Men and boys typically congregate to watch the game while women and girls gather in the kitchen to talk and catch up . There ’ s no formal sit-down meal , just a buffet of tasty holiday dishes brought to the kitchen so everyone can graze as much as they like on dishes like turkey , ham and deviled eggs .
“ It ’ s really just a time to get together . We pretty much do our own thing ,” Graves said . “ There are so many of us , it ’ s just chaos .”
The Crimson Room Hidden Treasures is now a children ’ s boutique under the direction of Alexandra Smith who sells toys , books and dozens of holiday-themed outfits for infants and children .
Smith also plans to close her business on Thanksgiving Day so her family , including young daughters Ellyeana and Emersyn , can enjoy spending time with friends and kin . The Smiths ’ Thanksgiving traditions involve visiting family members at home throughout the day and enjoying holiday foods .
“ We have a friendsgiving at our house then we go to about four different houses and eat at each one ,” Smith said .
Activities at each relative ’ s house are different . At one house , the adults watch the kids play outside ; at another , they play football outside ; and at her mother ’ s house , they watch movies and sit down to a large meal .
MEANING AND GREENING
Christmas means much more than gift giving though children are seldom left out . Among Smith ’ s extended family , children receive gifts throughout the day .
“ We open the presents that Santa brought first at our house then we go to my husband ’ s mom ’ s house and Santa comes to visit ,” she said . “ Then we go to my mom ’ s house and let them open presents .”
Smith is looking forward to sharing her family ’ s traditions with her youngest daughter who is nine months old .
“ This will be Emersyn ’ s first Thanksgiving and first Christmas ,” she said .
Graves wants to make Christmas fun for 2-year-old daughter Luna Hollingsworth . Last year Luna cried when she sat on Santa ’ s lap but later enjoyed looking at Christmas lights with her parents and crawling on the floor under the Christmas tree to discover gifts . Among adults , however , exchanging gifts is a formality that many would rather forego . Gift card exchanges and gift
Luna Hollingsworth bursts into tears when visiting Santa for the first time in 2020 .
swaps are two ways families cut down on the number of gifts purchased .
“ It ’ s too stressful trying to pick out presents for people ,” Graves said . “ I ’ d rather experience something together than go buy a gift .”
Ricky Johnson , whose youngest child is in high school , didn ’ t mention gifts . He said the Christmas holidays are all about taking a break from cooking and spending time with family in the region . They play games like Monopoly or Uno together , watch football on television , and drive to see Christmas lights .
Among Johnson ’ s family , Christmas dinner is purposefully nontraditional . Johnson ’ s family prepares different fare such as enchiladas or barbecue — anything but leftover turkey and ham from Thanksgiving , which they eat for weeks after .
Experiencing entertainment together is another common tradition . For example , Graves ’ family watches “ The Christmas Story ” every year until the football game starts .
For Smith , Christmas wouldn ’ t be the same without “ The Grinch .” Her family watches the film starring Jim Carrey every year and dresses her daughters in Grinch-themed clothing . She also takes them to visit the Grinch ’ s Lair at the historic Anderson County Jailhouse .
“ The Grinch has always represented Christmas for me so we ’ ll have lots of Grinch outfits ,” Smith said .
Tara Farris is planning to take her kids to ride the Polar Express this year at the Texas State Railroad . She wants to watch her son Micah , 3 , experience the cinematic train ride for the first time .
When they go , the Farris family will see other families riding the train together , including some wearing matching pajama sets . It ’ s just one of many local holiday traditions .
For information about events , restaurants , and things to do in Palestine during the holidays , Check out the events calender on page 18
Emersyn and Ellyeana Smith are wearing new outfits featuring their mom ’ s favorite Christmas character , the Grinch , at The Crimson Room Hidden Treasures located in Palestine ’ s Main Street District .
HOLIDAY EDITION 2021 35