Haddonfield celebrates the holiday season in a variety of ways

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Haddonfield is known for its many community and spirited events it holds year round. This time of year, residents and visitors got to see the lighting of the holiday tree as well as the giant menorah at Library Point, bringing warmth to the holiday season.

Haddonfield held its annual Holiday Tree Lighting on Nov. 27 and Menorah Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 8 in celebration of the third night of Chanukah. The Holiday Tree Lighting, held the same night as Candlelight Shopping and Small Business weekend, saw hundreds gather around the holiday tree as it was lit to kick off the season. Visitors were able to follow a spirited parade and visit Santa after the lighting.

The Chabad of Camden and Burlington Counties celebrated the Festival of Lights along with the public and community leaders who participated in the lighting. Following the event, there was a program featuring music, latkes and donuts, chocolate Chanukah Gelt for the children, dreidels and family fun.

The Sun asked residents and visitors their thoughts on the borough’s holiday events, as well as inquiring how they celebrate the holiday season.

Overall, people were very happy the borough holds these events.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to begin the season,” Kelly Shirley of Haddonfield said.

“I think it is terrific. It brings the Jewish people from all of the different communities together, and it is just a nice experience. You see different people and have a happy time together,” Norma Goldstein of Mt. Laurel said.

To celebrate the holidays, families had a variety of answers on how they do so. However, they all spoke about family as an important part of how they celebrate.

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Goldstein hangs decorations, lights the menorah every night, sing songs, plays dreidel and eats latkes. She actually has a collection of 55 menorahs. Her daughter is living in Israel, and though it is hard around this time of year for her to be so far, she said they still find ways to talk and give presents.

Haddonfield’s Barbara Furstoss is spending Christmas Eve with her daughter’s family and Christmas Day with her mother-in-law. They decided not to do gifts this year, except for the children. Instead, her extended family has a big party after Christmas where they have a white elephant Christmas exchange.

“It is not about gifts. It is about being with family and celebrating the joy of the holiday,” Furstoss said.

The Shirley family visits their extended family as well, exchanging gifts, eating a big dinner and going to church on Christmas Eve. Kelly’s daughter Olivia said that is her favorite part.

“I like on Christmas Eve that we all come together and exchange gifts,” Olivia said.

For the holiday season, all of the families said they hope people remember the true meaning of the season, the religious aspects of it as well as spending time with family and spreading good will.

“Because of recent events around the world, in Paris and California, the lights from the menorah should bring us all together in a peaceful way. We can all live in this world together in peace,” Goldstein said.

“It is easy for it all to get lost,” Kelly said.