"Bring a mask, bring a toy for a child in need and bring 20 months of pent up joy."
Those are Mayor Cam Guthrie's instructions to anyone interested in attending the newly-announced Mayor's Tree Lighting ceremony on Dec. 4 in Market Square. It will run from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Gathering restrictions forced the cancellation of the popular annual event last year.
It's return in just over a week is "good for the soul," Guthrie said.
"I think it's important to have that ability to be able to come together like we used to before the pandemic," he explained.
Featuring lights and live music, attendees at this year's tree lighting ceremony are asked to bring an new unwrapped toy in support of the Children's Foundation of Guelph and Wellington's Adopt a Family program.
"One of the most special moments that I've seen every year that we've done the event is when people come and they actually place the donations under the tree, it's a really kind of moving thing," Guthrie said, adding past year's events have collected coats of Syrian refugees, warm socks for people in need and food for the food bank.
For anyone who can't make it to the festive evening, but would still like to donate, two bins have been placed in the lobby of City Hall.
Emma Rogers, CEO of the Children's Foundation of Guelph and Wellington, said the organization is incredibly grateful to be involved in the tree lighting this year.
"All these toys are going to be under another tree or at another holiday celebration for children throughout the community in the next few weeks," she said.
So far this season, the organization has matched over 1,000 families with toys and gift cards for things like coats and boots through the Adopt a Family program. Just over 70 families are waiting to be "adopted," said Rogers.
YAY #GUELPH! The tree 🌲 lighting community event is going to happen this year! Get ready for some great live music and giving back to the community through the @ChildrensFdnGW!!— Mayor Cam Guthrie (@CamGuthrie) November 25, 2021
Dec 4th at 6:30pm! pic.twitter.com/6ZEyhMBk02