Holiday Traditions and Memories
I've been thinking lots about all the things I want to do with the kiddos this holiday season. I want to make sure we hit all their favorites, and the things they've come to love as our special family traditions, but I also find myself searching out something special for this season just for me. Something to help me honor my own mom. She so loved Christmas, and she passed on that love to me. I love everything about it - the twinkle of the lights, finding a perfect new ornament each year, watching old movies, holiday parties, making cookies, singing Angels We Have Heard on High in church and all the festive food throughout the season.
It's my first Christmas without her, and I find myself a little stunned at exactly how painful and raw it is turning out to be for me. I miss her immensely, and I think of her often. I wonder if it will get easier as the years pass. I also know that I don't want it to hinder the magic of the season for my sugarpies. For them, I must carry on and be that same mama they know and love, even though this year I could just hide until it's all over.
I think this year I am craving a simpler holiday. One close to home and full of simple family time. Lucky for me there are so many wonderful holiday activities so close to home. Here are a list of our top ten favorites!
1. Breakfast with Santa: (December 7th 8-10:30) - Each year the Fortville Optimists put on an amazing breakfast with Santa event at the Fortville Community Center. Great food, crafts, fellowship and photos with the big guy.
2. Fortville Winter Festival: (December 7th 2-8p.m.) - Kicks-off with a holiday parade down Main Street Fortville and will feature the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers this year. Additional features include kids zone with face painting and a prize wheel, zip line, carriage rides, barrel train through a holiday inflatable wonderland, live music and craft and food vendors.
3. Reynolds Farm Equipment FREE Light Display in Fishers - Love this! We end up driving through many times during the season. Christmas music and hot chocolate is a must for us as we enjoy the display. Click here to see a previous year's display via YouTube.
4. The "dancing house" as my children call it. It's a house on Harrison Parkway in Fishers that is coordinated to music. You tune to 100.1 FM, listen and watch the show. Watch out, as this is a popular local attraction and it gets crowded in front of the house. You may have to patiently wait for your turn to see it fully. Click here for a video. Not the greatest quality, but you get the idea.
5. Conner Prairie holiday Gingerbread Village. We love taking in all the creations. Who knew you could make such amazing things out of gingerbread and candy! And if you have a membership, this is FREE.
6. Jolly Days at the Indianapolis Children's Museum. The kiddos love the Yule Slide! They're already taking about it. They tried to make us follow a Coke truck the other day that had a Jolly Days ad on the back. Silly kids. The best part this year is that Jolly Days falls within two Target FREE family nights at the Museum. December 5th and January 2nd.
7. Circle of Lights. An amazing Indy holiday tradition. We love heading downtown via Meridian and driving straight into the circle to see the tree. The kids are always in awe. While downtown there is plenty to do as well. You can even drop a letter off to Santa via his special mailbox on the circle.
8. Christmas Teas, Cantatas, Live Nativities and Holy Walks. One of my very favorite parts of the season are these types of events that center you and help you slow down and be still for a moment while you remember the reason for the season. Our favorite is the Holy Walk Through Bethlehem at St. Mark's in Carmel. However, I believe they are taking a year off this year. We'll have to search out a Live Nativity instead. If you know of one going on this year, please comment below and share. I'd love to know.
9. Movies, cookies and special meals. My little man has had a love of Home Alone since he was tiny. It's become one of our very favorites. We love to watch all three back to back with popcorn and a batch of Santa cookies. We also have favorite meals through out the season. Ones that everyone looks for on special days, such as my mom's Christmas pulled pork BBQ.
10. Holiday Theater Events. As a young girl, my mom would take me to all sorts of plays and musicals throughout the year. I loved doing this with her! My brother used to buy her Clowes Memorial Hall season tickets every year, which included the beloved Nutcracker each December. I loved getting dressed up and taking in the theater with her, especially during the holidays. I try to do this as much as I can with our little ones. Exposure to the arts is a wonderful thing! It can get expensive so I try to find low cost local options. Ten West right here in Fortville is a great source, along with the local high schools! Right now Mt. Vernon High School and Hamilton Southeastern have holiday plays scheduled with tickets at affordable prices.
In pulling together the list of our favorites, I think I have discovered just the thing to help me with this first year without mom! Afternoon tea with my sisters at The Ayres Tea Room and The Nutcracker at Clowes with the sugarpies!