Missouri Family Traditions Usher in Holiday Season

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When most people think of November, Thanksgiving is the first thing that comes to mind. However, Missouri’s families participate in a lot more than eating turkey. Family traditions are an important part of this part of the Midwest, as evidenced with some of these stories.

St. Louisian Brandi Byers and her family love to get out of the city and go for rides in the beautiful Missouri countryside. Their November tradition is looking at all of the trees changing colors during the fall.

Kelly Colbert, originally from Frohna, Mo., now lives in Wright City. She and her mom have participated in an annual “deer season shopping trip” with her mom for years. Deer hunting is a huge sport this time of year in Missouri, so the females in her family take advantage of the men being gone by spending some quality time together at some of Missouri’s great shopping centers and malls.

Dee Baebler, Sunset Hills, Mo. alderman, has been traveling with her four daughters to Kimmswick, Mo. for about eight years.

“I thought it was a cool little place that was sort of home for me,” Baebler says. “I went down there with some ladies and went shopping and I was like ‘I love this place.’”

Baebler told her husband Drew about it, hoping that they could travel back there as a couple. However, Drew refused, joking that she already makes him watch chick-flicks. So, the chicks in the Baebler family got together and now go to the quaint town for shopping and chicken and dumplings and pie at the famed Blue Owl restaurant. Each daughter picks out mini-pies to take back and give to the school for the homeless. Their church also has a giving tree, so the family shops to give to that. And, of course, the family always picks a Kimmswick pie to take home for Thanksgiving dinner.

Even though one daughter is in Denver, Colo. and one is in Columbia, Mo. in college at Mizzou, the before Thanksgiving tradition still is in tact.

“It got harder when the kids went away to college and moved, but they look forward to it and I look forward to it,” Baebler says. “I always find something for grandma—she’s hard to shop for. We walk the gravel streets. There is Christmas music playing in the streets—it’s like going back in time. There are four blocks of crafty, artsy stuff and no chains. Some of the places have homemade cookies and apple cider. I love the cinnamon smell. The whole town smells like cinnamon.”

Florissant, Mo. natives, Angela and Bill Atkinson, love to walk and drive around and look at leaves with their three children. Bill’s side of the family holds a Christmas tree trimming party every year the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

“We help decorate his aunt’s home in Ballwin, Mo., (where the whole family gets together to celebrate the major holidays) for the holidays,” Angela said. “We also play games and have appetizers and drinks, and usually a simple meal. It’s a tradition that was new to me when I came into the family, but it’s really fun and the kids love it. It’s also a great way to further tighten family bonds during the holidays.”

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