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Celebrating Christmas in Buffalo with tree lighting ceremonies

Posted at 9:15 AM, Dec 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-04 10:20:33-05

6,000 lights illuminated the tree on Canalside, as Santa Claus turned its lights on Saturday night. It's a tree that brought hundreds to the waterfront.

"When the tree is lit, I know that's when we can say Merry Christmas and hug everyone," said Timmothy Lash, who went to Canalside's tree lighting ceremony with his friend Daniel, and his mother.

Just minutes away, another tree, also lit, glowed on the heart of Main Street in Fountain Plaza. But it's more than just a tree. To some, it's a tradition.

"I've been coming down here with my parents since I was like 10 years old, so it's a family tradition to come down here every year and see it," said 24-year-old Taylor Ferguson. 

It's been her family tradition for 14 years, so she has seen the celebration, and Buffalo, grow simultaneously.

"It's important to come down here and just celebrate the city's growth," said Ferguson. "There's definitely a lot more people down here now that they've got the rise."

But for others, it's a newer tradition, like Dottie Candelario and her son, Daniel, who's Lash's friend.

"There's lots of fun things to do in the city," said Candelario. "We don't have to go out of town or travel or go to New York City to actually have a Christmas tree lighting."

For others, the holidays are a celebration of more than just tradition. It's a time to give thanks for life's miracles.

"I've been fighting a 17 month battle with cancer, and I'm now cancer free so we're going out to celebrate," said Janice Hetrick.

So with Christmas carols, ice-skating, and Santa Claus, all ages reflected on what this holiday means to them.

"The family, the love, the life," said Kathy Crespo, attending Canalside's tree lighting for her first time, after moving to Buffalo two years ago.

"It's more than just a one day thing," said Frank Repetti, who went to the tree lighting at Fountain Plaza with Ferguson.

"You can give, and get a gift!" said Lash.

"This is our home," said Candelario. "It's where we're from. We're very proud to be from here, and we love showing our son the city. We are from the city and we're going to stay in the city."