The Magic City lights up for Christmas

By The Times staff

Christmas decorations are shown on Peppertree Highlands Circle in Trussville, Ala., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. (Mark Almond, special to The Times)
Christmas decorations are shown on Peppertree Highlands Circle in Trussville, Ala., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. (Mark Almond, special to The Times)

The smell of pine needles, spruce and the smell of a Christmas tree are the scents of the holidays. Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. It gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us—a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead.

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things. Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection. Jesus is God’s perfect, indescribable gift.

Christmas is a tonic for our souls. It moves us to think of others rather than of ourselves. It is a fine seasoning for joy to think of those we love.

Those words are a compilation of Christmas-related quotes from well-known individuals from various times in history. And the images included in this section were taken by local photographers Mark Almond, Frank Couch, and Solomon Crenshaw Jr. at locations in and around the Birmingham metro area.

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. —Thomas S. Monson, current president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. —Winston Churchill, former British prime minister

It’s true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul. —Caroline Kennedy, American author and diplomat

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling. —Edna Ferber, American novelist and playwright

Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us—a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead. —David Cameron, former British prime minister

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. —Roy L. Smith, author

Don’t let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. —Taylor Caldwell, American author

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. —Charles Dickens, English writer and social critic

Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection. —Pindar, ancient Greek poet

Christmas is far and away my favorite holiday. I love everything about it, from the event that inspired it, hoping for a white one, to wrapping presents. But mostly I love having family and friends gathered, and sharing traditions. —Ellen Hopkins American novelist

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. —Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States