|not my tree - from the Carousel at Butchart Gardens|
A tradition with our grandchildren is some concentrated time spent with them together in the month preceding Christmas. Our youngest, almost 6 months old, and living elsewhere, couldn't join us this year, but perhaps she will in the future. We've done several overnights, visited various attractions and have always had a good time.
Our time this year began with crafting a set of three paper houses (one is a church) with each child. A friend of mine has a fancy Cricut and cut the houses for us, so we folded and glued and the children were thrilled to get three LED tealights to put in the houses.
After lunch and some play time there was cookie decorating! Sprinkles everywhere! We played Blokus (the kids came up with some creative new rules), built forts, and watched a very short movie.
During crafting time the children each decorated a snowflake. Butchart Gardens was next on the list and the snowflakes were exchanged for hot chocolate at the coffee shop. Best of all, the beverage was served at drinking temperature so there were no burned tongues!
The Gardens are full of Christmas magic. One attraction is the elaborate train track set in a wintry landscape. Young and old stand mesmerized watching the trains go round, through tunnels, and up and down snowy hills. There are a multitude of scenes to admire.
Sunday was the official Light Up for the gardens, so we had our hot chocolate and watched the train, then went up to the Carousel for a ride - Nana rode a zebra - and then counted down with the crowd until the switch was pulled and the darkness transformed into a glittering wonderland.
Those Three French Hens sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower enjoy their tea even more under spotlights! We wandered through the gardens looking for the Twelve Days of Christmas, and there was much singing of the song en route.
Here is the Sunken Garden. I heard young Felix explaining that "the Sunken Garden is the masterpiece of Butchart Gardens" and I laughed to myself as I heard his mother's voice in his words.
It would take much better photography skill than I possess to do it justice. Instead, I set my camera mode to "Glittering Illuminations" and was rewarded with okay photos, and an overkill of star-shaped bokeh.
And here they are, some of the people I love best in this world, walking into the Italian Gardens, nearing the end of our garden jaunt.
On the way home, Sadie sang the Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas song, and we all joined in. It begins with "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a porcupine in a pine tree." There is a book by Helaine Becker, and it's very cute.
And now it's Monday morning. Some house tidying to do, and a little bit of Christmas preparation before I head off to teach classes. Wishing you all a most lovely day, and a new week of joy.
edited to add: A number of people have mentioned that they are unable to leave comments on the blog. I'm not sure what's happening, but I'm looking into it. When I go view my blog from a web browser, I can't even open comments to read them. Grrrr.