Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck

Well, I couldn't stay off my blog for the entire Christmas Season. I had to share this with you.

We've had a Christmas Eve tradition at my 'rents for years, now. They live in the North Hollywood area of the San Fernando Valley. We congregate, invite a few people over for a buffet dinner (it usually includes fresh tamales and some really good cold cuts), and wait for the Christmas Truck. The crew that bring us the experience reserve the right to cancel due to bad weather, but I think the weather wouldn't dare be anything but clear on that one night. (I say this as I look out the window at the pouring rain and hear the forecast that says it may rain on the 24th. I hope my weatherwitching powers are working!) Mr. ShellHawk and I love this part of the Season, and were so thrilled when his dad decided to come to see it with us one year. He hasn't missed it since.

Someone, usually me, opens the patio door almost every 6 minutes starting around 7:30 p.m., and listens carefully for the sound of caroling on the street directly behind us. Really loud caroling. As the sound draws nearer and louder, we judge about how long it will take until the truck rounds the corner on the south end of our street. We bundle my 99-year-old grandma up in her coat and wheel her wheelchair into position at the end of the driveway; a perfect curbside view. The rest of us put on our coats and Christmas hats and turn eager, shining eyes up the street. And then it's there, all bright lights and singing, snow and Santa, and rollerskating reindeer and snowmen.

Mr. and Mrs. Shellhawk and his dad and our friends bundle up in our jackets and follow the truck for a few blocks, waving to neighbors we only see this one night of the year (it's an L.A. thing) and singing our heads off. The streets are crowded with grown-ups and children and dogs wearing antlers, and sometimes the truck just barely makes a turn around a tight corner on our narrow streets. Moms hold their infant children up above the crowd and point, laughing, at the spectacle. Seeing the joy and wonder on all faces, young and old, brings tears to my eyes every time. We follow the truck all the way to my childhood friend's house and wish him a Merry Christmas. We might go inside for a drink before we head on back to the house for more food.

Happy, and brimming with Christmas Cheer.


  1. Awww! Sounds like a great way to celebrate and visit friends on Christmas Eve!

    Last year I made two great big sets of sleigh bells and on Christmas Eve we bundled up and went out driving through the countryside shaking those bells out the window. In my mind, children would hear and run to the window. Parents would smile and say, "You'd better get to bed! Santa's getting close!" What a cheerful, warm Christmas my mind.

    We didn't see anyone looking out their windows and we got tailed by a county cop for a mile or so. After about 45 minutes my hands were numb blocks of ice and I was ready to go home. I think I went straight to bed.

    Your Christmas Eve sounds like much more fun. :)

  2. Sounds like it to me, too! ;o)
    Happy Birthday, Spook!

  3. So glad you posted this. It's been a big traditional event to watch for it on Christmas eve at my Parent's place in Burbank. It usually gets there closer to 10pm or so. A perfect way to wind down the get together there. It's become even more fun with my niece Devin now and a big part of her childhood we look forward to every year.

  4. Happy New Year!
    stay true to what you do~


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