I am a huge fan of warm fuzzies. Warm fuzzy sweaters (I'm wearing one now!), warm fuzzy blankets, warm fuzzy cups of hot chocolate (okay minus the fuzz)... I love it all and Christmas is the ultimate Warm Fuzzy Inducer. This was evidenced by the beautiful, jingly, wonderful candlelight evening downtown a few weeks ago!*
W-worth usually holds a candlelight walk, I think, but I'd never gone to it. Actually, I'd envisioned it as being a bunch of cold people in winter coats solemnly carrying candles down the Main St. sidewalk in silent procession. I'm weird, I know. But that little mental picture I'd drawn was certainly enough to curb my interest.
Long-story-short, they gave the candlelight walk the wrong name.
It was the Quintessential Christmas Experience. Even the real Old St. Nicholas, horrified as he may be at what Christmas has become in our day and age, couldn't help but break a smile if he'd have walked downtown that night.
Mom and I were greeted by the strains of Sinatra and his fellow crooners singing the old wonderful carols as we stepped into the festively lit square. W-worth has a quaint, beautiful little square normally, but at Christmastime it's transformed into something extra special. The lampposts are strung with garland and lights; the gazebo is decked, and next to it a huge Christmas tree graces the square. Shopkeepers try to outdo each other in their lights and decorations. The pastry shop has an intricate little train set running... it's beautiful and I can't help but smile every time I drive through town at night! But the Candlelight Walk night was even more spectacular. Even before you saw the beautiful horse drawn carriages giving people rides through the streets, you could hear the full, merry jingle of the sleigh bells attached to the horses' harness.
Stores were packed with people ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the Christmas merchandise proudly displayed' folks who evidently enjoyed displaying their own Christmas spirit with holiday shirts, crazy hats, and--in a few cases--full blown Dickens regalia! The jewelry store had a little kiosk in front of it with a woman ladling out steaming cups of hot chocolate. A number of shops had cookie trays and snacks in the back, and the antique shop beat all... with a live display of a huge jack-in-the-box, wound every minute or so by a woman we thought was a mannequin until she suddenly moved... and then out popped a real human jack-in-the-box!
As if it weren't all almost too good to be true, as mom and I passed the barber shop and glanced in the window we saw this: Yep! A real barbershop quartet right there in the shop, with their darling little outfits and appropriately gregarious personalities to match! (And, like all good barbershop quartets they had one rather tall and one rather short fellow.) With the sight of that, my warm fuzzy-odometer simply maxed out and mom and I agreed to run home as fast as we could--we live about 5 minutes from the square, but the event was closing within 15 minutes!)--and grab our cameras! (Heretofore we'd been moaning and groaning that we were crazy for not having brought our cameras... but really all I was expecting was a bunch of cold zombies walking around dark sidewalks with candles and I didn't think that would be much to take snapshots and blog about.)
So mom and I rushed home and while I grabbed the camera she made a quick cup of hot chocolate for dad, who was one of the police officers patrolling the event. We brought it to him and took a few pictures with him. He is a very good sport because police officers aren't normally supposed to have photo shoots with their daughters in the back of the police cruiser while they're on duty. Kinda' ruins their "tough cop" persona, if anyone's watching.
We got back in just enough time to snap a few pictures of the barbershop quartet before they finished for the evening...
Then--lo and behold!--the kind horse people let mom and I take a last ride in their carriage before they packed up for the night. It was very, very fun and even a bit rotic (i.e. "romantic" without the "man").
We snapped a few more shots around town:
A few last folks in the sandwich shop before closing time,
Storekeepers pausing to wave to us as they closed up shop for the night,
So doesn't this look like some sort of Kinkade painting? :) All it needs is a little old man smoking a pipe sitting on the bench out front, with a dog at his side.
And AHA! THIS is the reason it's called a "candlelight walk!"
Well, in all it was a completely unexpected evening full of joy and Christmas spirit. Mom and I couldn't stop exclaiming about it the entire way home! Thank you, W-worth, for a wonderful, beautiful start to the Christmas season. Thank you for keeping it "Christmas" and for embracing the joy this season brings without all the political correctness that is erroding at the birthday celebration of my King. I'm grateful and I will definitely be back for the candlelight walk next year if I'm around!
...Now if we could just think of a better name for it...!?
*(Yes, this was a few weeks ago meaning they were celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving had occurred. This is usually an unpardonable sin in my estimation, but since it created such vast amounts of warm fuzzy feelings in my heart, I'll pardon the grievous misdeed.)