Holiday Cheer

I haven’t penned any Christmas cards, decorated the tree or chipped away at any Santa shopping. Still, there’s holiday cheer coursing through my veins.

On Saturday Martin and I bundled up the kids, met up with our friends Jenn and Bill, and staked out a patch of sidewalk along Middleburg, Virginia’s main drag to cheer the town Christmas parade.

In the past, I’ve sidled up to floats at the Rose Parade. I’ve witnessed big-city tree lightings and slick, glitzy Disney-styled festivities. But somehow I reached adulthood without ever waving madly at an antique pickup, crawling down a crowd-lined street, while its passengers hurl candy at curbside kids. I’ve never taken part in a small town parade.

Horses, fire trucks, vintage cars and herds of yapping dogs — it might not sound very exciting. But on Saturday the giddy crowd… inching from their sidewalk perches to cluster around passing musicians and animals…. was infectious.

We shrugged off the cold to wave at Snoopy and Santa. We screamed “Merry Christmas!” to a hay wagon full of elementary school kids. And we welcomed the pelting candy. Cayden and Hadley scored a tooth-rotting load of sweets while the grownups cradled cups of hot chocolate and admired the horses, hounds and spit-shined cars.

There is something about it — canines collared in jingle bells, clusters of smiles and mitten-clad waves, and the clip-clop of Santa’s draft horses — that made the holiday season welcoming. For at least a day, I shed my Scrooge.