Both the younger girls and our sons-in-law were in Midland for theĀ  long holiday weekend to observe the Stanglin family Christmas traditions. We brought our daughters up decorating the tree on a certain day, watching certain Christmas movies, drinking egg nog and Dr Pepper at certain times, and those things naturally evolve into traditions we’ve done our best to keep. But I’ve only realized recently that we’ve raised three strict legalists! These girls are pretty hard core when it comes to our Christmas traditions–there’s no budging on any of it! We watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” the day after Thanksgiving, not Albert Finney’s “Scrooge.” We eat Mexican food after we decorate the tree, not on Christmas Eve. So I really didn’t know what to do for Sunday night.

On Christmas Eve we go out to Longhorn Steakhouse and then drive around the city looking at the best Christmas lights, before watching “Scrooge,” eating popcorn and drinking the Dr Pepper Nog, opening the new pajamas, and reading “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” I’m telling you, it’s a production. There’s a silly Stanglin family dance that happens after the movie, too, but I’m not detailing any of that here.

Well, this is the first time we’ve had seven people to accommodate. We can’t fit seven people in any one of our cars and we can’t take two cars to look at lights–that won’t work. We thought about borrowing a church van and then quickly remembered what our church vans are like. So what do we do?

We surprised the whole family with a limousine!

It was worth the price as soon as we opened the front door and everybody saw it, idling in front of our house, waiting to escort us on our Christmas Eve adventure. Those first two or three minutes were awesome! We took the pics, piled in, plugged in the traditional Stanglin family Christmas CD, and laughed and sang all the way to Longhorn Steakhouse. We pretended to be celebrities. Somebody made a prom joke. After we ordered, we watched the Dolphins drive the length of the field and kick the game-winning field goal against the Cowboys on Collin’s phone (yes!), ate a fantastic meal together, and then rode all over Midland looking at the lights.

It feels like a one-time thing. I need to iterate here in writing that it was definitely a one-time thing. This was a special memory, not the start of a new tradition. By this time next year, surely we’ll have a new church van.