When the alarm rang out at six a.m. this past Saturday morning, I groaned and rolled over and groggily turned it off. There was much to be done. Thanksgiving hasn’t yet arrived, but behind the scenes, Santa’s little helpers are being called into action to ready for the holiday season. Attired in our comfiest sweats, we jump in our car to make the commute–after all, only the real Santa has reindeers! After a quick stop at Starbucks for a decaf Venti Mocha, we are happily on our way. When we reach our destination, we immediately begin emptying the shed of strands of lights, critters galore, and a jolly old St. Nick. We carry, drag, and grunt our way to the front yard to begin the transformation for this year’s Winter Wonderland.
You might think it is too early for Christmas decorations, but in a certain, normally quiet, neighborhood it is all about creating holiday magic for the community. Where does all this happen? My mother-in-law lives in a very special place. During the holiday season, cars come in by the thousands not only from her particular city but from the surrounding areas as well. Once Thanksgiving arrives, so do the vehicles! You will see them lined up nightly down the streets honking as children excitedly point to all the houses and lawns setup in perfect dioramas.
As Christmas draws nearer, the sidewalks are taken over by strolling carolers and a myriad of pedestrians all waving at the homeowners who are outside welcoming visitors to the neighborhood. Where will we be? All sitting around a bonfire in the driveway munching on homemade cookies and warming our hands with mugs of hot chocolate. With a gathering of friends and family, and the littlest of ones handing out candy canes, we will be celebrating the spirit of togetherness and making memories.
However, before we can get to that day, we must first take on the task of creating our own bit of Christmas magic. So as all the children and grandchildren gather to work and lend a hand, we begin. The lights go up, the critters come out of their boxes, the tree is lined in foil…did I mention that each year we reconstruct the burning bush? It has become the tradition of the neighborhood and as we worked many cars stopped or honked to give their approval.
From dawn to well-past dusk, we work as if trained by Santa’s elves; everyone busy, everyone with a job to do. When darkness descends it is finally time to turn on the lights. Suddenly, all our aches and pains of the day fade away and smiles abound as we stand in the street to view our own little version of Toyland.
Yes, the holidays are a time to come together. To unite. In remembrance of the recent tragedy in Paris, perhaps this year’s parade of light down our little street will have a deeper meaning of solidarity, of peace, and love.
May you all be blessed this holiday season. I wish you all peace in your hearts and joy in your life.
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