Last Friday, we took a trip on The Polar Express and it was all of those things and so much more.
Surely you’ve heard of the The Polar Express, the award wining Children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg? It is the story of a little boy’s Christmas Eve adventure where he gets to pick the first gift of Christmas. Well, the Hobo Railroad and the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation have brought the book to life in a most delightful manner.
The trip was Grammy’s idea, she even bough the kids new pajamas for the occasion. We stopped for dinner at the Tilt ‘N Diner on our way to Lincoln for our 7:30 departure. There was snow on the ground in Lincoln which only added to the excitement of the trip. On our journey to the North pole chefs brought us delicious hot chocolate (it tasted like melted chocolate bars) and then they treated us to chocolate candies with nougat centers “as white as snow”. We sang Christmas carols and generally reveled in the experience.
Our lengthy trip to the North Pole zipped by in what felt like fifteen minutes. We arrived to a sea of elves with lanterns all making their way to a tent in the center of town. There the boy from the story, now a man, told us about his adventures that fateful Christmas Eve. When he was done, we were treated to a visit by the Jolly Old Elf, Santa himself. Santa visited with the audience and encouraged the kids to be good, but not perfect. “You should enjoy your childhood” he said.
Santa picked a boy from the audience to pick the first gift of Christmas. The boy looked remarkably like the boy in the story. Amazingly enough, his wish was for a bell from the reindeer’s harness. Santa was so pleased he offered the boy a second wish and the boy wished that all the boys and girls could have bells like his. Santa asked the elves to make it so on our ride home.
Santa had to get back to work and wished us all a Merry Christmas. The elves guided us back to the train wishing us Merry Christmas all the way. Our trip home flew by as we sang Christmas carols the whole way.
My children are in the “I’ll humor my parents” and the “logical questioning” stages of believing in Santa and they both enjoyed themselves immensely. This is a wonderful experience put on by volunteers to benefit a good cause. I would strongly recommend it to kids of any age.
Perhaps the most magical part of the night for me was watching the pure unadulterated awe on the face of a four year old little girl sitting in front of me. Dressed in Green Bay Packers feety pajamas and bright pink snow boots, she sat almost stock still as the man told his story and when Santa came out I thought she just might erupt out of her skin.
That my friends is the magic of Christmas.
I will be taking the next two weeks off to enjoy the Christmas with my family and New Year’s with our close friends. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and a joyous and prosperous New Year.
Thanks for reading! See you in 2011!