Traffic is snarled, people are agitated and impatient racing the clock in last-minute shopping, and everyone feels pity as the Salvation Army volunteers cheerfully ring their bells and brave the oftentimes inclement weather – it’s the Christmas season across middle America.
But when the commercial feeding frenzy slows to the gentle calmness of Christmas Day, folks in flyover states bask in the glow of friends and family blessings, traditions, and love of the Savior.
Traditions at Christmas
The Midwest states may incorporate the occasional out-of-area decoration or choice of menu, but in most communities, celebrations are the kind that Norman Rockwell would once paint.
The church bells peal with glory to God as families spend mid-morning in pews, enjoying fellowship and community, and reacquainting with those who are home for the holidays. Tables are set with the traditional fare – turkey, ham, starchy sides, and of course, the green bean casserole. And make no mistake, the eggnog is spiked because momma needs a strong partner to produce the pageantry, as visiting is not a call-ahead custom – and people arrive parched and needing the cereal mix known as Puppy Chow, and a stiff drink.
The Southwestern states, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada adopted many rituals of the natives who inhabited the lands prior to the annexation of the Lone Star state and the Gadsden Purchase. Traditional fare around the table includes tamales, posole, and green and red chili stew, accompanied with hand-made flour tortillas. Yet some Anglo-traditions are in full effect as gooey popcorn balls and iced sugar cookies – recipes passed from long ago – make the rounds.
Although most homes are decorated with electric lights, the traditional tree, evergreen boughs, and Mistletoe, on Christmas Eve they are also adorned their property with luminarias – paper bags filled with sand and candles.
Many southwestern folks attend Christmas Eve services and spend Christmas Day opening gifts and overeating – like most folks on the day proper.
Is there a better time to sip hot cocoa and vodka, cuddled on the couch to watch a Christmas movie, than after the chaos of the day? That was a rhetorical question. Taking to the mean streets of Facebook, and one interesting poll, Liberty Nation, has discovered what flyover folks like in a Christmas film.
Top of the list was A Christmas Story, where main character Ralphie wants a Red Rider BB gun, obsessed really. The movie follows his antics at home and school, set in a fictional town in 1940s Indiana. Although several television networks run the movie over 24 straight hours, it appears everyone at some time will tune in to see if Ralphie will, indeed, shoot his eye out.
Next on the list is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation which pits Chevy Chase, as Clark Griswold, against his boss, family, in-laws, neighbors, a rottweiler named Snots and a squirrel – all in hopes of creating the perfect family Christmas.
Rolling into the third position is A Christmas Carol, where the ghosts of Christmas past and present wreak havoc on one Ebenezer Scrooge. It seemed an odd selection in the 21st Century until one sassy momma in Nebraska explained, “It’s a great story and scares the bejeezus out of the kids who in turn go find kid things to do.”
Also on the list is Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis. As one commenter who ranked the movie stated, “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who think Die Hard is a Christmas movie and those who are wrong.”
Whatever you eat, drink, and watch to be merry, the folks at Liberty Nation wish you the happiest of days celebrating the Savior. Merry Christmas and God Bless us, every one!