Early this evening, we took Alex for a ride on the Polar Express.
A nearby trolley museum hosts the Polar Express every year. We found out about this back in September. Although we haven't read the book or seen the movie, we thought this would be a fun activity for Alex, so we went ahead and bought tickets, since they sell out quickly.
After Alex woke up from his nap, we drove to the station. It's located in a forest preserve, but we were still able to find it without too much trouble. We had to wait about half an hour before we were able to board. It was a short train (two cars), but the inside was decorated for Christmas. Alex sat on my lap, so I didn't have much room to move.
Once the train departed at a slow pace, volunteers in chef costumes came around with hot chocolate and cookies. Another volunteer read the first part of the story; another person walked around displaying the book. Then two more people, one playing a guitar, led us in singing carols.
It wasn't long before we arrived at the "North Pole." Santa and Mrs. Claus boarded the train. After a bit of joshing, they went around and gave bells to all the children. We sang a song or two, then returned to the first station. The second part of the trip was similar to the first.
Alex didn't seem to know what to make of everything at first. He was quiet and looked around a lot. He didn't say much to Santa, but he took it in stride. He also enjoyed playing with his bell. After a while, Alex warmed up (perhaps the cookie had something to do with that). I think next year he'll get more out of it. It was a fun activity that I think will become a family tradition for us, at least as long as Alex believes.