On Saturday, we headed into town for the Lantern Parade that precedes the "turning on of the town Christmas lights" ceremony. Some years, the kids make their lanterns in school, this year the kids all came home with the blank lanterns to decorate. The girls quickly painted them Friday night so they'd be ready to parade the following day but we have some left in our craft box that they can take more time on during home craft time and hang up as decorations.
We parked down Milford Marina as I thought it would be busy in town but it was actually quiet. At least we got to enjoy the beautiful sky and the scenic walk to the Town Hall.
I love the orange sky overlooking Hakin. It was the perfect weather for the lantern parade- cold and dry (the lanterns never last long in the rain).
At the Town Hall, there were stalls, rides and entertainment. The queues were quite long so we went straight up to the meeting point of the Police Station to collect our lights and join the parade.
As usual, we kept seeing all the friendly, familiar town faces. I love seeing everyone at these events. My only regret is there's never enough time to talk to everyone. The kids were excited!
Even Dave was looking forward to it! ;-)
Rebecca was happy to see her best friend!
Then we were off, parading up Charles Street admiring the new lights. Rebecca wanted to walk with her friend all the way but Izzy was a lot slower so I had to begrudgingly ask Rebecca to walk with us again so we didn't all lose each other as it can get a bit chaotic at the end of the parade.
When Danny used to come with us, Dave used to have to carry him part of the way and we used to walk down an alley to cut out part of the walk. He would still be very tired and cold due to his heart condition. As we only had the girls and all walkers this year we got to go the official way for a change!
There was a bright crescent moon and as the sky darkened Venus came into view just below it (I later attempted a photo of this but as there was no time to adjust my settings it didn't work! I didn't think to take a quick phone pic!). Hopefully I picked it up in the video which is coming soon.
We then walked up Hamilton Terrace. Caitlyn now started to feel the cold, Izzy's short legs began to tire and it began getting dark.
No photos please!
We kept encouraging them by looking out for markers and looking forward to the hot food, music and seeing Santa at the end- not to mention the lights!
Rebecca stopped for a quick group photo for the local paper with some of her friends.
Dave continued to walk with the cold, tired girls. We were now so behind, we were nearly taken over by the marshalls and ambulance!
Eventually we made it to the Memorial Gardens (yes, the gardens that were recently yarn bombed) and found some promised hot food for the girls.
We usually prioritise finding a good spot to see Santa, but this year we took a step back and found a bench for the girls to sit and eat on and watched from there.
As usual Pembrokeshire Radio's Jim Hughes presented and led the count down then Santa and local school children turned on the Christmas lights. The town looked so pretty as the lights were turned on- it really is my own version of Stars Hollow!
Looking at this photo I can just see them as three old ladies meeting up for a chat on a park bench! I really do hope they stay as close when they're older.
We then made our way to the stable to see the Nativity as we do each year. We were so excited when we spotted the figurines in there a few nights earlier.
I love these simple traditions and rituals. We'll come down and see the Nativity a few times over Christmas. Izzy is talking about the Christmas story every day at the moment.
We then made our way to the special "Santa's Mail" postbox to post our letters to Santa. We had a Vintage Santa theme this year- pop over to our Instagram to have a peek!
Hopefully the girls will get a reply from the man in the red suit soon- he's found the time to reply every single year so far- good man (and thanks to his helpers at Milford Haven Town Council too!).
As the kids were getting tired we skipped the queue for Santa (we recently saw Santa at the School Fayre) and went to get treats then home to cosy up.
We walked back down to the Docks singing Christmas Carols. The girls sang their songs from their school plays, we sang a few of our favourites and Rebecca sang us a new carol she's recently wrote on her guitar (apologies to anyone who passed us on Saturday night!). At the end of singing "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", Rebecca and I spontaneously broke into synchronised leg kicks so I suspect we looked like drunks to the passing cars (oops) but it was just a happy carefree moment. Years ago (ten to be exact) I carried her in a sling for the lantern parade singing gentle carols to keep her asleep until I got her home for a feed, now we're singing and dancing together. It seems I've blinked and all of a sudden my two month year old is somehow aged ten and two months. Motherhood is hard but I love them all with all my might and am so grateful to have this privilege of watching them grow up.
Some boats were even lit up for Christmas. In the words of Jim Hughes, now Milford Haven lights are on, "Christmas starts here!"
At home, our vintage prints had made me fancy a Babycham (can you see why?) so I lit a Christmas candle and poured myself a glass- with cherries. I felt very festive, now I just need to get our decorations down and decorate our lovely tree...
How does your village,town or city "turn on the lights"? I used to love living in a city and guessing which celebrity would be chosen each year!