So. My family.
As I'm sure is the case with everyone out there, my family has their own nice little traditions for Christmas time. Some of the more normal ones include opening pjs from my grandparents on Christmas Eve, watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas Eve, building a fort for all the kids to sleep in, having a Christmas Eve program complete with a play in which Katie always gets to play Santa Claus...the usual.
There is one Allen family Christmas tradition, however, that I have yet to find a match for: the Lighting Ceremony.
Now, as you may have guessed, this tradition is all about turning on all the Christmas lights in my parents' front yard for the first time. What you may not have guessed is what accompanies said electrical display. Let me break it down for you:
1) Family and friends arrive. Usually between 4 and 5. This is my mom's whole side of the family, whatever friends my siblings invite, and whatever other family is lucky enough to be in town. All in all, we end up with a crowd of 35-45 people.
2) Crowd relocates from comfortable privacy of the indoors to the front driveway. Yep, the front driveway.
3) Crowd eats homemade chili, store bought french bread, and pink lemonade. Always this combination. Always. Still in the driveway, people.
4) Crowd moves to the street/sidewalk in front of the house
5) Crowd participates in program, which includes but is not limited to: introduction/history of the Lighting Ceremony, Q&A time with Mark Allen (the light putter-upper), singing various Christmas songs, freezing, and finally, a countdown during which several small children run to various outlets so they can plug in the lights when the countdown reaches 0.
6) Crowd sings "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" as we walk inside. (Except for this year, when we sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and then sang the Sun Devil fight song, in honor of the big game...for all the good that did.)
That, people, is the lighting ceremony.
We've done this in the rain.
Let me just say that no matter how embarrassed we all act when a car slows down as it's passing by to see what those idiots are doing in their driveway, we all love the lighting ceremony. My mom started it, 25 years ago, and it's grown to be one of everyone's favorite Christmastime traditions, including mine. Perhaps, someday, I'll have the initiative to start a tradition that brings my whole family together to do something completely strange once a year.
love my fam.
You're all invited next year, just so you know. You'll have to give me your address so we can send you an invitation (yes, invitations are sent). Think you can handle it?
Here are a very few pictures from the blessed event - the big numero 25 - the Lighting Ceremony, 2008!
Ready to rumble.
Papa (Grandpa) enjoying his chili.
My sister Julie and her beau Chris enjoying THEIR chili.
My adorable cousin Brooke enjoying MY chili.
(here is where I would post pictures of the actual ceremony, including the crowd outside the house and the lights...but sometimes I suck and don't get good pictures of such things. Perhaps I will get them from my mom and post them later...)
Relocated to the indoors to watch the sucky mcsuckerson ASU v UofA game. That's all I'm going to say about that. De-press-ing.
Anyway, it was a fun time, as usual. Can't believe it's been going on for 25 years! And to think it'll probably keep going on for another 25...