Holidays, especially Christmas, are about traditions and spending time with friends and family. Few can deny the warmth in their heart that comes from snow-covered landscapes, the smell of freshly-baked cookies and a household lit by a vibrant, glowing Christmas tree. Like many of you, each year, my wife and I host Christmas Day at our house. Our two daughters and their families always come over for dinner and a gift exchange.
One tradition that is unique to my family, is that each year, we put up a Christmas tree in every room of the house, and each tree is themed depending on what room it is in. For example, the tree in my office is decorated with things from the past and accomplishments from my career, while the tree in the kitchen is adorned with decorations from wineries that my wife and I enjoy visiting.
While families share their own traditions, the same can be said for communities, and in our corner of the state, there is so much to do during the Christmas season. One storied tradition is the Boonville Christmas Parade, which is the longest, continually running Christmas parade in Indiana. Although the parade has been postponed from time to time, primarily due to inclement weather, since its inception, it has never been cancelled. This has been one of my favorite community traditions for quite some time. In fact, for nearly 30 years I served as the parade chairman. To this day, I still enjoy helping with this fun event, but now the best part is sharing it with my grandkids.
We are also fortunate to live just a short drive away from Santa Claus, Ind., which is the only post office in the world to have the Santa Claus name! Every year, visitors from near and far flock to Spencer County to have their letters stamped with the famous Santa Claus postmark. Many children also mail letters there in hopes that Santa will read them. Starting in 1914, the postmaster took it upon himself to answer the children’s letters, and to this day, approximately 13,000 letters are answered each year.
Another short drive away will find you in Petersburg, Ind., where each year, Hornady Park is decorated with over 100 lighted displays. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving and running through Christmas, visitors are able to drive through each night, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and get a glimpse of the holiday décor.
Christmas is about traditions, and whether your Christmas tradition is something as conventional as a big home-cooked meal, or as unique as a small dinner out on the town, one thing that is similar about nearly every tradition is that they are all about bringing people together. That is because what makes any holiday truly special is being able to spend it with those we love. This is one of my favorite times of year, and I hope that you too will find yourself overflowing with the joy of the Christmas season.
As the holiday season quickly approaches, I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.