One constant remains during holidays

Published 6:39 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas traditions are something many of us cherish, but what happens when things change?

When I was a little girl, our family would make the trek to Cleveland, Mississippi, each Christmas.

Both sets of my grandparents lived there as did many of my aunts, uncles and cousins on my father’s side of the family.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

On Christmas Eve, at my paternal grandparents’ house, we would gather for dinner, and before opening presents, all of us cousins would congregate and prepare for a Christmas production that we would perform for the adults.

One of my uncles, who was only four years my senior, served as our leader and director, and the show would include piano playing, singing and flute playing.  I played the flute.

At my maternal grandparents’ home, Christmas was celebrated beginning Christmas morning when my grandfather would wake my brothers and me up to tell us Santa had come.

My Papa was always like a kid himself during the holidays, and his excitement and joy was contagious.  Because of him, Christmas was magical for me.

However, one year things changed.  He and my grandmother traveled to Hawaii for the holidays to visit their other daughter and her family.

I was left with no Papa at Christmas, and things were just not going to be the same.

Who was going to wake me up in the morning to let me know Santa had come, and how would I get through the day without seeing him in his red beret as he handed out Christmas gifts?

Although we were staying at Papa and Mary Helen’s home (I call my grandmother by her given name) on Christmas Eve, I remember crying that night because the house just felt empty.

That year was the first time I remember my Christmas tradition being altered, and it felt sad and scary. Change has never been my strong suit; new and different are hard for me.

Retrospectively, I wish I would have acted differently that night and not been so emotional and selfish.

My poor parents, I wonder what was going through their minds as they wiped away my tears.

Maybe they experienced sadness because they had an ungrateful little girl who could not see any of the good that was still around her, like all they had done for Christmas.

For years, they had packed up all three of us kids in addition to gifts for family members and our Santa presents and traveled nearly 160 miles north for Christmas. Looking back, I cannot image how hard it must have been for them to accomplish such a feat.

Remember, there were no mini vans or SUV’s back in the 60s and early 70s, so how they got all our stuff in the trunk of the car was truly magic!

Invariably, time brings along change, and although it is still a challenge for me, some of what I have learned through the years is that no matter how different things may be during the holiday season, the spirit of Christmas seems to always win out because of the one thing that remains constant, God’s gift of a new born baby, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart