The coronavirus pandemic may have canceled or significantly modified many of Canby’s beloved holiday events and traditions — but it just can’t stop Christmas.
The Canby Center, in partnership with local churches, will bring over 400 gifts into four neighborhoods that night as part of a “Christmas parade” that aims to spread joy and holiday spirit across Canby.
“We’re celebrating the birth of Jesus because as the angels said at the time, ‘We bring you good tidings of great joy,'” Canby Center Executive Director Ray Keen said in a Facebook video Tuesday announcing the event. “Christmas music, warm smiles and gifts for your family. Santa is even joining us in the Canby Center van, so you don’t want to miss the chance to meet him.”
This time of year, the Christian-based nonprofit service organization would typically be gearing up for its annual Christmas dinner, but had to forego that tradition due to the pandemic.
“But we did not want to cancel Christmas,” Keen told The Canby Current. “We felt it was important to bring Christmas out to Canby, in a physically distanced, safe manner, so that’s what we’re doing.”
The gifts were put together in partnership with local churches, Keen explained, with some congregations providing items or money to purchase gifts — while others offered volunteers to wrap each offering.
They contain “lots of different things that would be a blessing for a family,” Keen said, from household items to board games to toys for children. Each family who visits the caravan tomorrow will be entitled to one gift apiece, Keen said, and will also receive a Bible in English or Spanish.
“We felt like it’s something we could do safely,” Keen said of the parade. “We know it’s not really a normal Santa experience but even so, in a challenging year like 2020, we feel it’s really good to go a little outside of our comfort zone to bring blessings to others.”
The caravan will visit Redwood Terrace in northeast Canby from 5 to 5:30 p.m., Pine Terrace near the Clackamas County Fairgrounds from 5:30 to 6 p.m., Greenbriar on South Locust from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and The Township on Southeast 5th Avenue from 6:30 to 7 p.m.
Organizers ask that residents please put on a mask before coming out to see Santa and receive a free gift for your family.