BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Christmas mode is officially activated throughout Birmingham. City officials led the community in kicking off the Christmas season with a bang at this year’s Holiday Tree Lighting Block Party.

Visitors say the event was important for the community, bringing them together to celebrate the start of the holiday season.

“I think it’s important to get people together in a positive way,” said community member, Natasha Davis. “You know, cause there’s so much negative stuff going on and so much bad stuff happening. I just, you know, thank God this is going on today and I’m just overjoyed.”

Others like Jayin McClain say he and his siblings are simply thankful for the opportunity to begin Christmas with quality family time amongst their community.

“Spending time with family is always good,” said McClain. “And of course, the food is good, but also, lighting a tree- that’s a good time. Of course, you do that with your family, but to do it with your community outside of your family- that’s a good time as well.”

Local vendors say they were grateful for the ability to help spread Christmas cheer.

“Exposure and it’s festive, it’s joyful,” said Kristin Farmer a local vendor who founded Curly Contessa. “I started during the holiday season- Christmas 2017. And so, it’s just like paying homage to that, you know, back to where I started. I’ve been able to expand to other home goods, but this is back where I started.”

Overall, Mayor Randall Woodfin says they wanted to provide a safe environment to kick off Christmas with all of Birmingham.

“There’s so many competing events that happen during the holidays, but we wanted to take one moment and celebrate with the entire community just to show our unity with everybody,” said Mayor Woodfin.

Mayor Woodfin says he hopes this event sends a positive ripple throughout the community during the entire holiday season.