About fifteen volunteers gathered on Saturday, December 3rd to decorate Whitesbog for the holiday season. Natural materials such as holly branches and pine cones were brought from the homes of the volunteers to be placed together and tied onto the windows for a festive glow.
“…Whitesbog represents such a vanished way of life being a small agricultural, a family farm and a company town,” said volunteer Ellen Terry. ”There is a lot going on here.”
The decorations were positioned to make Whitesbogs the perfect Christmas scene for the Whitesbog Winter Celebration which took place on December 11th.
The event included pictures with Santa, candy canes, a tour, crafts and more. It served to bring holiday joy to young kids and to raise money for the Whitesbogs Preservation Trust, which is the non-profit organization that serves to protect and conserve the natural history of Whitesbogs.
The ornamentation was especially handmade with ribbons and wire to recreate the way Whitesbogs looked back in the nineteenth century when people did not have the same resources that are available today. The basic old-fashioned panorama of the village adds on to the educational and historical aspect it has to offer.
“Years ago back in the Victorian age, that’s what they did, they used candles to light their Christmas trees” said volunteer Linda Palendrano. “They didn’t even have pretty wrapping paper. They just used whatever they had.”
Today the volunteers not only embraced the pinching ice cold to construct and hang up decorations; They also participated in group decision making, worked the register inside of the General Store, made merchandise for sale, and shared their personal experiences of their unpaid efforts with one another. Amongst the volunteers were Sharon Goodman, Albertine Senske, Tom Bresselman, Richard Rolle, Beth Gensel, and others.
“Today we stocked the shelves, we inventoried some donations from the wife of the man who runs the farm, the Darlingtons…we also had a local organic sustainable Jersey fruit farmer making preserves to sell here,” said volunteer manager of the General Store Steve Young.
On the first Saturday of every month volunteers get together to perform duties needed to be accomplished around Whitesbog. At lunch time during Volunteer Work Day, free pizza and beverages are served to the helpers. Some of the volunteers are members of the Trust while others are residents from the surrounding towns of Pemberton, Millstone, etc.
The activities range year round, some of which include gardening, rebuilding, or cashiering. It is a great way for new people to meet one another while enjoying being a part of a conserved past of New Jersey.