BURTON — A self-proclaimed “Christmas fanatic”, Mayor Duane Haskins has been working hard behind the scenes to give employees at City Hall a Merry Christmas in what has been an otherwise trying year.
Haskins planned an Eight Days of Christmas event at City Hall where employees could participate in theme days to win prizes – gift certificates purchased by the mayor with his own money.
“With all the doom and gloom I wanted to do something to cheer people up,” said Haskins. “I purchased gift cards and I needed a way to give them out, so I sat down with girls in the office and came up with the Eight Days of Christmas.”
This offered employees a chance to participate in a different function daily – events like Ugly Sweater Day and wear a Christmas Outfit Day – to have employees names thrown in a bucket to select a daily winner to receive a prize.
“It seemed to go pretty well,” said Haskins. “It changes the face of the daily routine a little bit, instead of same old same old. It improved the mood for Christmas.”
In addition to the City Hall festivities, Haskins and the Burton Parks and Recreation Department are also putting on the ‘Twas the Lights Before Christmas yard decorating contest which drew some 47 entries in its first year.
Haskins said judging for the contest took place last week and the winner was to be announced at Monday’s city council meeting. Details weren’t available at press time.
“Some people went all out,” said Haskins. “The whole purpose was to do something to brighten people’s spirits. It really made my day. Winning was not the point, but to help spread cheer and joy in this otherwise nasty year.”
He said he hopes to see the Christmas decorating contest continue next year, adding “hopefully it will get bigger and better.” Haskins said he hand-delivered participation certificates to all 47 households and expects to present the winners with gift cards sometime this week.
“Christmas is just different. It makes me want to step up and help out,” said Haskins. “It’s about giving, not receiving. That’s probably one of the biggest things I like about Christmas – it’s always a special holiday.”