Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Walk in the Park

We live in an adorable little town smack dab in the center of Pennsylvania's Amish country. It's quite picturesque, really: lots of farms and horses and buggies. And whoopie pies in every flavor imaginable. Heck to the yes.

For several years now, we have been going to our town's Christmas tree lighting, and, the following day, the "Christmas Day in the Park", a fun craft/treat/Santa Claus outing. Can I just say that the Christmas tree lighting is always super lame-o? Like, Christmas carols two octaves too high and a piddly 6' Douglas Fir... Really, people? I could do better than that in my front yard. Next year, we're doing it at my place.

(Yes, I went out in public without makeup. So shoot me.)

(I told the girls to give each other a hug. They started hugging the tree instead. Dirty little hippies.)

But the next day is usually pretty fun for the kiddies. We started at the Visitor Center, where each kid was given a bag with a colored balloon on it. We visited each vendor downtown that had a corresponding color balloon; inside there were crafts for the kids, stories being read, or a small gift or treat.
(Our awesome friends Michelle and the Lovable Levi joined us.)

They also opened the Elementary school, where they had more crafts and games and live music and a zumba class for the kids to work off their candy canes.

Outside, they had fire pits and free marshmallows, funnel cakes and horse-drawn carriage rides, while Santa rode around and waved at the littles (on a crazy loud fire truck, waking up my baby who was so peacefully slumbering in the carrier). But I can't really complain because everything was F-R-E-E, which was definitely in the budget this month!

Then, should you want to stand outside in the arctic line, you can wait for an hour and a half (yes, we did) to sit on Santa's lap.
Or, if you're Cana, lurk in the background and give him the stink-eye.

Some of these activities fall into that "more fun in my imagination" category. It's cold, and the baby is cranky, and the girls have melted marshmallow and candy cane glop congealed to their jackets and their noses and their mittens. (Wait. They weren't wearing mittens. BAD MAMA!)

(wiped out!)

But one thing that I really admire about my parents is how purposeful they were about creating traditions for us. (For years, we went Christmas caroling [with a group] at 4 am on Christmas morning. No lie.) I have such wonderful Christmas memories from when I was a child, and I want to do that for my girls. Even if it means falsetto Christmas carols and congealed marshmallow glop.

What about you? Do you have any special traditions from when you were a child? Do you still practice them with your children/family? Have you created new traditions? I'd love to hear and get some ideas from you!


Julie Garner said...

My family has--for YEARS--had a bucket of coal that gets passed around. (You know...for the BAD kid!) This tradition started when I was a pre-teen and my sister Pattie and I decided that my sister Beth needed to get coal for Christmas that year. (My parents' threatened it every year--so why not actually DO IT?!) The next year, I was surprised to find that same little bucket of coal with MY name on it. And thus the tradition began. For years the person who got the coal decided who to give it to the next year. But when the grandkids were little and started getting it, well, let's just say the coal got thrown into the Christmas tree and kids were stomping to their room in tears. (sheesh! Take a joke, kid!) So, now we put it in a now-you-have-it-now-you-don't game and try to wrap it in such a way that an unsuspecting relative takes it off the pile. This year Beth got it again (what goes around, comes around) BUT in a last minute steal, my then-two-year-old daughter took it from her aunt. (She doesn't stomp to her room when she gets the coal. She laughs and laughs and knows that somehow getting it is a really good joke.)

We have LOTS of other traditions, but this is one of my favorites!

Melody Strayer said...

I LOVE that, Julie!

Karen and Evan Parrish said...

God help me, Evan and I are going to build a gingerbread house this year. We're not going full-blown homemade, but we're going to build one. Deep breaths. He and I decorated the tree together this year. He absolutely LOVES to decorate. It is SO sweet. Every time I bring out a new box he practically pushes me out of the way to see what's inside... and then Emma proceeds to try and tear it down. Oh, yeah.

Karen and Evan Parrish said...

By the way, I LOVE every single one of your daughter's coats! We have one for Emma that it hasn't been cold enough to put on her yet! C'mon, NC, get cold enough!