Tag Archives: Christmas

Candy Cane Mailbox

My kids will try to beg, borrow, and steal any CANDY CANE they come across at Christmas time. I am surely the grinch of all things sweet, as I try to monitor my little ones’ sugar intake at this time of the year. Admittedly, there are a few really stale mini candy canes decorating our tree; I pull them out of the decorations box each year and re-use them again and again. They don’t get eaten because my kids know they’re stale and soft. Otherwise I don’t buy them. Usually I say no to CANDY CANES entirely, and I guess that feeds into their fever to get their hands on one every single Christmas.

But perhaps I’m softening over the years, too.

North Pole Mail Box www.growingsigns.com
Today we came across a cute, decorated mailbox that was a direct line to the North Pole for kids’ letters to Santa while strolling down Robson Street downtown. As I had suspected, my son couldn’t resist pulling open the hatch and looking inside the mailbox. His face absolutely lit up when he found two CANDY CANES. I had secretly placed them in there before they noticed the mail box, and you should have seen their expressions when they found such a treasure!

(Okay I admit, it is a little grinch-y to make my son stand still for a photo and sign CANDY CANE before opening it up).

Do you let your little ones eat CANDY CANES?

To sign CANDY CANE in American Sign Language, sign CANDY by twisting your index finger beside the mouth, then trace out the hook shape of a CANDY CANE with your index finger and thumb.

How to Sign CANDY CANE in American Sign Language www.growingsigns.com

2 Tickets to Ride


After watching The Polar Express movie last Christmas, I put my carefully planned idea into place: to take our two kids on our very own middle of the night “train” ride.

Wow, was it ever fun to wake them up in their beds and hand them their own Polar Express tickets!

I initially got the idea to make our own Polar Express ride last year from a mom-friend who joked about how she & her husband would pile their kids into their Polar Express (aka family minivan) to go look at decorated houses and Christmas lights at night. That was a tradition we had, too (there’s some great neighbourhoods in town whose houses dazzle us with their light displays and festive, glowing yards each year) and our kids always love to go touring to see them. So last year I put her homemade train idea & our light tour tradition together!

After watching the movie after an early dinner, we went to bed as usual. I tried to time it so they would be asleep slightly earlier than usual. About 45 minutes after they were solidly asleep, the plan was put in place. I made hot chocolate for all of four us and put it in a thermos with our traveling mugs, which I put in the car. I played the movie’s train-approaching music and had the 2 tickets I had made earlier with my colour printer ready.

Then I started calling, “ALL ABOARD!” outside their bedrooms to wake them up.

They woke up so incredibly confused! I handed each of them their ticket and ushered them downstairs to put on their boots and coats over their pajamas. I announced that the Steyns family Polar Express was outside waiting, and we were off to look at holiday lights and have hot chocolate. The grins on their faces were wider than ear to ear. Once the confusion wore off, they were super excited to be heading off on a family adventure in the dark!


Being a parent at Christmastime allows me to experience the wonder-filled days leading up to Christmas, singing songs, reading books together and watching movies through my kids’ eyes. This year both my 7 year old & 11 year old hear the bell and believe in Santa, and I’m really savouring every Christmas moment we can celebrate the magic. I’m sure you can recall your own family’s little traditions and unique holiday memories. Have you ever turned a favourite movie into real life?

Merry Christmas, I am off to watch the Polar Express tonight!
Lee Ann