Country Christmas Is Better

Somehow, “over the four-lane bridge and through the subway, to grandma’s house we go” just doesn’t cut it.

Last week, the WalletHub people, who release rating and rankings of just about everything, revealed “2018’s best places for Christmas celebrations.” Actually, the title was incorrect. In reality, all WalletHub did was, as a sub-heading noted, tell us the “best cities for Christmas celebrations.”

Yes, that is something of a contradiction in terms. The best places to celebrate Christmas are not in urban areas.

They’re out in the country.

John Denver never sang “Take me home, busy avenues” for a reason.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against big cities. They have their good points. For example, WalletHub pointed out that New York City has lots of toy stores. But after you’ve bought the kids that Flexible Flyer sled at FAO Schwarz, where in the Big Apple are you going to find a hill worthy of its steel?

Need I point out that here in West Virginia, there are thousands of great sled runs?

Christmas is a little more special when we awake to a fresh snowfall. The landscape is blanketed in white, sparkling in the sun. City dwellers, on the other hand, have to be content with spotting slightly less dirty slush.

Living out in the country — or, as is the case for just about everyone in Mountain State cities, within sight of it — has innumerable advantages during the holidays.

Many big-city dwellers will ever enjoy the pleasure of a real Christmas tree. The wonderful aroma of pine, the visual delight of a tree like no other — even the pine needles on the floor add to the Christmas experience.

And we in the country sometimes have the added enjoyment of going to the farm and picking out our own tree, then cutting it and taking it home. Even better, we can purchase live trees, then plant them and watch them grow. Don’t even think about that in the city.

Millions of city children, asking mom and dad what that bit of green plastic on the floor is, are told it’s a pine needle. No, it isn’t.

Then there’s Christmas Eve, when all is calm, all is spiritually bright. “Silent Night” is a fantasy for urbanites. It feels real here in the country.

As far as the bright part goes, millions of LED lights is not what most people have in mind.

I’ve always thought being closer to nature is being closer to God, whose Son is the reason we celebrate Christmas. The carol line about heaven and nature singing comes to mind.

Nature really does sing, to those who open their ears to hear it. There’s nothing more calming than the sound of a babbling brook in the country or the chirp of a bird breaking the silence of a snowy day.

And as far as feeling close to the Creator, no church I’ve ever seen matches some of the majestic stands of old trees right here in West Virginia. Cathedral State Park, full of centuries-old hemlocks got its name for a very good reason.

Perhaps a country Christmas appeals for the simple reason that in cities, everything around us was envisioned and created by humankind. Everything, even the parks.

Out in the woods, though, we’re in God’s creation and we are surrounded by God’s creatures.

Merry Christmas.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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