Christmas Festivities

I've been having a blast cramming Christmas into the first two weeks of December before we leave for Florida. We've visited Santa and have crossed off a lot of other fun things on my holiday list.

Tree Lighting in Golden Gate Park

The city put on such a great event, totally free, with rides, crafts, Santa, cookie decorating, etc. It was from 4-8pm on Thursday night and Dave had his holiday party that night so it worked out nicely that Jessica and I took the boys over. We got there at 4:30 and it was already packed, but nowhere near as busy as it would be 2 hours later. We waited in line for 40 minutes to ride the dinky little train... I can't believe the boys wanted to do it, but they were so patient. Jessica and I split up and she waited in line for the helicopters which the boys absolutely loved. Then I took them to do crafts (no line) while she waited in the cookie decorating line. The boys played in a block pit and finally it was our turn for cookies. Thankfully we got the sweet snack because despite the short line, the food truck is what too forever. We finished our chicken fingers and fries and then caught the tail end of the Chinese New Year dragons dancing around. The boys loved it and followed with their own dance. We got home late but managed to still get them in bed on time. It had been a long day, but totally worth it. It was a really well-done event, the only problem was that it was obviously popular. I think we'll definitely attempt again and hopefully try to get there right at 4pm.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

It's a German tradition to put your shoes out on the night of December 6, and if you've been good, St. Nicholas will come and fill your shoes with treats. I always loved this tradition as a kid and was excited to do it this year. The boys weren't particularly good, even when threatening that St. Nicholas wouldn't come. I suggested putting out their biggest shoes, and as predicted, W chose his slip-on tennis shoes... pretty much as little room as a shoe could have. I recommended rain boots and there still wasn't much room! I had picked up a few things from the Target dollar bin and Daiso and then a candy cane of M&Ms for each. They also had one of the Christmas presents wrapped up -- they both wanted aprons with their names on them -- and I wanted them to be able to use those when decorating their gingerbread houses before Christmas so included those as well. In the end, they were excited to see what St. Nicolas had brought, but they really couldn't get past the M&Ms. I had to keep asking them to open the wrapped presents and finally they did, not really impressed, though they did like the little Paw Patrol cars. It was really the chocolate candies that were their favorites though... Good tip for Christmas. Think simple.

Cable Car ride to the Fairmont Gingerbread House

This was a banner day for the boys. Bus to the cable car to the Fairmont Hotel. We checked out the huge gingerbread house display, complete with Santa's workshop and a train, which the boys loved. We got hot chocolate before trekking down several steep hills to catch another bus to North Beach. The new playground is awesome, though we didn't have too much time there, but we'll definitely be back. Then we headed to legendary Tony's for pizza right when they opened at noon. Two buses later, we made it home by 1:15 and thankfully both boys napped (mom needed one too!).

Decorating Gingerbread Houses

I was so excited for this, perhaps more excited than the kids. We went to Trader Joes and Target and picked out all kinds of toppings. I knew it was way too much effort to go to for two 2-year olds who would probably be interested for 5 minutes so I'm glad my brother and his family came over to decorate too. The kids loved all the different toppings and overall it was a huge success (though G probably ate 10 pieces for every piece he put on the house...)

It was tough to have so much packed into two weeks and there were a few things I wanted to do that we didn't get to -- the Zoo Lights (though I heard it was pretty disappointing) and then going to look at Christmas lights around town, especially at the Tom and Jerry house. Oh well, next year!

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