Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Texas Bucket List: Our Own Wonderland

Last December and after quite a few years of stalling, we finally visited Santa's Wonderland. This extensive theme park and light display claims to be Texas' largest Christmas attraction, and while I haven't visited enough Christmas attractions in Texas to verify the validity of that claim, I can verify that Santa's Wonderland looks, sounds, and feels like nearly every child's - and many adults' - holiday dream come true.

Santa's Wonderland costs a pretty penny, however, so after spending hundreds of dollars taking our family there last year, I found myself in search of a slightly less expensive Christmas light adventure this year. I found what I was looking for by creating it myself; I invited our friends to join us at a local - and free - park with a decent light display and we held our own Christmas light fun run*.

When we finished our run through the park, we indulged in cookies and hot chocolate and the kids played together like they'd been cooped up in pens for the last 48 hours. (We had originally planned to bring Bahama Bucks' snowballs so the kids could have a snowball fight, but after last week's actual snowstorm we decided fake snowballs wouldn't be all that exciting.) The evening was fun and memorable, but also simple, easy, and inexpensive.

We may return to Santa's Wonderland next December - perhaps visiting Texas' largest Christmas attraction will become an every-other-year tradition - but I love knowing that when we choose to skip the extravagance, we can create a version that's just as fun and meaningful for our kids.
I took at least 20 pictures of this group - in not
one of them were all 17 kids looking at the camera.
It only took one try to get all 13 adults to look at the camera, and
for perhaps the first time ever, my eyes are open in a brightly-lit shot!
Without this tree - which stands at least three stories
tall - we might not have ever reunited with our big kids.
We told them to "meet us at the tree" and then sent them
on their own out into the dark to run the path and take in
the Christmas lights. They LOVED the freedom.
Cookies and hot chocolate in the pavilion after our run.
So much fun! So much sugar! 
You know, just because...
*As was the case at Santa's Wonderland last year, Will - and a couple of the big kids - ran but everyone else walked at a leisurely pace. We still called it a run. 

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