Remember back to the days of your youth? Holidays were a time that we simply loved. What made it so endearing? I think it was the memories we created, the warm and fuzzy feeling deep inside. Are we taking time to recreate those memories, and make new ones for our children and grandchildren? Living in a small town, I think my family is lucky to have the opportunity to slow down and have the experience of old fashioned holiday spirit.
Our town, Honesdale, has a wonderful weekend they like to call “Honesdale for the Holidays”. Stores are decked out in their holiday spirit and many stores and businesses will host “Open Houses” with seasonal warmth for their shoppers and visitors. Christmas music rings from the town pavilion making the shopping merry as vendors dot the sidewalks with their wares. The high school choir and Victorian strollers walk main street for all to enjoy. All the while the Stourbridge Line train will be blowing its whistle inviting young and old to hop on the train and take a ride with Santa and some elves, trains and Christmas it doesn’t get any better. As the sun sets and the decorations light up the streets the sidewalks crowd as the little ones get ready for Santa to come to town. What a festive spirit as the parade marches by, ending with the “big guy” himself. The people follow the parade into Honesdale’s Central Park and activities continue. Led by Rudolph and Frosty songs are sung and the star on Irving Cliff brightens the horizon for another holiday season. Children visit with Santa and everyone enjoys hot chocolate and a wonderful small town America. For more information: http://www.visithonesdalepa.com/honesdale-event/1526/
We, at the James Manning House, love to keep this Holiday Americana feeling going, and that’s why we invite everyone to a Holiday Open House. This spirit spills out into our little village of Bethany in another event we call “Christmas in the Village”. This year we are celebrating, Saturday, December 2, from 2-4 PM. At the inn we will have the Honesdale High School Chamber Choir delighting us with Christmas songs and carols. Our friend and author of three books, Will Wyckoff, will be here signing books and chatting with visitors. The house will shine in all its holiday splendor and we delight in showing visitors all around and share with holiday cheer. Of course, the kitchen has been busy for days ahead of this event and a huge platter of homemade cookies will be available for tasting. Bethany Public Library joins in the fun with an appearance of Mrs. Claus who helps children write letters to Santa. They enjoy stories and hot chocolate, too. Bethany Methodist Church will also be hosting visitors in the holiday spirit. Bethany Village invites everyone to stop by for their tree lighting and a Tricky Tray raffle. For more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1499957440086260/
We hope that you can take some time and visit us to enjoy the little things that make us appreciate the wonders of the season. But most of all start some of your own traditions and sweet memories will be yours.
Tradition #5 Christmas music fills the air. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the sounds of carols, bells and voices ringing through the air. Nothing makes the preparations seem more festive than our favorite Christmas songs on the record player, CD player, MP3, or whatever the latest technology.
Ever since I was a child I can remember the happy times when the Christmas records were playing, with Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Gene Autry and Montovani; yes, my parents had a strange combination of records. My children remember, too, and got excited, when the Christmas music started to play. First in the car coming home from Grandma’s on Thanksgiving night – not a day before, and not until after the turkey ‘d been eaten. We all sang along with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman. Later we tried to imitate Barbara Streisand’s Jingle Bells, and the camels’ version of Wee Three Kings from Claymation Christmas. One of our traditions was to join hands in front of the Christmas tree each evening in mid-December and sing one Christmas song before bed. It was and always is so rewarding and spiritual to join with a choir of voices in strains of the glorious Christmas Carols such as O Holy Night or classics such as The Alleluia Chorus.
I can’t begin to tell anyone my favorite Christmas Carol or song, there’s just too many. I can’t even name my favorite album, being torn between Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Manheim Steamroller, but wait then there’s Pentatonix, and Straight No Chaser. What about Josh Groban and “Believe”? Whoever you favor, listen as the melody of the season fills your soul. “Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.”
– Bess Streeter Aldrich (Song of Years)