The annual City of Reading Christmas Tree lighting was unlike years past. What usually draws a crowd to the corner of 5th and Penn Street was limited to a small gathering this year due to the pandemic.

Beginning the tree lighting ceremony, Aaron Oliver, a senior at Reading High School sang a few holiday songs to those attending in person and watching online.

“Although we are coming upon the holiday season, we cannot deny we are going though difficult times” said Berks County Commissioner Michael Rivera.

“I encourage you this holiday season to reach out and help someone in need, to be a blessing to other no matter what your situation is, because no matter how much or how little you have, you can always be a helping hand and a blessing to someone else.”

During the ceremony, District 5 Councilwoman Donna Reed and her grandson Hunter, presented Mayor Moran with a small “Charlie Brown” tree, a throwback to 2014 when Reading’s tree was recognized nationally as the ‘ugliest’ tree.

“We thank you for everything you’ve done this past year in making our city a better city, a more unity city, and a city where the Christmas spirit lives here” Reed said.

Closing the night, Mayor Moran reflected on the challenges the past year brought to the community.

”It’s an important and unique opportunity to reflect on the many blessings through the year. 2020 has tested all of us through COVID-19, we can still take a few moments to pause and take stock in what we have and just be thankful” said Mayor Moran.

“It’s important to stay optimistic during these difficult times. And remind ourselves that all is not lost. That we will overcome this together. Today, I will light this tree in honor of those who we have lost due to COVID-19, those who are battling it now, and those who have recovered.”

This article is also available in: Español (Spanish)