A Connected Christmas taps into the power of the Massachusetts cultivation scene, which its organizer calls “the most selfless group ever”
Growing up around the Worcester area, Colin Chabot always got what he wanted for Christmas. As have the children in his family. And so five years ago, after shopping for one particularly spoiled kid, he had a revelation.
“I had already bought him every present that I knew he wasn’t even going to be excited to open, and I still had $500 left. That’s when I was like, Okay, let’s do something with this.”
The idea was simple—raise money, then use the funds to help families in need get the holidays they deserve, whether that means providing them food, clothing, presents, or all of the above. An old friend from the cannabis community matched Chabot’s ante, and a Connected Christmas was born.
Looking for more donations, he thought about his network—both online, where he’s a popular weed multimedia maker and influencer, as well as in real life. Chabot came of age in the Worcester cannabis scene years before legalization, and said the mix of urban density along with outdoor farms have made it a center of the region’s movement for decades.
“I came into the game in 2010,” he said. “My family is Mass Genetics—we have a lot of cannabis cups on the wall. Over the years, it went from me doing grow-store runs, to trimming, to actually learning how to grow. Then, once I learned how to grow, the next step was making extracts. I got my first set of bubble [hash] bags in 2011.”
Chabot said he’s always found the weed world to be generous, and figured the people around him would embrace the Connected Christmas idea. “I love cannabis,” he said. “I got involved as a patient originally. I was on all sorts of ADHD medicine as a kid and that shit really fucked me up. Cannabis saved my life. This is all I know, it’s all I’ve done.”
Chabot is on the team currently building Wonderland Cannabis in Millbury, and plans on harnessing those supportive local vibes into that project. He continued, “Long before there were ever [dispensaries], there were a lot of people risking their lives to provide access for people. That group of individuals was always the most giving and selfless group I’ve ever seen—whether it’s for sick kids, or people who need cannabis and can’t afford it. I personally give away somewhere between 400 and 600 grams of RSO a year. I collect my rosin bags, and I take that and I soak it and I turn it into a really nice full spectrum RSO that we just give away.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about trying to help people connect the dots at a time when they don’t know what is coming next.”
His notion that fellow heads would pitch in was spot-on. In its first year, 2018, Chabot’s initiative raised nearly $10,000, allowing them to take 20 families on $500 shopping sprees. Recipients are chosen through a nomination process that he opens every year after the money is collected. Overall, not including what they brought in so far this season, a Connected Christmas has raised nearly $60,000, and taken 117 families shopping.
Chabot recalled, “In 2020, everyone was asking if we were going to do it because of the pandemic, and I really had to sit and think to myself, but then we thought if there was any year where people need help more than anything, it was that year.”
He continued, “We started with this with only 500 bucks [in 2018], and the goal was never even about raising a ton of money. Whether we raise two grand or 10 grand, we were still at least going to help a couple of people. But to my surprise, the funds were there. Even during the pandemic, the money was better than I anticipated. It was the year after when things started to slow down.”
Last year, they raised less than $8,000. This year, Chabot hopes to get back to the $10,000 mark, but no matter what they bring in, he considers it a success.
“Sometimes,” he said, “the need far exceeds what we raise, but sometimes, as crazy as it sounds, it’s hard to find people. So I have a couple of really cool organizations that I tap into if we need more people. One is the Interfaith House in Worcester, which is run by a bunch of different churches of all different denominations and their goal is to keep families together through homelessness.”
“People always tell me this is such a great thing that we’re doing,” Chabot said. “My whole thought on it is that no one person is going to change the world, but if everyone did one thing to help improve their bubble, then everyone’s bubble would get better, and then those bubbles would become a better collective bubble, and then that bubble expands.
“It’s not about one person being on a mission, so I’m going to applaud everyone.”
You can support a Connected Christmas on Venmo (connectedchristmas2023), Cash App ($TheChabotCorp), or by donating in person at Lili’s Glass, Axe To Grind Barbershop, or the Summit Lounge in Worcester, Jessica’s Salon or Simplicity Nails in Millbury, or Budssuds Soapery in Western Mass