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Attached, please find the presentation for the Monday, August 7, 2023, Study Session. Study Sessions, when scheduled, are an opportunity to present community issues, upcoming policy questions, or otherwise conduct informal and typically more in-depth discussion of specific issues. While Study Sessions are public meetings, no official action is taken by the Council but direction and guidance on an issue can be gained by staff as the matter may come back for official consideration by the Council.
The Study Session for August 7th involves discussing the Christmas Morning event which, as you know, is a long-standing tradition that in its current format has six different routes using staff, volunteers, and typically fire vehicles to convey Santa around every street in the City starting at 7 a.m. on Christmas Day. Staff and volunteers work prior to Christmas Day to organize, prepare treat bags, and arrange the vehicles and volunteers. On Christmas Day, some staff arrive as early as 5 a.m. and there is a kickoff meeting around 6:30 a.m. Depending on volunteer commitment, the routes take anywhere from 4 to 7 hours to complete. Unfortunately, a few staff members remain working almost 12 hours on Christmas Day.
Due to worsening logistics for the event, including reduced volunteer hours and the desire to let staff and volunteers spend Christmas Day with their families, the Christmas Morning Committee reviewed the program and is putting forth an alternative concept for discussion. I witnessed the morning activities this past year and understand the importance of tradition. I don’t take lightly the consideration the Committee undertook in developing a recommendation to propose to the Council and, ultimately, the community about how to proceed forward. Their goal of having a successful event is appreciated.
The Study Session on Monday will go over more details and the attached presentation is designed to help guide it. In general, one option for consideration are celebrations to be held over the course of five days in the evening prior to Christmas. Each event would have Santa and friends, including a Councilmember, on a fire engine drive through a designated route in each district. Each route would end at a local park within each district for visits with Santa and his friends. The holiday-themed park visits would feature photos with Santa, treats and crafts, donation opportunities to tie back into the original purpose of the Christmas Morning tradition, and offer social gatherings for friends and family.