Merry Christmas, North Salem

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Santa Claus takes a moment on Christmas Eve before making his deliveries. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

The Town of North Salem kicked off the Christmas holiday Saturday night with its annual Christmas Eve celebration at the town tree. 

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

Despite bitterly cold temperatures, community members bundled up and came together to mark the occasion.

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

The event, hosted by the North Salem Improvement Society, featured hot chocolate, cider and cookies, a bonfire, caroling, Christmas trees decorated by various town organizations and a visit from Santa. Members of the North Salem Police Department and Croton Falls Fire Department were on hand to keep things safe.

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

One item noticeably absent from this year’s event was Santa’s bench, which had been lovingly handcrafted by the family of Amy Post, co-president of the Improvement Society. Earlier this week, Improvement Society members discovered that the bench was missing from the park and publicly pleaded with community members with knowledge of its whereabouts to come forward. The bench remained missing on Christmas Eve and Santa had to make do with an alternate bench provided by the town.

Still, by all accounts last night’s event was another success. “It was a magical night despite the cold and the missing bench,” said Post. “Just lovely.”

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo

The community Christmas tree has been a North Salem tradition for about a century. In the early 1920s, two local residents constructed a large tree out of fir branches to honor the season. The trees and celebrations have evolved over the ensuing decades but the spirit of gathering community members together remains.

Photo by Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo
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