This Saturday marked the seventh annual shopping trip with my BFF Shanda, also known as “Auntie” Shanda.
After a couple of years, we had our routine down pat…
Breakfast at my house. Eat off Christmas plates and drink coffee with ample creamer from glass coffee mugs.
I drive on the even years, Shanda on the odd.
The passenger buys lunch, and the driver buys afternoon coffee.
And always, throughout the entire day, there is lots and lots of Christmas music.
We adopted “The Christmas Waltz” – the Harry Connick, Jr. version – as our anthem. Throughout the year, at random, Shanda and I will send each other an email with an opening line from this song. Just the mention of “frosted windowpanes” – even in the mid-July heat – brings a smile to our faces as we mentally transport ourselves ahead a few months.
While all went as clockwork those first few years, the last three years we’ve had to make some adjustments due to my “elves”.
In 2008, I was hugely pregnant by the first of December. We altered our plans slightly to a shorter trek…one that included an hour or so finishing up my registry at Babies R Us. But we still managed lots of good food (some of us, more than others), hot chocolate (instead of coffee), and much singing.
In 2009, the girls were 11 months old. We were determined to carry on the tradition, even with two little "elves" in tow. We still ate well and drank well, and sang lots of Christmas carols (along with some nursery rhymes), although we probably didn’t log the distance in the mall…but we did enjoy stashing our packages under the stroller.
This year, we changed things up yet again, going shopping on a Saturday afternoon so the "elves" could rest at home with Daddy Clause.
We had an abbreviated day, starting with lunch, instead of breakfast. We still had some great eats, great coffee, and got in a little shopping…and this year incorporated a pedicure into the mix.
(That's A and B admiring our matching red sparkle polish -- "Smitten with Mittens" -- in case you're wondering!)
And we came home to four outstretched arms, the sweetest little voices saying, “Miss you, Mommy” in stereo; and later, choruses of “Pretty piggy toes” over and over.
We've had to break with tradition just a bit to accommodate the "elves", but we still managed to record lots of great times over the last three years...
...and maybe in a few more years, the "elves" might join us, at least for a portion of the festivities. I'm sure they'll enjoy some red sparkle polish of their own one of these years!