Commentary: Help others — and celebrate — during the holidays

Each day I look for people and activities that bring substance to my life and those around us. Our city is blessed with many people who step up to the plate to help others in different ways.

A great example of this are our firefighters in Shelton, who are collecting Toys for Kids in support of TEAM Inc.

Fire Company No. 5 in White Hills held its annual tree-lighting sing-along and visit from Santa at the fire house on Nov. 30. To make the evening even more special, Shelton’s own song bird, Fran Scarpa, led everyone in some traditional Christmas songs.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, the White Hills Fire Company will be taking Santa out to gather more toys in the neighborhood and bring treats to our children.

So when you hear the fire truck sirens on Saturday in your neighborhood, put on your coat and come out to greet Santa — and if you have an unwrapped new toy to donate, fire personnel will be pleased to accept it.

Unwrapped, new toys also can be dropped off at any of the four fire houses in Shelton. Please check with your local fire house for details.

Shop local this holiday season

Let’s not forget as we count down the days to Christmas that shopping locally can be a be a big bonus to everyone. I’m sure that like me, you have those persons who are impossible to shop for.

Well, here is a simple tried and true suggestion: Stop at one of our local venues and pick up a gift certificate for that special person.

The variety is endless — certificates for meals at any of the city’s more than 60 restaurants, spa treatments, car washes and detailing, sporting goods, home furnishings, kitchen supplies and even certificates for loosing weight after the holidays, to name just a few within a few miles of home.

The products and items are superior and the local owners’ personal attention and services are priceless. And don’t forget a live tree from one of our local farms.

Holiday events all around

I enjoy celebrating the holiday with the many wonderful memories of Christmases gone by. If you’d like to try stepping back in time during this hectic time of year, it’s only two miles away in Derby.

No, the time machine from The Big Bang Theory is not in the Valley. However, the Kellogg Museum is providing tours of the homestead on the estate grounds just off Roosevelt Drive (Route 34) on Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Each room of the house has been festively decorated by different local garden clubs. The theme of each room is related to the many products invented in Connecticut and their inventors.

You will be surprised by how many local companies contributed to the industrial boom in the area. The free 45-minute tour is good for all ages and I promise you will want to go back a second time.

To help you remember the great sounds of Christmas, make it a point to enjoy A Center Stage Christmas at 54 Grove St. in Shelton (the former Lafayette School). Weekend shows go through Dec. 22. Details at

And if you want to try something different, the Shelton Historical Society will host a reading of Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" by the Valley Shakespeare Festival on Friday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 14 at 1 p.m. in the historic Wilson Barn on Ripton Road. Seating is limited and tickets are available at

I hope each of you enjoys a safe a safe and healthy Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with the people you love and care for.

Anthony F. Simonetti is chairman of the Shelton Republican Town Committee as well as an alderman for the First Ward.