Last night we ate dinner in front of the TV as a family. The kids thought this was both extremely special and extremely silly.
The reason? I wanted to watch the classic "Frosty the Snowman" with them. So, we set the coffee table, the Gutsy Dad and I clinked our beer bottles, the kids clinked their milk cups, and I pressed play.
I remember watching this special as a kid, not every year, but at least a few times. Back then, it was on TV once a season, and if you missed it, you missed it. (This year we DVR'd it; I admit it was nice to choose a convenient night to announce to the kids that there was a "special" on.)
I remember being deeply moved by this story when I was young. I realize now I had forgotten about the whole subplot of the magician trying to get his hat back. I remember only the intense drama of getting Frosty to the North Pole before he melted. I remember thinking that he and Karen really loved each other. I remember being devastated, crying even, when Frosty melted completely away.
The kids loved "Frosty" this year. Jillson, especially, was engrossed by the story. When Frosty carried Karen into the greenhouse, she was staring at the screen with her hands clasped over her chest. When it was revealed that Frosty has melted down into a puddle, she and Maddie both gasped. I began to panic that I was traumatizing my kids. I couldn't remember what happened next. I had no memory of how the tragedy of Frosty's "death" was resolved. I looked at the Gutsy Dad (who had never seen "Frosty" before and was raising his eyebrows at me). I grinned nervously.
All I can say is thank God for hollywood endings. Otherwise, it would have been a very somber bedtime indeed in the Gutsy household last night.
Bottom line, I'm not sure if this is something we'll choose to do every year, but it was certainly a good reminder to be spontaneous as parents, to sometimes do the unexpected, the silly, and the special.