The Lights In Their Eyes

At least a decade ago when our family was young and we were adjusting to a new home and struggling with limited resources, there was a list of things I wanted to do with our kids at Christmas, but the cost was simply more than we could manage. I longed to see our kids’ eyes light up with awe at the twinkling-coloured lights at a local light festival, but I also knew there was no way to create the space in our budget when even much simpler ‘extras’ were considered unnecessary at the time.

It was easy to become disheartened by those humbling experiences, but now I look back on them almost fondly. They made us resourceful and required teamwork and ingenuity.

So, we came up with an alternate plan. One night, after we sent the kids upstairs to put on their pjs, they found a note on the bed. Only one of our kids could read at the time, so he did the honours. The letter informed them that they should quickly get into their jammies and hurry downstairs to meet us. The car would be waiting…

Of course, we heard the squeals of delight, and then we set to work. My husband pulled the car up to the door and warmed it up while I stashed some hot apple cider into a thermos and thew some homemade cookies into a paper bag. Daddy was even the chauffeur who held the doors open for us. Often it really is the little things that hold the most real estate in our memories.

We all climbed into our old chariot (she really was old) and took a night time tour of our little, local town, looking at the Christmas lights, choosing our favourites, enjoying our treats, and listening to classic holiday tunes. Even though our life is different now, this has become a nice little tradition we pull from every other year or so. Our kids still remember that inaugural voyage, and we learned that it doesn’t take much to light up our children’s eyes, and to leave the imprinted memory on our family’s list of traditions.

Jacquelyn Toupin lives with her family in a heritage farmhouse that has been in her family for several generations. You can follow her on Instagram @my.sacred.wild