A few years ago, we started another tradition. I finally made my dream come true of attending a service at the Washington National Cathedral in DC. Ever since I first visited back when I was in middle school, I have loved that place. The gargoyles, the hidden-away chapels, the stone walls, the haunting quietness, the stained glass....it was all so peaceful. I dreamed of getting married there. Of course, that didn't happen. But I can go to church services there -- and that's exactly what we do. For the past few years, we have attended the Christmas service on December 23.
The hubby and I first went a few years ago without the kids. We weren't sure what to expect, so we decided to leave P and T with Mom Mom Brenda while we checked it out. A few minutes into the service we said, "We're bringing the kids next year." It was something everyone can enjoy and appreciate.
Tickets for the service go on sale in early November. The price is nominal ($5 each, I think), but they need to know how many people are attending so there are enough seats. This scared me at first, because I am not a huge fan of crowds. However, it is pretty easy once you get there.
Before the 6pm service, we go to a Mexican restaurant, Cactus Cantina, a few blocks away because it is really the only place nearby to eat that we all like. It's probably taboo to admit it, but I do have a margarita there. It's always packed and is a great place to people-watch. There are always families and couples and city people celebrating the season.
Around 5:15pm we head over to the church. Rain, snow, or 50mph winds, we have to line up outside and wait until the doors open at 6pm. This is usually the hardest part of the day because it can be very cold out there. Plus, you have to make sure you aren't too far back in the line so you can choose your seat. The first year, the hubby and I sat in the main part of the church. After that, we tried the balcony -- and we've never looked back,
The balcony is THE most beautiful place to sit and watch the entire service (sssshhhhh, don't tell anyone).
Not only can you see everything that is happening, it also makes for a beautiful scene when everyone sings "Silent Night" while holding candles. It truly is a moment when you feel at peace and blessed.
People always ask, "Why do you have to go to DC for a church service?" Honestly, I think it is all part of the experience. Yes, we do the Christmas Eve service at our own church but there is something about being in this amazing Gothic cathedral where the most influential people of the world have attended. Just a few weeks ago, every living president and vice president sat in the front rows for George H.W. Bush's funeral. The fact that my family and I can actually attend a service there, too? Priceless.
Life is about making memories. These two experiences, while vastly different, are two traditions my children will remember for a lifetime.
Hi. My name is Kelley Cole and I am the new Social Media and Event Coordinator for Delaware Housewives in the City. I am a mom to two amazing kids. My daughter (P) is 12 and my son (T) is 8. My husband works for a local education association and also serves on Dover's City Council. I was a high school English teacher for 16 years before leaving the classroom to work part-time as a trainer for an educational software company. I make sure I reserve time to play tennis, read chick lit, travel, and enjoy the small things in life (like wine and chocolate).