getting the holiday on…

So it’s Sunday night, fully dark before 6pm and super cold. One of those winter nights that would be truly depressing in that case-of-the-Sundays way if not for the happy twinkling lights over the fireplace and on our Christmas tree. Thank goodness for them. I may have to leave all this stuff up through March to just to make it to spring.

This weekend, though, we got ENTIRELY festive when Dessen Racing sponsored a float in the annual Chapel Hill Holiday Parade. We got up early Saturday morning, packed up our decorations and the car on the trailer, and headed into town. They gave us our spot and we jumped out to start decorating on the fly, fueled by hot chocolate and cupcakes from Sugarland, one of THE best bakeries in town. By just before parade start, we were ready:

It was my job to represent the team, hand out stickers and distribute candy. Spangled Santa Hat was optional:

(There is another pic, which my husband goaded me into taking, where I am striking the backside-to-the-camera pose from the cover of WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, but I am not inclined to share it here. Although it is on Twitter (regrettably). Impulse is bad, people!)

We also filled the truck bed with some elves to throw candy at the crowd. They were VERY enthusiastic, to the point that at some times bystanders were getting pelted. I kept having to say, “Underhand, please! Throw underhand!” Also, I think they may have eaten as much candy as they tossed. But I can’t really blame them. They are kids, after all:

We ran through the candy before the parade even ended, which was a bummer. Next time I’ll need to buy MUCH more. I did love it, though, when Kadin, one of the kids, kept hollering, “Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! We’re out of CANDY!” at the people as we passed. Whoops.

All in all, I have to say, it really did get me into the spirit AND reminded me why I love my hometown so much. People were OUT, lining the streets with their kids and families, even in the cold, and everyone was cheerful and waving. We were right behind a middle school band, so we had a holiday soundtrack (usually on key) as well. It’s been a crazy year and a lot of sad and bad things have happened, and continue to happen, in this world all around us. But for a little while, I could just walk and wave and be oh so grateful to be here, right here, right now.

Speaking of Dessen Racing, they’re having a contest over on their Facebook Page. You can post a pic of your holiday decorations, have your friends like the page, and if you get enough votes, win some of my signed books AND t-shirts. So go check it out!

And now another week begins. Christmas is COMING, people! I have shopping to do, but really all I want to do is curl up and read the ARC I scored (thanks, Megan!) of Megan McCafferty’s THUMPED (the sequel to BUMPED, which I loved) watch Love, Actually and nap. Hopefully I can find a happy medium between the two. Wish me luck!

Have a good night, everyone!