Christmas in Picayune

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas is a universal time of celebrating friends and family, eating together and general goodwill, but each country—and each city and town—celebrates the holiday in slightly different way.

I have had the good fortune of spending the holiday in all kinds of places, but I am happy to be in Picayune this year. The parade earlier this week was fantastic—streets showered with candy and beads as the floats passed by (and, I should point out, city cleanup crews followed not far behind). A parade that does not include gifts of thrown candy and beads is no kind of a parade at all, so I was happy to see parading done correctly here.

Besides the parade, the city’s done a fantastic job with their Christmas lights. Jack Read Park and Crosby Commons are worth seeing, as is the Intermodal Transportation Center. I understand Crosby Commons is going to have a more elaborate setup in the future, and am looking forward to that, too.

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But lights and even well done parades are the most distinct Christmas tradition in Picayune.

For my money, the real pièce de résistance is the large mug of root beer in front of City Hall. The mug display is from Frostop, which Public Works Director Eric Morris tells me is possibly the oldest-continuously operating restaurant in town, and the mug display once sat at the restaurant, longtime beacon of a familiar favorite.

I have never heard of a city using an historic icon of commerce as a seasonal ornament, but I appreciate it. Few things recall hometown memories better than those familiar public places where you knew you could find a friend.

In the days before Facebook and Foursquare, the town’s soda fountain was the analog equivalent of checking in, seeing what was up and passing along the gossip.

It’s refreshing to know that in some towns those places still exist and that a municipality would make the effort to recognize the value of such establishments.

These are the things that make towns special, and it seems right to highlight this specialness during the holidays.