Progress happens when we have the confidence to share our ideas and the resources and support to make them happen. A perfect example of this? The Annual West Pullman Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

“I have an idea.” It took only these four words and the encouragement of her fellow Community Action Group members for Shirley Holden to begin the West Pullman community’s Tree Lighting tradition. 

Overflowing with food, friendship and laughter, the Tree Lighting has become a vibrant event that residents look forward to each winter season. In partnership with CAPS, Saints Peter and Paul Church, Habitat Chicago and more, dozens of West Pullman community members spend months planning the celebration, motivated by the joy they know it will undoubtedly bring.  

Friends, old and new, come together to share a meal, engage in conversation and celebrate the holidays. From caroling to tree decorating contests to an appearance from special guest, Santa Claus, the Tree Lighting Ceremony represents the profound, too often untold, good that West Pullman residents are driving in their community.  

Neighbors swell with pride as they talk about the event. The Tree Lighting Ceremony represents exactly what Halema Younger and so many other residents know to be true: “We are in a very good community and we want a stronger future in our community for our kids and grandkids– we just need to come together like we are right now and stand up for it.”

When it comes to the importance of the Tree Lighting ceremony, Shirley said it best, “When we’re long gone, our children will continue this tradition and be proud of it,” reminding us that at the end of the day, we all have a shared desire: to create opportunities for our children – and their children – to have better than we did ourselves.

Taking Shape: Every important event began as an idea. Habitat Chicago exists to provide the space and resources for all Chicagoans to share and activate their ideas for the prosperity of their communities. Do you have an idea for your neighborhood? We’re eager to hear it. 

You can see more photos from the celebration on Facebook.

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