Charm and good cheer at Oxford's Country Christmas celebration
● By Steven Hoffman
In a moment that was worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting, the large crowd that was gathered around the town’s Christmas tree and lined up along Locust Street and Third Street joined in to sing “Silent Night.” It was a quiet, peaceful moment in an evening filled with festivities and good cheer, as Oxford hosted its annual Country Christmas celebration on Friday, Dec. 1.
The lighting of the town's Christmas tree was just one of the many highlights during the Country Christmas celebration, which is always one of Oxford's biggest and best events on the calendar. In fact, few events showcase Oxford's charm and good cheer as much as the Country Christmas First Friday.
The shops and restaurants in downtown, all festively decorated, were open late. There were also many different activities and attractions, including plenty of music.
At the Oxford Arts Alliance’s Artisan Gift Shop, the Quarter Ringers Bell Choir from the Oxford United Methodist Church performed under the direction of Lisa Summers. Several different groups, including performers from the Christian Life Center, were featured on the main stage.
People enjoyed horse-drawn carriage rides and hayrides throughout the evening. There was also a Santa’s Workshop where children could make crafts. Nearby, S’mores were being roasted.
There was a steady stream of customers at Toot Sweets, the candy store that is one of Oxford’s newest businesses. Oxford officials gathered at the store for a ribbon-cutting ceremony with owners Debra Kline, Nancy Ware Sapp, and Deb Bakalez. Buddy the Elf even stopped by to sell some of the sweet treats to customers.
Oxford Borough Mayor Geoff Henry was joined with mayor-elect Lorraine Bell for the lighting of the Christmas tree. Henry, who opted not to run for election after serving 12 years in the position, talked about how it was an honor to serve the Oxford community.
“For the last 12 years, I’ve called this the greatest little town in America,” Henry said, explaining that a lot of good changes have taken place in town, and more great things are on the way.
Bell said that she was excited and honored to serve as mayor of “this amazing little town” just before she and Henry flipped on the lights of the town Christmas tree.