One of my family's favorite Christmas traditions - okay, they are all favorites. One Christmas tradition that my children love is the visit of the Santa Train. This tradition actually dates back to my days as a young aunt with no children of my own. I remember visiting the Santa Train in my home town, young boyfriend in tow, and holding any number of young nieces.
When my first two were pretty young, perhaps 2 and 3, my husband (same said young boyfriend with just a few more grey hairs) and I decided to take our children to the Santa Train in the town near our home. We discovered, over the next few years, that the train actually visits 3 towns in a row the same day. It starts at 3 o'clock in the afternoon at the first town and usually arrives at the third stop (the one I went to as a child) around 9 pm. We decided that Daddy leaving work early and meeting during daylight hours was totally worth the time. It is much warmer and takes much less time.
As the train pulls up to the stop, you see Santa and the Mrs. waving from the front of the engine. Once it stops, characters of all sorts, from Buzz Lightyear to Rudolph, descend among the line of children and parents to entertain them while they wait to see the Claus.
The children love climbing on board the train and seeing it's decorations. They (sometimes) sit on Santa's lap. They rarely speak to him, as my children are incredibly shy, but they sort of smile for the camera. They take their candy cane from Mrs. Claus and usually some other "gift" from the elves, this year - light up necklaces.
As they get down from the train they talk rapidly and excitedly about how fun it was and how neat the train was. They discuss their favorite character and who they had pictures taken with or shook hands with. Even the 10 and 11 year olds look forward each year to this event. It amazes me how this pretty small event impresses them so. The memories they are building now priceless. This is what makes all the anxiety of Christmas (my anxiety) worth it. The joys my children experience at Christmas outweigh all the stress I endure. Merry Christmas!
Ed. note: Check back for pictures.