Sunday, December 11, 2011


This is my holiday activity check list.  It’s not very pretty or festive (although I did manage to put it on some red paper) but it’s been my way of keeping track of the things that I want to do with Frances and George before Christmas sneaks up on us.  The Richmond area has an endless supply of holiday outings for kids of all ages and I wanted to make sure we hit the big ones with Daddy, but not on the weekends if possible (to avoid the crowds), and not run ourselves ragged trying to fit in all of that “fun.”  Plus with only three weekends in December, I realized all of this would take some serious planning.  I know; my life is so stressful isn’t it?

Number 2 on the checklist has been one of my favorites since moving to the Richmond area seven years ago – the Tacky Light tour.  This may be a staple in every city in America, but we Richmonders take our tacky lights very seriously.  And while they are certainly tacky by any standards, there is also nothing more beautiful than a house decked out with hundreds of thousands of lights, figurines, carolers and Santa handing out candy canes to officially ring in the holiday season (unless I suppose the owner of such house lives in your neighborhood; lucky for us, they are all at least 20 minutes from our side of town).

We started the evening downtown (technically not part of the true tacky light tour) where the Richmond skyline is lined with lights and the heart of the city is completely bathed in white and red – an incredible sight.

The kids loved it:

This is the "Where's Waldo" of a Frances and George picture.

Inside one of the main buildings are more decorations:

I loved the lights from the trees reflecting in the floor. 

And where I managed to get a shot of all four of us:

About as good we're going to get these days

We were on a roll.  Frances and George were happily running around; Will and I were strolling through a winter wonderland of lights; and it really felt like Christmas for the first time this season.

We found Rudolph!

And then we blew it by shoving the kids back in the car and driving around to look at the actual tacky lights.  All they wanted to do was burn some more energy, but instead we convinced them that there were more lights to see at other houses and it was well worth the 15 minute car ride with nothing to look at but the black sky.  Of course, once we arrived at the first house, George was convinced he could get out and run around again, which of course he could not.  As you might imagine, he took this news very well.

What I had forgotten about the tacky light tour was the actual lights viewing to waiting ratio – very little tacky lights; very long waits in the traffic to see such lights; and once you make it to the lights, the drive-by is nearly instantaneous.  And then it’s on to the next house…

And the next…

And the next…

Needless to say, the tour was a disaster.  By the third house we had called it quits and I was in the front seat stewing in my own frustration and thinking to myself, “Geez!  I wish the kids would learn to curb their expectations on things.  They can’t get everything they want all of the time.” 

Cue the epiphany music.

I’m learning to control my own expectations for a ‘perfect’ holiday season with the kids; but sometimes (and sometimes in the same night) all three of us slip up.  I hope Santa Clause is forgiving:

Happy Sunday, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Just this morning I saw the CBS Sunday Morning piece about Richmond's residential light displays! I had no idea Richmond was a haven for the tacky--and I LOVE it!! Thanks for sharing the pics!