Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.- Love Actually
Sometimes, when your family doesn't live in the next city, in the next state or maybe even in the next country, Christmas can seem a little far away. The older you get, the more disenchanting this time of the year can be. It's like one day you're counting down-can't even wait-let me have my presents now-excited about the whole ordeal and then the next you're just nodding politely, cleaning up wrapping paper and trying to hold your booze. And it's possible you can make that work for you. But for those of us who treat enchantment like heroin, there's a certain feeling you have to find. It can mean a little extra work, but if you ask me finding that feeling during Christmas is a damn priority.
Of course being in New Orleans, there is no shortage of ways to discover the spirit of the city and the season. Like usual, people here love any excuse to make merriment. If dressyish-boozing is your thing, I'm told to go theDavenport Loungethen head toThe Roosevelt Hotelto see the lobby display. If Santa photos are on your list, head toMiracle on Fulton.Krewe of Jingleis coming up already on the 7th and a short week later, 1000's of Santa-ily clad willget naughty for a good cause. The options for New Orleanians looking for extra cheer are endless.
I started my own search atCity Park's Celebration in the Oaksbecause in August I researched the story of Mr. Bingle forthis article. Being from out of town, a friend tipped me off on the snowman's legacy and it was interesting to see how many people lit up at the mention of the tradition. Writing the article got me thinking a lot about the importance of traditions both old and new; both citywide and personally.
So on the second day of CITO's opening weekend, I put on my beanie and headed to Wit's Inn just in time to catch the SEC's historical game ender between Auburn and The Crimson Tide. Two glasses of wine and 6 pesto wings later, it was time. Parking was unpleasant but not completely ridiculous and the line for tickets moved quickly. Before I knew it, I was right in the thick of things with what seemed like at least half of New Orleans.
The first lights I see? Magical mushrooms. Great way to kick things off. From there it was Saints, Storyland, rides, funnel cake, Cajun Christmas, and the dripping tree. Just like the lady I interviewed from City Park said, there were families in line to take pictures with Mr. Bingle. I got another glass of wine and took my first deep breath of New Orleans during the holidays.
I was pretty stressed out about the holidays last year. I wrote a blog post not unlikethis one listing my newly realized seasonal responsibilities and noting how valuable time is whenever another year comes to a close. I know it's not time for resolutions yet, but I don't want to let the holidays stress me out this year and I think that goal is actually attainable. This year, I'll be focusing on the positives like CITO's lights, hot cocktails, leftover turkey sandwiches and a rematch of the Seahawks vs. Saints in the NFC Conference Championship. Whether you find it in a sandwich or by participating in a holiday tradition with family and friends… the truth of the matter is a cliché because clichés are attainable:Love actually is all around. You can find it if you're willing to look. About the Author:
I moved to New Orleans in January 2013 with dreams of becoming a Southern belle. From Carnival to the bayous and everything in between, this blog is about making discoveries and what it means to be "new" in a city unlike any other.
Follow more of Lauren's adventures at: NolaNewGirl.com.