By Heather Mullinix
Christmas is a mere week away and my house looks like the Scrooge house on the block. I've still got my autumn decorations out. There's a scarecrow where a snowman should be and I haven't lit up the night sky with any Christmas lights. Inside, it's just as bad. There is no tree trimmed with all my favorite ornaments, no stockings hung with care and hardly a hint that Christmas time is near.
I hope to redeem myself this week. If the weather forecast holds up, I might make it outside with some decorations and spread a little holiday cheer.
I find myself feeling more in the spirit of the season after all the activities offered up this past weekend in Crossville. Despite the late Thanksgiving and what felt like a rushed Christmas season, I think I'm ready.
Saturday, I found my jolly. I was beginning to think it had been packed away with all the Christmas decorations that are still securely stored. It's still a bit hit or miss, and I'm sure the cold, the rush, the pressure of the season will get to me again before it's all said and done, but I found it. It's there. I may even play a Christmas song or two.
In case you're wondering, that's kind of a big deal for me. I spent a few Christmases in retail, where the Christmas music began before Thanksgiving and continued through Dec. 24 at closing. More than 15 years later and I'm still burnt out on "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire."
What happened to change my mind? Where did I find this spark of jolly? I had almost decided to give up on the Christmas decorations. It takes so much time and then you have to take it all down. And if anything includes glitter, you'll have those memories of Christmas clear through to July.
I found it Saturday morning, as I and about 30 other brave and hardy souls hit the streets with our sneakers for the first TAD Center Reindeer Run. There was a costume contest and I, knowing my ability to win a prize based on the swiftness of my pace, went all out. From striped socks to reindeer antlers, with a lighted tutu skirt, I think I made a decent Dancer, one of all the other reindeer who wouldn't let poor Rudolph play any reindeer games.
I won the costume contest, thanks to a very nice Santa who agreed to let me be the winner after a voting tie. Thanks, Santa! I appreciate it very much. Especially since I didn't get to leave with a medal. But, my walking buddy did, taking third in our age division, and my other walking buddy left us in the dust to take first in her age division. We all left feeling like we'd had a great start to the day.
But on Saturday, the TAD Center was but the first of several stops. Did you happen to see the calendar of events for Saturday in Crossville? There were plenty of opportunities for everyone to find their missing jolly, in case they needed it.
Not far away, I found a bunch of elves working to make the season bright for more than 500 children in this community. The elves, who looked a lot like our friends, neighbors and local firefighters, were busy most of the day wrapping up presents that were donated by other friends and neighbors in the community through Christmas on the Mountain. The stacks and stacks of presents will find their way under trees this week.
To top off the evening, the city of Crossville presented the annual Christmas parade, with lights, candy, music and more. It was a little chilly, but the rain held off for the most part and everyone got to enjoy The Heart of Christmas. While it's always fun to see the head elf, Santa, who managed to make time for the Crossville parade in his busy pre-Christmas Eve schedule, I was most inspired by the youngsters, with their eyes bright and their cheeks rosy from the December evening temperatures, wishing the crowds a Merry Christmas.
I had the pleasure of standing next to a young man, probably about five, who was truly thrilled by every car, tractor, trailer, horse, float and costumed character that passed by. It gave me a glimpse back at Christmas through the eyes of a child – the excitement, the anticipation, the sheer joy of it all. He had jolly to share and it was infectious.
I'm glad he offered me a bit of jolly and I'm looking forward to decking my halls and trimming my trees.