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Christmas happenings in the city

Published 10:28am Monday, December 3, 2012

More than once this week, I’ve found myself singing Christmas carols.

Most likely that’s because the last store I visited was playing Christmas carols, an innocent act that seeded my mind with holiday cheer. I can’t imagine where else it comes from. Just a minute ago, I caught my mind playing Andy William’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Just for the record, there are no Andy Williams tunes in my playlist.

Did you know that Hugh Martin wrote “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in a small cottage in the Southside area of Birmingham? Judy Garland recorded the original version for the 1944 MGM musical “Meet Me in St. Louis,” and it took off from there.

It’s that time of year.

In fact, it’s that weekend of the year.

If you’re in Alexander City this weekend, there are all kinds of Christmasy things to do.

- The Children’s Harbor Holiday Market will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

- Downtown Alexander City retailers will host a big event Sunday from 1-4 p.m. when retailers open their doors for the annual Christmas Open House, sponsored by the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. Santa Clause will be downtown Sunday to hear children’s Christmas wishes and to have photos made. This will be a terrific time to get out, visit with friends and neighbors, enjoy some holiday cheer and do some Christmas shopping downtown.

- The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. on Broad Street.

- The annual Hometown Christmas Parade will be staged Monday evening, beginning at 6 p.m. If you  aren’t going to be riding on a float or marching in the parade, you’ll want to come watch and wave at the folks you know in the parade.

- At 7 p.m. Tuesday, “The Forgotten Carols” a Christmas musical comedy will be staged at Benjamin Russell High School.

That’s just a few of the activities in the next four days, but there’s much more to come … Our community churches will host a number of special services during the coming weeks. The Adelia M. Russell Library will have a special display of Christmas bells and music boxes. First United Methodist Church will host it’s annual Jingle for Tots run – you can run a mile, or a 5K (more like three miles) or a 10 K (more like six miles) to raise money for the churches children’s ministries while burning some holiday calories.

In surrounding communities, Eclectic will produce “An Eclectic Christmas,” which is a walk-through drama beginning Dec. 5, and the annual Tallapoosee Historical Society will host its annual tour of Christmas-decorated homes this year in the Stillwaters neighborhood on Dec. 8.

Yes, it is certainly Christmastime.

I’m already looking forward to ringing the bell in front of WalMart for the Salvation Army next Tuesday. Last year by the time my hour was up, I had rung the clapper out of my bell three times. You can put a lot of miles on a bell in an hour. Thursday evening a group of frisky BRHS cheerleaders planted several Christmas carols in my mind when they were ringing the Salvation Army bell.

Earlier this week I watched Linus recite Luke’s version of “What Christmas is all about” from the King James Bible and watched Charlie Brown “kill” a sad little tree with a single red ornament, only to see the whole Peanuts gang raid Snoopy’s doghouse decorations and bring that little tree back to life.

Did you know that the cartoon special was produced on a shoestring and that only three people who provided the voices in the show had ever done voiceover work? Kathy Steinberg, who was the voice of Sally, was reportedly too young to read in 1965 and had to be coached one line at a time during the recording. Today, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the longest-running cartoon special in history.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” was first broadcast in 1965, when I was 5, and I’ve seen it every year since. To my mind, Linus got it right.

In fact, because of that cartoon, one of our family’s most enduring Christmas traditions is reading aloud the second chapter of Luke on Christmas Eve, along with “Twas The Night Before Christmas.” If you are looking for a new Christmas tradition this year, I’d highly recommend reading both aloud, with your family, gathered around a fire or in front of a Christmas tree.

And I bet you’ll do it again next year.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.

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