I recently wrote about my passion for parades. We were all geared up for a weekend of parade fun, then it hit me. We’re doing too much. Something’s gotta give.
And so, what gave was the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.
Surprisingly, life has gone on in the day since Santa rode his sleigh through the T dot preceded by marching bands, colouful floats, clowns and many other fabulous characters.
We did make it to the Brampton Santa Claus Parade on Saturday night. It was magical like always.
But what we realized was there is only so much time every holiday season, and each year we are trying to pack more and more into it. My gut instinct was to skip the Brampton parade this year. (Much as I love spending the time with family [we always attend the Brampton parade with my sister and her family plus my parents], I really prefer the Toronto parade.)
My kids enjoyed themselves, as did the adults. But whether it was too much excitement, the later hour, a too busy day, I’m not sure, but I think the kids enjoyed the snacks we brought as much as they enjoyed the parade. We could have just stayed home and fed them instead of sitting on a cold curb trying to keep them from running out into the street every time a float passed.
By the end of the night, we had a cranky 5-year-old on our hands (and that’s NEVER fun) and a tired (but relatively pleasant) 2.5-year-old.
The lesson we learned: Don’t push the kids. They will push back harder.
And never mind the kids. Tired, overworked parents never make for happy Christmas memories. Trying to handle tired, cranky kids when mom and dad are already tired from too much packed into one day = a recipe for disaster. (Before we hit the parade, both kids had swimming lessons and my husband took them to Reptilia for the afternoon so that I could get some work done before we headed off to the parade.)
Needless to say, come Sunday morning, no one was in the mood to trek downtown for another parade. The sun was shining. It was a beautiful day. In fact, it was a perfect day for a parade. Except for the still cranky kids and the overtired parents. So, we opted to stay close to home and play in the park.
And my motto for next year is (drum roll, please):
KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO.
Trying to fit every event in every year so that we don’t miss any of those warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings just backfires. We will pick one or two events (different ones each year) and enjoy those to the fullest. And forget about everything else. There is always next year.
So, I come away from parade weekend with a mild sense of loss for having not attended the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, but I learned my lesson, and next year, we’ll make a more calculated choice.
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In further news, we found out last night that my daughter’s Beaver Scouts group is going to be in our local Weston Village Santa Claus Parade. We definitely won’t be missing that one!