St. Charles Christmas Traditions 2013

Today was the big day…we made the trip out west for our favorite annual Christmas event–St. Charles Christmas Traditions!

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We went to a new restaurant for lunch…Llywelyn’s Pub. I think this is my favorite place that we’ve gone in all of the years we’ve been going to St. Charles. The restaurant is in the old First National Bank building, which is really cool. There are even tables in the vaults! The food is really good…I had a burger with bacon, onions, and¬†havarti cheese (genius!), and colcannon on the side.

After lunch, we began our walk. I love looking at all of the shop windows, signs, and decorations. You really feel like you’re stepping back in the past!

For the second year, there were also gingerbread houses to see. I loved the Tower Bridge, and the person in charge of the voting (who happened to be British), was impressed that Turkey actually knew the name of the bridge, and didn’t just call it “London Bridge.” I also really like the Toys for Tots display…it was so detailed!

Of course, we hunted for Christmas characters. We got cards from 26 of the 40 that are participating this year, and saw another three of them as they went by. Sadly, we didn’t see the Master of Revels at all (my personal favorite), but we did see Jack Frost, which is almost as good.

All of the buildings are so beautiful, too…it’s such a charming town!

There’s a part of me that dreads when this day comes every year, because it’s over so quickly, but I’ll spend all of the next year looking forward to that day when we go back, and do the whole thing all over again! In the meantime, though, I can enjoy this souvenir Ryan bought me from my favorite little English shop!

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St. Charles Christmas Traditions 2012

Today was one of our most-anticipated events of the year…going to downtown St. Charles, and walking up and down Main Street, taking part in the Christmas Traditions festival.

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We stopped and saw the “Trains on Main” display this year…we haven’t seen it too often, so it was very fun.

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For the first time, St. Charles had a gingerbread house contest…and we love looking at gingerbread houses!

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I especially liked the gingerbread nativity.

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After seeing the trains and houses, it was time for lunch. Usually, we go to Frankie Toco’s for pizza, but they had a 45 minute wait, so we tried a new place, Lewis and Clark’s. I’ve wanted to eat there since the first time we saw it, and I wasn’t disappointed. Their burger wasn’t as good as the Seamus burger, but it was still¬†really good (especially the garlic mayo!)!

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Then the real fun began…looking for Christmas characters, and collecting their cards. This year, the children got 28 out of 35 cards. Not the best year, but not the worst either, and the weather wasn’t great, so I call it a win.

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We were a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see one of our favorite characters, Jack Frost, but we did see evidence of his work!

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We love listening to the Victorian carolers.

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And seeing the drum and fife corps.

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And the architecture is beautiful!

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I also love all of the old-style shop signs.

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We stayed so long, we even got to see the Christmas lights as it began to get dark…a very fun and busy day!

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St. Charles Christmas Traditions 2011

Yesterday was our annual pilgrimage to St. Charles, MO, for the annual “Christmas Traditions” festival, which really goes well with our “Christmas throughout American History” theme in school this year.

There’s just nothing I don’t like about this event–I look forward to it all year long!

I love the historic buildings.

I love the decorations.

I love the Christmas characters.

I love looking in the store windows.

It’s just one of my very favorite things. I remember someone at our church, back when Bunny was still a baby, telling me that we had to go. I was dubious, but the following Christmas, we checked it out, and now, we’ve been for the last six years straight. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to St. Charles–I just wish it wasn’t quite so far away, so we could go more than once during the Christmas season!

Our Favorite Christmas Tradition

It’s that time of year again! We made the trek to St. Charles, MO, to take part in the “Christmas Traditions” festivities. This is something our whole family looks forward to all year long, and probably my second favorite day of any year (with only Easter bringing more joy and excitement). As usual, we started with lunch at Frankie Tocco’s, where we had a St. Louis style pizza. I’m still not sold on that particular creation, but I did have a very delicious piece of tiramisu for dessert.

After lunch, the hunt to track down as many Christmas characters as possible began. This was our best year yet, with our having collected 25/30 cards. We saw four of the remaining characters from a distance, with only one character (the Town Crier) flying completely beneath our radar…I don’t know, he may not have been there at all today. We also heard carolers, and the fife and drum corps, watched the chestnut roasters as work (Turkey and Bunny even tried them, but only Turkey approved), and saw an intricate train display (probably Moose’s favorite part of the whole day!).

We saw the beloved Master of Revels shortly after we arrived. He is my absolute favorite character–his entire job is giving people a hard time. He told Ladybug that she looked like a giraffe with her pointy hat (not entirely untrue), wished children a happy Arbor Day, Valentine’s Day, and Lincoln’s Birthday (but never Merry Christmas), and hassled fellow performer Jack Frost, all while standing on a park bench. He is absolutely hilarious.

The Master of Revels–do *not* refer to him as the Town Crier!

Too bad I didn’t capture the next expression on Jack Frost’s face–as soon as I put the camera down, he sighed and rolled his eyes. He’s almost as funny as the Master of Revels!

This year was the first time Ladybug was really able to participate, and did she ever enjoy it! She collected cards right alongside her older siblings, and she wasn’t at all shy about having her picture taken with the performers. She decided the “purple angel” was her favorite, and she liked Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden), so much that she walked right into her arms for a picture without even asking. That’s OK, though, because Snegurochka really liked Ladybug, too–just like she did last year! I guess they’re old friends, now!

Ladybug and Snegurochka

We even managed to get a few pretty good pictures of all four children together, which, as any parent of more than one child knows, is nothing short of a miracle!

With the Sugar Plum Fairy

God Jul, Santa Lucia!

A Christmas Tradition

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Every year, we go to St. Charles, MO, to take part in their Christmas Traditions festival. There are storybook characters (we got to see Clara and the Nutcracker prince), Santas from around the world (Father Christmas is always a favorite, even though we don’t “do” Santa), as well as other Christmas characters (including my favorite, the Master of Revels, who specializes in giving everyone a hard time).

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The children loved meeting the different characters, and collecting their cards. Out of the 29 available, I think we only missed six characters, which is the best we’ve ever done! One of these years, we’ll find them all.

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We also got to hear several groups of carolers, who stay true to character and only sing carols written prior to about 1890. The fife and drum corps was also quite a hit with the children, and you can hear them coming all the way down the street!

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This is definitely one of our favorite Christmas traditions, and something we look forward to all year long!

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