The holiday spirit lit up Shorewood.
A number of residents and community leaders gathered on Nov. 22 for the village of Shorewood’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting.
Mayor Rick Chapman said holding the event means a lot to him.
“It means a ton to me because this was a vision that I had to build (Town Center Park) out here for the village, so that we had a place to do things like this,” he said.
Shorewood officials first moved into its current home at 1 Town Center Blvd. in 2007, at which time the village was looking to develop space for a park. Today, this area also includes a veterans’ memorial.
This year served as the fifth annual Holiday Tree Lighting for the village. Among those in attendance for the Shorewood event was 16-year-old Madi Zurawski.
“It’s really nice because it’s actually my neighbors who donated the tree,” the Shorewood resident. “It was really nice to see how much it contributed to our community.”
This year was Zurawski’s first time taking part in the holiday tree lighting festivities.
Zurawski said holiday season brings great meaning to her.
“It means family and spending a lot of time with my friends,” she said.
Noting that the holiday season is designed to create cheer, Zurawski said it also serves as a great way to strengthen the greater community.
“I think it’s a good time to like spread joy to people that even you don’t know, try and contribute to happiness in the world,” she said.
Lori Motsch, of Shorewood, was in attendance for the festivities with her husband, Jim. She said she’s pleased by the way the community has embraced the tree they donated to the village.
“I was just noticing that when we brought our youngest son home from the hospital, we would take all of our family photos in front of this tree,” she said. “I’m noticing all the [people] taking their pictures in front of the tree and it just reminds me of exactly what we did from the time he was born and his older sister—who’s coming home from college right now… So many memories in front of that tree, just glad that the village can have it for memories with families in our wonderful town.”
The Motsch’s tree weighs nearly 500 pounds.
Lori said giving the tree to the village made sense to she and her family.
“It’s a very special tree, too, because we shared it with our neighbor who just recently passed away,” she said. “It encroached on his yard and that was the topic of our conversations. We were neighbors and we would talk when we were doing yard work.”
Noting that the holiday season is her favorite time of year, Lori said she was excited to help kick off the festivities with the rest of the community.
Jim mirrored that sentiment.
“We just think it’s a great thing and we’re glad to have the opportunity to do it,” he said.
Roger Lovati, of Joliet, was in attendance for the holiday tree lighting with his family. He said it was important for him to celebrate the start of the season.
“It means support to the community; it means family; it means togetherness, unity,” he said. “It teaches my son what people need to keep, as far as an aspect of being thankful for all of the traditional things that you look for in family.”
Lovati, noting that it’s a tradition for he and his family to drop in for the holiday tree lighting, said it’s always a worthwhile experience for them.
Chapman said the event plays an important part in bringing the community together.
“We have to. I mean if we don’t get together, that’s the problem,” he said. “It gives a chance to get out and mingle with your neighbors that you don’t see all year. Things like this are important for a community.”