Labors of love

Published 6:12 pm Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas parades in the area usually last an hour, maybe a little longer, maybe a little shorter.

The parades help usher in the Christmas spirit, spread Christmas joy and help celebrate Christmas. For parade-watchers, the parades seem to end almost as soon as they begin.

Christmas parades don’t just happen because of Christmas magic. Christmas parades happen because volunteers with organizations — churches, nonprofits and civic clubs — spend hours and hours of planning and organizing myriad details to bring Christmas parade participants together. Someone has to work with the bands, floats and marching groups. Someone has to determine where those bands, floats and marching groups are placed in the parade lineup.

Someone must make sure the Santa Claus gets his invitation to join other holiday revelers in the parade or on the sidewalks watching the bands, floats, antique cars, old-timey tractors and St. Nick make their journeys along the parade route. Those parade organizers have much to do when it comes to putting on a moving show that appeals to young and old.

Many area churches have floats in the parade — floats that tell the story of Christmas. You know: Jesus is the reason for the season. Nonprofit organizations that provide a variety of services to the community will be out, using Christmas parades to remind us of the important work they do for certain segments of the community.

Law-enforcement personnel, EMS personnel, first-responders and other who work to keep us safe throughout the year will appear in the parades, sprinkled between a high school band and a dance group. There likely will be a few politicians in the parade, newly elected or re-elected to their respective offices, thanking those who voted for them.

As important as parade participants are, there would be no parades without the volunteers who gather all the ingredients needed for a successful parade and combine them in a way that makes old and young alike emit “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” as the parade passes by them. Without those dedicated, hard-working volunteers, there would be no parades.

Wave to Santa during the upcoming Christmas parades, but don’t forget to thank the volunteers who worked behind the scenes to bring the Christmas spirit to the community.

Merry Christmas!