Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Parade Star

Last week my son's class participated in the Encinitas Holiday Parade. I'm pretty sure this parade ranks in the top five best parades in the nation. Its quality falls somewhere between the "Rose Parade" in Pasedena, CA and the "Hey Days Parade" in Tamarack, Minnesota. (This ranking is not official but I'm sure it is accurate). 

Encinitas truly has a "small town" feel so this parade is actually a pretty big deal. Thousands of people line the main street through downtown to watch old cars driven by Santa and the ever-popular "Neuter Scooter" spreading Holiday cheer while promoting safe sex for Encinitas' dogs.

The best part of this parade is that there were literally over 1000 participants. It is a parade consisting of local Boy Scout troops, Indian Princess groups, dance teams, school bands, "Teacher of the Year" classes, city council members, and local businesses willing to pull a trailer filled with people wearing Santa Hats and drinking Egg Nog in reindeer mugs.

All three of my boys were able to walk in the parade carrying a banner for the elementary school so they all felt like the stars of the parade. The truth is that this parade doesn't have any stars and it actually doesn't have anything spectacular. Unlike the Hey Day parade in Tamarack, it didn't even have a local Shriners group driving their purple go-karts like a bunch of junior high kids. (Those of you in the Midwest can appreciate the previous comment). 

The fact that nothing spectacular is on display in this parade is one of the things that makes it great. This event is not about the spectacular, it is about being involved. It is about a community of people coming out to support one another in the normal things in life.

This is the time of the year when many are trying to make everything spectacular. We overdo the decorations on our houses, we overspend trying to give the perfect gift, and we even put pressure on ourselves to host the best parties in the best neighborhoods. Even churches overdo their programming in an attempt to make the season spectacular for all who attend.

The Encinitas Holiday Parade reminds us to be involved and be present with the people in our lives. Rather than going overboard to impress others, go overboard by letting everyone be the star. Give the gift of your presence and your encouragement. Take time to slow down and remember the first Holiday parade of people who went to see the true spectacle of a baby born in humble circumstances so that he could bring peace on earth and goodwill towards mankind.