Oh my goodness, we had so much fun at Meadow Lights on Monday. This place is an institution in Johnston County. They have certainly covered all of their bases. There’s Santa, a train ride to see the lights, a carousel, and a massive candy store. All for very nominal costs. I’m not sure who had a better time- the kids or their parents. Though, as might be expected in rural eastern North Carolina, there were a few quirks…

Take Santa for instance. Doesn’t he look slightly less than jolly in this picture? He’s all “can we get this over with?” whereas my kids are about to jump out of their skin in excitement. And don’t look too closely at Mary Grace’s shirt. Let’s just consider it a Pinterest fail. It’s a Christmas Tree made out of grosgrain ribbon. The picture I followed made it look super simple but my novice sewing skills proved otherwise. Yet I refuse to let the shirt and my frustrations go to waste, so Mary Grace will be rocking a Charlie Brown-esque Christmas tree shirt this year.

And it’s not a event if there aren’t Bright Leaf hotdogs (and camo). They (the hot dogs, not the camo) are produced down the street from my workplace and are definite fan favorites around here. If you ask me, there’s something way sketchy about eating a bright red hotdog, but according their website, they are the “quintessential southern red hot dog.” Hmm.

Oh and hey there Mary Grace and a way excited me. This child squealed in delight the entire time we were there. She walked right up to Santa and said, “Hi Santa! Hohoho merry Christmas!” She then proceeded to tell him that she wanted princesses for Christmas. Carson asked for a lego set. No surprises there. The one small hiccup was when Mary Grace threw a fit about not seeing Rudolph. I don’t blame her. Why would Santa be there without his famous counterpart? Thankfully she simmered down when we let her pick out a large bag of gummy bears at the candy store. She ate them all on the drive home. Don’t report us to the health police.

So there ya have it. A Johnston County Christmas. This is wildly different than how I grew up celebrating Christmas and seeing Santa, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.