It was the Doodle's first ever sleepover party. A December birthday and our family love of trains made the theme an easy choice - A Polar Express Pajama Party! We kept things simple, and had simply a trainload of fun!!
I started here
, and then added other Christmassy train ideas. Invitations were, of course, tickets to ride on the Polar Express. As guests arrived, Woody-the-conductor took tickets and pictures on the front-porch platform. After baggage had been stowed, passengers were escorted to the Dining Car because we needed the table for crafting! We had pre-cut and punched very large stockings made from brown-paper grocery bags. Each girl laced up and decorated her own stocking, which was later filled with movie-watching treats. The Polar Express movie soundtrack
, a birthday gift from our Vancouver friends, added atmosphere as it played in the background during the whole party (except for when we were watching the movie).
We had games planned (Conductor Says, Snow Blowers, Polar Express Pick Up) but ended up not needing them. The girls visited and laced, while sipping hot chocolate (or apple cider) until Jelly got back from her Downtown Disney Scavenger Hunt. It was an Activity Day activity for the 9-10 year-old girls from church. She did her stocking early, so as not to miss out on the fun, and we used it as a sample to show the guests.
We gathered in the Lounge Car for present opening (Doodle made the same wish for each gift-giver before she opened their gift - that she would have a very, Merry Christmas), then trouped back to the Dining Car for cupcakes and peppermint icecream. Each girl decorated her own snowman-face cupcake
, then the Doodle made her magic wish and blew out eight candles on a snowflake cake.
Passengers donned pjs and spread out sleeping bags in the Sleeping Car, then the Conductor passed out filled stockings and started the movie. We actually had only one guest who hadn't seen it before, but the magic was still there for all of us, so each passenger who "truly believed" received a Christmas bell.
Lights were out just AFTER toothbrushing (a must after all the goodies!), singing Away in a Manger
, a family & friends bedtime prayer, and just BEFORE midnight.
Breakfast was turkey bacon, scrambled cheesy eggs, milk, and juice, supplied by the dining car staff (assisted by NJB, one of our cute nieces who happens to be a very good cook!), and personalized snow-people biscuits created, decorated, and devoured by the girls.
Thank-you-for-coming-to-my-Polar-Express-Party goodie bags included a booklet we made from free puzzles, coloring, and story pages found on the www, lots of Christmas-train items (crayons, notepad, pencil, stickers galore), a mini Connect-Four-style game that was a huge hit, and twisty-type red/green/white lollipops, all from Oriental Trading Co
., and the favorite, a classic Christmas candy train
for each passenger, made by Doodle and I the day before the party.
Even when the party was officially over, the fun continued because we had out-of-town cousins in town. The girls played, inside and out, all day long! It was awesome to see them strengthening their relationships and making some memories.
We took Jelly and Doodle, and the three visiting cousins to our church Christmas party later that night. It was a wonderfully-done Christmas Around the World. We learned some holiday customs and traditions and sampled festive foods from fifteen different countries. (Wonderwood Academy is going to do a whole MONTH of Christmas Around the World in 2008, as part of an online co-op sponsored by Hands of a Child!) A Sing-Along Christmas pageant followed, with Jelly as one of the beautiful angelic messengers. Doodle invited our neighbor's tiny granddaughter (who adores her!) to sit with her during the pageant. Adorable!
Not to forget - Cousins were safely delivered home late Saturday night and we spent Sunday with family, chillin' and then attending the Christmas concert of the combined Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park stakes (directed by Frank Turner), where one of Woody's sisters added her voice to the soprano section. We even visited with a couple of folks from our old ward after the concert. A nice night.
From the train platform to the First Christmas story pageant to the holiday concert, many memories we'll all treasure were made this weekend!
Labels: birthday, Christmas, family, holidays, homeschool, music, trains