The tree might be smaller than in past years, but the Christmas cheer will be just as large at December's First Friday event, said Frances Hamilton, executive director of Main Street Delaware.

The tree might be smaller than in past years, but the Christmas cheer will be just as large at December's First Friday event, said Frances Hamilton, executive director of Main Street Delaware.

Main Street Delaware organizes the city's First Fridays, including the holiday-themed Dec. 2 event. The celebration is one of the Main Street events that support downtown businesses.

"As far as Christmas shopping goes, it's good to shop local and shop small," Hamilton said. "I think our focus is to keep our little downtown revitalized."

The First Friday will begin at 6 p.m. with 500 luminaries lighting up the street, roving Delaware Community Chorus carolers, live music and visits with Santa.

"It's a nice family activity, and it's not going break your bank either," Hamilton said. "Looking around central Ohio, it's a little bit difficult to find free, child-friendly activities."

Children can visit Santa at Global Village Collection, 27 N. Sandusky St., during the event. Santa will be on hand at the same location from 6-8 p.m. every other Friday in December. Parents are welcome to bring their own cameras or purchase photos from a professional photographer.

Santa also will attend the tree lighting ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Participants will be invited to sing carols at the candlelight ceremony, held at the corner of William and Sandusky streets, and watch as members of the Hiram Masonic Lodge No. 18 light the tree. The Masonic lodge is the biggest supporter of the First Friday Christmas celebration, Hamilton said.

Each year, the city's Christmas tree is donated by a resident and installed a few days before the lighting ceremony at the plaza on the corner of William and Sandusky streets.

"There's a manhole there designed for our tree," Hamilton said. "(The owner) put electricity in the hole, and … Wanner Metalworx designed a mammoth tree stand just for us," Hamilton said.

This year's tree will be about two stories tall. Typically, the city's Christmas trees have been between three and four stories, but Hamilton said they're thankful for the tree that has been donated for this year's celebration.

"With a donation, you just take what's there," she said. "This is a beautiful blue spruce we've got coming, and the tree will be installed Nov. 30."

As many as 2,000 are expected to attend the event, depending on the weather.

"I grew up in Delaware, and those Christmas memories of being downtown with Grandma (are still there)," Hamilton said. "There's a good deal of spirit in the downtown. I think it creates a memory that's long-lasting for our kids who may be spending a little too much time in front of the TV or computer."