ATLANTA — In a sleepy town rests a quiet community who enjoys the history and holidays.
E. J. Cottrell Memorial Library has become a community center of sorts for the small town to gather for reading, coffee, dance, and history.
Library Director, Belinda Schuler, said that the community looks forward to Old Fashion Christmas every year.
“Our daily participation has gotten a lot stronger,” she said. “We are working on making the library more like a community center. We are getting younger people interested in the library again.”
Schuler added that they have been seeing if there is any interest in all these new programs for the community.
Schuler’s favorite event is the Old Fashion Christmas, and it brings out a good crowd for Santa Claus, history, and community cheer.
Brenda Yeoman, Belinda’s sister started the event about five years ago. It has really taken off as more and more people see what it really means to have a historical Christmas.
“I really love the Old Fashion Christmas,” Yeoman said. “We have people bring in food to share, and we date it back to the period it comes from. We have foods that started in the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s. People still donate things to our Christmas market, so that the children can get something for their parents.”
About a decade has passed since the community began donating items for the Christmas village in the library, and it continues to grow every year.
Everything you see as you walk through the Old Fashion Christmas has its own meaning and story behind the traditions.
“The stockings have really taken off. People bring in handmade Christmas stockings, antique ones, and ones that have some meaning to them,” Schuler said. “Charlie Bush was one of our favorite patrons, and he passed away a few years ago. We have his little stocking here to remind us of him. It makes us feel close to him to have it here. I have mine here from my old hometown, so I have a piece of home here too.”
“The patrons will tell us the story behind the stockings, and that is my favorite part,” Schuler added. “It is fun to hear them talk about their mom and dad. They keep telling their Christmas stories and that keeps them alive. We are community minded here, and we love to hear the history of others. We care about everyone’s story here.”
Yeoman said that the idea of bringing Christmas presents for the library board members was started several years ago as well.
“People are so sweet here, and they donate a lot of stuff to us,” she said. “They are such giving people, and we all take care of eachother.”