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Long lines awaited Christmas Day moviegoers
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GAINESVILLE — Christmas movies are a long-standing holiday tradition, but going to the movies on Christmas is a tradition that had some in Hall County standing in long lines.

Tuesday, at Gainesville’s GTC Hollywood 15 Cinemas, the line for tickets stretched the length of a football field past the ticket window.

And many moviegoers were happy to wait in the 50-degree weather to see much-anticipated films that opened on Christmas Day.

For some of them, it’s as important a tradition as opening presents under the tree.

While waiting in line for tickets to see "National Treasure," Karen Hickey of Flowery Branch told of her family’s eight-year tradition of going to the movies on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"We don’t have any family down here, you know," Hickey said.

The Hickeys waited in line for more than 10 minutes Tuesday, but they did not seem to mind. The family has been going to see a movie on holidays ever since they moved to the area. Their relatives in Ohio were too far away to spend Christmas Day with, so they started a new tradition along with attending their church’s Christmas Eve service.

Sharon and Alfred Hampton of Gainesville make going to the movies more of a weekly tradition than a Christmas tradition. The couple goes on a date one night a week without their two teenagers.

The Hamptons had a longer wait in line than the Hickey’s. But Sharon Hampton said she did not mind waiting a while to see "The Great Debaters," which was one of seven films that opened Tuesday. "Who wouldn’t stand in line for Denzel (Washington)?" said Hampton, who was also celebrating her birthday Tuesday.

But for Marie and Ashley Smallwood of Murrayville and their three daughters, who waited in the cold to see "The Water Horse," Christmas is just a good time to go out as a family.

"We’re all off from work, and we’re all together," said Ashley Smallwood.

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