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Christmas basket delivery is a 125-year-old tradition in Rockport

By KATRINA KINCADE

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    ROCKPORT, Massachusetts (WBZ) — The Christmas spirit has certainly been in Rockport for the last 125 years, spreading cheer one basket at a time.

“Sometimes the people we see are just so touched it brings them to tears or makes them smile,” volunteer Alison Salo said. “We may be the only people they see all day.”

For more than a century, the Christmas Tree Committee of Rockport has hosted their annual Christmas basket delivery throughout town. Residents come to the Spiran Lodge on Christmas morning, pick a neighborhood and deliver baskets of holiday cheer to seniors over the age of 80 as well as sick residents, those who recently lost a loved one and people who are housebond.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” organizer Beth Renner said. “You’d be surprised how many people are alone and it’s so lovely, you know they are just waiting for you.”

Filling their cars with dozens of baskets containing cookies, fruit and other treats, cheerful volunteers woke up early Christmas morning to give back to their neighbors. They delivered 726 this year.

“I got on the committee after I got out of the service in ’72, so I’ve been working this job since ’72,” volunteer Bobby Woods said. “It’s not a job, it’s a real treat to do it for the community.”

Volunteers like Buddy have been doing this since they were teenagers.

“Started off to be a family tradition, my grandparents, my parents and now me,” Woods said. “I feel it’s a good thing to do and it makes you feel good when you can give to the community.”

For some families, wearing their matching Christmas pajamas is the best way to do their deliveries.

“This is one of my favorite parts of the holidays,” Salo said. “We’ve been doing this tradition with our girls for 30 years.”

The committee also gave out 300 bags later in the morning to children in town who wanted to see Santa.

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