I want to take a few moments to wish each of you a very Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year. This is an exciting time of year when families and friends gather to share stories of the past year and to look forward to what the new year will bring. It is a difficult time for some who are unable to share the joy of this season. I hope this year each of us make a point to reach out and help others. Often just the simple act of asking brightens someone’s day and will fill you with the true essence of this holiday.

I have just concluded my first year as mayor, an honor I do not take lightly. I have tried to make myself available as much as possible. I have listened to your comments and concerns related to what has been working well and what needs additional attention. I look forward to the upcoming year and working closer with each of you.

This season brings memories of years past and the traditions that play such an important part of who we are. Our village is filled with traditions and a tremendous history of helping others. Scotia has always looked after their own. Caring organizations like Scotia Relief, Fresh Table of Scotia-Glenville and all of our community charitable organizations to name a few. Multi-generational families fill our village creating a family inside a family feel.

I thought I might share a brief look into one of my family traditions. Growing up in an Italian household, the Holiday season was a gaggle of activity. Every night starting two to three weeks before the holiday there was a frantic attempt to keep on track with the “Holiday to Do Calendar.” This was painstakingly created after months of family discussion. Making the homemade macaroni, pierogi, sauce, pastries and cookies all from scratch. Preparing the seafood for cooking, creating new menu items, making sure the wine cabinet was full, and oh yes finding time for the dreaded shopping. Somehow mixed in with this craziness was the decorating of the house and tree. As children we had the added chaos of my father’s market. It was the busiest time of the year for family activities and the store. Late evenings, hard work and stress of worrying this was the year we would fall short of all our deadlines. But would I trade it? Not for anything in the world. The rituals of the holiday culminated in a two-day celebration of Christmas. Traditions we still hold to today. Family, friends and others with no place else to go celebrating the holiday together and breaking bread. It has changed over the years and that is not a bad thing. Dad and the store are no longer with us. The “elders” are my generation and the tradition of delivering turkeys and hams to customers we knew could not afford to buy one is replaced by helping those in need in a different way. But those traditions have been replaced with Village Lights and reaching out to those alone on the holiday. Today we also honor those who have passed on from our dinner table with song favorites of those individual’s, sung from the heart and with enough love we know they can hear us. Songs like Edelweiss for my Father-In-law, and Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle, an Italian Christmas song for mom and dad.

I share this memory to convey my belief of how important it is to recognize what has made us who we are and to be thankful for what we share together, our great village.

As we enter the Holiday Season and our calendars turn to 2024, we should reflect on this past year with gratitude and pride but also look forward with great hope that next year will again restore our souls and hopefully bring peace to our world. Let’s not forget those less fortunate in our community who are alone and those struggling to provide for their families. By sharing a gesture of kindness such as sharing a meal or an impromptu visit to someone who is alone will often turn someone’s despair into hope and a frown into a smile.

May your Holiday celebration bring you warmth, happiness and an abundance of joy.

I close with this message from Winston Churchill:

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.