Christmas in Stratford

Each year, the Christmas season begins with the Christmas Parade on the first Saturday of December.  OtterBoy was riding one of the floats this year, so we went early to get a good view of the parade as it proceeded one whole block down the center of town, around the round-about and back again. Gotta love small town traditions!
Just before traffic was blocked off, we saw a trickle of motorcycles passing through town that I discovered was the annual Teddy Bear Run that was actually hundreds of riders. This is a yearly ride for the bikers and the entrance fee to ride is one stuffed toy which is donated to the local women's shelter.
Here are a few more pics of the parade...

Since we wouldn't be seeing the kids on Christmas Day, we decided to have our Christmas celebrations early this year, on Monday the 22nd.  All day on Sunday, OtterBoy kept 'informing' us how many hours and minutes it was until 8AM when he was allowed to get out of bed for our official Christmas celebration. We went to New Plymouth on Sunday night for the annual 'Christmas in the Park' gathering--which marked the opening of the Pukekura Park Festival of Lights  --and finally decided to open the 'big stuff' when we got home.
Missy got an MP3 player and we haven't seen her since--except for meals! OtterBoy got the beginning of his N-scale train that will be built over time on a pretty large scale.
Next morning we had the annual treasure hunt for the kiddos.   This year we hid 17 little gifts for each of them (each with their own wrapping paper)  around the house before we went to bed and they enjoyed themselves immensely searching cupboards and shelves and strange places to find them all.
After the pressies, we went to Kai Iwi for a picnic of Peachy's Fried Chicken with potato salad and other trimmings.  I even put on my suit and got some sun this year while the others took a dip in the river where it runs into the ocean. After some strolling on the beach for shell and rock collecting, we took our time driving home and all collapsed in a nap-needy heap.  It was another good Christmas at the Luckhursts and we have a lot to be thankful for.

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