Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Chain

My sister Melissa stole the idea of doing a paper chain Christmas countdown with activities during the month of December to keep her kids from popping around the house like popcorn for 25 days straight.  This year I'm stealing the idea from her since I suddenly have a child who can't stand it and wishes it was Christmas TODAY.  Every day.  Bridget and I made the chain together (next year I need to surprise her) and I think we may have made it a few days too early since we have conflicting activities now.  So far we've had a few Christmas movie nights, a family birthday party at Grandma's, Christmas shopping, and This Is The Place Heritage Park.  I knew we'd have to do that last one early in the month because it would take some serious Christmas spirit to get us out there with the babies.  We went to The Corner Bakery for dinner, then drove around The Avenues in Salt Lake instead of going a block and a half the other direction.  Bah.  We got back on track quickly, though.
It was so cold!  This Is The Place (TITP) is all about life in the 1850s in Utah.  It's several acres of land with houses and hotels decked out the way they would have been at that time.  For Christmas they have a different activity in each building.  We made a Christmas card on an old printing press, bought candy at the general store, did crafts at the social hall, wrote a letter to Santa and burned it in the fire place so the ashes would fly up and the wishes would come true (love that), visited "Father Christmas" at the main Visitors' Center. 

My favorite part of the evening, though, was their live Nativity in a real barn.  A couple of "shepherds" waited by a fire until it was just our little family ready to go in, then they led us very quietly into the barn.  We could hear a real baby crying as we walked toward the stall and then we saw the actors there playing Mary and Joseph with Baby Jesus.  We stood there watching them for a few minutes and a couple of "wise men" came in and quietly put their gifts in front of the baby.  All of us were mesmerized.  We didn't talk for a minute after we walked out of the barn, then Bridget whispered to me, "I liked seeing the Baby Jesus."  I even heard her telling Clara about it yesterday.  I'm so glad that was her take-away from the experience. :)
Bridget in the candy store.  That candy garland is pretty awesome.  I should steal that idea too.
Bridget doing some crafts while Daddy entertains the boys.  Emil B. was not having most of this activity.  We bundled him up so much that he was too warm.  Woops.
I couldn't resist taking a photo of this tableau - a sewing machine in the back room of one of the houses, right next to a big window.  That's exactly where I would have put it, too. :)
Bridget made an icicle ornament and she checked its sparkle at every lamp post.
Watching her wishes go up the chimney.  Note the rocking chair and dutch oven next to the fire.
I secretly didn't want Bridget to sit on Father Christmas's lap since visiting Santa is our activity tonight, but we also didn't want the evening to end in tears (which it would have).  This Santa was pretty good.  I've always found the "Father Christmas"-type Santa a little creepy, though.  Bridget is so nervous right here.  She hates talking to Santa.  The kid right before her gave Santa a big ol' hug.  Not so much for my girl. :)


melissa said...

Oh my goodness! I LOVE that picture of Bridget holding her ornament up to the light. Father Christmas looks a little creepy. The only way we got Chloe near Santa this year was to have all of the kids on his lap at the same time. Safety in numbers.

Jess said...

I love that you made your chain with craftsy paper. Very cute. I am impressed that even though Bridget doesn't like talking to Santa, she still will. Not my kids.

allyn said...

i think that titp would have been the activity for the entire month. what a fun thing. i was tearing when reading the description of the barn encounter. so happy when the kids get it.
good job getting out with all of you!

Angie said...

The pictures are beautiful.

Marla and I went there a few years ago, and froze, and saw a mob of rat outside the barn (my greatest fear realized), but still it was a good time. They do good work.

Mom said...

I'm going with you next year! Love all this!