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Raising a child in a small town has its advantages. One is the sense of community, and there is no time like the holidays. If you haven’t experienced a small town Christmas, then you are missing out.
I grew up in suburban Philadelphia with all the comforts of a major city at my finger tips. There is a mall within walking distance from my house. Any restaurant, store, or source of entertainment was just a short drive away. Never would I have imagined becoming a small town girl.
Suburban living is a far cry from how I live now in small town America. We are 2 ½ hours away from a major city with an airport. The town we live in now does not even have a stop light, only a four-way stop at the center of town. Outside of Wal-Mart, it is approximately an hour drive to any major stores. But, I love it.
I love the quiet of the town. The ability to leave your front door unlocked. My husband and I like to sit on the front porch in the evening and wave to the few people who drive by. Sometimes, my daughter and I walk down the street to our neighbor’s house to look at the horses and chickens they have roaming around. It is a peaceful life.
But, it can be hard living here this time of year. The holiday season is about family, and we are so far from ours. Anthony’s mom lives in Ohio which is about 12 hours from us. And my mom is still in suburban Philadelphia… 15 hours away.
Then there are days like today. Today Santa came to town! It may not seem like a big deal to those of you in a big city. But to small town America, it is a major event! Everyone came out to see the man himself come. It was a big deal.
We got to the town square around 5 pm. When we arrived, food trucks were set up all around the square. One of the local coffee shops poured hot cocoa for everyone. And even, though it was a balmy 65 degrees, there were fire pits set up around the square where you could, of course, roast a marshmallow and make S’mores.
There was a center stage set up, where local community artists sang Christmas carols, and the kids danced like no one was watching.
Faith, Anthony, and I joined the fun. We danced, sang, ate S’mores, fish tacos, and drank hot cocoa with our neighbors. Then it was time. Santa Claus was on his way! The countdown began…. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and out of nowhere, Santa was on the main stage!
Santa shared had the honor of pushing the lever to light the town Christmas tree! But that is when the party really started. BOOM! 360 degree fireworks, in the town square, complete with snow falling! The joy and glee of the children and the adults was contagious. Faith, Anthony, and I could not help but yell and scream with excitement as the fireworks burst all around.
Then, after the show, Santa moseyed down the walk to his house. That is right, did you know that Santa has a house in Martin, TN? He is there, in the town square several evenings a week during December to make sure that all the little ones get him their Christmas lists.
Our experience tonight, when Santa came to town, was remarkable. Sure, there are bigger, more elaborate events in large cities. But, I literally felt like I lived in one of those quaint little towns featured in the Hallmark Christmas movies this time of year. So, to my big city folks, you can keep your hustle and bustle. You can keep your conveniences. This big city girl has been changed, and is a southern; small-town girl at heart comes to town.