Right before my sophomore year in high school (and I mean right before, as in just days before) my family moved to Kankakee, IL. My dad had just completed his doctorate and had consequently accepted a position at ONU in Bourbonnais. This was far from my family’s first move, and I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on the idea.
Among many, many other changes that came with this move, my family’s holiday traditions had to shift a bit. Up until this point we had always spent Christmas day in Maryland with extended family. But new school activities for my brother and I, work obligations for my parents, and an extended drive time for visits caused us to have to reevaluate our family holiday traditions.
I don’t know what your family’s holiday traditions are like, but this was a major bummer for me. Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year, and having to give up the traditions I held so dear was disappointing to say the least. See, when you live far away from your extended family you really cling on to those trips that link one visit to the next. Those things are what keep you going and keep the flame of family ties flickering. I felt like the holidays would never be the same.
In the wake of our disappointment, my parents, brother, and I decided that it was time for us to create some traditions of our own, traditions that were rooted in our new home, ones that were solely ours. One thing we all had in common was that we all really enjoyed holiday movies. In particular, we all loved Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, specifically the George C. Scott version (to all you Alistair Sims fans out there, sorry, but this one takes the cake in my book). One Christmas Eve, we decided to all watch it together. My mom even made festive snacks. We made a big deal out of it even though it was just the four of us. And thus, a new holiday tradition was born for the Lowery family.
This may seem like a small thing, but sitting in the living room in my pajamas eating my mom’s cheeseball and watching A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite holiday memories by far. During a time when I was unsure of so much, it was comforting to have something I knew I could always count on, my family. This story is very special to me and so are the memories of us all watching it together. We don’t always get to sit down and watch it every year now that we’re older and onto new things, but the feeling is still alive, and it’s one I will never forget.
Fast forward several years later, KVTA would put on its first presentation of An Evening with Scrooge: A Retelling and I would get to be a part of it. A holiday tradition would be reborn in a new, meaningful way for me with that experience. See, when you’re part of community theatre, you become part of a family. Family has always been something that’s very important to me, as it is to many of us, but it’s also been something I’ve searched for and clung to. Being a “transplant” in a community, it’s not always easy to feel like you’re really part of things. But as I sung each carol in Scrooge that night, I knew that I had found a place where I truly belong and people who make me feel like I’m at home.
KVTA is proudly presenting An Evening with Scrooge: A Retelling again this year, and I am thrilled to be a part of it again. Maybe you’re looking for some new holiday traditions. Maybe you’re searching for some Christmas spirit this year. Or maybe you’re looking for a place to call home. I think you’ll find all of that and more with KVTA. I hope you will join us for our production this weekend. It’s sure to be a festive, special evening that will brighten your holiday season. I know what it means to me, and what it could mean for you.
Performances are on Friday, December 8 beginning at 6 p.m. and Saturday, December 9 beginning at 5:30 p.m. This is a popular event and tickets are limited so get them while you can! Tickets are available online at www.kvta.org/evening-with-scrooge. We hope you will join us and make KVTA’s An Evening with Scrooge: A Retelling a treasured holiday outing for your friends and family!