This really happened, but it was a couple of years ago. Let’s say it’s not easy to forget. I was given a pair of car reindeer antlers by an adoring daughter who was sure she got me the perfect gift. I, gulp, put them on my car. Because it was the perfect gift. I was not breaking any hearts that Christmas.

If you have seen them, I’m referring to the kit that comes with a red nose for the center of your car’s grill, and two antlers that clip to the roof of your car. In under three minutes, my car was transformed into a mobile reindeer. Not your vision of motherhood? Just wait.

The first time I took my reindeer car out, of course, I was driving the kids somewhere. They loved it! And almost immediately, a strange occurrence. There was no driving stress for me. Drivers of reindeer cars don’t cut people off, or get annoyed at other drivers. In fact, drivers of reindeer cars let people in, yield and wave to other drivers, drive slowly. They enjoy the ride. I’d love to say the kids stopped fighting, but this isn’t a fantasy. Just us running around town, sporting a red nose and antlers.

With the kids in your car, you can just shrug your shoulders, and give other drivers that “what are you gonna do” look. But, the first time you drive a reindeer car without your kids – that’s a bit of an unnerving experience. Still, it’s too much of a hassle to take them on or off. You convince yourself, “I’m a grown up. I can drive a reindeer car.” You remind yourself of this the first time you stop to put gas in your reindeer car.

A funny thing happens when you drive a reindeer car. You start to spot other reindeer car drivers. That’s right. There’s a community! Reindeer cars are happy when they see each other! They honk! They wave! Instead of the finger, reindeer cars give you the thumbs up!

Which is why a few weeks into December, I was on the side of the road desperately searching for where my husband said the reindeer antler flew off. (Christmas is a magical time, and I unfortunately, am prone to believing anything). It couldn’t be found. What would happen now? Would the kids be disappointed? How would my reindeer friends know I was one of them?

We never found the missing antler. We did drive around as a disabled reindeer until the end of the season, mostly because we never came across another kit to buy. And, I never did get another. But driving that reindeer car changed me. Every year, I love spotting them on the road. I know they are happy people, and that makes me happy. I’m not there yet, but I don’t judge the cars with the big headlight eyelashes. It could happen to anybody.