Welcome back Gurus! Have you ever wondered how to keep the child-like magic of Christmas alive in a world where technology is replacing the need for imagination? Our children have been robbed of the enchantment that comes with imagining Santa flying over little boys and girls’ homes. The brilliance of what the North Pole may look like has been endangered because they can simply Google “North Pole” and have a physical picture of what the North Pole looks like, or search “is Santa real?” and witness the numerous debates on whether or not Ol’ St. Nick is the real deal. How do we keep our children centered during a time when there is so much distraction and media bias on what our children should believe? How do we keep imagination alive when the media is creating an image of what Christmas looks like in place of promoting the use of imagination and creativity? How do we keep the nostalgia of Christmas alive in a fact-based society that is contaminated by technology? How do we keep the imagination alive in those small souls that are our future? How do we encourage imagination and keep them believing in Santa and passing on the Christmas spirit to generations to come? How do we set a new tradition while keeping the old alive?
It is difficult to find clever ways to distract children from spending time on their iPads and creating ways to get them to engage in Old Fashioned Fun. Though it may seem impossible these days, it is not! As a parent, guardian or care givers all you need to do is separate those young eyes from glowing screens and engage in good imagination, patience and a creative plan.
When talking to my staff at Creative Marketing Arts, I realized that even they suffer from lapses in imagination. They always joke around and tell me that I complicate things when planning events because I let my creative side run free. Maybe it is just because I am from a different generation or maybe it is just my desire to keep originality and innovation alive. My goal for CMA has always been to create new ideas and bring a unique sparkle to all of my events that I hope will transpire to those in attendance. Sometimes it is difficult to entice families with events based off of good old fashioned fun in such a Digital World. We find children still like to hula hoop, finger-paint, make little fun crafts and talk to Santa just like we all did when we were young! CMA strives to preserve this child-like innocence not only in the children, but also inside each and every adult.
This year, as the Principal of CMA, I decided to bring an exciting tradition to our Shopping Centers that my family created for my daughter. We would celebrate the holidays like all other families, with a big dinner on Christmas Eve, my daughter would leave cookies and milk out for Santa and scurry up to bed as early as she could in the hopes that Santa would come soon. In the morning, she would rush so early the sun hadn’t even peaked over the hilltops yet screaming “Wake up! Wake up! Santa came!” we would all run downstairs and watch my daughter’s face light up with raw joy and pure awe as she gleamed at all of the sparkling presents lit up by the Christmas tree. We would make breakfast and drink hot cocoa, but Christmas didn’t end there, after opening gifts, my daughter would clean up as fast as possible so we could head up to Lake Tahoe where she knew the Santa Trail was waiting. The Santa Trail was the one thing my family added to our holiday tradition and it took place on Christmas night. We would generally venture off to Lake Tahoe for a snowy evening and stay at a cabin in the mountains. We would encourage our daughter to prepare for the Santa Trail. She would hear the stories of how Santa dropped toys, candy and goodies from his sleigh and those lucky children who picked the right trail could go on an adventure to find these toys. I clearly remember her dad saying, “What are you talking about... the Santa Trail?” He was nervous that I had made up something that would never come to fruition; I told him to tap into his imagination. I would sneak off and find a little trail to drop the goodies for my daughter while he made us hot cocoa and prepared our shoes at the front door to take off on this dreamlike adventure.
My daughter would get so excited about this little journey, she would talk about the Santa Trail all day on Christmas, and it was almost as exciting as waking up on Christmas morning. This was a great addition to our holiday memories. I would suggest we take the Red Trial, but generally she wanted to go on the Green Trail because the Green Trail always had the most trees, which knocked Santa’s sleigh causing him to drop more toys. Of course there was only one trail, but adding this colorful option only made it seem more REAL and exciting. She would take off on the trail while we watched her gather up her fun finds and journey back to the cabin for a nice fire and recap our day. This family-fun event was the highlight of our evening and not a single source of technology was involved. I always wonder if my daughter will keep this tradition alive.
As I was sitting in my office thinking about all the events we create at CMA, I wondered why had I not ventured out and created our very own Santa Trail program at our properties. How fun would it be to create this magic at a Shopping Center? Instantly, the idea clicked and we created a holiday treasure map of stores on the trail! We are promoting this at The Danville Livery and other popular East Bay Shopping Centers. The stores receive toys and goodies for their treasure chests and open their doors to our families who may not have ever stepped foot in their stores. Parent Gurus, stay centered and channel that imagination to bring a new holiday tradition to your families.
Santa Trails can be visited at the following Shopping Centers:
Hacienda Crossings: Saturday, November 28th from Noon – 2pm
The Danville Livery: Sunday, November 29th from 11am – 3pm
Alamo Plaza: Saturday, December 5th from Noon – 2pm
Sand Creek Crossing: Saturday, December 12th from 1pm – 3pm