Define the holiday season from Halloween to New Year’s Day however you’d like – turkey, fireworks shows or church services, and you get joy. Think back to this time of year any other month and you get the same thing – joy.

When it comes to sweltering August days soon enough, we can all think back with plenty of joy about how Monroe County really embraced the 2019 holiday season.

You truly made Halloween great again as our general manager, Emily Paul, pleaded through a column a couple of years ago. You did not disappoint when it came to not only organizing Christmas events but supporting them through good attendance.

Following An Antebellum Christmas at The Magnolias, people were quick to say how that event brought people together in unity to embody Aberdeen’s true spirit. Pictures from Amory’s Christmas events illustrate just as much energy on that side of the county.

There were chances to eat breakfast with Santa throughout the county, and the big man himself was seen everywhere from a Dollar General to Hatley’s Tiger Mart. With every appearance came the kids with smiles on their faces and big wants on their wish lists.

You can’t make it through a Christmas season without parades and thanks to the hard work of the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce for the ones in Aberdeen and Amory and the cities of Nettleton and Smithville, the towns gave people another chance to come together to have a good time.

Standing alongside the parade routes, it felt like the ‘80s and ‘90s all over again at times.

The older you get, the more you think back to the past to help warm your heart, especially at Christmastime and throughout the whole holiday season.

You can’t always bring back little cocktail smokies and spinach dip on New Year’s Eve with family and neighbors you had years ago, but you can think back on those special times with a smile.

We may overlook the annual traditions like looking at Christmas lights and jotting down Black Friday wish lists, but they’re all things that will help bring us joy thinking back on them years from now.

As we try to capture Monroe County’s holiday magic every year through our last MC Magazine of the year, we hope to share plenty of 2019’s magic in next year’s edition.

Although we’ve been writing the MC Holiday Magazine a year in advance for the past several years to keep it authentic, we discovered another authentic success this year by reprinting letters to Santa from decades past.

Thanks to a sponsorship from Piggly Wiggly, some of you got to see what you wanted for Christmas back in first or second grade. Digging through old Aberdeen Examiners and Amory Advertisers to find them was a joy to us and from the feedback we received, it was as much of a joy to you.

There are plenty of other rarely remembered or completely forgotten Monroe County traditions buried in those old newspapers and hopefully we can refresh some memories by reprinting some of them in next year’s MC Holiday Magazine too.

I think back with huge smiles when I think about Aberdeen’s neighborhood Christmas driving tour and the Christmas boat parade on the waterway. You knew it was Christmastime when the man dressed as Santa near Dr. Boyd’s office in Amory was waving to passersby from his sleigh.

No matter where in Monroe County you live, you’ve got some old holiday memories that make you smile.

Thanks to the ones serving up community Thanksgivings and organizing haunted houses and trunk-or-treats this year to conjure up some new memories. Please don’t stop giving back to our community and don’t stop improving our quality of life here.

One day, whether it be a rained out Saturday next May or Dec. 12, 2042, we’ll think back to the good times you helped us have.

It took three ghosts for Ebeneezer Scrooge to check himself and finally find his Christmas joy. As busy as life can sometimes get, it just takes a few minutes to reflect on past Christmases to make us stop and enjoy that moment in the present with a smile.

Merry Christmas, Monroe County.

Ray Van Dusen is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at

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