The kids were lined around the block in downtown Calhoun, Ga., a small Southern town in the northwest corner of the state. Some were dressed in their finest red and green, clutching their parents’ hand as they kept their eyes on the street, anticipating the arrival of the man of the season. And when the Man in Red arrived, his tractor was led by a police escort.
The Christmas tree in front of the Gordon County courthouse had been up for a couple of weeks but the lights could not be turned on until Santa arrived. And with a wave of his hand the tree came to life and the crowd applauded.
The kids then jumped into his lap one by one, some whispering, some looking to their parents for guidance as to what to ask. When they were done speaking with Santa, they happily took a peppermint.
Calhoun’s Santa visit was just the first of many Christmas celebrations in small Southern towns. These are scenes that could be in a Hallmark movie. Thousands will go to the big city to see tree lightings and parades there. But the experiences in these small Southern towns are just as special.