Pecan pie doesn’t have to be hard to be delicious… give this easy recipe a try. Just make sure to get all the shells out of the pecans if you hand shell them… it’s probably a good idea to check your store-bought ones too!
This our annual family Christmas get together. It is based on ‘The Polar Express’ movie. We have so much fun with this every year and it just gets better and better. It has become a fun family tradition here that everyone looks forward too!
I will continue to update this page as I can. I may be able to add menu ideas as well. Last year we had a Fish Fry as the weather was really nice. Just have fun with it and build on it year by year.
Here is an example of the Facebook invitation I send out:
‘All Aboard! Our annual trip on the Polar Express Train is scheduled and plans are being made. We hope to see everyone there. Make sure you wear your PJs and get your tickets to board the train! We’ll have lots of food, hot chocolate, crafts, games, and of course a viewing of ‘The Polar Express’. I’m still trying to get through to the North Pole to see if maybe we can arrange a visit from Santa too!’
We always have lots of food and special treats which include chocolate covered marshmallows. Use sprinkles to decorate them and small stirring straws as handles. We also dipped pretzel sticks in chocolate and decorated those as well:
We also have a ‘gingerbread’ decorating activity, among other activities, and each child gets to decorate a house or in this case a train. I used graham crackers and Homemade Buttercream Icing to make the trains. I make them a few hours before the party so the icing has time to set up a little before the kids try to add decorations.
I usually fill several small pastry bags with icing (no tips just a small angled cut at the end) and have an assortment of candies for them to decorate with.
These were some of our party favors one year. Small pastry bags, red pom poms, hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, and brown pipe cleaners for the antlers. Use a black marker to make the faces. So cute!
Paper conductor hats. The black conductor’s hat is worn by our ‘conductor’ when he comes through to punch the tickets for all of our ‘passengers’. I bought the hat at Dollar Tree one year. I used scissors, some sparkly ribbon, a couple of buttons, and a hot glue gun to transform it into a conductor type hat.
Of course a visit from Santa will make any party extra special. I bought a Santa Outfit from Oriental Trading a few years back and it was well worth the investment. This unhappy child is the same one who has been begging to see Santa this year! (This picture is hard to see but we also had a couple of elves who joined us for the festivities as well. Those outfits were also bought from Oriental Trading.)
You can also have a cookie exchange, a ‘Guess how many candies are in the jar?’, a gift exchange, or anything else your heart desires. These are just a few of the ideas that we have done. I was trying to locate some pictures from last year’s party but my phone died around Christmas last year so those pics may have been lost.
I try to have some small gifts as party favors. For the kids it might include train whistles, wind up trains, small games, coloring books, or a small stocking of treats. For the adults I usually have a variety of pocket calendars, small bottles of Bath & Body works products (that I find on sale), small games, or hand made items like jars of hot cocoa mix.
There are some more pics of some of the decor that we used from Oriental Trading on the Polar Express ‘Fish Fry’ 2015 . We went with a ‘Winter Wonderland theme’ and I plan on building on that theme through the years to come. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. Just do what works for you.
After showing some of these pics to a friend last night I got so excited that I am thinking of doing a low key party for the kids this weekend. Just seeing the smiles on their faces is motivation enough for me to pull something together really quick. I’ll be sure to do another post on that. Now where can I find a Santa on such short notice?
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This was our first year celebrating St. Nicholas Day here at our house. I am hoping to keep this new tradition and continue to build on it as we go through the years. Below are some of the ways that we celebrated today:
The night before, after our Advent Study, we set out our stockings. Many traditions involve setting out shoes, but we chose to use our stockings because Momma didn’t want to put the shoes on the table. The kids also made some chocolate chip cookies with DD17. Then they left a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for St. Nick to snack on.
Sometime after the kids went to bed St. Nick made a visit by our house.
They each received a book, a coloring book, a small toy, and a few candies. (Santa picked all of these up at the Dollar Tree.) The kids were eager to check their stockings first thing. He even left a few items for Grandpa, DD17, DS21, and Momma.
After everyone’s curiosity was satisfied we had a special breakfast…. Santa Pancakes!
We happened to be having some really heavy rains today so Momma cancelled school due to the internet being really slow. Good thing Momma had some other activities planned out. (You can find a list of activities HERE.)
We also put up our Christmas tree! This was probably one of the most exciting things about the day for the kids. (We also watched a video about how the Christmas tree became to be a symbol of Christmas.)
All in all it was a really good day. I think this will help us to keep the focus that Jesus is the reason for Christmas while also answering the numerous questions that arise about Santa Claus. It also honors the work that St. Nicholas did.
I would have loved to invite Santa for dinner but I didn’t know anyone who would be available on such short notice. (I do have a Santa outfit in the building that we use for our Polar Express parties.) If you decide to start this tradition in your own house then do whatever you want to make it special to your family.