Each year for St. Nicholas Day, our children put their shoes by the door at bedtime, and awaken to find an orange in each shoe, and a gift.
This year’s gift was the book The Polar Express (found at the thrift store for 50 cents). Daddy read it to them during a read-aloud time, to introduce them to the story.
Little did they know, though…. we had a surprise in store for them!
We went through our bedtime routine as usual. But in between wrangling little ones into baths and pajamas, we surreptitiously popped popcorn and warmed up milk (with a dash of peppermint extract) as a treat.
I placed the golden “Minivan Express” tickets (from Confessions of a Homeschooler) on their pillows, hid the popcorn bags and cups of milk at their carseats in the van, kissed them goodnight, and waited by the back door with my trusty hole punch. (I kept the baby monitor on, so that I could hear those cute squeals of delight as they discovered the golden tickets, when Daddy went up to “tuck them into bed”.)
While they giggled with excitement (“What’s gonna happen, Mama?”), I punched their tickets, and they climbed aboard the “Minivan Express!”
We drove around and looked at Christmas lights for about half an hour (the baby especially was needing to get to bed, so we didn’t stay out too long). We had fun seeing all the sparkly decorations, munching on popcorn, sipping hot drinks, and singing Christmas carols in the van.
It was a fun (and frugal) evening for everyone!