Shortened winter break beckons an overabundance of Christmas decorations in rainy Athens

Olivia Young |

I feel bitter every time I glance at my Facebook newsfeed, clogged with photos of fellow bobcats admiring the blizzard that is affecting just about every place in Ohio except Athens. Maybe our time is coming. But really, it’s not.

It was another gray, rainy Christmas for Athens. To our surprise, it snowed just a few days before and left patches of white lingering on the ground for the big day. And then the rain ensued December 26, wiping the last of our white Christmas away.

Northeast Ohio: Snow Northwest Ohio: Snow Southwest Ohio: Snow Southeast Ohio: Rain

Northeast Ohio: Snow; Northwest Ohio: Snow; Southwest Ohio: Snow; Southeast Ohio: Rain

But if the snowflakes were to fall in Athens as they are throughout the rest of the state, we would be ill prepared — for two reasons: 1. It simply doesn’t snow in December, and 2. The city, for whatever reason, does not use salt to cure roads on the rare occasion that it does snow. I learned this while writing an article last year about businesses that depend on winter weather. Instead, Athens uses a saltwater anti-icing concoction that actually wreaks havoc on roads and the cars that drive on them.

Perhaps it’s the salt truck drivers who are wishing for rain instead of snow. Other city workers are wishing that somebody else would take down all the lights and wreaths they decorated Court Street with last month.

This year, in light of Ohio University’s quarter-to-semester switch and the company of students in December, the city outdid itself in trimming each tree and topping each light post with ribbons and wreaths, even broadcasting Christmas carols over the loud speakers. After 21 years of living in Athens, I am almost certain those speakers have never been used for anything other than tornado sirens. The lights were strung just a little heavier this year, and the horse-drawn sleigh rides ran just a little more frequently.

Rainy Court St

Some townies were so overwhelmed by the boost in holiday spirit that they threatened to move from Athens for good (no lie)! I’m not complaining, although I bet whoever has to take the decorations down is.

In addition to the upsurge in holiday spirit, there was also an increase in the popularity of Athens-related gifts this year: Athens Brick memorabilia, photos of the town from Lamborn’s Studio and ornaments with “Athens” painted on them from Mountain Laurel Gifts. Written on nearly every storefront window and sidewalk chalkboard were the same two words: “shop local.”

Christmas is a time when townies take the most pride in their turf. Thinking about my final winter break as a townie-slash-OU-student makes me a little nostalgic, but all the townie pride that comes with Christmas reminds me that I’ll always be an Athenian at heart.


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