As I take down the Christmas tree, I'm reminded of the weekends that we had families stay at The Buttonwood Inn for the Polar Express event. After returning from our vacation visiting our children in NYC and NJ, we quickly erected the Christmas tree and decorated the inn inside and out for the first arrival of children and their parents the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I decorated the tree with hand-painted ceramic Christmas ornaments of mice in holiday attire, Peanuts, and Sesame Street characters that I made for our own children's tree when they were babies.
On the first day of the family's arrival, I baked mini cupcakes decorated with light-green frosting sprinkled with shiny clear sprinkles, resembling freshly fallen snow. After searching through my huge tin container for the Christmas cookie cutters, I made hand-rolled sugar cookies decorated with Royal icing in seasonal colors, sprinkles, and piped designs. These cookies were served as a special treat for the children to enjoy dressed in their pajamas in the Mt. Surprise Room watching the Polar Express movie before they boarded train that evening.
Though all of the families expressed that they had a wonderful experience on the Polar Express and visiting Santa at the North Pole, there is one family that made it a complete surprise for their two young children. Thus, the parents and grandparents were able to observe the surprise and merriment of the children when they finally met Santa Claus.
Another family on the last weekend comprised two mothers with four older children who simply wanted to experience the "magic" of riding the Polar Express, drinking hot chocolate, and singing songs on the way to meet Santa. After the last family left The Buttonwood Inn, we read their comments in our room guest books writing that they not only felt the majic of visiting Santa at the North Pole, but also felt the majic of The Buttonwood Inn.
This is why Bill and I work very hard to make each families experience memorable and enjoyable allowing us to experience the true spirit of Christmas.