Some years in the recent past just didn’t feel like Christmas.

I made a point this year to find Christmas this year and to enjoy it.

And I have.

The children in my life, I must admit, have had a little to do with that.

My grandson was home sick yesterday with a stomach bug, so I set him up in my room with Frosty the Snowman. I went on to work, but I hear he watched it for hours.

For my job, I was out Friday and Saturday last weekend, shooting photos of the different events going on in Milton and Pace. My 11-year-old daughter loves to sing so she joined the choir at her school. They were out singing Friday and Saturday, so I was there too.

I enjoy the way people dump their worries for a little while to enjoy the festivities. It is contagious. I sat next to a woman whose son was also in the choir on Saturday in downtown Milton.

She told me her son was Santa Claus. I was puzzled for a minute until I saw a short little round Santa come from behind the risers. It was adorable. He was dancin’ it up and the crowd loved him.

The choir did a great job with strong little voices and variations of traditional Christmas songs. There was hot cocoa, a decorated horse-drawn wagon, A Christmas Story was showing on the big screen, and in the window of Boomerang was a silver tree with rotating colored lights – from a time long ago. Artists showed their talent at the Dragonfly Gallery (photos will appear in the Dec. 14 edition) with snacks and treats.

On Saturday, Toys for Tots took over Ollie’s parking lot with the Marines and even an unplanned Santa Chick who showed up on a motorcycle. She turned out to be a very interesting person and we’ll be doing a feature story on her soon.

The Toys for Tots Horseback Ride was a unique event. Riders escorted a horse-drawn wagon filled with toys and left from Bagdad Saturday morning. They rode up Old Bagdad Highway and ended at Ollie’s. It was a great way to bring attention to Toys for Tots. The horses were beautiful and the riders were all smiles.

Saturday night my daughter, her friend and I rode on a float in the Christmas parade, thanks to some friends. I got a unique view of the parade and I can tell you firsthand what a diverse and amazing community we have. I don’t think I will ever forget those little faces looking up at me. You can tell so much about people by watching them from atop a parade float. Some people were shy and didn’t wave or yell for candy. Others had their bags open, daring us to throw candy straight into the target.

Some children looked like they had never been to a parade before, so I threw lots of candy at them. Some very small children had huge eyes as their parents pointed at the float, explaining and dancing to our music.

One reason I’m giving you a blow-by-blow description of this weekend is to help get you out and into the celebrations. The Redneck Christmas Parade is next weekend in Chumuckla at 1 p.m. There are lots of events surrounding the parade that begin much earlier and we encourage everyone to get out and enjoy!

We are posting and reposting holiday events in the printed Press Gazette and putting them on-line under Things to Do.

There is a lot of Christmas spirit out there and we should all partake of it before dreary anti-climatic January is upon us.

Oh, and by the way, the Milton parade ended near our offices on Elva St. We want to personally thank whoever rode their horse up by our building and across our yard. We appreciate the large brown stinky presents you left.

If you are upset with us, we’d really rather you called and talked to someone.

Merry Christmas!

Published: Dec. 11, 2013