A small town Christmas affair

Staff writer

In my hometown of Augusta, our Christmas events consisted of a light display in the park, which they stopped doing a couple of years ago. We have an ancient Christmas tree that is put up downtown, but that is the extent of the Christmas festivities.

I did not know what to expect when driving to Marion Sunday. I figured it to be a purely shopping event, and thought it seemed strange to hold something like that on a Sunday, especially with the governors’ declaration of Small Business Saturday the day before.

I love the feeling of good old-fashioned holiday cheer, the type you get when you do a random act of kindness. That feeling seemed to radiate throughout the town Sunday. Everyone had on their best Christmas spirit cap and was wearing it proudly.

It was a nice change of pace to see everyone in such cheerful moods. My favorite had to have been Roger Holter.

He was like a kid in a candy store driving the tourism bus around town. His smile could not get any bigger as he showed me around town, talked about his new job as city administrator and pointed out the antique fire truck while grinding the gears of the blue bus. It was nice to interact with him in something other than City Council meetings.

The best part of being a journalist is getting to hear, and tell, people’s amazing stories people, like Shirley Bowers, who has hundreds of nativity sets and every one has special meaning to her.

She told me stories of several, like the stained glass one her son made, or the few she made herself. They were all different and all beautiful. She said she knew the stories of all of them, and each nativity’s story was as different as they looked.

She said it was just something she liked to do, and before she knew it, everyone was finding nativity sets in random places and saving them for her. She said several have come from neighbors, which I think is a beautiful story in itself.

How many places are left in the world where people just give something to another, just because? That was the feeling Sunday’s events gave to those who joined. People were so thankful and glad to share their town that it did not matter where you called home.

It all comes down to Christmas spirit. Being a newcomer, it can be challenging to go to events like these and not feel out of place, but Sunday everyone had a story to share and was willing to tell it.

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