Barry County residents share Christmas traditions
December 18, 2019
Christmas time is upon Barry County. In just a week’s time, businesses will shut down, the last of the lights will go up and the children of Barry County will awake with excitement to see what made its way under the tree.
Everyone’s Christmas is a little different. Some people travel, while some make an effort to stay as close to home as possible. Some even go as far as to take to the streets in song to share their merriment with the world.
In the spirit of the season, several Barry County residents reminisced about some of their favorite Christmas traditions, from memories of Christmases past, to the joy of the current season.
For some in Barry County, Christmas means togetherness with family. Tina Bass, nursery care provider for God’s Little Kingdom Daycare in Cassville, explained that Christmas in her family is about everyone having the time to be present for the holiday.
“All of my aunts and uncles and cousins of all ages gather at my aunt’s house on Christmas night,” explained Bass. “We have a Christmas dinner. We exchange presents, have a big dinner and drink wine after dinner.”
“It’s the one time of the year that everyone is off work and we can all just spend time together as a family,” Bass concluded.
Bass isn’t the only Barry County resident who enjoys the togetherness of the holiday season. Security Bank president Jon Horner has been spending Christmas getting together with his family for as long as he can remember.
“Growing up, my grandparents, my parents and my cousins all spent Christmas together on the family farm,” explained Horner. “Being able to see each other and play with our presents while we ran around the farm was great.”
Though Horner has since grown up and started a family of his own, togetherness is still a part of the tradition in his home.
“Nowadays, my family and I also go to candlelight communion service at the United Methodist Church here in town,” said Horner. “Then, we gather for food, fun and games on Christmas Eve and meet again the next day for Christmas dinner.”
While togetherness is a common thread in most Christmas traditions, Kenneth Phillips, a patrol officer with the Wheaton Police Department, explained that his family has a few unique spins on the usual traditions.
“We do the same thing every year,” said Phillips. “We all gather at my grandma’s house to exchange gifts on Christmas Day. My grandma makes her tacos that everyone in the family loves so much. She makes her own tortilla shells, flour and all. Everything about the tacos is from scratch.”
Phillips, as well as many other members of his family, is an accomplished musician. For Christmas, the family combines their talents to provide the gathering with live entertainment.
“There’s lots of music, too. Me and my dad bring our guitars and play music while we’re there,” explained Phillips. “I feel really fortunate that my family is as close as they are. I feel very blessed in that sense.”
For some, past Christmases have given them the opportunity to travel and see an amazing site or two. For Purdy mayor Bo Prock, his fondest Christmas memory takes him several hundred miles south, to the happiest place on Earth.
“My most memorable Christmas was from sixth grade. My family spent three weeks at Disney World in Florida. We had Christmas in a hotel,” said Prock. “We really didn’t want to go in the summer because of all the people.”
Prock recounted his wonder at seeing one of the world’s largest theme parks decorated to fit the season.
“They decorated Cinderella’s castle for Christmas,” explained Prock. “The whole park was decorated for Christmas. We had never seen that side of it before and that was one of the perks of getting to go during the holidays. It was a very different experience than what we’ve ever done up here. It was awesome. We even got to swim on Christmas morning.”
Few would debate that the most important people on Christmas are the children. Nikki Tolbert, bakery and deli production manager for Wal-Mart Cassville, recounted adding a new tradition to her Christmas Eve to help ease her children’s fears that a certain magical elf’s pets don’t get enough to eat when they’re working.
“Our biggest family tradition is making cookies for Santa and setting out carrots for his reindeer,” said Tolbert. “My daughter came home from school one year and was all about making sure that Santa’s reindeer get fed. That’s been a part of our tradition ever since. We set out cookies for Santa, but we’ll also set out carrots and some kind of oatmeal-based reindeer food to make sure that they get something to eat.”
Everyone’s Christmas traditions are just a little bit different. For all involved, one thing remains true: Christmas is about love and togetherness. It’s a holiday about families coming together to spend a day being thankful for one another.
Though some traditions may be different, one tradition remains consistent throughout every household on Christmas: the tradition of loving one another.