It is my goal to bring you new ideas for combating commercialism. And the need to shop manically for the holidays. So, I’m going to share with you the experiences of one American family that decides to replace material gifts with memory-building experiences.
This Christmas, we decided to take our kids on an exciting adventure at an indoor water park, rather than drowning them in material gifts. So, this morning, we woke up early and set out for the Great Wolf Lodge.
I’m not going to lie. I had my reservations. Being away from home on Christmas morning, when I love to watch my kids tumble into the living room and see their eyes twinkle when they see the sea of gifts covering the floor? I’m not sure I’ve ever been away from home for Christmas. It’s definitely not part of our family tradition.
But, you know I’ll try anything once … so … here we are. Away from home and on an adventure. I have to tell you … it’s shaping up pretty well so far.
We spent all day in the water park, so our kids are utterly exhausted. By the time we got back to our room, we had just enough time to order a pizza and get ready for the Reindeer Story Time. Only my daughter fell asleep, so we had to wake her in time to eat. Then the kids put on their new Christmas jammies and we headed down to the lobby for the family story where they made actual snow fall from the ceiling for a legitimate White Christmas.
The beauty of this place is that the kids have their own little cabin within our room. So, when we set our stockings near the fireplace, and they climbed into their camp-like bunk beds, they were separated by a wall … almost as if they were in their own little room and could not spy on Santa. And, since they are physically exhausted from all of the activity, they were sound asleep by 9:00 pm. No sneaking out of bed. No restless anticipation. Just sleep. Sound, exhausted sleep.
And, because we left town, I had to finish all of my Christmas preparations at home a day early. Instead of staying up all night wrapping gifts and stuffing stockings, I’m already in bed. At 9:30 pm. On Christmas Eve. In a soft, downy hotel bed. With the fluffiest pillows. Ever.
I’m going to have to rate this idea a perfect 10.
I mean … except for the fact that my son has decided he’s a Wolf Pack of One and is crawling around on all fours (feet, not knees) everywhere we go, and my daughter thinks it might be a good idea to approach water slides head-first, we’re doing great. So, I’m walking around with Mowgli–who refuses to stand erect–while trying to restrain my daughter who is ready to conquer this place … and my husband who, well … let’s just say this gift might be more for him than the children … and did I mention that I’m pretty sure I broke two of my toes yesterday? I haven’t confirmed that fact yet, but judging by my purple swollen foot that keeps getting trampled by hoards of children in the wave pool, I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with it. Far be it for me to let a little broken bone (or two) keep me from fully engaging in a family adventure though. Besides, the shooting pain radiating from my toes up my leg each time I take a step keeps me from focusing on the fact that I’m walking around in a bathing suit. In the dead of winter.
I do what I can to bring you good ideas.