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Holiday Lights Challenge

Updated: Dec 5, 2020


Healthy Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods is hosting a Holiday Lights contest

(From the Grosse Pointe News article by Jody McVeigh)

Healthy Grosse Pointe & Harper Woods coalition seeks entries for its 2020 Holiday Lights Contest — and the more creative, the better.

“Our coalition members began noticing all the holiday décor and trees going up a little early and realized as a community we are looking for something to lift our spirits,” said Suzy Berschback, the coalition’s project manager. “Our traditions are comforting, so for the Holiday Lights Contest, we want to recognize and celebrate those who are going the extra mile to lift their spirits and their neighbors.”

Nominations will be judged on originality, creativity and the use of the holiday theme. Organizers hope to see homes sporting special lighting, musical effects and live actors, or “something special for 2020 that makes us laugh,” Berschback said.

“We are looking for colorful, beautiful, creative, traditional — all of it,” she added. “I think with the cold weather coming and people staying at home more, we can help people see more of what is in the communities. Though I encourage you to get in your car and take a drive to get some fresh air and take some photos of your own. You can also be part of the nominating crew; you can nominate the ones you enjoy.”

Nominations should be sent as Facebook messages on the Healthy Grosse Pointe & Harper Woods Facebook page and should include a photo and address of each nominated display.

All entries must be received by 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Judging takes place anonymously from 6 to 10 p.m. that evening. Of all entries, 10 finalists will be selected, but only the top three will be awarded.

“Right now we have a small group of judges that will be driving to the addresses to vote on Dec. 13,” Berschback said, noting photos will be posted on Facebook with permission; addresses are for judging purposes only. “We are very happy to take into consideration the number of likes a photo on our Healthy Grosse Pointe & Harper Woods Facebook page receives.”

The top three displays will receive a commemorative trophy, cash prize and “bragging rights,” as well as be highlighted on the coalition’s Facebook page. Winners will be announced Monday, Dec. 14.

Like the decorations that inspired it, the contest is meant to instill comfort and joy in a usually cheerful time of year.

“In May, the U.S. Census Bureau released data revealing that one-third of Americans reported showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression,” Berschback said. “2020 has been challenging for all of us and it’s natural for some to experience symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety, depressed mood and feeling overwhelmed. The key is to find healthy coping techniques. Creativity is a great coping skill.

“Right now we need to be checking in with ourselves on a daily basis and asking, ‘How am I feeling? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I feeling overwhelmed?’” she added. “If there is an area that needs to be addressed, identify the people or resources you can turn to.”

Berschback encouraged people to find positive outlets and ways to unwind, like watching funny movies, cooking, reading, exercising, listening to music or other fulfilling hobbies.

“Get outside in nature,” she added, “eat to boost your immune system, practice mindfulness and get adequate sleep. If you are struggling, there are resources. The National Center for PTSD has a free app called ‘COVID Coach’ that includes mindfulness exercises, mood trackers and other tools.”

As part of its call for participants in the Holiday Lights Contest, the coalition encouraged community members to participate in the J.O.Y. Challenge, or Just One Year, at healthygphw.org/the-joy-challenge.

“Begin to put the joy back in the journey by using this free, science-based toolkit to help create a happier and healthier life,” Berschback said. “You can take the journey on your own, with your family or a friend and you may want to start an Action for Happiness group and try the practices together.”

Berschback also recommended people follow the Society of Joy Spreaders at societyofjoyspreaders.com.

“And visit our website at healthygphw.org to learn about local resources,” she added, including:

* The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network’s 24-hour helpline at (800) 241-4949.

* MyStrength.com, where users can address depression, anxiety, stress, substance use, chronic pain and sleep challenges, while also supporting the physical and spiritual aspects of whole-person health.

* The Family Center of Grosse Pointe & Harper Woods, which hosts a list of local therapists at familycenterweb.org.

* Kevin’s Song for suicide prevention and resources at kevinssong.org.

* The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255 or text “GO” to 741741


For more free resources to put more joy back in the journey visit this free toolkit: https://www.healthygphw.org/the-joy-challenge

The contest is sponsored by Healthy Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods and the Society of Joy Spreaders.

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