Thursday, December 23, 2010

North Pole

So. The Santa thing.

I believed.

Troy believed.

We decided, probably before we ever even had kids, that we'd do the Santa thing. Unless it became a problem. Unless our children cared more about Santa than they did about the real meaning of Christmas. I think The Rock Star's preschool Christmas program debacle demonstrated that it hasn't yet become an issue.

Garrett has wanted to ride a train for a good long while. A month ago I was looking into some train excursions that run out of Heber City. One of them happens to be called The North Pole Express. "Enjoy hot chocolate and treats while sharing favorite carols and holiday entertainment. Delight while your children tell Santa their Christmas wishes when he climbs aboard your coach."

I just couldn't resist.

We used saved birthday money to pay for the ride and booked a matinee train on December 23. Today. A few weeks ago Garrett saw a commercial for The North Pole Express and went berserk. He desperately wanted to go. I think I told him we couldn't afford it.

Today, we dropped Matthew off at our friend's house and headed up to Heber. I turned the camera on when we approached the station.

We were an hour early and the kid was bouncing off the walls. We explored the station, explored the grounds, located our car, took some pictures and finally we were allowed to board. As soon as the train took off, over sized elves brought us chocolate chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa. We listened to 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. We watched the passing scenery. We answered trivia questions about Christmas movies. There was a question, which neither Troy nor I can remember, but that said something about a gift or what the best gift was or what the first gift was or...something. Garrett shot his hand up, looked at me, and whispered, "God!" with a huge smile. The host selected someone else to answer. That was probably a good thing unless the other passengers had specifically signed up for An Earful of the Gospel: by Garrett.

And then our host told us that Santa and The North Pole were coming on the right side of the train. We were sitting on the left side but there was an available seat on the right side so I scrambled up to it with my boy in tow. Suddenly, there was a barber style pole sticking out of the snow. Santa was standing next to it waving. And my son went nuts. I don't know that I've ever seen him smile as big as he did. He frantically waved to Santa, looked at me, and grinned, "I can't abweave I'm at the North Pole!"

Shortly after that, Santa boarded the train. My son was able to tell him what he wanted for Christmas. Santa gave him a red top, which Garrett is convinced is the roof of the Dragon World Fortress that Santa is hopefully bringing him and his brother tomorrow night.
Later, Mrs. Claus entered our car with Santa's favorite cookie recipe. Since they called for a pound of butter and six cups of flour and I had no intention of baking enough cookies to feed Santa, all of his elves, and our entire church congregation, I decided that we could just give Santa something we already had. Interestingly, Mrs. Claus was British. Or was pretending to be British. I still haven't quite decided.

We sang Christmas carols as we returned from the North Pole. Garrett was given the #1 card for The 12 Days of Christmas so I got to throw him up in the air twelve times as he proudly displayed his partridge in a pear tree.

Our trip was 90 minutes. The joy on our son's face was worth every second.

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