It is said to be the most wonderful time of the year - Christmas time, that is.

Focusing on the virgin birth of Jesus is a miracle in itself and the greatest gift that was ever given to mankind. Good will, family, gift giving, food, decorations ... and Downtown Christmas are all part of the holiday season.

Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities (NCCAH) will again host Downtown Christmas from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, with Santa coming to town for the annual parade at 1 p.m. on the Rotary Sleigh. The parade will form at Lincoln Towers on Market Street (Route 125) and travel Market to Independence Street. It will travel through the downtown to the opposite end of Independence, after which Santa will return to the Fun Shop to talk with children. He will be assisted by elves Tara Venna and Melissa Shingara on the second floor of the Fun Shop.

The Rotary Club of Shamokin will take pictures of children with Santa that will be available for purchase. Talks with Santa are sponsored by Mountain View: A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

No event is ever brought to fruition alone. Through the generosity of the Fun Shop and The Center for Movement Arts providing us space, there will be 15 live trees on display for judging. Applications can be picked up inside the door. Votes are 25 cents each.

Thank you to all who decorated trees this year.

Trees will be given to families who are in need of one this year. They are donated by TLC farms in Hegins. There are also six artificial boxed trees compliments of Aaron's Sales & Lease that will be given to local needy. We are still in need decorations for four of those trees. If you would like to donate decorations, please call or text me at 850-9121, or e-mail jeannes@ptd.net.

Vendors will be inside and outside the building offering traveling tacos, baked goods, ham potpie, rice pudding, halushki, pierogies, kettle corn, hot dogs and hot chocolate. Scentsy, Pampered Chef, artwork, Christmas glitter tattoos, nail art, hair accessories, jewelry, hats, wood-working, afghans, baby sweaters, tote bags and much more will be for sale.

Rescue Fire Company will be making homemade bean soup over a wood fire.

Tussie-mussies, small Victorian bouquets, will be sold at a flower cart by Victorian ladies Ann Slodysko and Tammy Tweed. These bouquets can be purchased for $3 and given to that special someone as a token of love and devotion. The term tussie-mussie comes from the reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1901, when the small bouquets became a popular fashion accessory. Typically, tussie-mussies include floral symbolism from the language of flowers, and therefore may be used to send a message to the recipient.

Take a magical carriage ride in our white pumpkin carriage. Footman Andy Slodysko will be assisting riders on and off the carriage. Tickets can be purchased inside the Fun Shop first floor for $5; this includes everyone that will take a seat. If a child is held on your lap, there is no charge. Carriage rides are sponsored by Aqua, More Than Just Hair and Medicine Shoppe.

Beverly Conrad will serenade the crowd with her fiddle this year as she strolls about. Her presence is being sponsored by VNA Health System. You can also sing along with The Kopitskys as they sing Christmas carols to usher in the holiday season; David Sr., David Jr., Suzy and Olivia will warm hearts with their melodious tunes as they stroll the street in their Victorian garb.

The Anthracite Heritage Museum will be open to the public as part of the weekend activities: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. The museum is located above the Shamokin-Coal Township Public Library and admission is free.

Don't forget to visit New Beginnings Hair Salon, 337 W. Water St., next to Area Services, to purchase a large, hand-dipped waxed wreath of assorted greens with choice of red, burgundy or gold bow. This project supports Downtown Christmas. Wreaths are $17 each, including the bow, compliments of the Fun Shop. Wreaths are on sale from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today.

Don't forget to enjoy all those beautiful, hand-painted Christmas cards on Market Street that organizations and businesses made possible to add to our community holiday spirit. These cards were painted by artists Gloria Zielinskie and LeAnn and Leimomi Pottorff.

As stated earlier in this article, everyone working together can make a huge difference in any event, and we promise through all the efforts of everyone involved this will be a holiday celebration that you will long remember.

(Jeanne Shaffer is executive director of the NCCAH.)