Being a Grinch in Yukon is pretty much impossible, especially over the past week.
Yes, I am that guy.
I am the guy who never seems to be in the holiday spirit. There’s too much to do, too little time to do it.
Oh, I get it.
I have a “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” on my desk with a dancing Snoopy and a Rockin’ Penquin. “That’s all the Christmas spirit I have,” I joke with coworkers.
I find GIFs of the Grinch in my emails and texts.
Yes, I chuckle.
Actually, I do have the holiday spirit, but in an industry where you face more bad news than good news, it’s difficult to smile and be cheerful all the time. I write about the worst in people more often than not.
Then this past week happened.
It was a week where Yukon’s heart showed and the holiday spirit prevailed.
A night of holiday music presented by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, featuring Broadway star Elizabeth Stanley. At least 2,000 people were tapping their toes and chuckling at the Sounds of the Season.
Smiles were everywhere as the Yukon Fine Arts Auditorium was filled with the holiday spirit.
Downtown, people braved the chilly air, eating popcorn, sipping hot chocolate, taking rides in a one-horse open sleigh (OK, a carriage, but still) and watching holiday gunfights during Yukon 66 Main Street’s Christmas on Main Street event.
My friend Chris Eversole braved the evening’s chill to shoot photos of the night.
But it was Saturday that showed the true spirit of Christmas.
Dozens of volunteers from both Yukon and Mustang turned out to help make Christmas Christmas for more than 300 families.
Santa’s Toy Shoppe brought both chuckles and tears, from the woman who had just been diagnosed with cancer and was getting toys and books and games for her three children, to the woman who was down on her luck, but felt like she had won the lottery and would have presents under the tree for her five children.
“This is our Christmas,” she said with a big smile on her face as a volunteer loaded a new bicycle into the back of her car.
It was a day where it was impossible to not get in to the Christmas spirit.
And I wasn’t alone. Volunteers from every walk of life were there to help participants shop.
Firefighters from both Yukon and Mustang dropped off load after load of toys.
Yukon football players helped deliver packages to recipients’ cars. Members of the Yukon Tennis Team showed up Friday night to help prepare the building for the next day’s activities.
Members of the Yukon Public Schools and Yukon City Council turned out to give a helping hand.
For Jim Poe, president of Santa’s Toy Shoppe, it was great day.
“I’m absolutely happy with the response. Things couldn’t have gone better,” Poe said.
Meanwhile, the Yukon School District’s Santa’s Helpers program handed out more than $6,500 to families in the Yukon School District.
The program provides for families who have fallen on hard times.
“When we have those families that are falling on hard times, we try to find resources … to get what they need at home so they can come to school and be prepared to learn,” D’Lynn Koontz, director of community education said recently.
The families were asked to come to the school administration building last week, where they were handed a gift card that they could use on virtually anything they needed — to pay a bill or to buy presents.
The money is donated not only by the public, but by the district’s employees as well.
Then Monday, the spirit of the holidays continued as hundreds of people turned out for the Yukon Chamber of Commerce’s Yuletide Express Departure Party.
More than $5,000 in Santa Bucks was given away as parents and children alike braved the cool weather to enjoy crafts, games and train rides at 10 West Main.
The Christmas Bucks can only be used at the more than 60 participating businesses, but for at least 13 families, it means a happy holiday.
Chamber officials say more than 77,000 tickets were handed out during the monthlong event.
And let’s not forget Christmas in the Park. So, far this season, at least 35,000 cars have made their way through the annual lighting display.
At least nine people have popped “the question” in front of the “Will You Marry Me” display.
The lighting display will be open until New Year’s Eve, so there is still plenty of time.
With all of the activities that are going on, even I have a hard time staying a Grinch.
Thanks Yukon. And Merry Christmas.