Christmastime in Craig

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One child receives a dollhouse so big that her little brother could get in it.

All is calm, all is bright. The packages are all quickly unwrapped and everything seems just right. For many, this is a time of year that brings belly laughs a plenty, hugs beyond expressions and smiles so deep that they leave an imprint on one’s heart.

Most everyone finds it easy to say, “Merry Christmas” and life just seems to be a little brighter for all. The funniest part- as some kids say – is waking up on Christmas morning to find their wish list under the tree. Wrapping paper fills the air as parents and family members video the elation of the special moments.

Regardless, it seems to be the love of the season that makes Christmas what it truly is….a day of love to share with others.  Some kids unwrap one gift at a time while others can’t finish one until their eyes are set on the next.  “My child is one of those,” one lady said with a heartfelt smile. “She will run around to everyone else’s lap as well, willingly ready to shred their paper for them too.”

There are many adults that seem to enjoy the unwrapping as much, if not more than the kids. “My husband will tear a package open in less than a second,” one wife shared with a giggle.

Still, in Craig, we found that other families had a more difficult time. One couple in Craig had a house fire and it was noted on Facebook that they were overwhelmed by the love of the community taking care of their immediate needs.

Their social media post read: “Merry Christmas to all! Hope everyone’s holiday is filled with joy and happiness. Find the POSITIVE in all and take a minute to reflect on how truly blessed we all are. Happy Birthday Jesus.” Sadly, only two hours later, they found out the wife’s mom had passed.

Though Christmas music played in one home, while the sirens rang at another, Craig County still seems to hold true to the saying, “There’s no place like home… in a small-town community.” Two ladies in Craig had the sad news that their husbands passed only a couple days before Christmas. Community members again showed immediate response in helping to ease the pains of loss and care for them.

One family member had a last minute tough decision of placing a spouse in a nursing home. “It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do,” they shared.  Again, people were there to help in whatever way they could. Others contacted community members asking for names of kids to buy gifts for, or for people to take meals to.

Still, the joy seems to immediately emerge and is shared by all, when anyone watches a child open a gift. Their eyes get so big, their mouth opens wide and their eyes twinkle like Santa’s. “It’s a moment that can’t be substituted for anything else,” one family member shared. Some more “techie” families could take a picture of their living room. Oh, how that excited the kids, to SEE Santa in their home!

Someone recently said that their mother was a bit nerdy but is one of the most authentic and kind hearted people that they know. He added, “She always told me that Christmas isn’t about how many gifts you receive, but about creating memories with friends and loved ones that you can cherish for a lifetime.”

Inside, the traditional Christmas trees gleefully light up the living rooms with twinkle lights, decorations and angels. Some shared that their trees had nothing on the bottom due to their cats, dogs and little children grabbing them off.  Outside many homes, the decorations glow on fences in trees and displayed in yards to celebrate the season.

Carrying on the tradition of gifts, eating meals together and creating an atmosphere of joy and cheer is one that raises the bar of a happy life in a home.

At many homes, “feasts” were served and only elbow room was available. Foot stools, piano benches and any kind of apparatus one could sit on was brought up to the table so everyone could be there together.

Several family members added their annual “Christmas Eve Service” to their agenda, celebrating the real meaning behind Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. “You can’t leave out Baby Jesus,” one child exclaimed.

Christmas. A time of year where people seem to be a little nicer and most look at the glass as half full instead of half empty, even when it’s not. Christmas in Craig, a time to look out for your neighbor while also enjoying the meaningful season with your loving family.

Pam Dudding-Burch Contributing writer