By Ted AYALA
Glendale boys and girls of all ages – be they naughty or nice – enjoyed an early visit from Santa Claus who took a break from his workshop at the North Pole to sit in as guest of honor at the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at city hall on Wednesday. Approximately 300 people attended the event, which offset the chillier than usual weather with plenty of holiday warmth.
Mayor Dave Weaver and Councilmembers Ara Najarian, Frank Quintero, and Zareh Sinanyan along with representatives of Congressman Adam Schiff were among the dignitaries on hand to ring in the holiday season in Glendale. Councilmember Laura Friedman was unable to attend.
Musical performances from local Glendale schools were also featured on the program, including a lively take on Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” from the Cerritos Elementary School chorus.
Taking the dais, Mayor Weaver preceded the Christmas tree lighting with sobering words reminding the audience to not take the season cheer for granted.
“When you see all the problems and tragedies around the world, but we live in a country like ours, it’s easy to forget why we should be thankful,” he said. “To be able to worship how we want … to believe in Santa Claus if we want. Some countries don’t have that.”
He also reminded the audience of the havoc caused in the Philippines by Typhoon Hainan last month, which devastated a swath of the island nation, left thousands dead, and displaced over 1 million people.
“We have to be extremely grateful for the country that we live in,” Weaver added.
Councilmember Sinanyan echoed Weaver’s remarks, adding that Glendale residents should keep victims of Typhoon Hainan and the ongoing Syrian Civil War in mind during this holiday season.
“We hope that next year is brings us joy not only for us, but for everyone,” he said.