As December continues to set in and the winter season approaches, the City of Yelm has several Christmas-themed activities for community members.
According to Line Roy, the City of Yelm’s Parks and Recreation coordinator, community members will get to vote on locally created gingerbread houses. The houses are located at City Hall, and people can vote by donating canned goods. The cans will be placed in a box in front of the voters’ favorite gingerbread houses, with the most goods determining the winner. People can vote by donating canned goods and non-perishables through Dec. 14.
“It’s an old Yelm favorite,” Roy said. “We think it’s a great way to get the community involved and to get back to those who need it.”
Last year, community members donated over 400 pounds of food to local organizations that distribute to residents in need. Roy said the goal is set at 500 pounds of donations this year. She said the event is sponsored by Jesse Kellems with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
“We donate all of those canned goods to local organizations who help feed our community,” Roy said. “The winners of the contest will get gift cards, which are donated by our sponsor Jesse.”
The winners of the gingerbread contest will be announced online.
Another local Christmas event, is a morning with Mrs. Claus on Saturday, Dec. 16. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Yelm Community Center provides young Yelm residents the opportunity to interact with Mrs. Claus, who, like Santa, plays a big role in Christmas.
“Mrs. Claus will be joining us for breakfast, storytime, a craft and cookie decorating. You have to buy tickets for that, which are $10,” Roy said. “Children have to bring an adult, and tickets can be purchased on the city’s website.”
Children’s tickets include the buffet breakfast, the craft and cookie decorating, while the adult ticket covers the buffet breakfast. Register for the event at https://lf.yelmwa.gov/forms/MrsClaus.
“I love Christmas. It’s the happiest time of the year,” Roy said. “Just being able to bring these events, and especially new events, is so heartwarming. These are the kind of events that show small-town spirit [and] charm, and these aren’t things you can do in huge cities. These opportunities for the kids and families are really cool.”
Unrelated to the City of Yelm’s events, Roy, with a group of fellow community members, are aiming to give back to a “hardworking server” on Sunday, Dec. 17 at a local restaurant.
“This is the third year we’re doing it. A group of us community members get together, go out one morning before Christmas to have breakfast together. We each bring $100 cash to pay for our breakfast, and then the server keeps the rest, and they end up with a $700 tip,” Roy said. “It’s my favorite day of the year. They’re so happy. I’m so happy. They cry. I cry. Everybody wins. Everybody loves doing this.”
Roy said everyone who attended the community breakfast in 2022 at The Local is set to return to do it again in 2023. This year’s restaurant remained secret to maintain the element of surprise.
“For me and the others involved, it’s a small way for us to give back. When you pool your resources and put all your heads together, it shows that if you have just a little bit and can combine it with everyone else’s little bit, it can make a big impact,” Roy said. “It’s true during the holidays, especially, but anytime of the year in any community. You might not think you have a lot to give, but if you give a little bit, and everyone gives a little bit, it can create something huge for someone.”
People interested in participating in the event can connect with Roy through Facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.