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Linley Boykin, 5, stops to write a Christmas list to Santa with her grandmother and great-grandmother on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the GypsyMoon Marketplace, which hosted a Christmas market weekend.

If you’ve read the other newsletter stories, you may find more of a “bah humbug” mood than a “happy holidays” one. Where is the Christmas cheer?

According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, whereas only 46% celebrate it as a religious rather than a cultural holiday. 

Whether you celebrate Christmas for its religious origin or its modern cultural presence, you can likely agree there is something magical about the holiday.

Fall loses its luster. The trees let go of their crimson, gold and emerald leaves, and lawns turn to light yellow patches as the days get shorter.

All these things are replaced by something arguably a little brighter. Namely, the colored lights which serve as decoration at homes all over.

Some people choose to style with warm white or yellow lights and coordinating ornaments, and others choose technicolor strings and ornaments made to resemble your dad’s John Deere tractor to a ballerina to your grandmother’s stained-glass church. 

Since Christmas is a time for spending time with loved ones and celebrating old and new traditions alike, I asked some of my loved ones about their favorite Christmas traditions:

“When my dog sticks his head in the stocking,” Hayley Watson, one of my best friends and a photojournalism major, said before giggling.

“Probably Christmas morning with my family,” Taylor Duvall, my husband and a WKU alumnus, said. “Opening presents with coffee, then eating breakfast casserole.”

“Spending time with family decorating the tree,” Teresa Latture, a nurse and my mom, said. 

Decorating the tree is one of my favorite traditions. Each year, my parents and I visit the same tree lot in Gallatin, Tennessee. We buy a douglas fir tree every time, and it smells heavenly all season long.

Before my brother married and moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, he, my mom and I would hang up Christmas ornaments together. My dad isn’t much of a holiday person, but he normally hangs up the same antique truck ornament each time the opportunity rolls around.

After Thanksgiving, without fail I ask my dad when we’re going to put up the Christmas lights outside. He grumbles some remark about how we don’t need lights this year. However, when we finally start putting up lights, he thinks of new ways to decorate the house and yard. We also normally end up running to Walmart or Lowe’s to buy new lights — it’s become an unspoken tradition over the years.

However, some people feel a little more like Charlie Brown.

“I think there must be something wrong with me,” Charlie Brown said in the 1965 holiday classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” “Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”

The holidays can be difficult. Some find it to be more stress than they deem worthy. Others have experienced loss during the holiday, and each passing year reminds them of it. 

With that, I hope this holiday season brings you joy whether you’re in church or watching a Hallmark movie at home.

Maybe you’re like Charlie Brown, still wondering if Christmas is merely commercial or perhaps something more. If so, I hope you have a Linus in your life to remind you what the season is about for some, even if you’ve forgotten.

I hope you find the time to wind down this holiday season whether or not you celebrate it at all. Drive around the neighborhood to admire the lights, watch a classic movie with friends (if you’re into musicals, I highly recommend “White Christmas”) or sip some hot cocoa by yourself on a cold afternoon. 

All that being said, may your Christmas be merry and bright.

Love,

a Christmas fanatic

Features reporter Katelyn Latture can be reached at katelyn.latture423@topper.wku.edu.