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Let Hope Ring: Holidays in Harvard Square
Let Hope Ring: Holidays in Harvard Square


As an alternative to their traditional holiday events, partners in Harvard Square will hold safe activities to celebrate community, encourage help for those in need, and express hope for brighter days ahead.

Fri Nov 20, 2020

The Harvard Square Business Association, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site will partner with our office and local churches to offer several ways to celebrate outdoors at a physical distance, or virtually:

1) Holiday Poetry Stroll

After a particularly challenging year, the Holiday Poetry Stroll is an opportunity to share hope and light through verse. Designed to be safe and self-guided, this one-hour walking tour around Harvard Square highlights some of Cambridge's renowned poets, past and present, with a focus on how they found hope in trying times. The tour will also feature window art on storefronts in Harvard Square and poetry ornament keepsakes decorating trees in Deguglielmo Plaza. There is no designated start or end point for this experience. Participants can choose which stops to visit depending on their interest and availability. Please remember to #RecreateResponsibly by wearing masks and keeping six feet of distance between parties. For more ways to participate this holiday season, visit the Longfellow House website.

2) Giving Tree

A longstanding Harvard Square tradition, The Giving Tree is both a physical tree and an opportunity to provide essential goods to those who need them. The Harvard Square Business Association will collect hats, gloves, socks, travel-sized hand sanitizer, lip balm and scarves; package these items in watertight bags; and hang them on The Giving Tree, located at Deguglielmo Plaza (27 Brattle St.), complimentary for anyone to take. The tree will be up through January 6. New this year, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy will collect online donations in support of The Giving Tree project. All proceeds will be used to purchase items for The Giving Tree, including clothing and gift cards for food from local establishments, which have been impacted by COVID-19 closures. To donate, please see The Giving Tree donation page.

3) Bell Ringing

During one of the darkest moments in American history, the Civil War, Harvard Square local Henry Wadsworth Longfellow heard hope ring in the winter air and wrote a poem, Christmas Bells. This year, the churches of Harvard Square hope to spread a message of hope and resilience by ringing their bells in unison at 3p.m. on December 11 and December 23. The celebration will continue virtually with the debut of the video series, "Sacred Spaces and Good Works in Harvard Square." These videos celebrate the good work the churches do in the Harvard Square community and feature narration by Kevin Tyler, an unhoused gentleman, and music composed and performed by Cal DiGiovanni, a 13-year-old Harvard Square street performer. From December 11 through 23, the videos will be posted daily at 3 p.m. on social media. Those churches that have bells will ring them on the same day their videos debut. Follow @HarvardSQ and @LONGNPS on Facebook for each installment.

More "Let Hope Ring" updates can be found on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.