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Northeast Georgia History Center celebrates Christmas on Sunday
Event was part of monthly Family Day
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Alec Wilson, center, and Maggie Sargent, right, dance and sing along with the rest of the Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy Show Choir during Family Day at the Northeast Georgia History Center Sunday. - photo by Tom Reed

If you ever wondered whether you should get a fake tree instead of a real one, the Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy Show Choir can help you come to a decision.

The group of third- to fifth-graders from the school performed half a dozen songs at the Northeast Georgia History Center’s Family Day event Sunday. At one point the group musically debated the merits of a real Christmas tree versus an artificial one, while asking the audience to decide.

“I want a real-life evergreen this year,” one side sang, while the other replied: “Get real, we’re going artificial this year.”

The students divided into two groups and gestured to each other and the audience about each kind of Christmas tree.

The program was co-directed by Shelia Rogers and Rebecca Ann Goebel. Each Christmas song performed featured choreographed hand movements or dance steps.

Between watching musical performances at the center, children and families could make crafts, including an ornament for their Christmas tree — whether it was real or not.

Dominic Scott, 13, of Gainesville sat at one of the craft tables and hand-sewed two yellow star-shaped pieces of felt together.

“You put fuzz in it, you hang it on your tree — it’s like a Christmas ornament,” he said.
Jenny Kitchens, a volunteer, walked around the table and helped children work the needle and thread on their Christmas ornaments.

“We wanted to do things that were simple,” she said, “things that they could take home and be proud of.”

In addition to his star-shaped ornament, Scott made a mistletoe frame, a pasta angel and an origami box —
 his favorite.

“It just looks really cool,” he said.

Fernanda Ibarra, 10, of Gainesville also tried her hand at origami.

“I wanted to make something special,” she said, “and I think this is the place to do it.”

In this activity the children required a bit more assistance than in others.  Volunteer John Washington moved from child to child, helping each create the many folds required to make the gift boxes or the giving baskets.

“I think they like it because it looks interesting sitting out on the table,” he said.  “I don’t think they realize how in-depth it is.”

Despite the complicated process, Ibarra said she might make more of the boxes later because they were both attractive and economical for giving presents.

“You already have paper. You won’t have to waste money,” she said.

Many of the materials used in the crafts were recycled from other Christmas decorations or came from nature, making them inexpensive to produce.  There were plastic bins of pinecones, gumdrop balls and dried fruits and flowers to glue to frames or ornaments.

“These are the crafts people would have done before things were commercialized,” said Julie Carson, the center’s developer of educational programs for the Northeast Georgia History Center.

The center holds Family Day each month.  Each event has a theme, and Sunday’s event was “Christmas Then and Now.”

“It’s all intended to have a historical reference,” Carson said, “tying to something in Northeast Georgia.”

Along with the many crafts to do and the performance by the choir, Gainesville High’s Crimson Chorus sang, and there was cider and cookies, as well as an opportunity to take a picture with Santa.

The center was packed, with more than 350 people coming and going during the afternoon.

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