As an actor, you miss a lot of holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Passover, whatever you celebrate, you don’t always get to be with family. You miss birthdays, weddings, and funerals. It’s hard on you and on your muggle(non-actor) family. But sometimes the stars align and wonderful things find you on the road. The world gives you your own special Christmas miracle to prove that Christmas can happen anywhere. Even on a bus.
Last year, my husband and I spent a long time living on a bus working with the Fiddler on the Roof National Tour. We slept in hotels every night, but most of the time, if we weren’t on stage, we were on the bus. We had a hard schedule and almost no time off. When it started getting to Christmas, things got bleaker. People were getting sick, and homesick, and it was cold on the bus. All that put together made for a very cranky group of actors.
The bus pulled into Deluth, MN for a rare night off. We were staying in a strange, circular hotel near the water and a cool downtown area. I had been sick, and I was grumpy. So, I decided to take a nap before we went out for dinner. I told my husband not to wake me up for an hour and fell asleep. He woke me up fifteen minutes later, and I wanted to murder him, until he took me over to the window where, with the dusk, there had appeared a Christmas wonderland.
There were thousands of lights outside our window. We bundled up and went down to see what it was. The waterfront had been turned into a magical place called Bentleyville. Hundreds of people were roaming through paths lit by holiday lights. There was a tree whose lights danced to carols, tunnels of lights, free cocoa and cookies, and even a fire pit to roast marshmallows. Santa waited with his entourage for children to tell him their dearest Christmas wishes. My husband and I had gone down just the two of us, but before we left, we had seen almost every member of the cast roaming through the lights, enjoying the Christmas cheer. We roasted marshmallows, toasted with cocoa, and absorbed more Christmas cheer than can be found in any made-for-TV movie.
We had found a perfect night of Christmas in the most unexpected place. This holiday season, I wish you great cheer, no matter where you are.