Preparing for the Holidays – by Kaitlyn Collier


Recently, I was asked if I was ready for the holidays. This was probably a week before Thanksgiving, when my day was filled with decorating the Community Center and the surrounding landscape! Those beautiful lights hung at the top of the building and on the bushes that you see as you drive into the parking lot in the evenings? Those were done by yours truly, with help from my elf Ms. Sue. There is not much downtime between Thanksgiving and our December holiday events, so it’s a very busy time for the Special Events Division!

We held six events in the span of 9 days. From November 29 – December 8, we held the Dough Ornaments Workshop, Annual Tree Lighting, Gingerbread House Decorating, Breakfast with Santa, Santa Paws, and the Annual Light Parade. To say that by December 9 my feet were hurting and I was ready to nap all day long would be an understatement! However, seeing all the families and their children attending and enjoying our events feels amazing. There’s something about seeing a child’s face light up when they see Santa strolling by their table while eating pancakes or even seeing a parent’s face light up at the Tree Lighting after everyone counts down from 10 in the dark of the night. Seeing this is truly magical, and it really reminds me of the magic of this time of year.

Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely love Christmas time. I love the feeling this time of year brings. There’s a sense of joy and holiday goodness all around. My love of Christmas translates over into how much I enjoy our holiday events this time of year as well.

One of my favorite aspects of our holiday events is seeing the families who attend grow up. Every year I see children who first came to the events as toddlers now approaching their teenage years. Every single year without fail, these kids enjoy decorating their gingerbread houses and painting their dough ornaments as if it was their first time doing it! Being a part of so many families’ holiday traditions gives me an overwhelming feeling of joy, and it makes me want to keep doing it even more.

So yes, it may get a little crazy during the holidays around here, but I hope you’ll continue to join us at the Community Center to help you and your family get into the holiday spirit!

Kaitlyn Collier is the Special Events Assistant for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at

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