Ahhh ... The Polar Express.
I think that most communities have a Polar Express train at this time of the year. Basically, you buy tickets, board the train, get some cocoa and cookies, and ride around while Frosty and Rudolph visit you and they read The Polar Express. Once you arrive at the North Pole, Santa hops onboard to sing carols and say hello to the kids and then you head back home.
One catch ... the tickets are EXTREMELY difficult to get your hands on. In our town, the tickets are rumored to sell out in the first day that they are on sale (in October!). I failed two years in a row before I finally snagged a stack of tickets for the train this year.
As luck would have it, it was 7 degrees outside on our Polar Express night. Not only was it 7 degrees, but it was WINDY and DARK. The combination led for a PAINFULLY COLD night. On top of that, the trains are antiques. Enclosed but unheated antique trains. Oh man! You can guess where this is going! With the windchill, it was -20 outside that night! NEGATIVE TWENTY! We have never been so cold. Ever. Period.
I was prepared. I knew that the trains were unheated. I had the kids in their full snowsuits, hats, scarves, gloves, boots. They all had handwarmers in their pockets and gloves. But the walk from the car to the train was outrageous! It was cold. Have I said it was cold? Can I make this clear to you? It was cold. The windows on the train were completely iced over with those crystal-y beautiful icicle windows and it wasn't so awful in the train, but getting to and from the train was a problem. It was cold.
Coldness aside, the actual train ride was fun. The kids loved meeting Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph. They each got a new conductor's hat, a Santa sleigh bell, and a train whistle. We all got hot cocoa and cookies. We liked the singing and the train ride and we liked being together and having a crazy story to tell. It was a very funny night.