Even so, it's been a good holiday season so far and it's felt like we've had just the right amount of holiday stuff for this year. Christmas for me really starts the day after Thanksgiving, and as mentioned in an earlier post we went to cut down our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We decorated our tree on Sunday and I realized I took some pictures, but never shared them so here we are..
The day after decorating the tree (Monday), when I still thought we would do a Christmas thing each day, I presented Riley with some new Christmas Pajamas. She was especially smitten with them since they came with a tutu.
I have no idea if we did anything on Tuesday that was Christmas themed and didn't really care anymore. However, we did get to go to dinner with my in-laws including my brother in law who was in town. Again, just realized I didn't share this picture in my last post. Riley sure does love her uncle.
The day after our family Christmas Party we decided to tackle the gingerbread house. Riley really liked this activity last year so I was game at doing it again. We had some structural issues this year where I thought the house was set, but it was not and everything started to come apart... and then finally stopped. Even though there is a gaping hole in the roof I still think it turned out great.
|Roof separation and chimney slide. Meh.|
Oh, somewhere along the line I put up the chain countdown that we've used the last couple years, but even with that we'd forget a day and then have to do two chains the next day.
When Friday came along I suggested that we go look at lights instead of having movie night. For the last couple years I've wanted to check out the Holiday Lights in the Park display, but was having a hard time getting motivated to drive 20 miles to see them. As the afternoon wore on I read a blog post that mentioned them and decided to scrap the idea (thanks Erin for the feedback!). Instead, we decided to take my dad out to dinner. Jesse received an Applebee's gift card at his work holiday party and thought of my dad right away. At dinner, I mentioned the lights that we decided to skip and my dad said he could show us some impressive lights a few miles from his home. He took us to a neighborhood that was once gated (supposedly 5 million dollar homes), but is now open and all decked out. Apparently, tour buses drive through here. Each house was all decked out in a different style, and even though I'm sure Holiday Lights in the Park was probably much brighter, this was impressive enough for us. Riley loved it - so that's what mattered most. Plus, it was free, we were pretty much the only people driving around and we got to hang with my dad. Win.
Saturday was the day I wanted to check out the new Holidazzle Village and Minneapolis Holiday Market. I've heard mixed reviews about it - mostly how irritated people are that you have to pay to enter the market, but I was determined to go. The Village area definitely could have been built out some more. We went on the weekend that there was a dog sled exhibition and it was almost 50 degrees. I think it might have helped if we had snow as I think there was supposed to be some short rides down the street on dog sleds, but no such thing. We did see some reindeer and Riley insisted that we go on the Holidazzle sleigh to get our picture taken (the sleigh set up was simple, but nice. You handed your camera to some guy who took a picture of your family and you were on your way. It had a short line, but not too bad). Oh, and there was a drum band playing that was pretty impressive.
The market cost us $12 for two adults (Riley was free), plus food, plus the carousal ride, plus some other trinkets... let's just say it added up fast. If you go, bring cash or plan to use one of the ATM machines nearby.
Our first stop was to get food. I can't remember the place we got brats, but it was in the back corner. Jesse got the 10' Christmas Sausage and I got the Nurnberger brat and both were fantastic. Riley ate before we left, but decided she wanted a pretzel. I snuck a bite, but she loved it so much she wasn't really willing to share more than that. I wanted to get some hot apple cider, but since it was pretty warm out, there was quite a crowd, and I was trying to keep track of a 4 year old, I didn't really feel like walking around with a hot drink. Maybe next year.
It's been awhile since I've been to a Christmas market (or holiday market, in this case - um, 17 years ago in Prague, actually), but I would say that this could have been set up a little better. It was the first year so I am willing to let some things go, but I would love to go back next year to see what they learned from this first year. Jesse doesn't want to go back mostly because they make you pay to get in, but I'm sure he doesn't realized how persuasive Riley and I will be about it.
Riley's favorite part of the whole night was seeing the people light bulbs above. Of course, these happen to be remnants of the parade that ended last year so that confirmed to Jesse that they should just have the parade again. As much as I loved the parade, I was also glad that it didn't take an insane amount of time to get out of downtown. I like that they shook things up and hope that next year is even better.