Although Christmas has been jammed down our throats beginning as early as July, as far as I’m concerned the holiday season doesn’t begin until after Thanksgiving. This year my Christmas spirit started with A Dickens Holiday in downtown Fayetteville.
Hay Street was filled with vendors. Carolers dressed in period costumes sang Christmas carols. Horses pulled carriages filled with revelers. Scrooge and the ghost of Jacob Marley walked the street and chatted with spectators. English Bobbie’s kept the peace and shook hands with children.
Awaiting the arrival of the Queen was a bit nerve racking. There we were, all huddled together on Hay Street, candles lit, waiting for the Queen to make her grand entrance. Seems harmless, no?
What surprised me most was the amount of small children holding lit candles with little supervision. As the time crept along I envisioned my hair going up in flames, much like it did when I set it on fire myself with a candle in the kitchen.
I know, setting your own hair on fire is pretty tricky. Note to self – keep your long hair in a ponytail when you’re in the kitchen cooking and you have a candle lit near the stove. That way when you lean over to look at the food on the stovetop your hair doesn’t accidentally end up in flames.
The evening festivities began with the arrival of Queen Victoria and a candlelight procession, led by a Scottish Pipes & Drums band. The Queen finally arrived at the Market House and was greeted by the Master of Ceremonies.
Once at the Market House, after a verbal volley with the crowd followed by numerous cheers, the Master of Ceremonies opened the holiday season with a flip of the switch, turning on the holiday street lights and signaling for the fireworks to begin. Fireworks are always a favorite display of mine. It doesn’t matter where they are, the glittering display tops my list. The Christmas season was officially here.
The weekend festivities didn’t stop there! I was looking forward to Saturday all week. Juston was home from college for Thanksgiving and he agreed to go to Wilmington to Airlie Gardens for Enchanted Airlie. First we ate at Blue Surf Cafe, then we went to Airlie for a walk in their gardens. I love everything about Christmas: the lights, the smells, the music. Mostly I love spending time with family.
Juston had never seen Enchanted Airlie (last year he refused to go with me). With one more year under his belt, it was okay to be seen in public with me. The garden is filled with festive lights and music. We laughed and had fun walking the paths. After we walked the entire garden hot chocolates were in order. With warm hands and warm hearts, we headed down the road towards the flotilla at Wrightsville Beach.
I probably needed to plan that one out a little more as everyone else in Wilmington had the same thought. Cars lined Airlie Road and traffic was backed up along Causeway Drive and Airlie Road. We ended up parking near Airlie Gardens and walking over the causeway towards Wrightsville Beach. The flotilla? It floated on without us. The fireworks? We had the best view on the island. No traffic. No streetlights. No crowds. It was dazzling!
An unforgettable day ended with a bang and the last brilliant, colorful display reflecting over the water. With that, we walked the long mile back to the car and prepared for the two hour drive to his house. These days spent with Juston are treasured. I know that it won’t be long before he’s truly out on his own and he may not have time for these outings. Until then, this mama will spend all the time she can making memories!