These Things I Have Learned During Our 2007 Naperville Christmas

In reflecting upon my attempt at the Clark Griswald-worthy idyllic plans over the past week leading up to Christmas, I am reminded of those things I will think twice about next year.

First, if I’m looking to take my six year-old for a special dinner and shopping night five days before Christmas in downtown Naperville, I will have my wife drop off a car at a parking space at about 1:00 in the afternoon versus driving around for 45 minutes looking for a parking space in all the usual and not-so-usual places with other fellow parking space hunters angrily honking their horn at others suffering the same plight.  Regretably, it took us another 20 minutes just to get out of downtown having not been succesful in finding a parking space and we settled for the Fox Valley Mall where my little guy was able to witness a shoplifter getting busted before our own eyes for the first time.  The last time we were there for a special night out, we watched and ate ice cream as kids repeatedly stole change from the fountain to play the crane toy grab game. 

Second, next time we end up at Santa’s house and, alas, find ourselves in in the #2 spot in line 45 minutes before Santa’s arrival, we will bring our bathing suits and a cooler of ice-cold beverages to keep cool amidst the “blazing inferno in a box” heating system inside Santa’s ranch house.  After these efforts, my three year-old was terrified when Santa’s door opened and my six year-old played along for my benefit.

Third, the next time I select a newer downtown restaurant which we really enjoyed the first time during the summer only to plan a special family meal after Santa’s house, I will think twice rather than run the risk of again having the worst service I’ve ever enountered not to speak of food that hardly resembled our first experience.

Fourth, I will also think twice before driving my family around trailing one of the downtown trolley’s as it tours the best house light displays throughout Naperville.  Not only did a group of young girls make continual rude gestures at us, I think the driver may have called the police on us for tagging along.  Fa-la-la-la-la-la….. la-la la la.

Instead of these things, I believe I will vow to not try so hard to create magical Christmas memories and, instead, follow the lead of my family and see what happens.  The harder you try to make something special, the worse the karma powers will crack down on you.  After all, holiday memories are about the loved ones around, not your own fairy tailish expectations.  Here’s to Christmas 2008!


On a side note, I will definitely recommend sharing a nicely chilled bottle of Gosset Grand Millesime alongside some nice cheese pairings with family to put the well-intentioned catastrophes of the holiday season behind to focus on the true meaning of simply being together.  Everyone agreed it was absolutely delightful.  SM


2 responses to “These Things I Have Learned During Our 2007 Naperville Christmas

  1. my mother once said “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” Don’t be such a grinch! Sheesh!

  2. John. I agree with your mother’s wise words. In this case, the point of my posting was to laugh at myself a bit and accept responsibility for trying too hard to create the perfect holiday experience through my own expectations.

    The important lesson I was attempting to share is to not try so hard and let things happen. Ultimately, it’s the simplicity of time together that matters most regardless of where that might be. If we were all on the same page as a family, the details would not have mattered.

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