Gateway: Living

Slater: A simple smile can brighten up the holiday season

Thanksgiving Day is over and Christmas is definitely “comin’ in.”

This morning I noticed in two stores where we shopped, everyone was cheerful and smiling. No dour or sad face was encountered, people made eye contact, and it increased my own feelings of pleasure as I smiled around. Is it the season that changes the atmosphere?

I recall an author telling of his life-change experiment: when he entered an elevator, he tried to be the last one on and faced people, then just smiled and tried to make eye contact. He found that the majority of people smiled back, some made cheerful comments.

Since reading that, I’ve tried to make it a practice to smile more when meeting people on the street, in stores, in waiting rooms, wherever …

I’m basically a happy person, but know there are others who are not, others who are weighed down with all sorts of things. Perhaps a smile can give them a lift. Try it!

Season events have begun, too many to list here, but some special ones on the Key Peninsula include:

Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 2 at the Key Center Fire Station, sponsored by KeyPen Parks and the Key Center Fire Department. Pancakes, ham, fruit and beverages will be served. Crafts for the kids and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tickets are $5 in advance can be purchased at the KP Parks office, 5514 Key Pen Highway, Lakebay or ordered online at A limited number of tickets will be available at the door, $10 per person. Seatings are 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 a.m.

That evening, the Bluegrass Minstrels present their Festive Christmas Revelry at 6 p.m. at the Lakebay Community Church, 11 Cornwall Road KPS, Lakebay. Free admission but suggested $6 at the door donations benefit The Mustard Seed Project’s Senior Housing Campaign. For more info, call 253-884-3899.

The annual Key Corral Christmas tree lighting begins at 4 p.m. Dec. 3. The Down Home Band with Dr. Roes and the Key Singers lead carol singing. Hot drinks and cookies available and Santa and his Mrs. arrive in their sleigh for pictures.

On Dec. 9, the KP Library will be busy. Gingerbread houses will be decorated 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All ages are welcome. Register at or call 253-548-3309.

Harpist Susan W. Haas presents a holiday concert in the Library 3 to 4:30 p.m., sponsored by Friends of the Library. Call 253-548-3309 for more info.

That evening, at the Longbranch Improvement Club marina, lighted boats will parade around Filucy Bay.

On Dec. 10, Grace Church in Home hosts a Christmas Sing-Thing with carols, cookies and hot cider at 3:30 p.m.

The Key Singers Christmas concert, their annual gift to the community, begins 3 p.m. Dec. 17 at McColley Hall, KP Lutheran Church, 4213 Lackey Rd. A variety of music from sacred to silly, and individual performers with special numbers. Free admission, gift basket raffle, light refreshments. Call 253-884-5615 for more info.

Christmas Eve services will be held in many churches. Local ones I know about are:

▪ Grace Church in Home service on Christmas Eve is 3.30 p.m.

▪ St Hugh’s Episcopal Church in Allyn, 4 p.m.

▪ Waypoint Church in Vaughn hosts services on Dec. 24 at 10 a.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

▪ Longbranch Community Church plans a Christmas Eve Candlelight service at 7 p.m.

▪ Lakebay Community Church has a Candles and Carols service at 6:30 p.m. including a bonfire to sing the final carols around.

▪ Key Peninsula Lutheran Church holds a 7 p.m. service

Check websites for church locations.

However you celebrate, may your Christmas season and Day be full of pleasure and sharing.