Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Time's A-Comin'

It isn't Thanksgiving yet and stores have their Christmas decorations up. The Home Depot in my town has had Christmas decorations out for sale for about a month. I even saw a house yesterday that already has a nativity scene and Santa and his reindeer out. Now that's a bit too soon.

Nevertheless, downtown Blairsville, my home town, has been planning our "Christmas on the Square" for a few weeks now. The Downtown Development Authority Promotional Committee, of which I am a member at least for those events involving the Union County Historical Society, is working hard to bring another extravaganza to our citizens. We will begin on Friday night, December 5, with a Christmas concert in the old courthouse by the North Georgia Chamber Orchestra. Saturday will bring the annual Christmas parade, presented by the Chamber of Commerce. On Sunday the old courthouse will be the scene of the Historical Society's annual Christmas concert made of of the groups, who have performed over the course of our concert season.

The Historical Society will present Santa Claus in the Old Courthouse courtroom for pictures with his young Christmas eve clients. We will take them with a digital camera, download them to a printer and give the families their quality picture on the spot...we hope. Children will also have fun with cookies, cider, Christmas "tatoos" and other equally exciting activities.

I am the chairman of the Society's parade float committee this year. The theme is "sounds of Christmas." We have a reputation for winning parade awards, but Christmas was not one of our strong suits last year. We put a 100+ year old wagon on a trailer, decorated it with live garland, and my wife and I, dressed in period clothes, strung popcorn as we rode along. That float was planned and put together in a couple of days. It was a crowd pleaser, but not a winner. We don't do it to win, we just like to participate.

This year we may put another of our wagons, more brightly painted in green, on the trailer and fill it with bagpipers and fiddlers doing Christmas music in the Scottish tradition. It will be fun, if I don't dump them somewhere along the route. It will also be fun if it is warmer than today's upper 30's with a 15-20 mph wind.

Holidays in small towns are such fun. Everyone turns out for the parades, and businesses and organizations get involved in the fun and holiday cheer. The floats, antique cars, horses, and who knows what are creative and the result of so many people working together. This year we will also be collecting items for the Mayor's Motorcade, a Georgia tradition for providing patients in the state's mental institutions with some Christmas fun. We will also continue to collect for the less fortunate families and for the area food pantry. We cannot keep the pantry stocked these days and there are more and more families, who are unable to provide for themselves.

At the end of the day, we will have the annual Christmas tree lighting on the town square. At the same time all of the businesses and the street decorations will be lighted. Our town will take on the warmth of Christmas, this year, at a time when so many are in need of cheer. At least for a few hours, everyone can forget their personal difficulties and join together for fun and fellowship.