"Minivan Express"-An Oldie but a "Goldie" Post






Today, I am sharing with you one of my favorite family traditions...its not glitzzy, glamourous or tinsley! It's simple and can be done by any family! I don't know how this all began...I am sure someone shared this with me nine years ago(WELL NOW IT'S BEEN 12 years!)...we have "tweaked" it through the years!

ALL ABOARD!!!! TICKET PLEASE!

We usually do this the second week in December when neighborhoods have their houses decorated and lit up. My kids never know when and we never talk about it till that night! My husband and I pick a night...the kids get in pjs...teeth brushed..like any other night. But, when they pull their sheets back there is a golden ticket for our Minivan Express. It's always fun to hear the first child who notices..there are screams and giggles..."Did you get the ticket???" "Go Look Go Look"...

They run downstairs. We collect the tickets to get on the Mini Van Express..there is popped popcorn in the seats...Christmas candy in little bags....and their Christmas light "glasses". We have Christmas music on and we travel around the city looking at lights on all the houses!

Three years ago, I found these glasses like 3D glasses to look at Christmas lights. Some of the glasses turn the lights into snowmen or snowflakes. You can find them in special toy shops...they run about $3! It is so fun to look through them!

After, we stop at Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme and get hot chocolate before we head home! It is so simple but my kids love it! It's cheap...easy...but full of memories that last! I hope one day my kids will share this tradition with their children and pick up "Grandma" on the way!


154 comments:

Daphine said...

Neat! Neat! I love this idea! Thanks for sharing it.

*MARY* said...

What a great family tradition. I hope I remember it for when my kids are older.

Julie said...

that is awesome, too bad we cannot do that here...I wish we could!!! And I cannot believe there is even a choice between Krispy Kreme and Duncan Doughnuts.... Krispy Kreme... YUM!!!

"Hello... It's Me Again..." said...

Sounds like a fun time together! I'll keep my eyes open for the special glasses. We love looking at lights!

Thanks for sharing your traditions!

Jessica Russo said...

How adorable is that?!?!?!?!?!?!?

tardevil said...

Oh, that is a great tradition. I use to love going to look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve when all the work had been done, and we were just waiting for Christmas morning, but we moved away, and it's not as much fun. Have a great time! I bet the kids can't wait!

Grace said...

Can I be one of your kids? That sounds SO fun!!! If my boys weren't grown, I would surely begin that tradition. I'm still gonna keep it in mind...

Becky said...

That is so great! I'm gonna ask My love if we could do something like this. We usually go on Christmas Eve to look at lights but I like this idea better.

mysteryhistorymom said...

What a wonderful tradition! We are SO going to do that this year!! Thanks for the inspiration!:) Lori

Heather said...

I so have to copy that idea! I love it because it is simple and the kids love and remember it forever!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

This is absolutely one of THE BEST Christmas traditions I have ever heard of. I love it so much that I want to sneak over to your house and be part of the Minivan Express Ride! :) When my daughter gets a little older, I am going to start doing this...I love it!!!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

OH MY WORD!!! What a FANTASTIC tradition......and so much fun for everyone!! I have never seen those glasses, but they sound awesome.....Nick would love this and I think Sarah is old enough this year too!! You are so creative.....I can't wait for tomorrows post!!!

Happy Monday!

Lisa

The Blonde Duck said...

That is so sweet! I love that.

April said...

Even though my girls are 16 and 12, I still think they would LOVE this...it's all about FAMILY TIME! Great, great idea...I'll definitely be putting it to use this season!!

Be sure to hop on over...today is my 100th post giveaway!! Woo hoo!! ;)

Davisix said...

What a fantastic idea! Will you adopt me? xoxo Ang

Mrs. S. said...

I love this!!

Sunny said...

Seriously I have tears in my eyes right now because this is such a precious family tradition. These are the moments that I long to share with my children (if/when). I think it's so precious that you and your husband go thru the trouble of making it exciting with the tickets and popcorn. That's awesome! I hope you all share this joy for your lifetime.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is such a great idea. We do drive and look at lights, but the whole ticket thing is just wonderful. You are making great memories for your kids...I also hope they keep it up and leave YOU a ticket one day under your sheet.
take care,
SUZ

lmerie said...

LOVE IT! What a great time and a great memory they will carry with them!

Liz said...

This sounds a very fun family tradition. I am sure your kids will treasure this forever.

Sarah said...

Oh, I can't wait until we can do this with our baby girl! This sounds like so much fun and what a treat for your children to find the ticket! I want to go check my pillow right now to see if there is a ticket!
As a child, we used to go out several nights to look at the Christmas lights too, they are great memories!

Ruby Red Slippers said...

I am going to do this with a ticket! We always do a "Christmas lights tour" in pjs and popcorn, but I love the ticket!! I am going to ask you a question on facebook, when I get a chance today-I need some blog help!
Can't wait to hear another tradition!

Smelling Coffee said...

What a fun tradition! We usually choose a night and play games, drink cocoa, then drive around and look at the lights. I like the element of surprise... Thanks for sharing - and I'll look forward to more of your great ideas!

Moi said...

that has got to be the cutest most fun holiday tradition ever! I am green with envy! I don't have kids though so I will have to wait....I wonder what my husband would do?? hee hee

heather said...

That is the cutest idea I have ever heard! I am so going to copy this one day when I've got kiddos.

AndreaLeigh said...

Great idea! I love it. We did something similar growing up (in going to see lights) but the tickets and the other little touches make it so fun and special!

Maria said...

What a great idea that I 'm sure you kids love and will carry on.

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

What a great tradition! My kids would love this -- I think we'll be copying you on this one! :)

Melissa Ellen Tweak said...

that is really neat! there is a little town in VA and they have teeny tiny houses (midget sized) that are decorated. It is really neat!!!

I bet your beautiful children will cherish these traditions forever and ever!

jennykate77 said...

OMGosh! That sounds so fun!! Can I come this year? LOL :) Thanks for the really fun idea! I'm going to put this one to good use :)

Oh, and I left a bloggy award on my page for you!

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

What a GREAT idea...and GREAT memory maker!!!!

Can I come??

Jillene said...

How fun!! What a great tradidion!!

Debbie said...

This sounds wonderful. Thanks for the thought!

Emily said...

Great Tradition. Good thing I have a minivan so I can start this tradition. Thanks for Sharing!

Joanna said...

Love the tradition! We do a similar thing. Christmas Eve night, we all gather in the car and listen to Christmas music and spend about 2 hours driving around some of the fancy neighborhoods. This was something that we did when I was little and so I carried it on with my family!

Jan said...

I found those glasses to last year. I think we had the angels and the snowflakes. So fun and great stuffers.

You have some neat things going on in your family. Thanks for sharing.

Tracy's Porch said...

This is so awesome!!!!!

Elena said...

I LOVE this!!! I'm so doing it this year. We go light looking, but I love the tickets and fun. too cute. Thanks for sharing a fun tradition.

Lindsey said...

This is such a creative idea, love it!

JVS said...

woohoo...i have just found another great tradition to add for my family...thanks so much for sharing!!

Me said...

What a fun tradition. Its things like this that build bonds and make memories that last through the eternities!

Preppy 101 said...

That is the best idea! So precious! :) When my kids were younger and still at home, we always did the "drive around and look at the Christmas lights", but never with tickets and all that. That is FABULOUS!!! Other traditions include drinking eggnog out of these special sterling cups that I have; fudge; party mix... They love that!

Kim @ My Journey said...

That sounds so fun!! I saw those glasses at Lowe's and now I know just what we can do with them.... Thanks!

Joy said...

Oh my goodness, what a magical night! You are always up to something- I miss you! You even put the magic in Christmas for me! Would 3 hours be too long to come down to Christmas shop?

Jboo said...

Fabulous idea -- I will definitely be copying you! Have a great week!

Janet

Valarie Lea said...

This is such an awesome idea!!!!

Katie said...

Love this idea, thanks so much, love it love it love it!!!

nikkicrumpet said...

VERY COOL! I almost wish mine were little again so I could start this tradition. Oh wait..that would me the teen years over again. Never mind! But I do think this is such a cute and fun idea. You guys rock as parents!

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

So fun....we do something like it, but don't leave the golden ticket. I love that. We wait til they are all tucked in...which is SO late these days with older ones, and then do a "fire drill, " and go look at Christmas lights. That too has to be tweaked since with teens now, everyone's lights are turned off by that time. May have to "borrow" the ticket. :)

Carrie said...

That is a great idea! I love going to look at Christmas lights.

Our Complete Family said...

We do this but not with the neatness of the tickets and popcorn. Yep~ I'm so going to steal your idea and run with it girl! How neat and fun for all of your family! We have those glasses for Bryce and have some drive through Christmas light places locally (a few towns decorate their parks and a local Shrine has tons of lights!).
Thanks for sharing hun~
Hugs, Les

Angie said...

Such a wonderful tradition! You and your husband sound like awesome parents!

Chris said...

I wish there was so award I could give you for "best holiday idea EVER"! I'm serious. This is brilliant! Thanks to you, I'll be the best mom ever when I do this! :)

AJ said...

Oh my gosh! That is the best! Do you mind if I steal it?!?! Every year we drive through two specific neighborhoods that go all out on their light displays. On one street Santa is actually handing out candy canes to all who drive through. I love the idea of the surprise with the ticket!

the undomesticated wife said...

I think blogger ate my post... I *know* I left you a comment earlier!

I think this is a fun tradition! I bet your kids will carry it on with their kids and so forth!

Domestic Diva....NOT said...

Ooh what a great idea :) thank you for stopping by my blog :)

Darlene said...

What a FABULOUS tradition. We always go look at Christmas lights but you certainly do it in a FUN way!!!

Becky said...

What a super cool idea!

Ashley Griffin said...

how awesome!!! what a great idea! that is the kind of thing that your kids will remember for the rest of their lives:)

Quiche Me, I'm Yours! said...

First of all I laughed so hard when I read what you said to your kids before the pics. It sounds so much like what I would and have said in the past. Secondly I absolutely love your traditions and I can't wait to read more.

Montee said...

We always rode around and looked at lights when I was a child and when I had children, we took them to look at lights. Your way sounds a lot more fun!

edie+steve said...

Now this one I'm definitely gonna try. Sounds like big fun!

Jenni @ nest to keep said...

That is such a super idea! I know our kids would LOVE that, and can't wait to share this with my husband. We love to go Christmas light looking, and what a fun way to turn it into an even more special event! :) Have a great night!

RosyRose said...

Oh that sounds like so much fun! I love stuff like that! And I bet my kids would love it more!
Thanks for the great idea Sandy Toes!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Sandy, I love your blog! I was up in the bird's nest working on tomorrow's post when you came callling. I'm ever so glad you found my blog so I could find yours!

And what a clever idea! I want to wake up and find my ticket to hop in the van with my magic glasses! What a wonderful Christmas tradition you've started and one that will be loved and cherished by your children throughout their lives.

I knew from the minute I heard Nat King Cole's voice that this would be a place I'd enjoy. Thanks for popping over and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for me to follow! ;-)

XO,

Sheila

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Sandy, I just read this to my husband and we both got all teary just thinking about how fun this would be with our kids. Nina is only two and might not get the "ticket" concept but I think we have to copy this tradition! Thank you!
Carrie

Jerri Lynn @ Southern Sassyness said...

Love this - what a great idea!!

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

YOu Inspire me. Yes, this is simple but sometimes we forget just how simple it is to make memories! Thanks for the reminder and again love your ideas!!!!

Saucy said...

Simple ideas like this are pure genius and things the kids will remember forever!

vicki said...

fyi .. beuhlers has the glasses for 1.99 this year!

Lora said...

What a fun idea!! My kiddos would love this. Thanks for sharing!

Organizing Mommy said...

That is soooo sweet! I love your ideas!

Sarah @ ThriftyDecorChick said...

How FUN. A house on the way home tonight had a ton of lights up and my almost two year old was sooo digging it. I could have just burst with excitement for him. My mom was so great about traditions and I can't wait to start a slew of them with our son!!

Liza said...

omg I love this idea so much I think I am going to have to make a new tradition in our house!! Hope you don't mind :)

Ms. Tee said...

How completely darling! :)

Rach said...

I know I am behind but thanks for stopping by to check in on me. I will be back to blogging soon! I LOVE this idea it is too cute! We will be starting that tradition this year! Thanks!

Sara said...

Oh Sandy Toes that sounds like so much fun! This sounds way better than our typical Christmas light drive...it's all about the presentation, baby! I hope I can remember this when Jonah is older. Happy SITS day!

Jane said...

what a terrific idea! my kids are all grown, but i'm going to share this with my daughter who has little ones AND a minivan!!!

Rocio @ CasaHaus said...

What a beautiful tradition!!! It had never occured to me...

Kristin said...

We do the hot chocolate, jammies, and Christmas lights tradition but I am definitely going to start the "golden ticket" part of the tradition when my kiddos get a bit older. I love that!!

Misty said...

So cute! Thanks so much for sharing this great tradition!!!!

The Dapper Darling said...

so cute! Happy Sits

Jamie said...

That is such a wonderful tradition! I would love to start this with my family when my kids get older. Thank you so much for sharing! :-)

Missy said...

I am SO using this idea!! What a cheap, but very fun and memorable tradition to have.


Stopping by from SITS.

Cindy @ Chalk it Up! said...

What a sweet tradition!
You sound like awesome parents!

Lucy said...

Love it!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I love this idea! How fun that would be for the whole family! My husband and I sometimes walk around the neighborhood some December night looking at the lights but we don't have the popcorn or hot chocolate. I like that ticket idea too.

Here's a link to one of our Christmas traditions growing up:
http://karenzemek.blogspot.com/2008/12/harrys-tip-to-parents-favorite.html

Happy SITS day!

Liz said...

this is such a great and simple idea. I'm totally stealing it...Happy SITS day.

Maya said...

I LOVE this idea. going out to see christmas lights is one of my fave holiday traditions. Making it a surprise adventure...how magical!

Joy said...

What a charming thing to do with your kids!

Happy SITS day!

Kelly said...

I LOVE this idea! I'm already trying to figure out how to fit this in my family. Sounds so precious.

sandy said...

What a fabulous thing to do! I may just have to start a new tradition with my kids this year! I love it!

The Mommyologist said...

This is great and I'm loving this idea! I wonder if it would have the same effect in a Jeep Liberty?

leigh said...

First of all, I'd like to say Happy SITS day. Next up...I love the layout of your Blog. It's so crisp and pretty. Lastly...will you be my mommy please? What a great tradition. As soon as my little boogers are old enough, we will take on this tradition as well. Thanks for sharing.

It's lovely to meet you,
Leigh

Creative Junkie said...

How stinkin' cute is that tradition? And those glasses are the coolest - we picked some up at Lowes the other day. I love 'em!

missy said...

oh my gosh.......AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!
what a great tradition for your children to pass on!!!!
I LOVE IT!!!!!!

tinahead81 said...

that is a fantastic tradition!! def going to start doing that!! thanks for sharing!

happy sits day!

Post-Modern Jen said...

Aw! I can't wait to try this with my kids. I have to say I'm a little too excited about the stopping at Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme afterwards :)

Yaya said...

That's awesome!

Lanie said...

I LOVE it! This year is all about spending less money and making more memories for my family. Gonna have to start this tradition I think! ~Lanie

Jennifer Juniper said...

I might have to try this! Imagine how exciting it would be to find the ticket! What a great mom :)

Tammy Howard said...

Cute, cute, cute!!!

Working Mommy said...

What a GREAT idea!! I can't wait until the babe is old enough to appreciate things like this :) It is definitely going on my list of things to do with her...and what a great tradition to start!!

Happy Hump Day SITStah!!

~Working Mommy
Come on by, stay for a while and leave a comment or two!

Angelia said...

This is really cool! What memories. I hope they do pass along the tradition.

Sincerely, Jenni said...

This makes me wish my kids were younger, because I would totally steal this idea!

Unfortunately, when they are teenagers they don't get excited about anything except their latest text message.

K a b l o o e y said...

This sounds like such a blast. And its something we could do as a non-Christmas-celebrating family. I always felt gypped as a kid because we didn't do lights and decorations, but this will be a little make-up for my daughter. Thanks! And happy SITS day to you.

glenna said...

WONDERFUL IDEA. Your children are so lucky to have you as their momma!

Kimmy C said...

You just saved me! We have been wanting to do the local Polar Express here for a while now, but we are never informed when the lottery comes around to sign-up at your chance to win a ticket. Needless to say, I just found out we missed it again. And then I go to SITS and find you and this post! I am so excited to do this with my kiddos this year. Although it may not be a train or have santa, I think this will be just as special and exciting for the kids! Thank you so much for sharing.

karen@fitnessjourney said...

That just brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful memory you are creating for your children. I would bet my last dollar that each of your children will have this same tradition when they have families of their own.

Congratulations of your SITS day!

betty said...

I do love this idea!That is awesome.!!
Love your blog too.

Jenn said...

That totally makes me think of all the wonderful stuff my Mom always did for us. Your kids will have these memories for the rest of their lives and a lovely tradition to pass down.
Congrats on being a FB!

Marie said...

I love this and I promise you're kids will carry on the tradition...Wonderful, I wish I could find a golden ticket under my pillow. ;)

Em and Cammie said...

I LOVE this tradition!!! SO easy and simple yet the memory will live with them forever...I am SO doing this!!! Thanks!

Lisa M said...

Great idea! I'm stealing this one too :) It's very low cost and still give the kids a thrill for christmas! Thanks for sharing. I'm off to read your next post of christmas traditions! Happy SITS day!

Eva Gallant said...

I so wish I'd thought of this when my kids were little. I'm going to pass the idea on to them, though, and maybe they'll start it with their kids!

Happy SITS day!

Laura said...

I always loved looking at Christmas lights with my kids. They are 13 and 19 now & don't get as excited as they used to.

Anti-Supermom said...

Cannot tell you how much I love this idea!

Thank you.

Happy Featured Blogger Day~

Kmama said...

Happy SITS day. What a great tradition. I just might have to incorporate that with my kids when they get a bit older!!

Tonya said...

What a neat tradition! I am going to have to start my own this year! :)

Jenn Erickson said...

Wow! Really...Wow! I think you are going to inspire a lot of people to start a new family tradition this year, including me! What a wonderful, magical gift to give your family each year. I can hardly wait to get started! I've been so flipped out about the holidays coming on so quickly, but this incredible idea of yours has turned my reluctance to joyful anticipation. Thanks! Happy SITS DAY!

Robin said...

So much fun....We used to do something similar when the girls were small....minus the tickets; which I think is so original and oh so cute.

Helen McGinn said...

Oh, how lovely! Your kids must just love it! xx

Baby Sweetness said...

I LOVE THIS IDEA! My daughter is a bit young yet, but we will absolutely have to do this when she is older.

Momnerd said...

We always drive around and look at the lights but I love how you do it! I am definitely doing that this year, so fun! Hello from SITS!

sweetjeanette said...

What a great, super-spactacular thing!!!!! I love it! I have to relay this to my neice for her kids!
Now I'm on a mission to find those 3-D glasses!!!

(Stopping by from SITS)

sweetjeanette.blogspot.com

Clarinda said...

This is just about the best, most creative Christmas tradition I've ever heard of! When I have kids, I totally want to do this!!

(stopping by from SITS)

marit said...

how awesome! i love that idea. thanks for sharing!
~ marit

Quasi Serendipita said...

It sounds great - can I come next time?

Tater Tot Mom said...

We do something similar but I've never thought of the tickets! What a cute idea, especially since my son LOVES trains! Happy SITS day!

Reluctant Housewife said...

I love this idea. We always drive around to look at the Christmas light, but I love how you make it an occasion. I'm going to try this this year... We don't have a minivan, so I guess the kids will get tickets to the 'Corolla Express'. :)

Zeemaid said...

I love the idea. We do something similar in that on Christmas Eve we take a drive before going home for the evening to look at all the lights. I love the minivan express idea especially since my kids have really gotten into the Polar Express movie this year.

Great post!!! Lovely traditions.

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

I've never been a big fan of the polar express...but I like this! I always used to go "Christmas Light Watching" with my grandparents as a kid, but this takes it up to a whole new level of fun!

Alex Fitzpatrick aka Ma What's 4 Dinner said...

I love it. What a wonderful idea. I must admit that many times I have thrown the kids into the car at night in December to look at lights but I LOVE your minivan express idea with the tickets and popcorn and I will tell you in advance that I am totally ripping off your idea!!!! Thanks a million!

Pink & Green Mama said...

Happy SITS day!!
We drive around and look at the lights every year and we have the same glasses but we only use them with our tree -- I'm totally upping our game this year and adding your tradition (the tickets, popcorn, etc!!) So fun and a memory your children will always treasure.

Date Girl said...

I love this tradition! I was just talking with my boyfriend last night about what how great family traditions are, and how one day we'll have our own for our kids. I am loving the minivan express! :-)

teena said...

Oh how fun!! I've always dreamed of the day when I can pack up my kids & drive around, looking at all of the Christmas lights. But now I'm super excited about the idea of making it even more fun!
Our daughter is only 7 months old right now, but I don't see the harm in me & hubby "practicing" this tradition ;)

Miss Dot said...

This might just be the most fantastic Christmas light tradition I've ever heard of! I can only imagine the excitement building in your kids as they anticipate the day they pull back their covers to find a golden ticket. Though we don't have children of our own, yet, we will have to make this one a tradition of our own!!

Heather @ Sugar N Spice Mostly Nice said...

I am soooo stealing this idea! What a fantastic memeory you have created for your children, LOVE IT!!

Bec said...

This is a great tradition!! I want to have this be MY new tradition...even though I don't have any kids! :)

Lis @ ATruckerWife said...

What an adorable idea!! I love it!

Rachel said...

What a neat idea! That sounds like a very creative and fun tradition.

2busy said...

This sounds like a fun tradition. We usually go the Monday before Christmas and we go get Icee's...

withoutadornment said...

That is such a great tradition! I love driving around to look at people's Christmas lights.

Happy SITS day!

Kim said...

So sweet. We do something similar, but yours is so much cooler w/tickets. I wish I would have thought of it.
@cheapchichome.blogspot.com

greedygrace said...

I love this idea! I made a mental note to do with this when my kiddos are a bit older!

Vickie said...

Wow! That is such a good idea! I will have to bring this up with my husband!

When did I become my Mom said...

whaaaat a GREAT IDEA!!!!!!
you're such a cool mom! Our holiday season doesn't start until we've seen Polar Express. Way to go creating memories mama!!

teachmama said...

omg!! love, love, love it! I especially love the little special touches--the golden ticket, the popcorn, the glasses....gracias, amiga, for another super tradition!!

Melissa said...

I just stumbled across your blog today. I love this idea! I am off to look for those magic glasses!

African American Mom said...

I am so stealing this idea! I love it!

African American Mom said...

I am so stealing this idea! I love it!

Meg said...

That sounds like so much fun! I love it. I've always loved driving around looking at lights; this would make it even more special!

BJ Brinker's Home Cooking said...

Wish my kids were young again so I could do this with them. They did love going out looking at lights and what would thrill them most was when we got it the subs they could unhook there seat belts to look at the lights (different time the, didn't have the seatbelt laws). I posted this page on my facbook for others to see. Love, love, love the idea.

Crystal @ Ordinary Days said...

Wonderful idea! I will have to steal this one this year. :)