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Merry Christmas, Oxford.

Oxford’s Christmas tradition is rich, and the EAGLE has long been a part of bringing the community together during the holiday season.

Today we celebrate Oxford’s delightful Christmas past by reaching into the archives, and bringing yesterday back to life for Christmas 2016. When we began looking through the pages of Oxford’s past Christmases, particularly those decades ago, we were delighted with the community spirit and creativity that we found.

For instance, longtime EAGLE co-owner and editor Nina Goolsby dressed up like Santa Claus for more than 20 years, visiting businesses around town in full costume to spread Christmas cheer (see 9A). She even wrote, delightfully, a column from the perspective of Santa Claus, congratulating the local schools on success and thanking local farmers.

Similarly, longtime EAGLE co-owner and publisher Jesse Phillips encouraged local school children to submit Christmas poems and Santa letters, a tradition that still lives in the pages of the EAGLE year after year.

Reading through Christmas editions of the newspaper from years past also revealed that amid so much change, much remains the same in Oxford.

We found many Christmas advertisers from 50 years ago are still in business here today, which is a testament to our community. We even reached out to them to see if they wanted to re-run their ads from 1966 in this year’s Christmas edition.

“My father did it (then), so will I today,” said Alan Smith, of Smith Building in Oxford.

Elliott Lumber – same story, and you can find their ad from 1966 in today’s EAGLE as well.

We also have ads from 50 years ago in the newspaper today from Northeast Power, Sneed’s Hardware, and Belk Ford – strong and long-standing Oxford businesses steeped in service and tradition. We hope you will enjoy the throwback ads from 50 years ago, and we hope that when you see those that own and manage these and other long-time Oxford businesses, you will say thank you for being a part of our rich heritage and tradition.

We are proud to serve Oxford in Christmas 2016, as well, and thank you for being with us throughout the years. We look forward to many years to come.

But today, we celebrate our wonderful Christmases past, and hope that you enjoy, as we do, this look back our delightful holiday history.

Merry Christmas, Oxford.