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Ready or Not, Here it Comes! Countdown to Christmas begins!

I know, I know, Halloween feels like it was just yesterday, and we still need to get through Thanksgiving, but whether we’re ready or not, Christmas is already on it’s way, and it’s time to start making your plans. Stores are decorating, people are shopping, and holiday events are happening! The annual Christmas Tree Lighting at the Old Globe in Balboa Park is THIS weekend!! The other popular event that begins soon (and sells out FAST), is the North Pole Limited, the famous and festive train ride to the “North Pole”, put on by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association.

If you have small children, and you haven’t experienced the North Pole Limited yet, I highly recommend you add it to your list of holiday happenings this year. Although the roundtrip train ride itself is under two hours, the whole experience will definitely take up the majority of your day. Getting to the train station can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on where you’re coming from, so you will want to factor in rush hour traffic, and any strict bedtimes you may be sticking to. The train only operates Friday’s and Saturday’s, with departure times at 5pm and 7pm.¬†

You’ll want to arrive at least 45 minutes early to park and pick up your tickets, and also allow for some time spent at the station after your ride to enjoy the gift shop, the festive lights, the fire pit, and the sand box. With limited access to any real food once you leave San Diego, I recommend you pack a picnic and enjoy it near the on site playground before your train departs. As mentioned, tickets do sell out quickly and MUST be purchased in advance, so if you’re thinking about planning a trip out there, especially with friends, make sure to purchase your tickets SOON.

Ticket prices run from $10 – $80 per person depending on age, and which trip you choose. Tickets purchased in coach are the cheapest, and also sell out the quickest. These tickets will include your train ride, cookies and hot chocolate, caroling with the elves, and a visit from Santa. If you’re looking for a more “premium” experience, your first class tickets will include all of the above, as well as additional soft drinks and candies, and a premium atmosphere…meaning comfier seats, more leg room, and more decorations.

Extra tips and tricks to make the most of your experience:

  • If you have a large group (upward of 20 people), make sure you explore the option of chartering the Robert Peary car. Get the full scoop of this unforgettable ride here.
  • If you book a Friday 7pm train ride, be mindful of that afternoon rush hour traffic on your way out to the station.
  • Dress festive, and warm! There are many photo ops onboard and at the station, so wear your favorite sweater, or even Christmas PJs, but watch out for that temperature drop after the sun sets out in Campo.
  • Keep an open mind and arrive in your best holiday spirit. The train ride can be incredibly magical for children, but I’ll admit that it does take some parent participation to really amp up the full experience. The organization is run 100% by volunteers, with most of the caroling elves coming from the theater group of the local high school. So if you happen to end up with an elf who would rather be at the football game, instead of singing Here Comes Santa Clause for the 14th time, you’ll be happy to have a car full of jolly moms & dads to sing along ūüėČ

Photo courtesy of the PSRM Facebook Page

If you’ve enjoyed the North Pole Limited in the past, please share your experience and tips with us below. If you haven’t, let us know what you’re looking forward to the most!

Campo Depot

750 Depot Street
Campo, California 91906

ThAnK YoU Sam’s Club

It’s the month of giving thanks, and I am pretty good at appreciating the little things. You know how, as moms, we treasure those kid-free moments, even running errands to places like Costco?! Imagine that kind of “fun,” but minus the crowded aisles and carts haphazardly parked here and there while their owners are waiting in lines for free food samples. Imagine casually walking right up to a check-out lane and being at the front of the line.

A little more than a year ago, Sam’s Club ran a terrific¬†Groupon¬†membership special. With Costco membership fees increasing, it seemed like the right time to switch warehouse clubs. It has been a great decision for a variety of reasons starting with the price, which is currently available again through Groupon¬†– $35 for an annual membership, plus $25 in e-gift cards and a free fruit party tray, just in time for holiday pot lucks!

The lack of chaos inside our Sam’s Club has also been a blessing. While I’m sure the management would love more shoppers, this shopper enjoys being able to get in and out quickly. Even on a Saturday. Seriously.

One of my secrets to even happier shopping at Sam’s was upgrading my initial membership to the “plus” membership. For $55 more a year, the plus membership lets me enter the store as early as 7 a.m., Monday through Saturday. Sometimes it feels like it’s just me and the friendly staff! “Plus” members also enjoy free shipping from Samsclub.com, 20% off of prescription glasses and $10 cash back for every $500 spent.

I’m still able to buy all of the great bulk items that I did at Costco, but there are even better selections of some things at Sam’s like bakery cakes and cupcakes.

Sam’s Club does not hand out as many samples as Costco does, which means I buy fewer giant bags of food that I do not need, and I don’t get stuck in the impassable piles of shopping carts while people flock to the sample stands.

Sam’s also probably has fewer “extra” items like clothes and toys, but there are definitely still more things than we need – – – and at great prices!

It has been such a joy becoming a Sam’s Club customer, but it’s definitely not for everyone, primarily because there’s only one San Diego Sam’s Club, and it’s in the East County. But if you’re a downtown, an East County or even a South Bay mom, I highly recommend checking out Sam’s Club for yourself.

Sam’s Club

6336 College Grove Way

San Diego, CA 92115

619.858.0084

samsclub.com

groupon.com/biz/san-diego/sams-club

Enjoy The Time Between Halloween & Christmas

Although several Christmas-type events and activities commence this month, November in San Diego is also full of fall-themed activities for you and your family. ¬†Here are some of our favorite November activities…

Old Town Day of the Dead
Friday, November 2nd 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Enjoy face painting, children‚Äôs arts and crafts, pi√Īatas, Aztec and folk√≥rico dancing, life-sized catrina and skeleton displays, giant skeleton puppets, music

Spring Valley Turkey Bowl

Saturday, November 3rd 2 – 4 p.m.

Meet in the grass at the Spring Valley County Park for this free, youth Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving Dinner Obstacle Course, Giant Turkey Puzzle, Pin The Tail on the Turkey, and much more. You can also enter your name for a chance to win a free turkey dinner. All ages are welcome at this fun and interactive holiday event.

Fall Back Festival

Sunday, November 4th 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Fall back into San Diego’s wild past of the 1880’s! A day of play and educational fun as history comes alive. Kids pan for gold with actual prospectors, observe a blacksmith displaying his trade, and saddle up for an adventurous pony ride.

Santee Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Friday, November 16th 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Enjoy crafts, snow sledding, costumed character meet & greet, photos with Santa carriage & trolley rides, carolers, face painting and more!

Mother Goose Parade

Sunday, November 18th 1-3 p.m.

A festive afternoon of parade floats, balloons, bands and more. Fun for the whole family in El Cajon!

 

Work out before you pig out on Thanksgiving Day with these FUNraisers!

Father Joe’s Village’s Thanksgiving Day 5K

Thursday, November 22nd 6:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Oceanside Turkey Trot

Thursday, November 22nd 6 – 10 a.m.

Encinitas Turkey Trot

Thursday, November 22nd 6 – 10 a.m.

Thanksgiving Morning Thank You Run

Thursday, November 22nd 7 – 10 a.m.

We would be so grateful if you would share with your favorite fall or Thanksgiving event ideas that we can then share with our readers! Happy November everyone. ūüôā

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