Tahlequah Daily Press


December 27, 2011

Giving and receiving

From celebrating the birth of Jesus, to spending time with family and friends, local residents talk about what Christmas means to them.

TAHLEQUAH — Christmas evokes strong emotions in the young and old, and for many, its meaning includes celebrating the birth of Jesus, giving gifts and spending time with family and friends.

Fort Gibson resident Jennifer Bebo recently visited the Snowflake ice-skating rink with her family, including husband Lance, and daughters Sonrisa, 6, and Savanna, 6. Family friends, Ginger and Kalie DeShazo, also joined in the fun.

“To me, Christmas means seeing [the smiles on] my children’s faces and spending time with them, having baking disasters with them in the kitchen,” Bebo said, “and the ultimate surprise on Christmas morning.”

Ginger said Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ.

“Jesus’ birthday and time for family and friends, is what Christmas means to me,” said Ginger.

Sonrisa said, to her, Christmas is about giving to others.

“In student council, we give out gifts at the nursing home,” said Sonrisa.

April Roberts enjoys shopping and wrapping gifts.

“The birth of Jesus, is what Christmas means,” Roberts said.

Michelle Locust echoed earlier sentiments, saying she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and helping those less fortunate.

Linda Morgan Shoun, owner of Morgan’s bakery, said Christmastime means baking more than usual.

“[Christmas means] cookies, cookies, cookies, cookies and cookies, a blur of cookies and grandkids,” said Shoun “They like to help me cook. I have six grandkids. My oldest granddaughter bakes cookies on her own. And they always want to decorate a cake of their own when they visit.”

Deb Proctor, a bakery patron, has made a tradition of Christmas cookies at Morgan’s.

“Giving, family, and hope,” Proctor said. “I always take a box of Morgan’s Bakery Christmas cookies to my family in Texas and get another box for my brother when he comes from Kansas City.”

Ellen Haney, at Oasis Health Foods, said Christmas is a time when people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

“It’s really a time of giving of ourselves and a time of reaching out to others,” Haney said. “That’s when I spend time with relatives, visiting friends and family. If you don’t have your parents with you any more, you really miss them. I miss the old traditional things mom used to cook and do, her tree with the old ornaments we saw as a child. I still have a few of them. Everything centered around my parents then.”

Sue Presley was surrounded by holiday quilts in her Serendipity Quilt Shoppe.

“The birth of Christ [is what Christmas is all about],” Presley said, “[Along with being with] friends and family. Being with those you love. I go where my children and grandchildren are.”

Haley Blakley was sweeping in Kimberley’s Boutique, and said she enjoys giving – instead of receiving – gifts.

“I like giving gifts more than getting them,” said Blakley. “Christmas is about love and joy and family getting together. This is the first Christmas in a while my whole family will get together, including sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. We do dirty Santa, it’s the funniest thing in the world. We do it every year. And we eat all day and take a big family photo.”

Blakley especially enjoys her aunt Peggy Fredrick’s cranberry salad.

“She taught me to make it,” Blakley said, “and cousin Shannon Fields mashed potatoes. They’re so good.”

Getting his hair cut at Kimberley’s, David Stand said, giving gifts comes from the story of the Magi.

“It’s a time of giving and receiving,” said Stand. “More giving, it’s better to give than receive. We were taught by the wise men to give, and what we receive is more than what we could even give in return from a spiritual standpoint.”

Christ’s’ birth and family traditions give meaning to Christmas for Clare Fennell.

“My mom wraps the gifts in different paper, and we play a game to figure out which gifts is whose,” Fennell said.

Sue Fennel, mother of five, said wrapping gifts in this fashion is a fun, creative way to let them discover which gift is theirs.

“I use different symbols: a snowflake, bells, Christmas tree, angels, holly or mittens, and they have to play games to figure it out,” said Sue. “We’ve always done that.”

Tommye Wright especially looks forward to spending time with her grandchildren, being with family and friends and having them all healthy.

“The grandchildren will spend the night, and in the morning, we’ll get up and make Christmas pancakes shaped like Christmas trees and snowmen, and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows,” Wright said.

At Junie’s Closet, Amanda Watson Harris said Christmas is about celebrating Jesus’ birth, and spending time with friends and family.

“It’s filled with love and happy times, I love it,” Harris said. “We lay down by the fireplace and watch movies. It’s perfect.”

Connie Singleton said she loves how Christmas brings family and friends together.

“It reminds people of their faith,” Singleton said. “And brings people home. It’s old-home weekend starting with Black Friday after Thanksgiving and the last two weeks before Christmas. It’s the time of year you see people out and around, and everyone comes home.”

Decorating a display at Edie’s Fashions, Terri Fite said the birth of Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas. She likes being near dear friends and family.

“I love all the Christmas music and hearing it during the season,” Fite said. “Music is Christmas to me.”

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