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Holiday displays bring signs of the season

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

While some local residents show their Christmas spirit with outdoor lighting displays, others prefer to keep the festivities indoors. But whether they are found outside, or inside, holiday decorations are popping up across the Southern Crescent.

Jonesboro resident, John Rapp, said he does little decorating at home, but decorates his office, Eagle Bonding Company in downtown McDonough, where he spends most of his time.

"It's a way to get the people who work with me involved and in the spirit," Rapp said. "I enjoy doing it every year, because it's a time to celebrate. And this time of year, everybody seems nicer."

Rapp said he has decorated the exterior of Eagle Bonding Company for the past six years, adding elements to the Christmas display each year.

Rapp's executive assistant, Jodie Copeland, said she enjoys seeing the Christmas decorations.

"I like the spirit of Christmas," Copeland said. "I think people get too wrapped up in buying gifts."

Rapp, who began decorating before the Thanksgiving holiday, said the chore is a labor of love for him.

"It's evolved," he said. "By the time it's done, it's probably about 50 or 60 man hours we've put in. It's fun. It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it."

He said he creates the display each year to counter commercialism and promote "the true meaning of Christmas."

"When I was growing up, there wasn't anything open on Christmas Day," he said. "Now, things are starting to be open that day, which I don't think should happen."

Rapp said he is not yet finished decorating his office for the season. He plans to soon place a nativity scene on the front lawn of his office property.

"The nativity scene is the most important part, because that's what the holiday is all about," he said.

While Rapp's annual display stands as one of few along the street, he said "I think as we get a little bit closer to the holidays, we'll begin to see more people decorating."

Stockbridge resident, Amanda Hubbard, recently decorated her home. She said she gets a jump on Christmas decorations each year around this time.

"I did it early just to get in the holiday spirit," Hubbard said.

Joe Dibble, a father of five who runs a graphic design business, JD Graphics and Design in Stockbridge, said he and his family try to focus more on celebrating the meaning of Christmas, than the decorations.

"Christmas is a time of quiet reflection and preparation for the second coming of Christ," Dibble said. "It is a time to be with family, and a time to celebrate our faith and our love for each other."

Jonesboro resident, Charles Thacker, who has adult children, has scaled back his decorating to include only a few things inside his home.

Thacker said some aspects of the season have changed since he was a child, born during the Depression era.

"I'm one of 17 children ..." Thacker said. "I was taught back then that it was the birth of our savior that we are celebrating. And that's what we should be celebrating."