The annual Arthur Avenue Christmas tree lighting ceremony has been canceled this year, thanks to increased security over what officials say is a precipitous spike in the homeless population.
The ceremony, which usually costs about $15K, was deemed too expensive to carry out this year. The Belmont Business Improvement District reportedly hired a security guard for $65K, thanks to a sharp rise in panhandlers in the area. "My daughter took her daughter to the [Ciccarone] park and a homeless guy peed in front of them," one resident told the Post. "Some of them would come in and ask for money or food. It scared some of the customers away."
Now, residents will have to make do without a 30-foot-tree outdoors, marking one more win for Fox News's dreaded War on Christmas. One business owner said he thought it was "terrible" the BID axed the four-year tradition. "They started a tradition and they should keep it going. It’s heartbreaking for kids. I got kids. I’m still a kid,” he said.
Do not despair, Christmas-loving Belmont residents: there will still be an indoor lighting ceremony at the Arthur Avenue Retail Market this week. The BID has also decked about 25 blocks out with festive lights.
Again, remember that no matter how many tree lightings and Santa parades fall victim to the War on Christmas, December 25th will still deplete your bank account every year.