December 21, 2013

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane: My Toes Are Cold, My Kids Are Happy

This post is sponsored by Hersheypark. Our family received complimentary passes to Hersheypark Christmas Candylane.

Last Sunday I decided to take the boys for on a special "day out for the holidays." There were things I hoped to do before the month is over, like finally see Frozen and take the boys to visit the real Santa (i.e., the one without a fake beard). I wanted a day with my family, just us, having fun together in the midst of the craziness that can be the holidays. The hubs had a ton of grading to do for the on-line class he is teaching over winter break, so it was just me and the boys.

First we went to the movie, where we ate far too much popcorn for 11:00 am, and followed it up with fast food cheeseburgers and french fries. (Oh, just wait, my stellar choices about what to feed my kids that day get even better!) I debated where to take them to see Santa. Was it too cold for Hersheypark? Should we just go to Bass Pro Shop, where we could see "real Santa" in the comfort of a heated store? But Hersheypark has reindeer. Bee was really excited about that. And we've spent far too much time indoors this month. We could just go for an hour, I reasoned to myself. We'll see Santa and the reindeer, then head home. It would be nice to get outside and the snow that had fallen the day certainly made things feel Christmas-y. That settled it - off to Hersheypark!

Holy frostbite, Batman. In hindsight, it was cold. The weather app on my phone said it was in the 30s. I should have looked more closely and read the part where it said "Feels like 22." It was bitterly cold and the sun disappeared as soon as we arrived.

But guess what? The boys They rode the airplanes twice, then Froghopper, the mini-Scrambler, the carousel. Zip went on Flying Falcon by himself, gleefully whipping through that icy cold air. Who says amusement parks and winter don't go together? Not these kids. Rides are just as fun in snow boots and hats as shorts and sandals. (Not the best photos, I know. I only had my phone with me.)

We said hello to the reindeer, even Rudolph. Thankfully there was a ready explanation for why Rudolph's nose was black: Now that he is an adult, his nose only glows on Christmas eve.

I considered taking them skating at the rink next to the reindeer (only $2 to rent skates), but I wasn't brave enough to try it with both boys at once. We got in line to see Santa. He was inside. Phew. Time to warm my toes back up. And my nose. And every single inch of my frozen body.

"You guys already saw Santa at the school breakfast. We're going to have to wait a while. Is that okay?"

"Is it the real Santa this time?" Zip asked. He's determined a fake beard means it is not the real Santa, just one of his helpers.

I quietly asked the woman working at the door if this Santa had a real beard. "Yes, bud, it is the real Santa."

A smile spread across my 7-year-old's face. "I'll wait then."

Santa was an old pro, prompting the boys to put their legs together and their hands in their laps for the photo. Bee, who loves anything soft, rubbed his hand along Santa's furry cuff as he told Santa what he wanted.

Before we left, we stopped for hot cocoa and the s'mores I had promised them. (Today was clearly not about nutritious eating.) They both chose the Reeses' cup cookie s'more. "Momma, this is like a s'more without any of the healthy stuff on it." Healthy s'mores? 

Our one-hour stop had turned into a whole afternoon. We headed back to the car just as twilight arrived and the park was illuminated with a multitude of Christmas lights.

My toes were frozen, but my boys were happy.

What happy holiday memories have you made while your toes froze?