If you don't have family in town for Thanksgiving, and if the rest of your family heads out of town, and if you need something to do for the holiday that does not involve sitting around your house feeling like losers, may I strongly suggest heading to the city for a few days. We got back this afternoon and feel like we've been on vacation, even though we were only gone for about 48 hours. I suppose we technically were on vacation, but going to Chicago, where we go pretty regularly and where my husband goes about once a week on average, doesn't usually count as vacation to us.
The main reason to head to the city, especially for Thanksgiving, is because nobody else is there. On Wednesday we just about had the place to ourselves. We walked everywhere except for dinner on Wednesday, and we did not have to deal with huge crowds at all. In fact, our hotel was practially deserted on Wednesday night. By Friday things had picked up significantly, but if you ever want to have the city to yourself, go on the day before Thanksgiving. Awesome.
Macy's will always be Marshall Field's to me. We were faithful Marshall Field's shoppers when I was a little girl, but unfortunately my girls will not have the same experience with Macy's. I'm just not as loyal to them because I don't think they've been loyal to me. The quality, and, frankly, the cache, just isn't the same as it used to be. I desperately miss Marshall Field's.
Nevertheless, we did traipse through the State Street store to see the magnificent Christmas tree in the Walnut Room. It was worth the trip because the tree was beautiful.
Sorry to say, I can't say the same for the windows which were freaky-weird.
A few years ago, when the City of Chicago built Millenium Park, they put in an ice skating rink. What a grand idea! The girls and I had a great time dodging little kids and tourists who had never seen ice before as the sun set over the city and the lights came on all around us. Despite some bumps and bruises, along with great doses of humiliation, we managed to create some especially sweet memories.
I'll admit it, sometimes when we take family outings, I don't prepare myself mentally before I go. Disaster in the making, let me tell you. So this time, as a bit of an experiment, I decided to prepare myself ahead of time. I spent some time in prayer before I left, asking God to help me be the bearer of good attitudes and not bad ones this week. I also determined ahead of time that these couple of days were not about me, but about the entire family having fun. Realizing that "if Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy," I decided ahead of time to just . . . be happy.
You know what? It works. It really works! These were a couple of the happiest days we have had together as a family. We all got along. We were all flexible. We enjoyed our time together. Now, maybe that's because we all needed a break and some fun times together, but I also think it had something to do with having a positive attitude on my part.
I should really try that more often. Like every day.
We attended the Thanksgiving Day Parade on State Street yesterday. Kind of a shabby second to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, but it was still kind of fun. B scored some tickets for the grandstand because his bank was one of the sponsors of the parade this year, so we were able to actually sit through the parade. Bonus!
But the biggest bonus of all was the weather--45 degrees and sunny. You just don't get a prettier Thanksgiving Day in Chicago. Ever. So we enjoyed our time outside all morning with about 5,000 other strangers in the grandstands getting all sorts of treats that were being handed out by the sponsors of the parade. (No, the bank did not hand out samples of money.)
The funniest part of this whole parade thing is that, even though we had sat through three hours of bands and shows and big balloons, we came home this afternoon and WATHCED IT AGAIN!! Why? Because we're vain, that's why. We wanted to see if we made it onto T.V. And we did. Kate and Abby even got a close-up! Because they were two of the most beautiful girls in the stands. They're famous now.
We hit Michigan Avenue at 9:00 this morning. I caught this gorgeous picture of one of my favorite sights in the city at an hour when the traffic had barely started and the sun was just hitting the sides of the buildings. I do love this city.
The holiday season has officially started, and one of our favorite parts of the season is watching our favorite Christmas movies. We have already watched "A Christmas Story," laughing all the way through and saying almost every line along with the actors. And we can't wait to watch even more. "Christmas with the Kranks," "While You Were Sleeping," "White Christmas," "Holiday Inn," and, of course, "It's a Wonderful Life" must be watched at some point throughout the holidays.
Tonight we watched "The Family Man" because it was being played on T.V. and we always love that movie. If you haven't seen it, be sure you watch it sometime this year. It's a movie about a self-centered, self-made man who dreams of what his life would have been like if he had married his college sweetheart. A couple of lines in that movie just get to me every time. Like when Jack, contemplating a big job in the city with lots more money, says to his wife, "We'll have a life everyone envies," and she tells him, "We already do." Or when his wife comes to him to say that if he needs to take the big job in the city she will uproot her kids and her dreams and move with him because "a family is more important than an address, and I choose us." Ahhhh. Yes.
After three wonderful days together as a family, I choose us too.