The taste of peppermint, the scent of evergreens and holly, the sight of children excitedly awaiting Santa, the sound of jingle bells, the nip of winter in the air--these things speak of Christmas to me. Okay...so four out of five ain't bad. Today, on a warmer than usual December day, I found my holiday spirit.
It was one of those accidentally perfect days. My son and I were watching cartoons this morning and one show portrayed a Christmas parade.
"Hey--" he turned to me-- "when is our Christmas parade?"
The lovely little Northern Virginia town we live in has several annual parades, Christmas being among them.
"I don't know," I said. "I bet it's soon, though. Let me check."
I'm usually more on top of these things, but it's been a hectic autumn and a few details had slipped through the cracks. A check of the town website confirmed my suspicions--the Christmas parade was scheduled for today.
Quickly, we changed out of our jammies and headed out the door. The parade route is within walking distance and so is a cluster of local boutiques and the farmer's market. We decided to hit the trifecta and visit them all.
First we hit the Ben Franklin store. Yes, our little town still has a Ben Franklin. I love this place because it has a whole section of crafts for sale from local artisans. It also still has a coin operated rocking horse. I don't know what I'll do when DS gets too grown-up to beg for fifty cents to take a ride.
We purchased a couple of gifts and got each of us a pair of twinkle light glasses. Mine make the lights look like snowflakes, my son's create the illusion of tiny reindeer.
Then we strolled over to the Farmers Market. It's a wonderful collection of local artists, crafters, micro-vineyards and breweries, not to mention the actual farmers. We bought a peck of freshly harvested apples then munched on one while we waited for the main event.
As usual, the parade was uplifting. Not only are the emergency vehicles all in lights a joy to see, as are the floats, but it's wonderful to gather with our friends and neighbors to celebrate this beautiful place we call home.
Toward the end of the parade--just before the big man in red showed up--a girl scout handed me a candy cane and wished me a merry Christmas. I returned the greeting and watched her skip away to catch up with her troop. Once I popped the confection into my mouth and the uniquely candy cane peppermint flavor coated my tongue, I knew I was hooked--pun intended.
On the walk home, my son and I sang Christmas carols and put a dent in his parade candy. For me...the holiday season has truly began.