I’d like to start by saying, I don’t hate Christmas. In fact, I like it very very much. Not because of all the religious stuff, that’s the least of my interest in it. It’s a wonderful tradition that brings together families in the best ways.
However……I am certainly not a fan of anything Christmas related happening pre-Thanksgiving. That’s just a bunch of nonsense. Can we just enjoy one holiday at a time please? Thanksgiving is in many ways better than Christmas as well, so lets chill on putting the decorations out LITERALLY the day after Halloween.
That all being said, there is one Christmas-time pleasure I’ve had yet to enjoy, for the whole family to enjoy, and we had an opportunity to go.
In my few years of blogging I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of brands on various levels. Some of my favorites ones though are when we get to do something that takes place locally. Not that I am adverse to travel, in fact I love it. There just comes an extra level of comfort when you know you are close to home and in a familiar place. So when I get to go down to Philadelphia, especially with the family, I’m pretty pumped.
This year came together similar to each of the past 4, one or two sponsored things between January and October. Then the flood hits in November, an onslaught of emails offering all sorts leading up to the Holidays, most of which will get passed on because they are either incredibly insincere (“Dear Mrs. Ben Mullen, we love your site about Macaroons! We think your readers will love this website featuring discount motorcycle parts!”), or I know its something that my readers won’t care about. This time however, it was totally up our alley.
Every year, for the past few years, a lovely festival opens up in Philadelphia called “Christmas Village”. Festivities usually go on from late November through Christmas, the point of which is to provide that happiness that Christmas provides for an extra amount of time, and also for those who may be tourists that won’t be here any closer than Christmas, etc.
I was happy to oblige whomever had sent me the email, inviting my family and I to come to the pre-opening weekend festivities and to take part in a couple of firsts. We would be among the first to check out Christmas Village in it’s new location at City Hall, and we would be among the first to ride the new carousel. These things, as well as the Christmas Spirit, is why we found ourselves getting up fairly early for a Saturday morning and packing into the car for the hour drive and a whole day of fun.
Well, that was the plan.
The base layer of our multi-tier cake of a bullshit day was our daughter. She is an amazing person for being 3 years old. Talented, wise, but on this day…this day she was a miserable mess of emotions and screaming. We figured, yes she may be miserable now, but once we get there I’m sure her mood will change.
We took our usual route, not too much of a headache. Till we reached the city itself.
Soon after coming off the highway and battling through one of the weirdest interchanges in the history of on-ramp/off-ramps, we had made our way about 5 minutes into the city when we hit the first road block on Kelly Drive. Kelly Drive runs along the Schyulkill River (yeah i know) taking you past “Boathouse Row” and dropping you off onto the Ben Franklin Parkway near the Art Museum. It’s this stretch of river, next to Kelly Drive, that they often use for boat races. So a detour here was not uncommon, despite it being November. I noticed though that this detour was pretty quick, as in…usually it’s a bit further down the road. No matter, we followed the detour that would take us around the cut-off area, and deeper into Philly.
This is the part where I skip a large chunk of time to save you the horrible details that would have no doubt triggered your anxiety.
After 3.5 hours of sitting in traffic, we had only made it 4 miles into the city with another 4 miles to go till we reached Christmas Village. It would turn out that all of this traffic was due to most of the major city streets being closed off, including the Ben Franklin Parkway, for the Philadelphia Marathon.
That’s right, I said it. I said it a few times that day too, I’m not ashamed. Fuckitty fuck fuck. We’re already late, it’d probably be another 3 hours of traffic till we got there, our 3 year old is miserable as hell and needs her diaper changed, plus we’re all hungry and certainly no longer in the Christmas mood motherfucker. So after a brief talk with the wife, we made an executive decision.
We turned our asses down a road that wasn’t blocked up by traffic, and got the fuck out of there. As my lovelies faded into napping, I took many deep breaths. It was not that we didn’t want to go, it just ended up being a bad day to do it. After grabbing lunch at the King of Prussia Mall, we went home and had a proper nap, all of us.
Day wasted? Perhaps, in a way, yes. Frustrating as hell? Oh dear God yes. But these kind of days happen now and then, mixed in with the great days and sunshine. Balance to the karma.