All Aboard the Minivan Express! {free download}

Every year we pile the kids up in our van and head out in search of Christmas lights.  I usually make hot chocolate and put it in their thermos cups.  We joke around and sing carols and talk about which houses we liked the best.  We always try to count how many Nativity scenes we see, even though sadly enough there are fewer each year..

Like many parents, I love Christmas pajamas.  Usually, I give them their new jammies on Christmas Eve, but then they only wear them once before Christmas and even though they wear them plenty afterward, they sort of lose their magic, don’t they?  So, last year I wrapped them up and let them open them early.

So, this year I want to make it really fun and combine these two traditions.  Here’s my plan:

I asked my awesome sister-in-law Sveta, who is a graphic designer, to design “Minivan Express” tickets for me.  I printed them out, laminated them and am planning on hiding them under their pillows. Their pajamas are already washed and wrapped.

Tomorrow night before bed, I’ll let them open their pajamas and put them on and then I’ll send them off to bed.  In the meantime,  I’ll be making a giant thermos of hot chocolate and some popcorn (if I’m really feeling brave).  I’m going to string lights inside of the van and bring along a CD of our favorite Christmas carols.  Then, I’ll impatiently wait for them to come out asking what the tickets are for. Then, they’ll line up to get their tickets punched and we’ll drive over to our local Barnes & Noble for their Polar Express event, where there will be Polar Express themed treats and activities and most of the kids come in pajamas and robes.  It’s really cute.  Most B&N’s around the country are hosting their event on Friday (as in tomorrow), December 7 at 7:00 p.m.   For a list of participating stores, click here.

After that, our annual tour of Christmas lights around town will begin.  We’ll count the Nativity sets and I’ll read them stories from this book, it’s a Christmas favorite of ours.  The stories in there are good reminders of the true reason for the season and help us all keep our perspective.

I can’t wait!   The tickets are available for free and can be downloaded here and here.

If this turns out to be as much fun as I hope, I see the Minivan Express making another trip to the duck pond to walk around their giant light display soon!