I had seen something similar to this on Pinterest and I thought it was such a sweet idea! How it works is you do your normal bedtime routine. And just when the kids think they're going to bed, BAM. They find a little golden ticket under their pillow. That's when you as a super cool mom tell them it's indeed NOT time for bed and they're going to drive around and look at Christmas lights on their own "Polar Express". Complete with hot chocolate and popcorn, of course. So this is how you prepare. While the kiddos are getting ready to get into bed, that's when you prepare the stuff you need. You can make hot chocolate and pop some popcorn. This is where Dad can come in handy to keep them out of the kitchen and in their rooms. I actually went ahead and prepared a Christmas popcorn mix earlier in the day. It's just 2 cups of plain popped popcorn, a 1/2 bag melted white chocolate chips, and then I threw in some red and green M&M's, gumdrops, and Christmas sprinkles. I put them in cute little popcorn containers I picked up at the dollar store and wrapped them with plastic wrap so the popcorn wouldn't become hard. I made a batch of Polar Express hot chocolate in the crock pot earlier in the day as well. If you haven't tried this hot chocolate, it's a MUST. The recipe is all over Pinterest claiming to be the best hot chocolate you'll ever have. And they were RIGHT. I'll never make the little instant packages again. I also printed out a Christmas lights scavenger hunt that I had also found on…..yup, you guessed it. Pinterest. I figured it would keep their little eyes busy looking for certain things instead of just getting hyped up on hot cocoa and not being able to sit still. I had printed the golden tickets from a blog I had come across. But you can also find those on Pinterest as well. Just search for 'golden ticket polar express.' They have a lot of different ones. Or you can use the ones I posted below. I then laminated mine this way the kids can keep them and use them every year. I put their hot chocolate into a cute to go cup I had also picked up at the dollar store. And made some little personalized labels so everyone knew who's stuff was who's. This will remain a surprise every year because they'll never know when those little tickets will be placed under their pillows. And it's become a new favorite tradition of ours.
I'll never get the little one to look at the camera!
* A little tip: I waited until 3 days before Christmas to do this. . If you go too early, a lot of people don't decorate yet. So the later you go, the better chance you'll have to see more lights.