With the holidays drawing nearer, I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite family traditions. My daughter is just hitting that age where she’s making real memories, and my husband and I want to create that spirit of family, joy and tradition that we both treasure so dearly from our own childhoods. There are so many different ideas to choose from, and with inspiration coming from all sides, we’ve had a lot of fun thinking about how we could incorporate them into our seasonal celebrations, and come up with some brand new ones, too!
One of my favorites from growing up was driving around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights. I remember the thrill when my parents would bundle up my brother and I and we’d pack into the car one quiet, chilly December night. My dad would meticulously chart out the best streets and neighborhoods and take us on a wonderland tour of the lights. We’d pump out the holiday tunes through the radio the whole way around, too, belting out our favorites between sips of hot cocoa my mom packed in a giant thermos.
My husband’s favorite was collecting evidence of Santa’s visit. Each Christmas morning, my husband and his sisters would wake to find big “snowy” boot prints leading from the chimney, past the tree, and around to the crumbs of homemade cookies and empty glass of milk on the coffee table (made with powdered sugar and his dad’s work boots, my mother-in-law tells me). Outside, they’d find reindeer hooves and glitter on the yard. He loved feeling so close to St. Nick’s magic!
This year, though, we’ve started something new: we took our daughter to Ruby Falls Christmas Underground. It combines a little bit of both of our favorite traditions with a ton of magic and surprises! From the moment we approached the Cavern Castle, I could feel the festive glow. The beautifully decorated Christmas trees and sounds of holiday music immediately caught my daughter’s attention. Light filled her eyes as she took in the impressive lodge, and when I told her we were going down to a secret tunnel that connected Ruby Falls to the North Pole, she couldn’t believe her ears!
We rode down the familiar elevator and emerged into a storybook land, greeted by Santa’s Joystone miners. They told us all about Joystone, a rare and precious gem that helps spread Christmas cheer, and how Santa needed our help to find more! My daughter was buzzing with excitement to help Santa and the Joystone miners. They guided us through a series of wintry wonders, including a glittering ice cave, the Northern Lights, and my personal favorite, Sugar Plum Fairy Village. My daughter, of course, was thrilled to spend one-on-one time with Santa and receive her own sparkling Joystone to take home with her.
I couldn’t believe how perfectly the already magical beauty of Ruby Falls had been transformed into a Christmas paradise. Even my husband and I got swept up in the experience of touring the secret passageway to the North Pole; the three of us couldn’t stop talking about it all the way home. I love all of our family traditions, but I think this one might just be our new favorite. We can’t wait until next year!
For more information about how you can make Ruby Falls’ Christmas Underground a part of your holiday tradition, go to rubyfalls.com.