Guest blog by my wife, Melissa
Every year, we celebrate Christmas with Tom’s daughters (Tovi & Lissi), their husbands (Ty & Chris) and the six grandchildren (Thomas, Patrick, Fisher, Livi, Kenzie & Tyli) between Christmas and New Year’s. Tom and I really get into the planning and have created some fun traditions for “Christmas RVA” that we know are on the kiddos “must do” list each year.
Every morning starts off with a hidden clue as to the magic the day will hold. And, once all the kids are awake, they look for the clue, decipher it and announce the day’s plans (ex: outdoor ice-skating downtown, hot chocolate at the Jefferson Hotel, The Tacky Light Tours, etc.) And, each year, in honor of Helen, the kids help plan a birthday party for her and decorate the cake. She’ll be 95 this year! As of last year, we had to stop using individual candles as we were awfully close to a fire hazard at the 93rd celebration!
And, each year, we try to continue Helen’s legacy and love of history by sharing some of the experiences we know she would create for her great grandchildren if she could. Last year, we visited Mount Vernon and the year prior, Monticello. This year, we were considering Williamsburg (Note: For those of you who know Helen, you can rest assured we haven’t waited this long to share her love of all things colonial … we all know and love Williamsburg dearly, but not everyone has seen it casting its candlelight spell during the holidays.)
Last year, the stars aligned and we were able to celebrate together for 6 days. This year, we’ll have to condense our plans into 3 days which we anticipate to be quite the challenge. So, this past weekend, we drove down to Wilmington to celebrate Lissi’s birthday and help with Tovi’s move, so we decided to do a little research with the kids. Which activities would make the cut? Ice skating and opening presents tied for first. The “historical” trip ranked low (although they all said yes to Williamsburg if we had more time).
On our last night, as we were gathered around a fire at the Heffron’s and were revealing the results of the kids’ poll with Tovi & Lissi, we shared our dilemma. Tom and I would have to find a way to fit in the historical experience because we knew we had to make Helen proud.
As everyone considered possible solutions, Kenzie (age 9) piped up with a straight face, “Helen’s historical.”
All eleven of us looked over at her and busted out laughing in unison … problem solved!
Still laughing now! Can’t wait for Christmas RVA 2014! Historical Helen here we come! 🙂
What fun for everyone! Helen and Nel always had fun and passed that special part of them down to all of us along with loving colonial history. I know I would not have the love of colonial Williamsburg without them. I hope all of you in the Laughon family have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas. I will be calling on Christmas Day to wish Helen a special Happy Birthday. Love to all of you and think of Nel and me when you are having those special days! Love, Chris
Not only is Helen historic, she is also a treasured part of the histories of a lot of grateful people she has encountered along her journey through heer very special life. I hope all of you have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving and Christmas/Helen’s Birthday!!
Thank You ….keep it coming! Awesome Stuff!!!
Thank you Tom for this wonderful insight!!! Your dad(Fred) ,Your mom(Helen) ,yorr sisterNell)were and still are a huge historical part of my and my deceased wife (Mary Jane) life !! Happy Holidays to Helen and to you and your family . BILL TYNDALL
What a joy to hear about all your family. We would watch with such joy Helen and Nel taking their granddaughters on wonderful trips. My daughter Carter and I had the pleasure to join them one spring break to Williamsburg. I much say they taught me so much. Please give Helen a big hug, and Tovi and Lissi. We miss them all. Love, Debbie Gibbs