Several weeks ago, we headed out for what would be one of our worst family outing debacles. A local paper detailed a downtown Christmas festivity to occur a half hour from our home. Carolers. Arts and crafts. Citizens dressed in holiday garb. Santa Claus. Yes, we need a little Christmas!

Piling into the car, we drove to the center of the town. Sat up expectantly and looked around. Craned our necks to search for crimson flags. Listened for blaring trumpets. Scoped for the parade of dancing deer.

They were here somewhere.

Our foray through the town lasted a grand total of three minutes as we checked out all the avenues. We found what appeared to be the town square. Nothing. No one was out. No one.

Spying only a dingy tinsel wreath flapping on a telephone pole, we reached an inevitable conclusion. The paper was wrong. There was no Christmas here. There was nothing here.

The town appeared to be deserted.

Just to be sure we weren’t missing something obvious, we stopped at the only store in town hoping to find some live beings. My husband found a cashier and asked where the Christmas festivities were. She appeared to be on the verge of laughter. She and several onlooking patrons. “No. No Christmas festivities, here.”

Describing the experience as slightly more than surreal, he imagined one of the locals pointing him to a trap door and saying, “Yes, sir, right this way. Christmas down those stairs.” Maybe smiling an eerie smile. It did all seem a bit like the Twilight Zone.

Realizing we were headed for Big Time Disappointment Land, we scratched our heads to figure out how we were going to fix this one. Some treats from the Shop of the Parallel Universe served as a less-than-sufficient consolation prize. That paper was not Virginia’s New York Post. We could not trust it to tell us about Santa Claus.

Driving back, we passed a sign for “Pick Your Own Christmas Tree.” Hmmmm. Maybe that would be a memorable experience, something the family would enjoy? The start of a yearly tradition? Would there be hot chocolate, hay rides, cookies?

Planning to come back in a week or two closer to Christmas, we jotted down the directions. We would try again. Determined to pick our parallel universe.


Content originally written and published by ClunkyShoe December 11, 2010.  The first story in a series of three. This, a holiday tradition . . . . 😉