My friend and neighbor Ashley has the best ideas. She is the PR rep for the neighborhood and the fun maker. In true form, she invited a bunch of friends and neighbors to go caroling. When I first read her email I was somewhat doubtful. Really? We are gonna go caroling? In the freezing cold and snow and people will really open their doors? Will they even care? But I just went for it. The kids were super excited about it and so was hubs. (HA! He actually asked me two or three times from his comfy chair watching Sons of Anarchy (a very special Christmas edition, not!) "Do I really have to go?" Um, YES. You gotta take one for the family team.
This whole season has been a blur. One I realize today that has sustained me from falling down the rabbit hole of crazy grief and depression. I got a note from an old classmate last night that said "You survived your first Christmas without your Mom. I'm on my fourth and I still miss her like crazy (referring to the loss of her own mother). It gets better but never the same." I remember another friend telling me that I needed to "create a new normal" after my Dad died. So true. So NOT what I want to do but I have no choice.
So these new traditions help. Creating new memories and new activities that take me out of my head and desperate heart as we experience the joy of the children....as we hear the kids practicing the songs before we go caroling. So precious and these moments are so very fleeting.
All the neighbors were gracious and lovely, some even handing out cookies to all the kids. And let me tell you, these kids were INTO it! Singing loudly and racing each other to the next house....taking turns ringing the doorbell.
One of the adults said, "It's like Halloween without the candy!"
It certainly helped to have travel mugs filled with hot cocoa and marshmallows and spiced cider with a nip of rum. It was simply a time to come together as friends and neighbors and sprinkle a little cheer in our community. It felt good.
And even hubs enjoyed themselves!
(the flask of good Scotch may have helped!)
By the time we hit our last few houses we had our routine down! We always began with "We wish you a Merry Christmas" and then moved into a different song the kids picked. My personal favorite was "Deck the Halls" but the kids certainly enjoyed Frosty and Rudolph.
Silent Night seemed good on paper, but that's a tough one to sing!
Thank you Ashley to a great idea that I declare is a yearly tradition!
(Ashley would want me to note that every year her parents and friends had a huge holiday bash (with lots of booze) and they were required to head out caroling. Ashley babysat for The Brindle Family and they hosted the party. She may have hated it as a teenager but in looking back, she now declares that caroling is a treasured memory that she is now passing on to us!)