Christmas is rapidly approaching, and that means — for better and for worse — all kinds of stress for families everywhere. We’re frequently reminded of the true “reason for the season,” yet it still often manages to get washed away in the seas of shopping extravaganzas, holiday events and oh-so-seemingly-much more.
The McGaughey clan, of course, is no exception to this rule. But in the midst of the more than occasional craziness, we’ve tried to find some fun amid the frenzy.
Take a few days back, for instance, when we headed to Pioneer Village for the annual Christmas festivities out there. Grace, as always, performed as part of the Kay Williams Prunty Dance Academy group, and it was the same thing for me as it is every year — the “going” part is dreaded, but the “being there” part is fine. It’s not like I don’t enjoy the offerings that are part of the yearly event; it just always seems extra chilly out there. But … it wasn’t too cold this year, Grace did a wonderful job as usual, and Zach’s unexpected encounter with a classmate made things perfectly pleasant.
Then, this past Friday night, we attended for the first time the Celebrations Around the World event at Pioneer Village. Le Lucht and Minnesota West put on an impressive holiday party, and we all enjoyed trying food from the tables representing different nations — well, all of us except the Z-Man, who was (unsurprisingly) more interested in wolfing down chicken nuggets from a certain fast-food joint than sampling, for instance, delicious Korean cuisine. Bec did convince him to try a couple of small bites of things, and of course he perked up considerably upon seeing the sugar cookies from Croatia and chocolate from Switzerland. Still, we all had fun, with the evening capped by a hayride around the college. As horses pulled us across the campus, it was equally enjoyable to listen to Grace singing along to Christmas carols and Zach watching for — and marveling at — the, er, bodily functions of those impressive animals.
The next morning, Becca and I went Christmas shopping, with the kids actually spending time alone for an hour or so while I occasionally worried about this “Lord of the Flies”-like experiment. We returned from a fairly productive outing with both children alive and uninjured (at least physically), so we count that as a win. Later, to mark the warm weather, the whole family spent some time together outside playing soccer. Benji, our Shih Tsu mix puppy who sparks no shortage of both adoration and aggravation, would have been the star of a highlight reel. Perhaps taking his lead from other single-name soccer greats like Pele and Ronaldo, Benji was in the right place at the right time when a kicked ball ricocheted off the neighbors’ fence and knocked him square in the top of the head. He didn’t even get upset — I would have expected at least a yellow card.
Maybe that’s the secret to enjoying the frenetic pace the holiday season can bring. Have a little fun when you can, and enjoy the impromptu laughter and fun that often come around. And, if the proverbial soccer ball knocks you in the head, just (as Taylor Swift would say) shake it off.