The evening starts with chili for everyone. It is an absolute zoo with children running everywhere and lots and lots of guest, but Chuck and Judy are amazing and gracious hosts and make it all seem very effortless and joyful. Judy is one of the most inspiring mom, grandma, mother-in-law, party thrower, giver of so many good things, I know. I hope to be like her someday.
After everyone eats, we head outside for singing. There are all these small jars with glowing, flickering candles in them for us to carry as we walk. It is lovely. (But I don't let the boys carry them. They like to run. Running + hot wax= not good)
The first time we were invited to join the caroling party a couple of years ago, I had no idea how amazing it would be. I know I am an emotional person, but when we went to the first house, the kids all ran up and rang the doorbell and we began to sing, "Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King", I was overcome by my emotions.
It was so beautiful.
It had nothing to do with presents or shopping or hustle and bustle. It was Christmas slowed down. It was real, but it felt like we were in a book, or a movie. "I can't believe people still do this," I whispered to Aaron.
The kids all love it too. They get jingle bells to ring. Some of the houses pass out candy. And they run like mad from house to house. They jostle for position to ring the door bell and sing "We wish you a merry Christmas" with gusto as we finish at each house.
Of course it's late and they are hopped up on candy canes, so someone is always sad, or mad because they don't have a jingle bell or got left behind or shoved out of the way. But then there is a Frosty to cheer them up,