It is the Holiday Season in Otsego County New York, and by the time you read this, it’s a good bet we have a decent amount of snow on the ground. Nothing says local community like Christmas time. The Holiday Parade was rained out but rescheduled. The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Muller Plaza came shortly thereafter, and Santa is in residence at his cottage on Fridays and Saturdays through Christmas Eve this year. Hill City Celebrations (formerly First Night Oneonta) has brought back the Festival of Lights in Neahwa Park, and another First Night Celebration will be held at the Foothills Performing Arts Center on New Year’s Eve.
Numerous locally owned shops throughout the county have been doing brisk business thanks to your support. It is heart-warming to see how this community supports local businesses that provide such a unique flavor to the area. Sure, it’s snowy and cold, but who would have it any other way in this beautiful corner of the globe (or snow globe).
This is also a season to look back at the year gone by and reflect. As with any year, there are always highlights, victories and a few tragic losses that mark the passage of time. But 2022 brought about our emergence from the COVID pandemic. It saw all of us get back to the business of our lives, seeing friends and family once again after so long apart. We grieve for the over one million souls we lost to the greatest health crisis in a century, and we will forever be grateful to the millions of “essential” human beings that put themselves at risk so that the rest of us could try to stay as healthy as possible. But we have come out the other side.
The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce experienced a rebirth as well. We have new leadership, a new staff and new plans for the future. This Spring brought our first public event since 2020, and we all enjoyed a beautiful night of beautiful weather, fine food and drink, music, and recognition. But it was the friendship and camaraderie we enjoyed most. Our Pickleball and Golf outings, ribbon cuttings, member mixers and our Annual Meeting in November truly proclaimed that the Chamber, like our area, is back in business. And we are looking forward to a 2023 full of promise and possibilities.
To all our friends throughout Otsego County, we wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a Joyous Kwanza, a great Yule and even a wonderful Festivus (for the rest of us). It doesn’t matter what this time of celebration is called in your home, it should not be lost on anyone that this time of year is special to us all. It is a time of miracles, peace, and love.
For me, the Christmas Season will always be synonymous with Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! For you youngsters out there, this is not a feature film starring Jim Carey. It is a 30-minute cartoon (with commercials) featuring the voice of Boris Karloff. Feel free to Google away! In this 1966 classic, there are many lessons to be learned. For me, however, there is one that outshines the rest. This golden nugget of wisdom applies to the season, no matter how you pronounce its name. “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more…. And when the true meaning of Christmas came through, the Grinch got the strength of ten Grinches, plus two.”
On behalf of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce and our nearly 400 members, I wish you the happiest of holidays, a wonderful and prosperous New Year, and the strength of ten Grinches. Plus two.