This time of year, all around the country people gather in parks and along streets of big cities and small towns to watch and cheer Christmas parades. Whether big and fancy or small and homemade, local parades reflect the personality, history and heritage of their communities; tractors roll along the parade route in the midwest, wrangler’s prance on horseback in the west and in our little beach-side town we line the shore and gather on the bridges of the intracoastal waterway for our annual Christmas boat parade.
There must have been some Christmas magic that moved through a small circle of my friends, the day before the parade, that made us decide this was the year we would finally stop talking about participating and start decorating a Christmas boat. So with a two o’clock entry deadline looming, we split up; some off to register the boat and others scurrying away in search of decorations and inspiration.
And at five thirty the next evening we were lined up at marker 53 along with thirty plus boats, all dripping with Christmas lights and good cheer.
Drifting at five knots we spent the next hour and half yelling back Merry Christmas to the shadowy crowds lining the dark shore.
There was of course judging, with cash prizes! But of course we didn’t win; not a prize or even a place in the ranking, but the fun and comradery of the day was reward enough.
So I suggest that this year you go out and watch a local parade; or even better yet – enter one!