Pssst...read to the end. There are details on how you can go this year! And you're going to want to go. It's AMAZING!
Last year…"the year" of holiday drive-thru events!
It was the most wonderful time of year, during the most awful year of 2020. The first Christmas season of this almost two-year pandemic. In person Christmas events were few and far between. And if one was offered, it was to be attended in the comfort of your own car.
Having a blog that’s sole purpose is sharing things to do in Orange County, I scoured the internet and facebook groups looking for Christmas events to take my family to, and also recommend to my Sandy Toes and Popsicles readers. So I was super thrilled to find Saddleback Church in Lake Forest was hosting a “Light of the World” drive-thru Christmas event.
(On a side note: Many kudos to every organization that took the time and effort to put together an event for the community to enjoy during the holidays last year. I remember trying to find anything…be it little or small to attend. I just wanted to help my family feel a bit of normalcy during the 2020 holidays. – Thank you all. )
I literally jumped on the chance to get tickets. For one, they were FREE…what a gift. Second, it was a Christmas event. A very rare occurrence during 2020. And good thing I got them quickly…because they sold out fast!
Attending the “Light of the World” Event
The night of our tickets, we got dressed up in Christmas jammies, packed the car up with blankets, and decided that it would be fun to bring THE DOG. Afterall…she just went to a Christmas drive-thru the night before, and LOVED putting her head out of the window to see the lights.
Oh how cute it was.
As we pulled up to the Saddleback Church Campus, we saw the popularity of the event! Dozens upon dozens of cars lined up to go through the light display.
Volunteers in reflective vests and smiling faces directed our car to where the show would begin.
That’s when it started...
Leia, our dog, started growling and panting as we waited for our turn to drive-thru the Christmas lights show. This was VERY uncharacteristic of her. She acted like she wanted to get out of the car.
It. Didn’t. Stop.
Was she too excited? Was she carsick? Did she see something outside the car she needed to get to? Was she threatened by the workers?
Whatever it was, it was getting annoying. And as it escalated, started to get stressful.
I kept asking my husband if the dog seemed sick, or if he thought something was wrong with her. But he was convinced that she was just excited.
It was finally our turn to see the show.
Okay…it was our turn in the queue. This is where the cars were sent to get ready to drive through the light display. Like seriously, the people of Saddleback had this event so organized and perfected to make sure everything ran smoothly. It truly was impressive.
As we pulled in, the cars were directed into rows, bumper to bumper, making sure that as many cars could fit in as possible. We tuned the radio to the church's radio station where we could hear one of the Saddleback Church pastors, who was in front of all the cars. There was also a band playing music. We enjoyed a fabulous message of Christmas and instructions on how to drive through the Christmas "Light of the World" light display.
Still, the dog kept barking.
Everytime a person walked by. Bark. Bark. Bark.
Next up was hot cocoa. Again...Saddleback Church being so gracious and kind. Carts with cups of hot cocoa were wheeled down the aisles of cars for everyone to enjoy. Amazing!
Still, more barking…and it was getting worse.
So bad that we couldn’t even open the window to get hot chocolate. Our dog wanted out of the car….and we didn’t know why.
Time to see the show
Yay! It was now our turn to go. We pulled forward and entered into a WONDERLAND of lights.
I mean...talk about Christmas on steroids. IT WAS BREATHTAKING!
Hopefully, now our furry friend would settle down and enjoy the wondrous sights. THE MUSIC. THE LIGHTS. THE GRANDEUR. The "Light of the World" drive thru started off with a bang. Excitement filled our souls...
...until it didn't.
That's when it happened. THE DOG started panting more, and more, and more, and more. Then she BARFED. Oh good golly.
Apparently, my husband found an old rawhide for dogs when he was cleaning the house and gave it to the dog. He had no idea that dogs shouldn't eat a whole large rawhide. And that was definitely what she barfed up all over the car.
I should mention...
We were driving my BRAND NEW, WEEK OLD 2020 KIA TELLURIDE! I had just gotten the car of my dreams. The biggest blessing after driving a 10 year old minivan. No one had even eaten in this car yet. But sure...I guess it was okay for a dog to barf in it.
Luckily, rawhide barf looks more like a pile of wet tortillas. Not the worst mess you could imagine. And the smell? We could handle it...after all, we had the most amazing distractions outside of the car. Christmas lights galore.
Was the dog madness over?
Was that it??? Would the dog settle down and let us enjoy the show?
Well, we certainly THOUGHT that was the end of it. The dog hopped up onto my sons lap and seemed to settle down. Just in time to see Elsa and Anna from FROZEN in a magical snow blizzard of twinkling lights and snowmen. We opened up the sun roof and let the snow flurries swirl around us.
The enchantment. The magic. The smell....
O. M. G. what was that SMELL?
Just then my son yelled from the back. "UGH! Why is the side of the door all wet?"
OH NO!!!! He pulled his had up and realized it was covered in...
DOG CRAP! And that's when all heck broke loose.
The dog started going crazy, trying to get out of the car. The smell was horrendous. Everyone started to dry heave. The little kids started crying. No one could stop gagging.
Imagine being trapped in the car with steamed up windows, screaming kids, a dog frantically climbing around trying to get out. All while being engulfed in the amazing smell of...
FRESH DOG DIARRHEA.
Yep. This happened.
And since the Christmas drive-thru had only one entrance in and one exit out, WE WERE TRAPPED in the line of cars UNTIL THE END.
It was the worst! At least that's what we thought!
There was no way to enjoy the AMAZING Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer light sculpture.
Or the giant candy cane-lined road. Or the giant lighted trees. Or the giant Christmas ornaments. Or the Christmas Village.
Our bodies were breaking out in a hot sweat. We were doing all we could do to focus on not barfing ourselves. We needed to focus on the prize...THE EXIT.
We continued driving through each of beautifully themed areas of the Saddleback campus, and came up on some more lovely Saddleback Church folks passing out Christmas pamphlets along the route. They signaled for us to roll down our windows.
Ummmmm....I don't think that would be the best idea. If only they knew what was happening INSIDE of our car.
We stopped...not wanting to be rude, and rolled the window just big enough for them to slip the papers in. Us literally praying they couldn't smell what was happening inside our car.
But it gets worse.
Next up was the most special part of the "Light of the World" experience. The most beautiful music started playing on the radio station, the lights dimmed, the atmosphere sacred, and the story of Jesus' birth started to play out.
What was meant to be a spiritual and special experience...turned into our worse nightmare.
The dog got ANOTHER BOUT OF DIARRHEA!
This time she crazily started climbing around the car...all while diarrhea spewed EVERYWHERE. All over the seats. On the windows. On the doors. All over the floor. On the ceiling. It was EVERYWHERE.
This was definitely not the feeling we expected to experience watching the portrayal of Jesus's birth.
I mean...here was an AMAZING live nativity performing right outside our car and all we could see was CRAP...LITERAL CRAP surrounding every inch of our bodies.
We just wanted out.
Finally, we made it to the end. The feeling of defeat...covered in crap...and outwardly crying out in disbelief. Was this FOR REAL?
Yep. It was.
The rest of the night was as you could have imagined. We pulled over at the next open spot on the side of the road and surveyed the damage. IT WAS BAD. My new car was WRECKED.
We found some towels in the trunk and laid them over all the crap before we drove home with the windows down. We laughed the whole way home...because there is no way that this just happened.
But. It. Did.
Thank You to Saddleback Church
As you can see...YES, we did have a crappy time at the "Light of the World" Christmas drive-thru. BUT, I can guarantee that everyone else had an amazingly fun Christmas experience. They truly outdid themselves to give the community an event they will always remember. I know I will!
And GOOD NEWS...They are doing it again this year!
I am so excited that we will get a do-over! We can't wait to get tickets to this year's "Light of the World" event at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. And NO, we are not bringing the dog. This time we want to experience the magic of Christmas...not the magic of dog poo.
How to get tickets to the "Light of the World" event at Saddleback Church
Head over to Saddleback Church's website starting November 17, 2021 at 8:00 am. Tickets will become available to everyone at 8:00 AM PST at saddleback.com/lights. This year it's a walk-through instead of a drive-thru.
Did I mention it is FREE???
Don't be late, tickets sell out fast.
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