‘Tis The Season

OP ED for the holiday season


“Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings,” was at the end of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Sights and sounds of the season began around Labor Day at some of the big-box stores already had the tinsel hung and the decorations on the tree.

It really started officially in Platte County Oct. 8 with the Fall Fest Craft sale at the First State Bank Conference Center. The first look at the new trends for Christmas as the crafters brought in the season with the sights and sounds and scents of the seasons. Everything from Christmas cookies to Cowboy ornaments for the tree.

Like light snow falling, pretty soon boutiques and shops around town got into the Christmas spirit and with the end of October came the Tour of Tables and the holiday Christmas tables began to propel people that we were heading for the most wonderful time of the year.

With the Garden Club’s Fall Bazaar at the Agriplex, November was screaming, “GET READY!” With Chugwater and Guernsey’s massive craft fairs the week before Thanksgiving and the Glendo holiday fair after Black Friday, we all know it’s the “get set…” in the command to the runners before a race.

With the downtown Sip, Savor and Shop Oct. 10 was saw a craft festival of a different sort. Instead of bringing their wares to the Agriplex or one of the local gymnasiums, the historical streets of Wheatland were transformed into a wonderous invitation from business owners to come into their shops for good food, good drinks and an early look to fashion your Christmas list.

With the addition of Jeremy and Tara Westerman’s “The Wanderer on Gilchrist” and Linda Fabian’s trendy Welcome Wagon entitled, “Welcome to the Hood,” one could see the spirit and camaraderie that makes the business community more family than business.

Walking into some of the shops was like going to Uncle Don and Aunt Eleanor’s house for the holidays. There were no boundaries drawn. Business owners frequented other establishments and wished them well. There was a genuine spirit of cooperation and fellowship that you don’t see in the bigger cities or a lot of the smaller towns.

It is a lot like a team with a lot of great players that have decided to put team first. It wasn’t all about individuals or businesses “outdoing” one another on Main street. The talk was all about the team. The team of Wheatland businesses that had come together to celebrate community.

The Christmas music was bleeding into the streets from the open doors of the quaint shops and the frosting on the cake, almost like the old familiar carol “let Heaven and Nature sing” was when Platte County’s first substantial snowfall began covering the streets and enhancing the neon signs.

To say it looked like a portrait from Currier and Ives would be a stretch, but perhaps something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

The ability of our business community to get everyone excited about the season is to be commended. From the crafters who carry their boxes and tables from weekend craft sale to weekend craft sale to the establishments who have worked feverishly to make our downtown feel more like Christmas.

The spirit is infectious and little by little, there are those who have taken an early jump on “exterior illumination” to quote Clark Griswold. Everyone who drives our streets knows that each day a new light show appears like new flowers blooming in spring.

And for those of us who have no family here and the many who are alone for the holidays, this Christmas camaraderie picks up the spirits, brings back memories of Christmases past and causes the world’s problems to dim in the light of a divine season.

Apropos for our town and for the time of year comes from the movie “Scrooged,” starring Bill Murray who says, paraphrased, “I'm not crazy. It's Christmas. It's the one time of the year when we all act a little nicer; we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more.  For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.  It's a miracle.  It's really a sort of a miracle because it happens every Christmas.”

Right here in Platte County. There’s no place like home for the holidays.