When Christmas season comes around we are just like any family. We want to create opportunities for special moments to occur that our boys will remember but we also don't want to break the bank to do them.
Here is one of our favorite traditions that you can feel free and steal. We simply call it: The Polar Express.
I still vividly remember my dad loading the family in the station wagon and taking us all over town looking at Christmas lights. I even loved doing this as a teenager (but I'm sure I acted like I was way too cool for kiddie-stuff like this). The Polar Express is basically our version of this ... we just plus it up a little.
First, Janie and I find a night during our Advent calendar where the boys don't have to be up early the next day. When the chosen day rolls around we tuck them in bed an hour earlier than usual. We want this to be a complete surprise for them, so this year we actually set all the clocks in the house ahead one hour (now that the boys know how to tell time it makes it harder to trick them!). Then Janie gets the hot chocolate, treats and prints off the tickets to ride "The Polar Express." I get the car warmed up, the playlist of Christmas music queued and grab the train whistle.
Once the preparation is done, we are ready to make some magic and this happens: