I think every holiday has a highlight–something special that happens. Maybe a surprise gift (“A new car!”) or a surprise visitor from out of town (“Ding-Dong!”) For us this year, our highlight was a train ride.
Over in Fillmore there’s an old-fashioned train station that hold the Polar Express every Christmas. If you’ve read the book by Chris Van Allsburg (if you haven’t, you must) or seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.
For the few of you that haven’t, in the book non-believers (of the Santa kind) are picked up in the middle of the night by a magical train that whisks them off to the North Pole. So true to the story, our boys dawned their p.j. finest and grabbed their golden tickets for their ride up North. Unfortunately for all of the children, this ride included parents with their cameras. At one point the Big Cheese even asked, “Why are you coming?” Poor kid just wanted the experience to be as true to the story as possible.
The ticket taker wasn’t quite as good as Tom Hanks, but he did try.
As we traveled to the North Pole, we sang Christmas carols and drank chocolate milk and sugar cookies. Big Cheese was disappointed it wasn’t hot chocolate. I tried to sing the hot chocolate song from the movie, but that did little to appease him.
I’ll admit, when they brought all of the children one of Santa’s sleigh bells to keep, I got a little choked up. I pretended that I couldn’t hear it ring.
This was Santa telling the Big Cheese to not pester his little brother. (It should have been the other way around, but I appreciate Santa for trying.)
The whole night made for a wonderful Christmas memory. After the train ride we waited in line to see Santa where Santa once again told my boys that they needed to be nice to each other. (That Santa’s a pretty intuitive guy.) They even gave us Polar Express mugs to take home to enjoy our real hot chocolate once we got home.
It could have been worse. They could have forced me to be Rudolph.