Claire McEwen’s Blog

Holiday Magic at the Harbor

I live in a Northern California beach town and every year, for the past fifty years, people have decorated their boats for the holidays. One night a year, thanks to their hard work and creativity, the local harbor comes alive with the Lighted Boat Parade.

We hike across a beach to get there, so we can picnic with our son at the jetty bordering the harbor, away from the biggest crowds. It’s magical for all of us. Our little boy loves running around the beach at night and our small terrier likes to run around with him. And my husband and I look forward to a romantic night time picnic. (Well romantic in a sweet, family sense, with a little boy snuggled between us!)

When we get to the end of the beach, we are rewarded with the sight of the lighthouse, all lit up at the end of the jetty.

Boatparade - lighthouse

We put our blanket down and start in on our picnic. This year I was fairly organized – I even brought wine! And my son was pretty thrilled when Mama pulled out some brownies.

Some of my favorite boats this year were the smallest. This person turned their kayak into a whale.

Boatparade whale

And four people turned their kayaks into a dragon that breathed fire.

Boatparade dragon

The bigger boats were magnificent too. This fishing boat was so pretty…

Boatparade, fishing boat

and here comes Rudolph!

Boatparade rudolph

Santa showed up in a sleigh pulled by dolphins…

Boatparade Santa's sleigh

followed by another dolphin Rudolph.

Boatparade, dolphin

A peace sign felt especially poignant with so much trouble in the world these days.

Boatparade peacesign

No parade can be complete this year without a Star Wars theme…

Boatparade- starwars

and the stars and the moon was lovely too.

Boatparade stars and moon

Holidays can feel stressful and I think it’s important to look for the little bits of them that we can adore. This boat parade is one of those things for me. There’s no pressure to buy anything, or to do anything except sit there and appreciate the magic of it all.

I hope that all of my readers can find things about the holidays that feel wonderful to you. Maybe you have events like this on your calendar already, but if not, maybe take a peek at your local paper or online calendar? I hope that if you do, you can find the pieces of the holidays that bring you joy!

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