WRITERS’ SERIES: Christmas Wonders

(Editor’s note: With the holiday season more needed than ever after a year that has been challenging to say the least, The Westfield News asked several members of the WhipCity Wordsmiths to share a thoughtful recollection of years past. We hope this series of cherished holiday memories by local writers  will enlighten you and perhaps even remind you of a time from your past that you also treasure.)


Kelly Buffum is a lifelong city resident, growing up on the north side and now living in her own home on the south side. She has published three novels, most recently “Hawkists,” one novella, and a ghost story anthology titled “Short ’n Spooky” that was released in October. Her books are available from Blue Umbrella Books on Main Street in Westfield and online. Buffum and her mother, Susan Buffum, founded the WhipCity Wordsmiths, a writer/author social and support group, in June 2017.

Buffum has titled her recollection “Christmas Wonders” for our readers.

Christmas Wonders

When I was younger the holidays were always a special time of fun and family gatherings. 

A gathering of residents on Park Square Green during the annual Tree Lighting celebration nods to the former “Carol Sing” event hosted by The Westfield Evening News each year. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS PHOTO)

One of the highlights of the beginning of the season was traveling downtown to my grandparents’ house. From there, my mother and I would walk to the green. First came the Carol Sing. Then Santa, carried aboard one of the fire engines with full lights and sirens. Santa would visit then disappear; returning to view atop Palczynski’s where everyone could see him. Finally there was the tree lighting. The magical moment as the big colored lights popped to life amid the snow on the tall pines still stays with me.

But what was even better was the detour we’d take on our return trip. That was when we could go to the Christmas House on Bush Street. It was a home full of holiday magic. Miniature Christmas villages gave way to Christmas dolls and other decorations. Every room was packed with wonder. Best yet, Mrs. Clause herself (Mrs. Schmidt) was waiting to greet you with delicious cookies in the kitchen, a treat before you were sent back out in the cold. The tour ended with the backyard full of holiday lights. 

It was truly amazing and is still, over twenty years later, the first thing that I remember when asked for a favorite Westfield holiday memory.

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