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Stronger Together through Bootstraps: Weekly Message from Maggie Campbell, President and CEO of DAMC

There is so much I appreciate about my Arlington community, including the way we respond to crises. We’re a “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going” kind of place. As a city built around strong groups -- families, neighborhoods, houses of worship, clubs, teams, schools, and organizations -- we know how to come together as we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

In terms of our collective psyche, the frequency with which we’ve been yanking on those bootstraps is one of the rigors imposed by the global pandemic. Along with the rest of the world, we’ve spent nearly all of 2020 postponing, rethinking, canceling and downsizing. Responding by scaling back is just not in our nature, is it, Arlington?

My heart goes out this week to Arlington Christmas Parade, Inc., the nonprofit organization that has for years organized the city’s popular Holiday Lights Parade. The organization announced Wednesday that the parade and the official tree lighting ceremony would not be held in Downtown Arlington as planned in the interest of protecting public health. Doing the right thing is hard, especially since there are so many factors to consider in determining what’s right. In this case, however, it is abundantly clear parade organizers did the right thing. 

The going is getting tough again, friends, and the only way forward is to metaphorically reach out and pull up each other’s bootstraps. And that’s exactly what you’re doing. On this Thanksgiving, for instance, Mission Arlington reports that 24,559 people (6,019 families) received a meal on Thanksgiving Day because of our community’s giving hearts. 

You can continue to share kindness by getting involved in Santa’s Mailbox, a new Downtown Arlington initiative. In collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service, a bright red mailbox has been installed at the Arlington Main Post Office, 300 E. South Street in Downtown. Now through December 23, 2020, families are encouraged to bring their children for a fun photo while dropping in their letters to Santa. Letters addressed to Santa’s 123 ELF ROAD address and postmarked by December 15 are automatically routed to the USPS Operation Santa program, a nationwide effort to respond to the hundreds of thousands of letters sent to Santa from children and families annually. 

While making kindness a daily practice, Santa’s elves also need time to practice self-care. On our website you’ll find a variety of jolly holiday activities hosted by Downtown partners -- both virtual and in-person -- in which you, your friends and family can safely participate and experience the uplifting magic of the season. Sharing the merry are such Downtown destinations as Theatre Arlington, the Downtown Library, Arlington Museum of Art, Urban Union, Arlington Music Hall, Symphony Arlington, and the Levitt Pavilion. 

Here’s more heartening news, Arlington! Organizers are drawing on the spirit of the Holiday Lights Parade and producing a virtual city-wide Christmas celebration. On December 12, tune in to the Holiday Lights Parade Facebook page for story time with Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, interactive children’s games, Christmas carol sing-alongs, recorded programming, and other entertainment. Let’s show parade organizers – and each other – that we have been, are, and will continue to be here for each other, come what may.

Downtown Arlington Small Business Rally, Holiday Edition    

Downtown Arlington businesses have shown incredible resiliency in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and now more than ever they need our help. Please consider shopping, dining, or ordering take-out, delivery or curbside pick-up in Downtown during the holiday season. Every cup of hot chocolate, charcuterie platter, gift item and bottle of wine you choose to purchase locally will help our local entrepreneurs stay in business. If you rally for them, they will rally for you! Visit #DowntownDelivers on our website for information about restaurants, click here for information about Downtown shopping and services, and click here for a listing of our arts and cultural partners.

Getting Down to Business   

Let's get Down to Business, the new podcast celebrating the ingenuity, tenacity, pride and entrepreneurial energy that powers all kinds of commercial enterprises in Downtown Arlington! From fledgling start-ups to long-time local favorites and everything in between, Down to Business takes you inside our diverse business culture. This bi-weekly series, which launched on Small Business Saturday, now debuts new episodes at 2:00 p.m. every other Wednesday. 

Next up? On December 16 at 2:00 p.m., join us on Downtown Arlington Texas Facebook Live or our YouTube channel for Arlington superfan Randy Ford of J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill! Listeners can also tune in to the audio-only podcast format via Spotify and iTunes. You can also enjoy recordings of Wednesday’s broadcast with Vikash Bhula of Lone Star Axe Throwing and our first episode with Wally Hardin of The Man’s Shop.

Shop Local at the Downtown Arlington Urban Market Dec. 10    

Just in time for the holidays, the Downtown Arlington Urban Market is a great shop-ortunity for handmade arts and crafts, chef-driven treats, farm-to-table products, and one-of-a-kind gift ideas. This Downtown Outdoors-approved event, coming up on 5:00-9:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, is family- and dog-friendly and follows COVID-19 safety protocols. While you’re there, be sure to stop by Urban Market host Legal Draft Beer Co. for a delicious seasonal pour and visit the other destinations in Urban Union, including Cane Rosso which is now open.