I just returned from a much needed week-long vacation in Cancun, Mexico with my husband Matt. We went without our kids because, with them both being age five and under, we also needed a tiny break from the day-to-day demands of parenting to rest, renew, restore ourselves.
To most folks, early December might seem like a weird time to travel, but since he and I both work seasonal jobs, it’s the time of year that’s easiest for us both to take a week off at the same time.
We actually did this vacation four years ago at the same resort, and loved it so much we wanted to go back.
One thing I love about vacationing in December is that it’s very warm, balmy and humid, but there are Christmas decorations everywhere, and Christmas music playing in every restaurant, both in English and in Spanish versions! Feliz Navidad, everyone, and I Want to Wish you a Merry Christmas!
We even went to a nighttime Christmas Tree lighting soiree at our resort which was a mixture of exotically magical and a little surreal in the warm evening air.
A Camp Christmas
All of this reminded me of our storied tradition of celebrating Christmas in July every year during Second Term at Camp Alleghany. Almost invariably it is very warm (well, HOT), yet the while camp is full of the Christmas spirit for a solid two days!
The night before, on July 24th, my mom, Bonnie Dawson, Director of Special Events reads T’was the Night Before Christmas over the camp loud speaker just after the somber tones of Taps. Everyone is rhapsodized by the familiar story and its ability to transport Christmas magic into the imaginations of all campers and staff, even into the forest and meadows and mountains and tents.
I’m sure we all feel Santa near and angels hovering overhead in the starry night. It is a very special mood, indeed!
The next morning, we all wear Christmas pajamas to breakfast, and the Christmas carols begin…and the singing doesn’t end until we tuck into our tents that night!
That afternoon is a special one. We skip our regular activities to hold our annual Christmas in July Carnival, complete with water balloon tosses, a slip-n-slide, wacky races and fun booths, lots of candy, a parade, and topped off with a dip in the river for everyone when it’s all over.
The Christmas in July Carnival is maybe one of the best days of the entire summer. So for all of you who are considering Second Term for your camper, our treasured Christmas in July celebration and Carnival only takes places Second Term — we still have a few spaces left, so register now for the fun!
That evening we have a delicious surprise dinner with Christmas decorations filling the Dining Hall, and then we all cozy together for our Second Term movie night in the Play Hall.
After the movie, we have a special treat of fireworks!
All-in-all it’s a truly unique and fun-filled celebration with the heart of the true Christmas spirit transported to the middle of a couple of summer days!
And EVERYONE LOVES IT!
Christmas is a warm season
We usually have at least one counselor from Australia, and down under, they DO celebrate Christmas in the summer! So we always like to hear their experiences of a warm and balmy Christmas experience. Last summer’s Head of Junior Camp, Georgia, taught us Australia’s version of “Jingle Bells,” which obviously doesn’t involve any snow!
Nor did my “early” Christmas in Cancun.
And this year? Well, not all of our alum or counselors or campers come from the East Coast, or live on it now. But this Christmas is slated to be marked by temps well over 20 degrees higher than normal.
So did Camp bring the summer to Christmas? Did Cancun bring the balminess to Christmas? Did those Aussies flip the globe into a down under Christmas?
Well, now those aren’t very scientific theories. But they are very mysterious.
And isn’t that what Christmas is all about, no matter when or where?
That’s the magic!
Merry Christmas everyone!
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls