As a family, we looked forward to Saturdays during the holidays. Dad set these moments aside as a special treat for his kids. He would take us out to dinner and we would walk around different area malls to look at Christmas decorations.
Dad wasn’t sure if I remembered this tradition when I talked with him the other night. I assured him that it was a memory I was already planning to share on my blog.
I remember specifically that we would eat at the green McDonald’s when we would visit Lincoln Mall. Dad would let us order whatever we wanted off the menu. He probably knew there was only so much our stomachs could hold. Still, we would each order at least two sandwiches! My poor mom would walk to the counter with her “list” in hand while we sat at the table until she called us to help carry the food. It always took her a while to get back with the order, as she had to continually tell the workers that they had forgotten something. I’m pretty certain the McDonald’s staff were always thrilled to see our family leave.
I remember eating at Chi Chi’s when we would head to Fox Valley Mall. There was one instance while we were enjoying the decorations at the mall that I recall vividly. In general, we didn’t purchase anything at the mall. We were simply there to take pleasure in the lights and trees and such. This particular Christmas, however, mom decided to purchase porcelain dolls for my sister and I while dad kept us entertained elsewhere. If you know me well, it’s very difficult to surprise me due to the fact that I pride myself in such discoveries. Despite her efforts to have the gifts double bagged, I could still see what she purchased and announced, “You got me the doll I wanted!” Boy did that announcement change the mood for the evening. You’d think I would learn from experiences like these to just keep my big mouth shut!
Dad reminded me that we would eat at Shakey’s Buffet when we would enjoy the decorations at Orland Square Mall. I do remember this being one of our favorite restaurants although I wasn’t 100% certain that it was part of the Christmas tradition.
Duff’s was the restaurant to visit at Jefferson Square Mall. This was a unique buffet where you would stand in an area and the food would move before you in a circle. You had to grab it fast! If my memory serves me correctly, dad also took us to see a movie one Christmas season at this mall as well.
I assured Dad that he did Christmas right in my eyes. He informed me that it’s because his dad kept Christmas special for him. I certainly intend to keep Christmas memorable for my children as well.