Wishing you a very Southern Christmas

Published 9:18 am Monday, December 27, 2021

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith/ Community Columnist

While people living in the South hardly ever experience a “White Christmas” or some of the traditional hallmarks of Christmas like ice skating and snow-ball fights, there is a richness that blankets the land. In this quiet part of the world, covered with forests and wildlife, simplicities come into focus that are more precious than gold.  Goodness and kindness fills the air and is amplified in the Christmas season.

In Chilton County, Santa drives around neighborhoods on Christmas Eve in a fire truck. Elated children come out at night, stand on the curb to see the excitement; filling their minds with merriment right before bedtime. If a car breaks down on the road, it is not a strange sight to see a passing car or truck stop and help them — giving them a ride or helping push the car off the road. The volunteers or “angels” that push the car off of the road and volunteer Santa are not paid for the kindness and love given. It is a rare Christmas gift straight from the heart to see the warmth that fills the recipient’s heart.

Locals like to host community events such as Maplesville’s Old Fashioned Christmas when the community comes to celebrate Christmas together by decorating Christmas trees, face painting and kindnesses are given freely such as their local Mexican restaurant giving away free food for the day. Other such selfless events are the Sonlight Center’s food box giveaway to those in need, or individuals like Laurin Tillery, who decided to host the “Great Thankful Giveaway” — a free yard sale for those in need. Life’s blessings are best shared with others, which is why residents celebrate together.

Some of the most meaningful Christmas decorations in Chilton County are the 1960s telephone-pole decorations with tinsel or the star on top of Thorsby’s water tower. They might be old, but remind us of sweet Christmases that have past. People decorate their yard with decorations they already have; perhaps only one string of lights across their fence line. Humble yard decorations, such as these are seemingly closer to the heart comparatively to others because they are a reminder of the humble birth of Jesus- beautiful simplicity that radiates truth and love.

There might not be a Macy’s Department Store in our town center but you can find a family business that has worked all week to decorate their store-front window. “Shop local” is not just a trendy slogan, but a local reality that gives back to the family that owns the business, buying their children Christmas gifts and putting groceries on their table, who in turn, give back again by sponsoring community children to play ball.

Homemade Christmas goodies are baked with love and given to neighbors and friends and the town’s first responders because unlike the majority of townspeople on Christmas morning, they will be at the hospital or patrolling the roads to ensure our safety.

This Christmas may not be “merry and bright” for everyone. Some are sick or in the hospitals. Death can come at all times of the year and perhaps it is the first Christmas without a family member.

However your heart may feel this Christmas, be comforted that you are surrounded by a community of love, peace and joy. Whatever your Christmas wish is, there is hope for tomorrow because Jesus Christ is born today.