Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas at Hick's Place

One of my very favorite Christmas traditions each year always occurred the second weekend of December at Heritage Farms just outside of Hudson, Iowa.  For three years we took part in this storybook Christmas adventure, tucked away in the woods with a horse-drawn wagon ride (with jingle bells), cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, and Christmas carols with Santa in a little log cabin in the deep woods.  I looked forward to this event all year long and have some of my fondest holiday memories as a mom at this special place.  So when we were told last year that the family owners would be putting their property up for sale before the end of next year, I was devastated.  Here I had imagined years of this continued tradition (like grand-kids and everything) only to find out it would be our last.  And if you're expecting to read some big turnaround where the owners changed their mind and made their breakfast with Santa event even better this year, unfortunately there is not a happy ending to this story.  I can only hope that the new owners may one day want to put that quaint little cabin to good use again...

But for now, I'll share the next best thing about our second weekend in December - this year, a trip to Hick's Place just north of town for an afternoon with Santa.  This year, there may have been a tractor pulling our wagon instead of jingle-belled horses, and laser tag instead of Christmas carols around the piano, but there were many similarities that made me smile.  Or maybe it was Hick himself, smiling ear to ear in his spiky hair visor cap, driving Santa around in his tractor that made me smile...

It was unseasonably warm out on Saturday and we took advantage of the fresh air far longer than expected.  We pushed the kids on the swings, ate brownies and chex mix and sipped hot cocoa, laughed at Hick on one entertaining tractor ride, and waited in line to greet Santa for the third time this month, this time in front of a lovely wood pallet backdrop with a sweetheart of a photographer.  Mila watched Cruz confidently hop on his lap and surprised us all when she joined him on her own.  I think I stared at her in complete shock, and by the time the photographer or I got our camera out, she had realized what she'd done and a look of sheer terror filled her face.  She screamed once again, Santa grew stiff, and we rescued her and appeased her with a candy cane, sugar cookie, etc. etc. etc.  No worries, Mila, I think we've had our fill of Mr. Claus for another year.   

Cruz played laser tag for the first time and was immediately a fan, Mila marched around like she owned the place, and we had ourselves a nice afternoon.  Afterwards, we took a drive around the countryside while the kids slept, listened to Christmas music, and planned which movie we were going to watch when we got home.  Before home, however, we stopped by our perfect little Main Street, strolled through out new Chocolaterie, and let the kids fill up two little bags of sweets at Main Street Sweets.  

It wasn't Heritage Farms, but perhaps a new Christmas tradition I could get used to.  Give me a fifty degree December day and these two little elves and the rest is just gravy. :)

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