Published in the December 2, 2015 edition


holiday-bell-webLYNNFIELD — It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The Town Common is the place to be on Saturday, Dec. 5 when Lynnfield officially rings in the holidays. The Town Common will be home to the annual Tree Lighting ceremony and 53rd annual Country Store, while Centre Congregational Church will once again be hosting the Gingerbread House Contest and “A Night in Bethlehem.” After a holiday soaker last year, the organizers of four events are hoping for better weather on Saturday.

The Tree Lighting ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. when refreshments will be served. Santa will be making a pit stop in Lynnfield while getting ready for his annual Christmas voyage around the world. During his visit, Santa will be passing out candy canes to make sure local youngsters, with the goal being keeping them on the “nice list.” Parents are encouraged to bring cameras to take pictures of their children with Santa.

The Girl Scouts of Lynnfield and the Lynnfield High School Tri-M Music Honor Society will kick off the community singing segment of the event, which will feature holiday selections, at 4:15 p.m.

Selectmen Chairman Phil Crawford will welcome townspeople to the event. The festivities will conclude with the annual lighting of the trees.

Gingerbread House Contest

The highly anticipated 11th annual Gingerbread House Contest will also take place during the Tree Lighting ceremony at Centre Congregational Church. The contest organized by Lynnfield Recreation and the Girl Scouts of Lynnfield will take place from 10 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.

The entry fee for a 12” x 12” gingerbread house is $10. The fee for a 24”x18” gingerbread house is $20. The fee for a combination of sizes is $25. Gingerbread House Contest participants will be able to set up their gingerbread houses on Friday, Dec. 4.

Gingerbread houses will be judged in the following categories: Most original theme; best authentic construction; most creative use of materials; favorite story book; best replica of a notable building, best in show; best holiday spirit; group best; family best; best adult (ages 18-99); best teen (ages 14-17); best youth (ages 10-13), and best children (9 and under).

The final category is the popular viewers’ choice, which will be voted on by all who enter.

Contest rules

Gingerbread House Contest participants are required to follow these rules.

• Gingerbread houses: Imagination is encouraged.

• Authentic categories: Entries must be made from gingerbread using only food materials.

• Kits are allowed but imagination is encouraged to make each gingerbread house look different.

• Accessories such as little plastic animals and trees are permitted but participants are encouraged to keep them to a minimum.

• Individual entries must be on a base no bigger than 12”x12.”

• Group/family entries must be on a base no bigger than 24”x18.” Any larger sizes must be on two separate boards and participants will be required to pay for two entries.

• Gingerbread houses must be dropped off between 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4 at Centre Congregational Church.

• All entries must be picked up by 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. Any house not picked up will be thrown away and the clean up deposit of $25 will be charged to the participant’s account. All houses are to be picked up through the rear entrance of the church on the parking lot side.

In order to register for the Gingerbread House Contest, visit the Lynnfield Recreation website at If residents have any questions, contact Recreation Director Julie Mallett at 781-334-9488 or

Country Store

Lynnfield will begin the holiday season kickoff celebration at 9 a.m. when the Old Meeting House gets transformed into the Historical Society’s 53rd annual Country Store.

This year’s Country Store will feature beautifully decorated wreaths and swags. There will also be delicious food available for townspeople to purchase such as Vermont Cabot Cheese, ham and bean suppers to go, homemade baked goods and popcorn.

Santa Claus will once again be arriving from the North Pole courtesy of a Lynnfield fire engine. Santa will arrive at 10:30 a.m. and will be taking photos with the kids upstairs in the Meeting House.

Additionally, Mrs. Claus’ Snacks and Lunch Kitchen will be at the Country Store. The Village Home and Garden Club will be selling decorated trees. The Country Store will also be selling singing Marshes Jelly and Jam and the Centre Club Lottery Contest.

The Country Store will feature a lot of fun activities for children as well. There will be a tree ornament making station and Santa’s Five and Dime, where local children can pick out gifts for their friends and family and have them wrapped at the Meeting House. Colby Properties is sponsoring the popular Santa’s North Pole Fishing Hole once again.

The Country Store will remain open through the Tree Lighting ceremony.

A Night in Bethlehem

Centre Congregational Church will be hosting its third annual “A Night in Bethlehem” on Dec. 5 from 3-6 p.m. The event gives townspeople an opportunity to experience the first Christmas Eve.

As part of “A Night in Bethlehem,” shepherds corralling sheep and a group of Roman soldiers station will greet townspeople before people enter the church. Once inside, townspeople will take a census and will learn from the innkeeper there are no rooms available.

A living nativity scene featuring Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus located in the church’s sanctuary will headline “A Night in Bethlehem.” There will also be a Three Wise Men tent set up inside the church.

Residents will have an opportunity to experience a Bethlehem marketplace inside of Centre Congregational Church as well. The marketplace will feature a bakery, carpentry shop, leather shop, scroll maker, weaving station and more. There will also be a photo booth where townspeople can take a picture while wearing Bethlehem inspired attire for a nominal fee.

“A Night in Bethlehem” organizer Dotty Whittier said she is looking forward to the event once again.

“We think it’s a great way to get people in the Christmas spirit,” said Whittier. “The town center is certainly the place to be on the afternoon of Dec. 5.”