From the Sublime to the Silly When it begins to look a lot like Christmas, you often can thank Lions for that. The Itasca Lions near Chicago have lit up residential and main streets with a dazzling luminaria display since 1960. Lions, directing Boy Scouts and other volunteers at the park district garage in early December, assemble 30,000 luminaria kits—small candles inside white paper bags weighted with sand. The elves hang the kits on the doors of homes throughout the village of 9,000. On Christmas Eve, Lions light the candles on the main roads. “The entire town is lit up. It’s beautiful,” says Lion Mark Schumacher. “I don’t think I’ve seen a town where there is quite this level of participation.” In San Jose, California, Willow Glen Lions in 2013 helped revive the tradition of displaying robust Christmas trees on front lawns after a gradual proliferation of sad-looking “Charlie Brown Christmas trees” over the years. “Our goal was to provide a really nice tree for front yards—not the skinny, spindly ones,” Dave Parkinson told the Mercury News. The club sold shapely trees for $25 as well as rebar poles for $5 to hold the trees upright on lawns. In Preston, Iowa, Lions know that inner beauty is what counts. So Lions held an ugly sweater contest and dance with participants bringing a toy for ill children at two nearby hospitals. Ghosts of Christmas past: Lions always brought the joy of the holidays to the less fortunate. • Lions play Santa for needy children nationwide (February 1927 LION). • Lions of eight nations make the season bright (February 1938). • Our service “warms even Scrooge’s heart” (February 1947). • Detroit Lions treat blind children to a memorable holiday party (December 1965).
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