One of our family's favorite traditions is going to see the lights at the Opryland Hotel. If you've never been, I would highly recommend putting it on your bucket list. It's just so magical, and it never gets old, no matter how may times we go.
Eric and I know that many, ok most, of our traditional Christmas activities will fade away as the kids outgrow them, but this is something we can do with them forever and something we can do with their children one day, Lord willing.
They might not always be so eager to sit in Santa's sleigh, and they may too cool to act like they know us during their teenage years. But deep down in their hearts, I hope they always treasure these memories.
I will forever have images like the one above etched in my heart. Nothing is sweeter than a child standing in complete awe of the largest tree they have ever seen. It just warms my heart, ya'll!
We normally head out on December 23rd because crowds are light, and we can take our time getting back to Bowling Green since we don't have to work on Christmas Eve. However, we went a day early this year since Eric's parents were in town for the day. It was the best of both worlds, and the kids were thrilled to see them.
Ellie was completely overwhelmed. Even though she's been twice. she didn't remember any of it. In fact, she thought we were at the North Pole. Ha! About the time she pointed it out, Santa walked by and she flipped out. It was adorable!
I do want to document that the poinsettia tree was her favorite. We call her our "flower child," and she lived up to the name, squealing in delight when she saw the tree.
It was actually warm enough and dry enough to walk around outside this year, and once again, the kids were thrilled. It's a true winter wonderland.
I love that even with all of the attractions, the kids are genuinely thrilled and probably most excited to see the nativity scene. He is the reason for the season!
Back inside, Eric stopped and bought us a little gelato/cookie snack while I took Ellie on a potty break, then we were off to discover the final two conservatories.
Up until this point, Ellie had refused to get out of the stroller, which is completely uncharacteristic. She wanted to ride and take it all, but walking "behind" the waterfall peeked her interest, and it was Eli's favorite part of the whole trip. It's the small things, ya'll!
This is the first year that we've ever had family with us, and it made the trip so enjoyable. The kids loved having Nan, Grandad, and Colby, and we loved the extra company! In fact, it was the longest we have ever stayed.
In another year or two, we will splurge on the "extra" activities and take them to ICE, the shows, and the shops. But for now, we are content to stroll through the hotel and take in the winter wonderland.
After leaving the hotel, we said our goodbyes to Eric's family and headed to dinner. Eli chose Cracker Barrel, which ended hitting the spot.
After a quick change into pajamas in the parking lot, we got back on the interstate and headed home. We were hoping the kids would fall asleep, but no such luck. The good news is that they went to bed pretty easily when we got home.
This was our last big outing before Christmas. Eric and I had to work yesterday, and today we are busy getting everything ready for Santa. It's going to be an exciting few days!