Happy Thursday, friends. I thought I'd share some more of the traditions we loved when my sons were young. I hope this inspires you to do something fun with your own family, regardless of their age. Many of these things are timeless and can be done from the toddler age up until adulthood.
One thing we always loved was driving around to look at Christmas lights. We would all put on comfy clothes or pajamas, grab a blanket and we would put the seats down in my old Suburban and let the kids ride around with no seatbelt for the whole night. We would even take the dogs! That was back in the day when Andy the Wonder Dog was alive and he and Crash loved doing this with us—and now that the boys are all older, I love all the fun memories. We talked about this just Wednesday night as we sat around the kitchen table eating pizza together. Alex also always went with us and he was here with us Wednesday night as we relived some memories. Sometimes we would stop and grab something Christmas-y to drink from Starbucks and sometimes we just took our own snacks and drinks from home. We would do this as long as the boys were behaved, which means the longest they could hold out without arguing was always right around two hours. The night usually ended with me getting irritated with them and I'm smiling as I write this.
Todd and I have December birthdays, so one thing I love to do is for us to celebrate our birthdays together with his parents on the night of his birthday. We always get something to eat, usually in the downtown Memphis area, then we'd go up to the rooftop of the Peabody hotel and look out over the beautiful city lights. I have such wonderful memories of this tradition and will never forget the one year Drew TOOK OFF HIS JACKET AND SHIRT and just chilled out on the rooftop. (See what I did there? Sometimes I can be punny.) It was so cold that night and there he was without his shirt.
For two years in a row on this same night, we handed out food and blankets to homeless people. The first year that happened it was accidental—we hadn't planned this in advance, so the only food we had to give were the leftovers we had planned to take home. We did plan on handing out blankets and gave away the ones we had in the trunk of my vehicle. The next year we planned to do this and collected donations that people brought to our home. We had gloves, coats, scarves, blankets and friend I have at church donated several bread bags worth of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To those we added some crackers, granola bars, waters and put it all in a brown paper bag. We ran out of food and Todd gave a little bit of cash to one man who needed money to spend the night in a shelter—they usually charge around $5.
I'd love to do this again this year, but Todd and I haven't talked about it yet.
One last thing I'll share is about attending church services. Every year we attend the candlelight service at my church and it's one of my favorite things to do. Additionally we always attend every week at least one time, usually multiple times. Attendance has never been an option for either of us and we never made it an option for our sons. I love how beautiful the church looks at Christmas! It's my favorite time of year to be inside the church building.
This was a few years ago, maybe two? Look how big our choir was! It looks strange now that we're having to be socially distanced and so many people never returned when we started back in August. This was our Christmas night of worship, which I always loved.
This is that same year and is my friend Barbara and me—we were about to walk onto the stage to sing on the praise team.