EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The East Brunswick Municipal complex and Senior Center came alive on Sunday night as residents gathered to sip hot chocolate, watch will Ferrell in "Elf," and keep an eye on the sky for the arrival of Santa Claus. Families mixed and mingled, with kids writing letters and spinning dreidels on a cold and misty night that remained full of wonder and fun.

The elves at the Department of Parks and Recreation kept the Sky Trackers revolving as the crowd awaited the sleigh pulled by eight flying reindeer. As it was the first night of Hanukkah, the menorah was lit after an exuberant countdown led by Mayor Brad Cohen. The Christmas tree was covered in color.  The township choir sang.  Father Walsh and Rabbi Eisenkramer prayed. Councilman Jim Wendell and Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin spread good cheer.

It was the East Brunswick Fire Department, though, that brought everything into focus by providing an escort to Santa, who arrived in style with headlamps blazing and sirens blaring.  

The most important thing was the light - the light of good will among members of the East Brunswick community, the light on the faces of happy kids and their families, the light cheer of adults being kids once more and waving to Santa with a youthful expectation and the light of hope as one year ends and another begins.