Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice! (yesterday) and Christmas in the Upstate

Christmas sort of snuck up on us this year. Really, I put off all holiday related activities until after our return from Key West and then found two weeks wasn’t nearly enough time to do everything I wanted to do. Somehow we’ve decorated our tree, sent out cards, baked scores of piparkūkas and had some holiday fun in that time, and I’m once again reminded how many wonderful holiday things there are to do with kids in the Upstate.
We missed the downtown Christmas parade this year due to our trip to south Florida, but got our fix of lights at Roper Mountain Science Center’s Holiday Lights (last year's visit here). Lauris politely explained to Santa that he’s already sent his letter off, Mikus took one look and wanted nothing to do with the whole thing, and mom told the photographer “just take the picture,” resulting in a classic photo that caught the moment perfectly. The lights were beautiful and we opted to drive the loop a second time, Lauris and Mikus caught in a daydream looking out the windows.

The trolleys are decorated with Christmas lights, and are a great way to see downtown decked out for the holidays. Ice on Main, the great tree and thousands of twinkling lights strung up and down Main Street helped me shift into holiday gear.

The boys in front of our tree
A comparatively new addition to the Greenville Christmas scene is the Miniature World of Trains. $5 a person will get you in to see the 2013 Christmas Model Train Display, an amazing train setup complete with cities, mountains, lights and about 20 trains! For the older kids there’s a scavenger hunt to complete to get in the running for a prize, but our boys were content with watching the trains circle. Favorites included the Snoopy train, Thomas, and “Snoopy’s friends” (Linus and Lucy).

We’ve been trying to get out of the house even on days when there is nothing Christmas-related on the agenda, and one day we met friends at the Children’s Museum of the Upstate. We were pleasantly surprised that they too have a Christmas display, downstairs in the center room. Lauris was torn between looking at the miniature Christmas scene and watching the holiday video, but both boys tried their hand at cutting out a snowflake and took turns peeking in the giant dollhouse to see what holiday activities the inhabitants were up to.

There have been several Christmas brunches, playdates and cookie making sessions with friends, discussions on the meaning of Christmas, practice reciting our holiday poems, and finally frantic cleaning of house to prepare for the arrival of guests. We are hosting family in South Carolina this year, and yesterday the first wave arrived. Christmas dinner will be for a party of 12 tomorrow, please wish me luck! And as you all turn to the last of your Christmas preparations, start your holiday cooking and complete your traditions of the season, my family and I wish you a bright and merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus un laimīgu Jauno Gadu! Joyeux Noël et bonne année! Merry Christmas y’all!


  1. Oh my gosh-- love the classic Santa picture with Mikus freaking out! You guys will all love that one for years! And Merry Christmas to you four!

  2. That is a great Santa picture~! Christmas in Greenville was always a favorite of mine!

  3. Lovely traditional festive photos! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!

  4. Every single time, when children are visiting Father Christmas, one needs to be scared or tearful. It is rule of Christmas time, and I think, nearly everyone has that kind of pictures in our photo albums. Now Mikus has one, too. Markus also was not keen (was scared and cried) to meet Santa this year, shame, that didn't get chance to picture it!:)

    We wish you a wonderful Christmas Eve, tasty dinners, good presents at Christmas Day and less stress, more love and happiness in the New Year! With love from your friends in the UK- Markus, Lauris, Inese, Valdis XXX

  5. Merry Christmas! It is so much fun when you have little ones! I remember those days! Fun times. There is also a great kids museum in Myrtle Beach (perhaps you know that already!)


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