Help Mrs. Gingerbread and friends visit the town where the Grinch stole Christmas, and fill it with Christmas trees, lights, toys, gingerbread cookies and love!
The twin polygamist towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona were once a single town known as Short Creek. In 1985, the town was split into two and renamed. That’s not all that has changed. Somewhere along the way, the town also lost Christmas…or maybe it never had it in the first place.
That’s right. It’s literally like the Grinch came in and stole Christmas from the entire town. But if you say this to a resident, they will look at you confused since they have never heard of the Grinch. Last year we toured the town with former FLDS Alyssa Bistline and Willy Steed (Lola Blanc wrote an article about our visit for Vice. See here.) We did not see a single house with Christmas lights.
In this joyful holiday season, while everyone is celebrating, remember that many who have recently left the FLDS polygamist church in Short Creek are not. They are facing significant life hurdles, from spiritual to financial, from physical to psychological. They could care less about Christmas because, as one recent escapee from the polygamous lifestyle said, “I don’t even know what Christmas is or how to celebrate it.” It’s the most magical season in our country, and these United States citizens do not even know what the Christmas spirit is.
These families and individuals from Short Creek, especially those who have been out for less than a year, have never had a Christmas tree, they’ve never heard of Santa Claus, they have never gone Christmas shopping or even heard Christmas carols, for that matter.
They don’t know who Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is. Blasphemy!
They have never put up Christmas decorations, have never seen a nativity scene and do not even know “the reason for the season,” or that most Americans celebrate Christmas believing that it honors the birth of Jesus. Since the FLDS polygamists were not allowed to watch TV or movies, they never even saw Christmas on television. It’s literally like the Grinch came in and stole Christmas from the entire town. (But if you make this analogy to a resident, they will look at you with a blank stare since they have never seen or heard of The Grinch That Stole Christmas. It’s a culture reference from the media that means nothing to them.)
Imagine that. An entire town has missed out on “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and they don’t even know it.
In fact, to make matters worse, the FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs made sure they were not having a wonderful life at all. In 2011 or 2012, he even banned toys! Children had to throw their toys in the trash. All of them.
Short Creek literally became the town with no toys.
This is about to change.
Please join Mrs. Gingerbread in bringing back toys to the town where toys have been outlawed, and bringing Christmas to the town where children have never even heard of Santa!
On Dec. 16 we are having an event called The First Christmas, hosted by The Girlfriends Club (Leona Bateman, founder of this ex-FLDS women’s empowerment group).
It is the First Christmas for families fresh out of polygamy this year, and it is also the first community Christmas event ever to be held – at least since anyone can remember.