strength and happiness. You can choose to find gratitude in an environment ripe with fear and disaster. We can all positively influence those people that we interact with daily. That is within our control.

Thank you for supporting Heber Valley Life magazine. We live in the best mountain community in the American West. It is my genuine pleasure to highlight those that make it so every season of the year.