It may seem hard to believe, especially as Halloween is next weekend, that Thanksgiving is just over a month away. So, too, is Christmas Delights, Jackson’s annual Christmas event, which takes place the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. Last week’s feature article noted that in light of the public health emergency, Christmas Delights is being scaled back this year. I talked with event coordinator Jeannette McDonald, owner of Gifted at 134 Main Street in Jackson, about current plans for Christmas Delights.

Visitors to past Christmas Delights events may remember Main Street, as well as parts of Water Street and Broadway, closed off so people could walk on the street, a horse-drawn carriage, costumed revelers, carolers, and Santa at the National Hotel. This year, all of those features will not be there.

Current plans harken back to the original format of Christmas Delights with a one-day event held the day after Thanksgiving. All streets will remain open to parking, and businesses will be ready to welcome shoppers. The street will be decorated and holiday music will be playing on the Main Street speaker system. McDonald added that radio station KVGC is working to have kids talk to a “virtual Santa.”

Driving the Sleigh

Jeannette McDonaldPast feature articles have noted that McDonald is already managing Halloween festivities on Main Street, and I asked her how she found herself leading all the street’s holiday activities this year. She laughed and noted that she was “the inadvertent manager for the event this year.” She contacted the people who managed the event in the past, and she discovered the city had not enabled them to go forward with planning. So, McDonald said, “I jumped in.”

She is currently working with the city and their marketing team, keeping in regular contact with Main Street businesses about the event, and soliciting input from those business owners. “Ideally,” McDonald said, “it really isn’t something that the city should have to plan for us anyway. Christmas Delights is a Main Street event and even though the city happily supports it financially, they should not have to be planning the whole thing.”

Safety First

McDonald acknowledged that it was hard to drop many of the features people know Christmas Delights for, but “it did not seem appropriate to do activities that would encourage visitors to go against social distancing recommendations.” So, Christmas Delights marketing will emphasize social distancing requirements and ask business owners to enforce those restrictions in their stores.

You can visit the Jackson Main Street Facebook page to get the latest information about Christmas Delights, especially as the dynamics of the pandemic in northern California change over the next month that may affect current plans for the event.

McDonald well knows the challenges in planning for both Halloween and Christmas events in such an uncertain environment. “I think these community events are vital for morale,” she said. “However, the health and wellbeing of our residents and visitors alike are paramount.”

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