Stephanie Pearce: The joy of Christmas traditions
There are so many things that make Christmas special.
To celebrate the birth of Jesus, we partake in so many customs, both old and new. All of these traditions involve friends and family. One of our special Christmas rituals is attending the Big Gulch Community Club Christmas Party.
Since I was little, I have attended this party with an invitation from my friend, Glenda. Since then, I have made it one of our family Christmas traditions. It has everything an old-fashioned country Christmas would have. It is filled with love, laughter and watching the wonderment of small kids with Santa.
The party is held in an old schoolhouse north of town on Moffat County Road 3. The little schoolhouse is decorated by the club members. It has a tree ornamented so sweetly, and there are garlands all around the building with benches lined up for families to sit on. In the back of the room are a large pot-belly stove and tables with appetizers that the guests have brought to share.
The party starts with a talent show of sorts.
There’s Mr. Counts, who sings a song he wrote himself — I believe it’s called “Merry Christmas.” There are more Counts and Updike families who usually have some Christmas poetry they’ve written. The kids from young to old get up and sing, play instruments and perform skits. We all sing a few Christmas carols together. When Mr. Allen plays his guitar and sings “Here Comes Santa Claus,” you can guarantee that Santa will come through the door.
Santa is as jolly as ever, and he has a present for every child who comes to the party. Somehow, he knows all their names and calls them up by name to the front. They sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. When you see the young ones’ faces when Santa calls their name, it is truly magical. Santa usually has a few jokes to tell and a hard time to give the older crowd before he leaves for the evening.
When Santa leaves, we sit around, visit with one another and eat the treats that were brought. The kids usually go outside and play hide and seek or start a snowball fight. They come in sporadically for hot cocoa. We hang around, and slowly, the crowd dwindles down to the crew that helps clean up.
When we finally leave, we sing Christmas songs and talk about all the great talent that performed that night on our long ride home. It is a little out of our way to go to the party, but it’s one tradition that I want to keep. I love the country, small-town feel and the company of all the families that are so rooted here along with the new ones.
Christmas traditions keep us grounded. They keep us in touch with our friends and family. They make this time of year one of the most wonderful times of the year.