‘A Gift That the Residents Give To Each Other’: Support Needed for Holiday Lights Downtown


The Holiday Lights on Main Street in New Canaan.

One of New Canaan’s best-loved holiday traditions needs a boost to get over the hump this year, officials say. 

The holiday lights—thousands of white lights that are strung through some 60 trees throughout the heart of the business district—are supported solely through tax-deductible donations

The head of the organization that leads the effort, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, Laura Budd, said this year the Foundation is about 65% toward its approximately $26,000 goal.

“The municipality does not pay for it—it’s really a gift that the residents give to each other,” Budd said.

The lights go up in October—thanks to a reduced rate from Rob Hutchinson (NCHS ‘69, was at Woodstock) and his local business, Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists Inc.—and are turned on two days before Thanksgiving, Budd said.

“So they are there to greet all the friends and family who come into town,” she said. “I think it is just a really iconic New Canaan feeling to drive into town, either up Main Street or down South Avenue, and to see the lights in the trees. It comes at the time of the year when it’s darkest and it just really gives a great feeling.”

The lights remain up through the second week of January. 

Hutchinson has been doing the job since the 1980s, though his is a tree company, not a lighting company.

“We’ve just been doing it for so long, I’m not sure anyone else would be able to figure it out for a while,” he said. “It’s a job that has evolved and we know how many sets of lights go into each tree so that we don’t overwhelm the circuitry that it plugs into. We try to keep the job within a certain parameter of cost to support the Chamber.”

The Chamber also organizes the annual Holiday Stroll, which is to be held this Friday and Saturday.

Donations to support the holiday lights can be made here online or via check to the ‘New Canaan Chamber Charitable Foundation, Inc.,’ at New Canaan Chamber, PO Box 214, New Canaan CT 06840. 

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