Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.

– Dr. Seuss

Friday, December 11th should be the first night of the 39th Annual Allegheny West Victorian House Tour. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the House Tour was cancelled and we’re all facing a holiday season with smaller gatherings and pared-down celebrations.

A small group of Allegheny West neighbors have stepped up to bring some holiday cheer to Western Avenue this year, with the added hope it will encourage shopping at our local Allegheny West businesses.

The AWCC Small Business Saturdays ad hoc committee (committee members are Aaron Bryan, Eric Grasso, Bob Griewahn, Sally Graubarth, Abi Webb and Ann Gilligan) formed with the goals:

  1. Promote Allegheny West businesses on Small Business Saturday and throughout the 2020 holiday shopping season
  2. Find ways to enhance Western Ave business district for the holidays and engage the neighborhood for COVID-alternate festivities

There was an announcement in the e-newsletter, and is also in this issue of the Gazette, about the Small Business Saturdays raffle sponsored by AWCC. The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate for doing what comes naturally in December – shopping!

The Committee also has some plans to make Western Avenue a holiday attraction as well as fill in some of the void of our cancelled House Tour. A Christmas tree will be put up at the corner of Galveston and Western Avenues, decorated with lights and ornaments supplied by the neighborhood and celebrated with a tree-lighting ceremony at 6:00 pm Friday, December 11th . The tree-lighting ceremony will be broadcast live on Zoom for those looking to avoid crowds and/or the cold. Look for the details in a separate article in this Gazette. We hope to see you, masked & person or on-line on the 11th!

In a year like no other, this will be a holiday season like no other. Per the by-laws, as President of the Allegheny West Civic Council, I give everyone permission to do only what you can, to enjoy a smaller holiday without any guilt and to take time just for you and do something that makes you happy. I also wish everyone Peace, Joy and Hope for a better 2021.

This is my last column as AWCC President and Tuesday December 8th will be the last General Membership meeting I’ll preside over before handing the reins to Bob Griewahn, President-Elect. Being AWCC President has been a great learning experience and I truly appreciate everyone who has offered support and encouragement over the past 2 years. The biggest lesson I learned seems obvious but became so clear to me: nothing happens without a volunteer making it happen. Whenever a sentence begins with the words “We should…” it will quickly die on the vine without a sentence containing “I will” nearby. “We should”s are great, it’s how we get new ideas, but I encourage everyone to be aware and thoughtful about suggesting volunteer opportunities for someone else to implement. Be the “I will”!Finally, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the 2020 outgoing AWCC Board Members – Tom Barbush, Sara Beck Sweeney and Robin Zoufalik. Your service to AWCC is much appreciated.

Ann Gilligan
President, AWCC

Recipe for Holiday Irish Coffee

adapted from the Gilligan Family recipe collection 

Heat cup. When warm, put a teaspoon of brown sugar and a jigger of whiskey in the cup.
Add hot black coffee to about an inch from top. Put whipped cream on top. Serve.