OPINION: Holiday spirit settling in Chilton

Published 9:04 am Monday, October 24, 2022

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

The recent cold weather has most locals getting ready for the holidays. Many shops (franchises and small business owners, alike) stocked Thanksgiving items in September and are already beginning to place some Christmas merchandise out on display. There is not any shame associated with wanting to celebrate the warmth and love that Thanksgiving and Christmas brings. Alabama being in the heart of the Southern Bible Belt, makes it feel like a Christian duty to be charitable, help others and celebrate Christ every day of the year. Chilton County residents putting up Christmas decorations in October is the real-life Christian version of Dr. Seuss’s Whoville. However, before one ties a red velvet ribbon around everything and goes into credit card debt, it is important to soul-search of why people find the holiday season so exceptional.

In the celebration of autumn and harvest season my family took a trip to Penton Farms last week. While on the way to Verbena, our family car stalled while passing through Thorsby. It immediately cranked “right up,” but we decided to drive to a nearby mechanic, so we would not be possibly stranded later on the side of the road. While I did not have an appointment, I drove to the garage of Thorsby Mayor Robert Hight. I feel humble and grateful that someone that juggles the issues of an entire city was available to me in my desperation. He listened and gave me advice that did not “break the bank,” While he could have easily charged a fee to look under the hood, he shared his knowledge freely, and we were able to continue on with our family outing.

When we arrived at Penton Farms, we already had the expectation that it would be commercialized and overpriced. It was my family’s first time visiting, and we were surprisingly wrong! The fee included the tractor ride and a pumpkin as well as several acres of free attractions built out of the kindness of their hearts including two giant pyramids that children can climb, giant slides, dozens of swing sets, “selfie stations” where families can take beautiful seasonal photos together, a fort built around a tractor for exploration, a corn maze, a pool of corn kernels to swim in.

Later that afternoon when my family returned home, exhausted from the fun I saw on social media that a local family was in need of food. The person making the request had visited local food banks but still in need to help feed their children for the week. When I looked in the comments my heart was blessed to see that over 40 people had responded offering to meet her with food boxes.

The phrase “Tis the Season” is not a reminder of reindeer games and egg nog, it is the living proof that God is alive and that our actions are a testament to that. While baking your turkey and “decking the halls” this season, consider all of the actions in your daily life and how it conveys the love of God with others. There is no limit to how much of the year we can spend with Thanksgiving and “Christ”-mas in our hearts, but our actions will convey our reasoning for the season.