(WMG) As 2018 races to the end, many of us are struggling just to keep up with all the events that crowd our calendars this time of year. Before I had a chance to leisurely enjoy a few cold turkey sandwiches from leftovers of our Thanksgiving feast, holiday lights and Christmas trees were popping up all around me. 

Being no Scrooge, I quickly finished off the last of the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and got to work pulling out holiday decorations. The month of December kicks off early with my birthday celebration, races full speed ahead through community holiday gatherings, city events, holiday cheer, cookie production, dinner parties, Christmas, more birthday celebrations, all building to a crescendo as we end the month welcoming in the New Year. 

Once again, we enter into the holiday season wondering where all the fairies are here in the Island City. I am talking lights, fairy lights, that should be illuminating The Drive from one end to the other, turning our city center into a holiday wonderland. Strings of fairy lights all up and down, over and across, blinking and twinkling above our heads. Alas, looks like I’ll have to ask Santa for that Christmas wish again next year. 

Wait a minute, I figured out how to expedite my wish and not wait until next year. I headed over to the City of Oakland Park’s 3rdAnnual Holiday Village this past weekend for a taste of our sister city’s holiday merriment.  Santa was there, so I grabbed my wish list and headed right over to see him in person. 

Oakland Park’s Holiday spirit seems to be growing each year. No wonder Santa is over there greeting his believers and enjoying some cheer at the Funky Buddha. Less adventurous residents not making it over to the Oakland Park Holiday Village might have caught a glimpse of a few of Santa’s elves out and about later in the evening at Alibi’s and Hunters having a bit of merriment of their own before heading back to the North Pole. 

We might not have our fairy lights draped across Wilton Drive yet, but our island city has many holiday festivities scheduled this season. The annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony was held this past week with the lighting of the city’s Christmas Tree, Menorah, and Kinara. 

Our Wilton Manors Business Association, along with the city, will present “Holiday Spectacular in the Park” Dec. 10  at Richardson Park. When Santa does come to town on Wednesday Dec. 12, he takes his entourage on a water sleigh around our Island City waterways, greeting residents along the way. Local youngsters can have Breakfast with Santa at the Hagen Park Community Center on Dec. 15, along with story time and pony rides. Tickets are needed for the event at Richardson and for Breakfast with Santa. You can contact the city’s Leisure Services Department for additional information on these wonderful events. 

As we move ahead with the new Wilton Drive, hopefully future holiday festivities and decorations will be planned to “wow” children of all ages here in our Island City. 

Perhaps the Wilton Drive Improvement District will lead the way once we get beyond the construction this year and begin to enjoy the new and improved city center. Still looking ahead with wishful hopes and excitement of the season, a whole list of new wonders might grace Santa’s return to our Island City next year. 

Maybe he will see the long overdue gateway signs welcoming visitors as they enter our wonderful city. Perhaps Andrews Avenue will start taking on a new look once the drawn-out redevelopment plans have finally been put into place. Perhaps some long dormant parcels and vacant commercial properties will finally be developed into wonderful additions to our city’s landscape.  There are plenty of items on our city’s wish list that are currently in the works, but we might want to pick up the pace on finally getting some of them checked off.  Santa is looking forward to seeing a few new things around town when he arrives back in South Florida next holiday season. 

Our new Mayor and City Commission are now in place, and I have total confidence in their commitment to move our city ahead in the years to come. Residents can also play an active role in city government by seeking appointment to a city board, advisory committee, or in so many other volunteer efforts. So, after we enjoy this holiday season, finish toasting in the New Year, and putting away the fairy lights until next year, take a moment to ponder what you can do to make life in our Island City even better here.

Happy holidays to all! 

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Check out our related SFGN 2018 Gift Guide