I have had the opportunity to live in several different communities and it is always neat to see how a neighborhood or town celebrates Christmas.
The holidays are all about tradition and often locals don’t see those time-honored events for what they really mean to the community.
Houston is no different.
I repeatedly hear businesses, politicians and economic development folk talk about quality of life. It is an abstract term that is hard to define. But I think we all know it when we see it.
Here are a few that make Christmas in Houston so special.
This isn’t the first time the snowflakes have gone up on The Square in downtown Houston but it always signals the start of the Holiday Season to me.
We passed the square in all its holiday glory Monday night. It really is a Christmas gem
Sadly, someone stole the lights that traditionally hang from the four corners of the belltower. I can remember seeing them from Grocer’s Pride to the west, Natchez Trace Electric from the east and Joe Brigance Park from the south. I wish someone would step up and buy a couple of strands for the community for Christmas.
The colored-light gates over the sidewalks are a nice touch.
But those snowflakes in the trees are splendid. They aren’t gaudy and they highlight those grand, old trees that have been growing on the courthouse lawn for more years than anyone around here can count.
There is talk of snow this week and maybe those snow flakes will be what we need to welcome a flurry to town.
But being a son of the South, I don’t ever recall getting a lot of snow in these parts. Those flakes in the Courthouse trees will do just fine.
A number of churches have big Christmas productions planned for this month.
I like good music and will try to make several singings this season.
First Baptist has their annual Singing Christmas Tree in a couple of weeks and it’s worth the price of admission (it’s free) to just look at that giant green Christmas Tree stage that fills the front of the sanctuary.
Parkway, Alpha & Omega and Darden Chapel having Christmas singing set. And someone said their Singing Pastor at Arbor Grove will burst forth with a song sometime this month.
Christmas is all about heralding the birth of our Savior. That’s the best reason in the world to sing.
I’m big on shopping at home.
Merchants in Houston, Okolona, Houlka, Woodland and Vardaman are the grease that oils the local economy around here. Most of them advertise in this paper.
I once heard an economist say if every home in any given community would spend $50 extra dollars with local merchants, that town would have a successful Christmas shopping season.
I think we can all find a store around here to spend $50 extra dollars with before we go to the mall in Tupelo.
No, not every gift found under the Ingram Christmas tree will be from a local business, but every gift I buy will be bought from a local merchant.
I was recently picked to dress up as Santa Claus for several promotions and advertisements that are running in this newspaper.
Putting on that big red suit, pulling on a white wig and saying “ho, ho, ho,” really put me in the Christmas spirit.
I went to one business and there were two young boys shopping with their mom. The younger one – he was about 4 — really believed I was the big-guy from the North Pole. I did my best not to disappoint.
I will be the first to say Christmas is not about kids and Santa Claus, but they sure do make it a lot of fun.
Things will get busy around town over the next few weeks.
The Christmas Parade was this week and marked the official start of the Christmas season. Every school and local daycare will perform their annual Christmas show over the next two weeks and like I said earlier, our churches will host their Christmas pageants.
The Chickasaw Journal will do its best to keep you informed. We’re making a list and checking it twice . . .
Seriously, we are asking churches, civic clubs and anybody else who has a community event to call us early and let us publicize your event.
We’ll walk you through the process and if you are doing it for free, we publish it free.
It truly is the start of that most wonderful time of year!
Floyd Ingram is Managing Editor/News for the Chickasaw Journal. He can be reached at 456-3771 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org