Traditions are something that we either love or tolerate for the good of the family.
Thirty-plus years ago, our family accidentally started a Christmas Eve tradition. It began with a suggestion that, “Hey! We should decorate the utility trailer and drive around town singing Christmas Carols!”
Random suggestion – yes.
My father jumped on board immediately and got the trailer out of storage. I can’t recall if anyone helped him decorate the trailer or maybe Mom did it (finding a spare moment between Christmas baking and gift wrapping), but it did have lights and greenery. Dad managed to locate hay bales and we were good to go!
Around 7 p.m. we bundled up and piled into the trailer. Dad drove really, really slow and we wandered all around town, stopping at our friend’s homes, yelling “HO HO HO!” and singing Christmas carols.
I can still remember people looking out their windows and waving at us, smiles on their faces. In hindsight they might have been laughing at us, but I choose to believe the smiles were of happiness.
We did this year after year until one Christmas Eve we noticed flashing red and blue lights in the distance. As those lights drew closer, we could see that they belonged to the RCMP, and they were not coming to wish us a Merry Christmas.
My Dad pulled the truck and trailer over and got out to chat with the police officer. I could see Dad nodding while the officer spoke. We sat silently, waiting for the conversation to conclude.
The police officer returned to their car and Dad came back to the trailer to deliver the bad news. We had enjoyed a long run with our illegal Christmas Eve trailer singalong, but now it had come to an end.
It was a sad ending to our tradition, but we knew the risks we were taking with the entire family riding in the back of a utility trailer sans seatbelts, perhaps a little bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream in our coffee mugs, etc. We had always rationalized it with the fact that the rules might be a little more lax on Christmas Eve and that even if the police saw us they would turn a blind eye.
Alas, we returned home and everyone bailed out of the trailer, upset that our evening had been cut short.
We knew that we would never again spend Christmas Eve singing badly throughout the neighbourhood – this tradition had come to an end.
Judy Kucharuk is a community columnist living in Dawson Creek.