This post appeared originally at The Happiest Home. Enjoy! -Sarah
So, this happened. We got a red nose and antlers for our minivan.
For the last couple of years my two oldest kids (now 5.5 and 3.5) have spent the month of December scanning the road for “Rudolph cars”.
“MOM LOOK LOOK LOOK! A car with antlers AND A RED NOSE!”
Last year we talked about getting a set for ourselves, but December flew, as it always does, and we didn’t. This year, as soon as the Rudolph cars started popping up around town, I hopped on Amazon and made it happen.
Ten bucks, and they were over the moon. Wednesday morning found us all in the driveway “helping” dress up our minivan for the holidays. You would have thought it was Christmas morning for all their wiggling and giggling and festive cheer:
And then there was this funny moment on the way to school in our decked out reindeer-mobile where they realized that from the inside of the car, they couldn’t actually SEE the nose and antlers. We talked about how even though we couldn’t see our car’s costume, there were probably kids in other cars pointing at us excitedly, just like we did when we saw one. And how fun it was that our car was helping make those kids have fun on their way to school.
As usual, I had no idea if that conversation really sunk in, but later that day, my 3-year-old (who named our reindeer car “Comet” because he likes space) repeated the idea in his own words.
“Mom,” he said, “I think when we were driving there were other kids who saw us and it made them so happy to see a car with a red nose. And they probably said to their mom, ‘Look! Look!’, just like we used to say.”
And then I realized: This is kind of a metaphor for holiday cheer in general. The decorating and the music and the baking and the giving – we do it for ourselves and our families and friends first, of course. And we do it because we want to (I hope) and it makes us feel good (I hope). But it’s good to remember that others – especially other children – are watching. They’re oooohhing and ahhhing at the candles in our windows and the lights on our houses. They’re pointing when we drive home with a tree strapped to the roof. They’re asking to drive around the block to get another look at the blow-up Santa on the lawn.
I’m not saying that the reindeer nose or the lights or any of it should be a display for others – at all. I got the silly car costume because it was simple way to rock my kids’ world (and because I long ago lost any pride I once had in the cool-factor of my vehicle). But I loved the reminder this week that the joy we feel this season is felt by others; that the energy we put out into our communities is real and makes a difference; and that even when we’re not aware of it, we have the power to make somebody else’s day. Or at least their morning commute.
What do you think of my reindeer-mobile? Is this a phenomenon in your community?