I’m going to share the love with you again this week with yet another Christmas tradition. I promise this is the last one I have up my sleeve and I’ve got in early with all my Christmas posts to:
A. Avoid the mad rush and give people a chance to be prepared; and
B. To get in before it gets lost in a sea of Christmas posts!
So far I’ve shared the Christmas Eve Box and The Elf on the Shelf and today is the last of the new family traditions that I’ve started for my boys, after all it’s not called the silly season for nothing and one can’t go too overboard (well, you can if you have the time and energy up your sleeve of course and plenty of wine to survive the mayhem!) so I like to try and keep it pretty simple (though the Elf on the shelf tradition is debatable when it comes to making it easy on ourselves but in my opinion it’s worth it for 24 days of good behaviour!).
This one is very simple, in fact it’s the simplest of them all and will just add a touch of magic and excitement to what is already a tried and true tradition in many families the world over – a trip out to see the Christmas lights! Most people live in a neighbourhood, town or city with at least one mad for Christmas resident who goes all out on the light decorating.
When I was a small child the highlight of my Christmas was being able to go to the Festival of the Lights at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth and see the the Christmas lights they would string up through the trees and across the bridges and lakes.
My favourite element was always the ultraviolet light tunnel that would turn everything bright white and light up the little neon painted stones under my feet so they would glow. I absolutely loved it and have very fond memories of those balmy evenings out with my mum and the whole extended family.
Here though, there is a street a 20 minute drive away that is done up to the nines and you can actually walk in and explore the property and see all the awesome displays and lights on offer (I hate to think how much the power bill is!). You can also get a map online that gives you the street addresses of all the houses in the area that are done up for passers by to admire.
Last year we took the boys out for the first time and I wanted to build the suspense and make it ultra exciting for them so I designed and printed off tickets to hide under their pillow. In the days leading up we’d get them in their pajamas and tell them to look under their pillow at bedtime for the special ticket to go on a special adventure and on night three there it was: a ticket for The Christmas Express!
Our boys were beside themselves with excitement because who doesn’t love finding out as a young child that instead of going to bed you get to hop in the car (very rare in the evening!) and go to see something ultra cool (even my husband and I thought that it was ultra cool!). In fact I think just going out at night is ultra cool for kids!
Even if you do it already, the ticket just adds another fun element to the adventure and it will be something the kids look forward to every year. You can even prepare snack bags for the ‘journey’ if you’re so inclined and brave enough to allow snacks in the car!
Yesterday I whipped up a slightly flasher version of last years very basic ticket so I could share it with you so you can do this without any effort except for printing and a wee bit of trimming. Voila! The ticket is mostly black and white as it has been designed to go onto metallic or coloured card but there is a pop of colour if you just want to print it on white and there are three to a page to account for multiple children and keep printing costs down.
Click here or on the preview image to download your free printable ‘The Christmas Express’ tickets now and enjoy this easy twist on an old favourite.
PS: Last year Cohen was 3 and as we were driving along heading for our destination he saw our local supermarket sign lit up ‘Oh mummy! The Christmas lights are so beautiful!’ Look!’. I’ll never forget it, so innocent and hilarious! I wonder if that will fool him again this year, I said to my husband we could have just turned around and gone home at that point and he’d have been none the wiser!
Do you go and look at the Christmas lights anywhere? Is this something you did as a child?
Linking up with #IBOT @ Essentially Jess