To celebrate the Christmas season, we left our tropical paradise for the tundra of Buffalo, NY. While to some, that may sound crazy, it was awesome! Not only was I excited to spend the holidays with my parents and sister, but this would be the first Christmas in decades that I was able to spend with my grandparents. As they age, making more memories with them is priceless. I was also excited to go because whether it is summer or winter, Buffalo always delivers the quintessential experience. After living in California for the past decade and now Panama, I had my fingers crossed for a white Christmas!
I should preface this post by saying that I LOVE Christmas. I make the most out of the season by taking advantage of every holiday experience possible. This season was no different. We packed it in- the drive through Christmas light displays, the gingerbread exhibit at the Culinary Institute, the train to the North Pole, the Grinch movie in the theatre, decorating cookies, making a gingerbread Who-ville. Not to mention the winter activities: sledding, snow ball fights, snow angels, ice skating, building snow men. Who even has time to open presents?
Writing letters to Santa at the Culinary Institute’s Gingerbread exhibition.
In my opinion, the most magical day was the train we took to the North Pole. We got to face paint, met Santa, sit in Santa’s sleigh, and feed reindeer!
The Santa was amazing and was very gentle with the kids.
For the past few years, Heidi and I have been putting on a North Pole breakfast for the kids. Every year it has a different theme. This year, the new Grinch movie came out so we took the kids to the Grinch movie, made a Who-ville gingerbread house, and on Christmas Eve we woke up to a Grinch breakfast complete with green pancakes with a heart that grew three sizes, Grinch fruit kabobs, and crafts.
Even the poor dogs were roped into the Grinch theme (They think we take things a bit too far…)
And then, unexpectedly, it began to snow- On Christmas Eve! The kids ran outside to catch snow flakes. Quickly it accumulated enough to go sledding. My parent’s neighbors have an epic toboggan run in their backyard. We were luck enough to have multiple days of snow play. I got my wish for a white Christmas.
One of the highlights for AJC this trip was getting to see his Uncle Brandon again. He is so inspired by Brandon’s ability to draw, and it has helped AJC identify as an artist. Luckily Brandon is so patient, attentive, and encouraging. He drew multiple free hand drawings for AJC to color, most around our Grinch theme. Santa loved their Grinch collaboration so much that he used it to write a Christmas letter to the kids which AJC found on Christmas morning.
Even though we had a lot of time there, it seemed to pass quickly. We made many memories, but the best was being able to watch my grandparents enjoy their grandchildren and great-grandchildren present to celebrate. It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone, especially living so far away and being not sure when we will see them again. However, we had much travel in front of us. We spent a couple days in Toronto before we flew out. Then on to Costa Rica, and then a week in Panama City. And finally all the way home. The saddest season for me is always when Christmas is over. I miss the magic, the family time, the way everything shines brighter. Back to reality, but luckily our reality is pretty bright.