I'm aware that this is Christmas related, but umm, I'm trying to catch up and I finally have time to catch up! Yay!
I've been knocking out little projects at home: Finishing baby quilts I started as gifts before I was pregnant, peeling off wallpaper in my dining room, doing various crafty things for baby's room and preparing for our new little one. And now that school has started back up for Mr. Handsome, I have time to sit at the table while he does his school work.
Every year we try to do something for Christmas as a family, we've been focusing less on getting "big" gifts and more on spending the money on events that give us time together. We miss out on a lot of time together during the holiday's simply because it all falls around rifle season for deer, so my husband spends the majority of his time freezing in a deer stand. And I'm not complaining, because if he gets a deer, that's food for our family as well as the fact that he only gets to do this once a year.
So we pick an event and set that day aside for our family.
This day was a little more special for us, we had the train in the evening but first thing that morning, we had a ultrasound appointment.
THE ultrasound appointment.
So not only did we get to treat the kiddo to a train ride, he got to find out if he was having a little brother or sister... but that's another post. [Just look on instagram]
We bought tickets for the Polar Express almost as soon as I found out about it online. Mr Handsome is a train fanatic and he loves the movie, The Polar Express.
The ride took place about an hour north of us in a quaint little town, Bristow, OK.
Bristow looked like the kind of small down that would grace a Hallmark movie, with the small antique shops, a welcoming coffee shop and Christmas decor everywhere. We showed up early and to the dismay of the little guy, spent some time shopping for antiques.
Around the train depot, they had many pop up shops selling Christmas items, kettle corn, candy and the likes. As well as many food trucks ready to serve you a warm meal or drink.
I loved Bristow, after our train ride we drove around to see lights on all the beautiful, old homes in the town. I grew up in a small town and I will always love the charm they have.
But as soon as the train pulled into the station, it was time to go, we couldn't convince him to wait even if we couldn't board for another hour.
When the time finally came to board, I gave him his golden ticket. I'm not usually prideful as a parent... but I kind of take pride in NOT giving my son his ticket before. He didn't need it until he was on the train and unfortunately we heard the shrieks of children crying because they dropped theirs. Mine may have been disappointed that I made him wait... but at least he had his. I'm just saying.
We rode coach [cheap seats] and the kiddo loved the experience. They played music from the movie and had a narrator read the story. I wouldn't complain because I knew it wouldn't be a hollywood grade experience to begin with and my son enjoyed every bit of it.
They gave out big sugar cookies and hot chocolate for the ride, which took about an hour round trip to the North Pole and back. I've seen a couple of complaints about not getting to get out at the North Pole [which was just a little wooden fake town where Santa was waiting] but personally I understand that it would have taken so much more time to unboard and board all the passengers again. Not to mention the risk of people getting left behind because not everyone pays attention!
When we reached the North Pole, Santa boarded the train, asked each child if they had been good and then gave them a silver bell just like in the movie. I couldn't help but laugh on the ride back as our car was full of the sound of ringing bells.
I have to give a special shout out to the crew that was running the cars. Our conductor, a young man that probably hadn't hit 20 yet, was kind and patient with each child. He punched their tickets, posed for photos and answered their questions. When my son told him that he really like his train, the young man replied, "Thank you, I take a lot of pride in my train!", way to stay in character. All of our servers were kind and patient, Santa was in and out but he had a lot of ground to cover and the elves took time to sit and talk with the children. I think my son quickly developed a crush on one female elf that answered a ton of his questions.
Will we go again next year? Probably not. We enjoyed the ride and the experience but my son has memories of another Christmas Train we rode and has repeatedly asked to return there. So we'll just be doing a different train.
To my knowledge the Eastern Flyer plans to bring the Polar Express back next year, as it was almost completely sold out most days. The majority of reviews has been positive, as was mine! Whether your child is a fan of the movie, a train fanatic or you just want to do something as a family, I think is a great way to spend a day or evening as a family for Christmas.