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With the holiday season in full swing, I am making my list and checking it twice! No, I am not buying everyone a gift this Christmas, and In am not fat with a beard and a red suit...I am talking about my family and friends. I am talking about the activities which we will participate in this year. Every year I am finished with my Christmas shopping and gift wrapping by the first of December. I do this so that I am able to build memories and traditions with my family and friends. It allows for me to spend the holidays with the people who I care the most about...my husband, daughter, and son. So, I have compiled a list of the top five things we have done already, and the next five we are scheduled to do this year, locally. Essentially it is my Top Ten...I hope that you are able to do some of these things and make your own memories!
1.) Macys's Santa-- For those of you who may not have realized this, the Real Santa Clause visits Meier & Frank/Macy's downtown every year. Yes, it once was spectacular with the monorail and all, but this year should be promising, too. With Macy's having finished their renovation, we are all looking forward to the windows and of course seeing Santa. The kids have photos with Santa from nine years ago. Because he is the Real Santa, they can see consistency from year to year and how much they have grown. We make an evening out of it by taking the MAX to Pioneer Square. We look at the Christmas tree, walk over to Starbucks there and grab our drinks and treats. We talk all about family and friends. It is one of the most treasured times, as our kids talk with no interruptions and our full attention. We then go over to the department store to see Santa. Every year, too, we allow them to each pick out one ornament for them to take with them when they are all grown up. I can hardly wait for this one to come again! :)
2.) Winter Wonderland at PIR -- PIR stands for Portland International Raceway, and for our family, is not an annual tradition. We did circle the race track once to watch the light display. It is a great activity for large groups to do, as the price is based on the vehicle rather than per person. There are a lot of lights, and this has been a favorite of the area for many, many years. If you have not ever seen it, I encourage you to go check it out. It may just be your favorite tradition of the season.
3.) Christmas Ships-- This has been a family favorite of ours and a yearly activity for more years than I can recall. We all go to dinner (some years at Fernwood Amadeus -- and more recently at Beaches in Vancouver) and eat as a family. By family, I mean all of my husband's family. Usually about 15 of us. When the Christmas ships go up and down the Columbia River, we turn all of the lights off in the restaurant and watch the ships. Occasionally we will go outside and watch as the many different boats float by with their displays. Some have music, and they all have entire scenes moving along as they do. It is always a delight to watch them, and we are very thankful for their bravery in getting out and braving the cold winter time weather!
4.) The Nutcracker-- Yes, both genders can go and watch the ballet. Really, guys, it will not kill you to see men in tights. You happen to watch them often on Sundays. It is just that you call it football. :) In truth, only my daughter and I have done this one. It is truly a treat, though. The little girls dress up so fancy, and the moms get to spoil them. We go with a group of friends. We start out with brunch or dinner, or whatever, and then we go watch the Oregon Ballet Theater dancers perform flawlessly. It brings culture to our city and our citizens, and I am so happy to be a participant in the midst of it all! For a schedule of showtimes and tickets, please go to the OBT website. And, then go watch and enjoy!
5.) Zoo Lights -- I have spoken of the Oregon Zoo before in a more general way. This Zoo Light display is amazing. Another yearly tradition which we hold is that my younger brother (he is 13 years younger than I am), my husband, our children and I go to dinner and then to the Zoo Lights. You will want to bundle up for this one, as it is quite chilly. Most of the animals are unavailable to see, but the moving light displays ~ the hot chocolate ~ the train ride ~ and the choirs performing lend a seasonal tone that is unmatched. Walking in the brisk air with excited children, families, and friends is a wonderful tradition. One that even a 21 year old college kid looks forward to. Go see for yourself and let me know what you think!
6.) "A Fairy Tale Christmas" at the Pittock Mansion -- This one is new to me, but one that I intend on checking out with the kids this season. Each of the 23 rooms will tell favorite fairy tales such as "Beauty and the Beast", "Cinderella", "Aladdin", and more. The show times are from 11 AM - 4 PM daily through December 31st, 2007. I will keep you posted on this one, but it sure looks promising...
7.) The Polar Express by The Mt. Hood Railroad Company-- This will be our first year with this tradition as well. I understand that the train takes you to the North Pole, where you meet Santa and his elves. Santa even gives each child their own bell. During the trip, attendants bring hot chocolate and cookies while the children wear their pajamas. Having been on a murder mystery dinner trip with the Mt. Hood Railroad, I am hoping for the kidlets to love it even more than we adults did!
8.) Peacock Lane Christmas Lights-- With homes having all of their lights and music on until 11 PM, there is time for those of us with wacky schedules to go out and look at all of the festivities. parking can be a bit brutal, however, the spirit of the season promises not to disappoint. It is like a scene out of a movie, and you get to be the extras on set. With warm drinks, bright lights, Christmas cheer, friends, and family; this is a tradition many local families treasure. Perhaps we will make it there this year. I would certainly like to take the kids to see it. I have never experienced it through their eyes. You can find Peacock Lane one block east of 39th Street between Stark and Belmont. Have a great time! :)
9.) OMSI's Ends of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins-- While this will not be a tradition, I do plan on taking my children to this OMSI exhibit. I have heard great reviews about it, and with our Oregon weather, will welcome a day inside from the winter cold. Plus, what better time to explore the "poles" than Christmas?!?!
10.) Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade-- So, it is true that our parade will not be able to compete with the Macy's Parade in New York. However, it is one holiday event that I have never participated in, and weather allowing, plan to do this year. What better way to kick off the holiday season than the day after Thanksgiving with a morning parade. Beginning at 8:45 AM, there is no cost to watch as the festive floats parade by. My family and I are hoping to get out there. Perhaps we will bump into you, so if we do, say "hi!"
No matter which activities you choose to participate in, I hope that you and yours celebrate with love, peace, joy, and kindness. Make sweet memories with those you love, and cherish your time together this holiday season. God Bless!! If you have any attractions or activities that you want to recommend, please feel free to share them in your comments! I will be watching, reading, and writing...
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.