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Last Saturday’s annual Wassail Fest in downtown Paris was a big success. Winners of the 2013 Wassail Fest contest were Joe and Kari Daniel owners of Green Boutique located at 111 Lamarr Ave. The Daniel’s were officially named the “Wassail Masters” in this year’s competiton.
Green boutique owner Joe Daniel said he made his own special brew called “Joe’s holiday wassail”. Paris Main street promotions chair Karie Raulston presented Josiah and Kari Daniel with two commemorative wassail fest cups and a blue ribbon.
Twenty-one businesses participated this year and prepared 21 different varieties of wassail. Those tasting and judging the wassail were asked to taste at least 12 different wassails to be eligible for drawing. Door prizes were also distributed.
Parade organizers have decided that the storms and rain in the local forecast for tomorrow should be past Paris by parade time. Therefore, the Christmas Parade in downtown Paris will be Saturday evening at 6pm. For those participating in the parade, line up begins at 4pm.
NOTE: Planners for the Spirit of Giving will decide on Saturday morning whether or not to postpone based on the weather. If postponed, the event will be held on Sunday at 2pm.
For the 6th year, the Spirit of Giving event will take place in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church on Saturday December 21st. The event began when Michael Wood realized he simply had too much stuff and asked Van Lazaroff, then pastor at FUMC, if he could give away some of it in the parking lot to those in need. A few more people decided they would join him in getting rid of some extra things they did not need as well.
The following year, Brad Aldridge and the Christ Community Church decided to to get involved as well. They decided to get a little specialized and try to round up new and gently used coats to keep people warm. That year they gave away about 100 coats. From there the event began to bloom as more churches and people got involve.
Aldridge decided that they would put racks in a box truck and build stairs up to it so people wouldn’t feel like they were standing out in a parking lot picking through clothes. The following year Holland Harper donated a container that people could walk into without having to go up stairs. The next year Harper brought in an even bigger container with doors on either end outfitted with coat racks so that people could stroll through and pick coats according to size. Last year Spirit of Giving gave away over 600 coats.
The lobby of Lamar National Bank is one drop off location where people can bring costs that they no longer need. Those coats are sorted through and dry cleaned so that all the coats are either new or clean. Coats can be dropped off through Thursday, December 19th.
Coats are not the only items being collected at various locations. Fruit baskets, electonics, blankets, toys, bicycles, can goods and other items are being collected around the community as well. On the day of the Spirit of Giving, individuals and families register starting around 8:30am. Each person is given 4 tickets. Each item at the event, regardless of value, costs one ticket.
“This reduces the chaos,” Aldridge said. “That way people don’t just run in and scoop up arms full of everything they can carry.” At 11am, Santa, on an antique fire truck, rings a bell and the shopping begins.
Over 2,000 people are served at this event and are treated with dignity. There are even “personal shoppers” who help people select clothing in both size and style.
It is disheartening to know that there are so many in need in our community while simultaneously being joyous that there are so many generous and thoughtful people helping those less fortunate.
Christmas is coming….ready or not! The Christmas holiday in itself is something that we look forward to all year long. We enjoy our family time, community Christmas activities, parties, and everything associated with the Christmas season. However, with all the “hustle and bustle” of DOING we stop BEING. I have heard Rick Warren say many times that people who are under stress become human doings instead of human beings. This can be translated into ….”OH MY, CHRISTMAS IS HERE AND I AM FEELING STRESSED OUT!” It is no wonder families feel the pressure…the planning, cooking, shopping, multiple family gatherings, paying bills, work schedules..it is enough to cause Santa Claus to be a “hot mess.” Parents try to figure out how to make Christmas special for their children by buying all of the things they want. Consider giving them something they didn’t ask for….peaceful evenings at home with their family during this busy time.
What if we downsized our expectations of the Christmas Holiday? Do we really have to attend all of the functions that we are invited to? Maybe we need to reflect on the greatest gift ever given to us, Jesus Christ. This celebration of our Savior’s birthday was never meant to be so stressful…remember, it really isn’t about us anyway. We need to teach our children what Christmas is really about: Peace, Love, Joy, and Good Will towards everyone.
Here are some tips on reducing stress during this busy season:
By Wendy McNeal
eParisExtra columnist, of Oasis
Wendy McNeal is the owner and therapist of Oasis Counseling & Consulting (Synergy C&C, LLC). Wendy isa Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups using Christian values and principles. She also provides consultation services that include seminars, retreats workshops to clinicians, industry, agencies, and professional organizations. Wendy received her BSW in 2000, and MSW in 2008 from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She is a member of the American Associations of Christian Counselors. Wendy has worked in community mental health for more than a decade. She has clinical experience in child/adolescents, geriatrics, and community based based outreach.
Chesney will receive 500 tickets for Tuesday night’s 3rd Annual Shop Local $10,000 giveaway to be held on the Plaza at 7 p.m.
Congratulations to Chesney and thank you to all 30 people who submitted photos for our contest.