I have always been a person who not only celebrates, but also decorates lavishly for Christmas. As I have gotten older, I decorate sooner. I mean, why go to all that trouble to put up something that has to be taken down in a week or two? So Christmas decorations go up at our house almost as early as they do in the stores. Some time not long after Halloween. On the other hand, the tree usually goes up on Thanksgiving, usually during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (It comes down during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.)
This year, fall was slow to move in, but winter has fallen in quickly behind with freezing temperatures and a beautiful early snowfall. Kids, and those with a youthful heart, gleamed with joy as they awakened on Tuesday, November 12 to a beautifully, cotton tinted blanket of snow across the county. The excitement swept across the smiles of many faces as they sprinted out in the early morning hours, some unable to wait until sunrise, in their bundles beneath the gray clouded skies.
This year, Union County is ringing in the holiday season with many family-friendly events offered to the community and visitors. While the leaves of a late autumn season are peaking, the county is beautiful, and now that the fall carnivals, hayrides, and visits to the pumpkin patch are wrapping up, it is time to mark your calendars for some spectacular Christmas events.
Cut your own tree
Union County is a beautiful place to live and visit during any season, but this winter was even more sparkling than expected. The Light Up Union County Event, hosted by partnership UT Extension and Union County Chamber of Commerce, generated twenty three divine holiday light displays. The contest was split into three categories this year including Individual, Organization, and Commercial Business. A Facebook poll was conducted, running about two weeks, for each category.
The true spirit of the season is giving and doing for others with no expectation of return. The simple act of kindness can work magic on a person’s heart. Gifts are not always in the form of an item but more so in the love that it takes to make or volunteer to do something. Being oriented in service learning, this season UT Extension Union County groups are in a giving spirit.
Thanksgiving is a time of family fellowship, thankfulness, and tradition. Spending time building memories with family and friends should be priority. The thankfulness of the holiday seems to be taken lightly by some as they are already preparing for the Christmas season. A season that should be of similar nature, geared around happiness, giving, and togetherness, now seems to have progressed into a more common time of stress, rushing and shopping. As the years pass, it seems as though festive stress is the commonality that comes with the Christmas season rather than the spreading of cheer.
The cool air is wisping through Union County as November peeps around the corner. With the cool air and festivities surrounding the town, excitement for the upcoming holidays begins. As lights are strewn up in window seals and trees become aglow, the county will glisten with Christmas spirit. Opportunities will arise for a car ride through town with the family, Christmas carols on the radio and hot peppermint cocoa in hand to gaze at the town through the frosty windows and admire the holiday decorations.
While holiday shopping can get you into the spirit of the season, it’s often accompanied by a nagging feeling that you’re overspending. Listening to that nagging little voice will be the best thing you can do! Busting the budget is a holiday tradition that you may pay for months into the new year. A holiday spending plan can help you feel comfortable and in control, but a common mistake is not considering the hidden expenses that come with the holidays. Here are tips for making sure your budget covers even those hidden costs:
Some of my fondest Christmas memories as a young child were traveling to downtown Knoxville to watch the annual Christmas Parade. While bundled in a winter coat and sometimes a blanket, I would huddle with my younger brother or sometimes sit on the curb to witness the amazing floats and colorful bands.
It is the time of year when we are counting down days until Christmas, finalizing shopping lists, spreading tinsel, and tying bows. As quickly as December sneaks up, June peaks around the corner. As we transition from snowflakes to sunshine, Union County 4-H is preparing for the upcoming 2018 4-H Camp! This December we have a special stocking stuffer that would be the perfect surprise for that special child, grandchild, niece or nephew that has it all.
A fond memory from my childhood is packing the whole family, and quite often several friends, into the vehicle nearing the Christmas season. All of us children, and our parents too, itching with excitement waiting on the darkness to fall so all of the dainty lights could glow through the car windows. Simple or extravagant, that did not matter. The cruising, the laughing, and the twinkle from those beautiful Christmas lights that we had looked so forward to admiring are a strong memory from our youth.